The Longue Durée of 1989. Regime Change and Everyday Life in East Germany

Lecture | February 21 | 5-6 p.m. | 201 Moses Hall

 Kerstin Brückweh, Centre for Contemporary History, Potsdam (Germany)

 Institute of European Studies, GHI West - Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington DC, Center for German and European Studies

1989 is often considered a key caesura of the 20th century. By looking at the long-term developments surrounding this historic event Brückweh analyzes the social changes that paved the way for and shaped all three stages: the late phase of the German Democratic Republic, the peaceful revolution, and the transformation that followed. Property, especially real estate, serves as an example to examine the dynamics and tensions of the East German lifeworld throughout the regime change. It turned out that core ideas and concepts of property in everyday life have a much longer history than the GDR and stayed untouched by official politics. However, GDR ideology and practices changed property relations and thus specifically shaped life-worlds of the ‘united’ Germany.

Kerstin Brückweh directs a research group titled The Longue Durée of 1989: Regime Change and Everyday Life in East Germany at the Centre for Contemporary History in Potsdam, Germany. She is a lecturer at the University of Tübingen, and currently a fellow at the Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies. Kerstin Brückweh is the author of two books: Mordlust: Serienmorde, Gewalt und Emotionen im 20. Jahrhundert [Mordlust. Serial Killings, Violence and Emotions in 20th-Century-German, 2006], and Menschen zählen: Wissensproduktion durch britische Volkszählungen und Umfragen vom 19. Jahrhundert bis ins digitale Zeitalter [Britain Counts. Knowledge Production in Censuses and Survey Research from the Nineteenth Century to the Digital Age, 2015].