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Germany: A Nation in its Time

Conventionally, historians argue either that nationalists invent nations or that nationalism is an irrational form of national attachment. By contrast, Helmut Walser Smith takes the long view in his new book, Germany. A Nation in its Time, and situates nationalism within the dramatic transformations of the nation itself. Drawing on literature, art, cartography, and the history of peace and war, Smith gives us an account of the German nation before, during, and potentially after its destructive nationalism.  

Date & Time

Friday
Oct. 23, 2020
3:30pm – 5:00pm ET

Overview

Conventionally, historians argue either that nationalists invent nations or that nationalism is an irrational form of national attachment. By contrast, Helmut Walser Smith takes the long view in his new book, Germany. A Nation in its Time, and situates nationalism within the dramatic transformations of the nation itself. Drawing on literature, art, cartography, and the history of peace and war, Smith gives us an account of the German nation before, during, and potentially after its destructive nationalism.  

Helmut Walser Smith is the Martha Rivers Ingram Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. He is the editor of the Oxford Handbook of Modern German History (OUP, 2011), and the author of the widely-acclaimed The Butchers Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town (W.W. Norton, 2002), as well as other books.  He is currently working on a book tentatively entitled “Facing the Past in Small-Town Germany, 1945-2000” as well as an “Atlas of German Studies.”

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University and the National History Center) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is organized jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks its anonymous individual donors and institutional partners (the George Washington University History Department and the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest) for their continued support.


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History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program makes public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, facilitates scholarship based on those records, and uses these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs.  Read more

Global Europe Program

The Global Europe Program addresses vital issues affecting the European continent, U.S.-European relations, and Europe’s ties with the rest of the world. We investigate European approaches to critical global issues: digital transformation, climate, migration, global governance. We also examine Europe’s relations with Russia and Eurasia, China and the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Our program activities cover a wide range of topics, from the role of NATO, the European Union and the OSCE to European energy security, trade disputes, challenges to democracy, and counter-terrorism. The Global Europe Program’s staff, scholars-in-residence, and Global Fellows participate in seminars, policy study groups, and international conferences to provide analytical recommendations to policy makers and the media.  Read more

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