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Public Lecture Series Linie 4

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For more information on the lecture series, visit the vhs page (in German):

Volkshochschule Bielefeld

"Linie 4" is the name of a series of public lectures, organized by BGHS in cooperation with the Volkshochschule Bielefeld (vhs), the public adult education centre in Bielefeld. Its purpose is to present the research projects of BGHS doctoral researchers to a broad public and to discuss them with them. It thus makes an important contribution to science communication. The name "Linie 4", which refers to the city tramp line 4, is symbolic of the bridging of the distance between Bielefeld University and the city of Bielefeld. The "Linie 4" takes place at the vhs Bielefeld in the Ravensberger Spinnerei.

The latest from the historical and social science research (2023)

Mondays, 6.15 pm -8 pm, vhs Bielefeld, Room 240

In May and June 2023, the public lecture series "Linie 4 - Neues aus der sozialwissenschaftlichen und historischen Forschung" (Line 4 - News from Social Science and Historical Research) will take place for the seventh time, organised by the BGHS in cooperation with the vhs Bielefeld. Four doctoral researchers from the BGHS present their current research in a clear and understandable way and discuss it with visitors to the vhs. The presentations take place every Monday from 6.15-8 p.m. at the vhs Bielefeld in Ravensberger Park.

On 8 May, sociologist Paulo Isenberg will begin with a presentation on attitudes to environmental issues in families. He will explore the question of whether the topic of the environment causes conflicts between generations or rather between milieus. On 22 May, historian Carolin Kaiser will focus on the soldiers of the Reichswehr, the army of the Weimar Republic, and their ideas of masculinity between the claim to power and castration anxiety. On 5 June, historian Catharina Wessing poses the paradoxical question of how colonialism without colonies could come about after the First World War. Using the magazine "Der Deutsche Kulturpionier" as an example, she examines how the authors of the magazine imagined a future for colonies. Sociologist Stella Nüschen will bring the series to an end on 12 June with her contribution on what so-called clans are all about and what the meaning and purpose of the talk about the supposedly criminal families actually is.

The four presentations offer a small insight into the breadth of academic research conducted at the BGHS. As in previous years, however, the main focus will be on the exchange between the young researchers and the audience at the vhs Bielefeld. Vivid presentations, clever follow-up questions and exciting discussions are intended to bring the University and the city of Bielefeld a little closer together.

Past Linie 4 events


In May and June 2022, the public lecture series "Linie 4 - Neues aus der sozialwissenschaftlichen und historischen Forschung" (Linie 4 - News from Social Science and Historical Research) took place for the sixth time, organised by the Bielefeld Graduate School of History and Sociology (BGHS) in cooperation with the vhs Bielefeld. Five doctoral researchers from the BGHS presented their current research in a clear and understandable way and discussed it with the audience at the vhs. The lectures took place on Mondays from 6.15-8 p.m. in the Murnau Hall of the vhs Bielefeld in Ravensberger Park.

On 2 May, historian Tim Rieke began with a lecture on German consuls in South America in the 19th century. The focus was not only on the activities of the consuls, but also on the question of how a historian puts together the puzzle of the various sources and makes sense of it (Here you can find the blog post). Christoph Herkströter, also a historian, then devoted himself to the Buchenwald memorial on 16 May and asked how memory is used as a political tool. He compared the perspective of the GDR, which placed anti-fascism in the foreground, with the perspective of the FRG, which was primarily concerned with commemorating victims (Here you can find the blog post). After these lectures dealing with official politics, the social scientist Marie-Sophie Borchelt explored the possibilities of creating solidarity among neighbours through "politics from below" on 30 May. She invited an activist to talk to her about her involvement in grassroots neighbourhood work (Here you can find the blog post). On 13 June, the focus was on a current topic from the world of work. The social scientist Elisa Gensler looked at the use of algorithms in different areas of work and asked about the opportunities and risks that arise for employees (Here you can find the blog post). The series concluded on 20 June with historian Jan Gräber's contribution on the inheritance dispute between the state of Brandenburg and the Hohenzollern dynasty. In doing so, he posed the important question: What kind of present does historical scholarship actually produce? (Here you can find the blog post.)

The five lectures offered a small insight into the breadth of academic research conducted at the BGHS. As in previous years, however, the main focus was on the exchange between the young scholars and the audience at the vhs Bielefeld. Vivid lectures, clever follow-up questions and exciting discussions brought the university and the city of Bielefeld a little closer together.

25.10.2021 - Tobias Gehring

Why we should stop talking about the refugees - food for thought for a fair refugee debate.

At least before Corona, hardly any other topic was talked about and debated as much in Germany as "the refugees". Through the social debate, a certain image of "the refugees" is drawn. The lecture deals with what remains unsaid when we talk about "the refugees" coming to Germany and Europe. And it deals with who remains voiceless when we repeatedly speak only about the refugees. But what can be done to address these issues and make the refugee debate fairer? Some food for thought in this direction will be presented in the lecture. Because by how and with whom we speak, what we say and to whom we listen, we all contribute to the image of "the refugees".

Tobias Gehring, BGHS doctoral student (Discourses on Refugees in Ugandan Print Media: Groups, Voices, and the Conflictual Role of National Categories). Formerly lecturer at the AG Sociology of Transnationalization (Faculty of Sociology) and at the AG Migration Pedagogy and Cultural Work (Faculty of Education).


08.11.2021 - Simon Groß

From Writing a Biography in Historical Studies. From the everyday work of a historian

How do historians actually come to their research project? And what do they do once they have found their topic? In his lecture, historian Simon Groß will explore these two questions and provide an insight into the working world of a historian. He is a doctoral candidate at the University of Bielefeld and is writing a biography on the sociologist Helmut Schelsky (1912-1984). Using his own example, he would like to look at his own research process in an informative and entertaining way and show the steps one takes in the course of a dissertation project.

Simon Groß, BGHS doctoral student (Helmut Schelsky and the sociological field of the Federal Republic)


22.11.2021 - Franz Kather

"Where the wild guys live" - the South Palace and knowledge about disease, man and nature in the 19th century.

Sanatorium and zoo - two institutions that at first do not seem to have much in common. And yet, at the time of their creation, the two not only show parallels, but were explicitly conceived together. The lecture explores the question of what the common origins of medical and zoological knowledge are. The example of the "Southern Palace" will be used to illuminate how knowledge about humans, animals and the world influenced each other and what role architecture played in this process.

Franz Kather, BGHS doctoral student (The South Palace. A Micro-Global History), research assistant in the Department of Historical Studies, 19th and 20th Century History.

Here you can find the blog post.


12/06/2021 - Malin Sonja Wilckens.

Scientific racism and comparative anatomy - How "collecting" skulls led to theorizing about "races"

How were images about supposed "races" produced and scientifically legitimized? How global was the scientific project, what difficulties were associated with it, and which actors were involved in it? The lecture traces these and other questions on the basis of the "journey" of a skull from the grave robbery to the study room of the professor of medicine Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840) in Göttingen. Through the different stages of the skull's "journey," it will be shown how closely scientific knowledge was intertwined with colonial and Enlightenment structures of the time and how certain truth claims were produced.

Malin Sonja Wilckens, BGHS doctoral student (Skull comparisons and the order of the world - racialization processes in science), PhD scholar of the German National Academic Foundation.

Here you can find the blog post.


29.09.2020 - Patrick Kahle

Where does it go to integration, please? About the work with refugees

How successful the work with refugees is and how (well) volunteers can be recruited for it can be read as a gauge for social cohesion. Based on this assumption, researchers from the University of Hildesheim interviewed actors in the field of migration and integration. An informative as well as entertaining insight into the qualitative research work was offered to the audience through a staged reading from interviews. Afterwards, the researchers invited the audience to discuss their first impressions.


13.10.2020 - Simon Füchtenschnieder

More than the "Mutiny on the Bounty": How the Breadfruit Came from Tahiti to the Caribbean

To this day, breadfruit is inextricably linked with the Mutiny on the Bounty. Originally, the breadfruit came from Tahiti. In 1787, seedlings of the breadfruit were to be transported from the Bounty in Tahiti to the British plantations in the Caribbean. There, the breadfruit was to serve as cheap food for the slaves.
The Bounty's voyage proves difficult from the start: it is too small a ship for this mission. After a long stay in Tahiti, the Bounty mutinies on its way to the Caribbean. The mutiny is bloodless, but 19 crew members - among them Captain William Bligh - are abandoned in a boat on the open sea and left to their fate. Thus the voyage of the Bounty ends abruptly and its breadfruit mission remains unfinished.
Numerous books, radio plays and, not least, Hollywood films are devoted to the voyage of the Bounty, making the "Mutiny on the Bounty" probably the most famous of its kind in the history of seafaring.
Far less well known, however, is that there was a second Bounty voyage a few years later, also commanded by William Bligh, the captain of the Bounty. This second voyage was successful and ensured the permanent establishment of breadfruit in the Caribbean.
This lecture embarks on the two voyages and traces the breadfruit's journey from Tahiti to the Caribbean - beyond all Hollywood romance.


24.11.2020 - Tobias Gehring

Why we should stop talking about refugees - food for thought for a fair debate on refugees

Hardly any other topic has been debated as much in Germany in recent years as refugees. Across the political camps, these debates have two problematic characteristics. For all too often, people talk about the refugees as well as about the refugees. What is problematic about this, and in what way media, NGOs & Co., but also all of us in everyday life can change something about it, will be presented in the lecture. Afterwards, there will be an opportunity for discussion.


*Talk was cancelled* - Lisa Baßenhoff

Art cannot be learned! Or can it? The education at an art academy

'You can't learn art,' you often hear. But what then happens at art colleges and art academies? The lecture explores the everyday life and work of students of the study program 'Liberal Arts'.


19 March 2019 - Malika Mansouri

50 Years of ICERD - The United Nations on Racial Discrimination in and by Germany

In 1965 the United Nations have adopted the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which became effective under international law in 1969. Germany joined the convention in the same year. In the proceedings of the UN the adherence of the convention and so as well the anti racism policy of Germany are regularly thematised. This lecture will offer an insight in the CERD and tackle the question which forms of racist discrimination by and in Germany get reprimanded and which suggestions are brought forward by the UN.

02 April 2019 - Johanna Paul

The White Armband Day ? Cross-boarder remembrance to the genocide in Prijedor (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

This lecture deals with the long term consequences and challenges of the remembrance of war crimes over 25 years ago in northwest Bosnia. Furthermore impressions are given, how the remembrance is propelled even outside of Bosnia.

07 May 2019 - Zeynep Demir

The Mental Health of Young Migrants in the (Post)Migration Society

The health care system of Germany faces new challenges in the presence of increasing migration to Germany since 2015. Which risk and safety factors are decisive for the mental health of young migrants? This lecture deals which possible influencing factors on the health trajectory of infantile and adolescent migrants under a developmental-psychologically perspective.

21 May 2019 - Anja Henkel

Erika Mann - A sophisticated Nomad?

"Would a possible war be our own mess? Are the miseries, the falsities and crimes which happen globally our own mess?" (original: "Wäre ein Krieg, der kommen könnte, unser Privatdreck? Ist die Not, sind die Irrtümer und die Verbrechen, die auf der Welt geschehen, unser Privatdreck?"), asks Erika Mann in 1934. She was the allround talent of the Mann family: author, journalis, children's book writer, actress and political speaker. Only after the rise to power of the Nazis in Germany, she pursued politically motivated verbal counterforce. Her intellectual acts are done in exile and are influeced by being on the road.

04 June 2019 - Carla Thiele

The Ezides: Persecuted - Displaced - Threatened with Extinction

The Yazidis belong to the tribe of Kurds and are a religious minority. Stigmatized as devil worshipper and heathens they were and are persecuted, put to flight, enslaved and killed throughout the course of history, recently in August 2014. Even though in Germany lives the second largest Yazidis community globally, very little is known about them. What is unique about the Yazidis? Why are the persecuted in the 21st century? With which challenges do they have to deal with in Germany? This lecture will give answers to these questions.

25 Juni 2019 - Lasse Bjoern Lassen

Cuba's Antiracist International - The Tricontinental Conference 1966

A total of 512 delegates from 82 countries gathered on New Year's Day of 1966 in Havana to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and celebrate the exchange of ideas between the decolonised countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. For this purpose, they developed strategies against enduring colonial structures and disenfranchisement of the so-called "Third World" within the international system. The presentation points out motivations of the Cuban Castro administration for the organisation of said conference and the establishment of a global strategy against racism, poverty and discrimination.

17 October 2017 - Marius Meinhof

Consumption and national modernization in China

China's mega-cities are full of futuristic and highly diverse consumer cultures. These consumer cultures are related to a project of national modernization by the state that tries to create a pluralized consuming middle class. Enchanted by this project of modernization, many Chinese tend to overlook how modern and diverse their country already is - and that this modernity and diversity often can be found at places believed to be "backwards". The presentation shows the diverse and advanced character of Chinese consumption and its role in the project of national modernization.

07 November 2017 - Theresa Hornischer

Women against their fatherland France (1918 - 1939)

The lecture is devoted to forgotten intellectual women in France in the 1920s and 1930s. As feminists, they championed their political suffrage. As journalists they fought against fascism. At the same time, as travel writers, they exposed grievances in the colonial territories. One among them is Léo Wanner. Who is (hiding) behind this name? How did Wanner place her protest into the public, and what kind of image of society/social conception did she provide and her female contemporaries?

21 November 2017 - Carla Thiele

Persecution and recommencement: Yezidi women in Germany

Yazidis belong to the Kurds' tribe and represent a religious minority. Stigmatized as the "infidel" and "worshippers of the evil", they were oftentimes persecuted and put to flight throughout history. The last time was in summer 2014.This presentation will deal with the Yezidis' women lives, who took refuge in Germany. How do they manage to align their old lives, their experiences during their flight with their new challenges?


05 December 2017 - Marcus Carrier

Chemistry in Court: Poisonings in the 19th Century

The rise of the sciences during the 19th century also had its impact on the legal system. Scientists were called upon for their expert testimony against murderers and other criminals. Since poison especially was used for murder in the hope to keep the crime secret, toxicological experts became the arch enemy of prisoners. To bring the perpetrators to justice, chemists had to come up with new methods of identifying poisons.

19 December 2017 - Kerstin Schulte

Camp stories from the Senne: Nazis behind barbed wire

Camps were central places in which the Allies imprisoned former Nazis after the end of World War II. Two of these camps were located in the Senne: in Staumühle and Stukenbrock. How did the internees experienced their time in the camps and how did they made their experiences literary? Autobiographical novels, diaries, caricatures and memoirs give an insight into the parallel world of the camps and the mindset of the sometimes high-ranking national socialists.

16 Januar 2018 - Cleovi Mosuela

Who cares? Filipino nurses in Germany

Germany is not a typical labor market for Filipino nurses. Nevertheless, they are sought-after specialists in German health care facilities. What attracted them to come to Germany? Or has Germany hired them in the face of demographic change and labor shortage? The lecture presents the experience of nurses from the Philippines in Germany.

*Talk was cancelled* - Sabrina Timmer

Bread or Bratwurst? Everyday life in a medieval prison

Contrary to popular belief, prisons in the Middle Ages were not only places of torture or custody for those men and women who had been sentenced to death or taken into preventive or pre-trial detention. The lecture explores the question of what significance and function prison punishment had in the Middle Ages beyond that. What forms of imprisonment existed? What were the social consequences of imprisonment? What were the living conditions of the inmates like?

06 February 2018 - Justus Heck

The referee's fear of the penalty kick. Towards an interaction sociology of football games

It is not the goal keeper who is afraid of penalty kicks for he or she can only win. The referee may hesitate, however, to award a penalty kick since these decisions are either way highly contested. Furthermore, there are many other decisions to be taken by the referee. In my presentation, I discuss in general what difference it makes for football games if its supervision is delegated to a "supposed-to-be" neutral third. I compare for this purpose supervised games with those that are being played without referee as, e.g., in the so called "Wilde Liga" in Bielefeld.

With its initial success in 2010, BGHS, in cooperation with the vhs, again launched a series of public lectures in the platform of Linie 4. The general theme offered for the series in the first vhs-semester 2016 was:

The Body and its Multiple Dimensions

A total of nine lectures took place from February to June 2016 every two weeks - Tuesday evenings in the vhs at Ravensberger Park. The term "Body" was illuminated from different perspectives: from the physical bodies, to the metaphysical bodies, to the social bodies, up to the political bodies: various aspects to acquire a reasonably adequate grasp of the things a body can do, a clutch of its various functions. The topics were discussed in sociological and historical understandings in an attempt to understand how society works. The presentations were mostly in German language and some were held in English. All lectures were followed by discussion with the public.


9 February 2016 - Britta Dostert

Family Pictures from the Middle Ages to Early Modern Times

23 February 2016 - Daniel Emmelius:

Crossing the Rubicon. The Relation of Body and Space in Ancient Rome

8 March 2016 - Yaatsil Guevara Gonzalez

Migrant Bodies and Mimicry. Central American Migrants in Mexico's Southern Border

5 April 2016 - Susanne Richter

The Power of Make-up! Performances of Femininity in YouTube Beauty Videos

19 April 2016 - Zoltán Boldizsár Simon

Humans Without Bodies, Mechanical Bodies Without Humans: Can History Make Sense of our Technological Future?

3 May 2016 - Torben Möbius

Daily Worklife in the National Socialist 'works community', 1928-45

17 May 2016 - Kristoffer Klammer

Economy as an ill Patient: Talking about Economy in Times of Crisis

31 May 2016 - Clemens Eisenmann:

Embodied Spirituality in Yoga Practice

14 June 2016 - Susanne Schultz and Christian Ulbricht

The Wanted and not Wanted Migrant - European States and African Migrants - Who Controls the Bodies?

*Talk was cancelled* 28 June 2016 - Oleksandra Tarkhanova

Ukrainian Woman: a Symbol of the Nation and a Tool of State Policy

*Talk was cancelled* 5 July 2016 - Mahshid Mayar

Women and Children as Characters in Strategy Computer Games

In 2009, doctoral and postdoctoral researchers at the BGHS first came up with the idea of holding a public lecture series entitled "Linie 4 - Neues aus der sozialwissenschaftlichen und historischen Forschung" (Line 4 - News from Social Science and Historical Research), in which junior researchers at the BGHS presented their current research projects to a non-university audience.
In the period from February to July 2010, the BGHS cooperated with vhs Bielefeld as the city's largest non-school educational institution and offered a series of lectures in the vhs rooms under the title "Linie 4". Attendance at the events was free of charge. The response was very good.

Press release "Linie 4". Neues aus der sozialwissenschaftlichen und historischen Forschung (Nr. 283/2009)

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