Shared History Conference

‘Africa’, ‘Asia’ and ‘Oceania’ are no longer objects of European history and European decision-making. In the post-colonial age of globalization, we are facing an era of ever closer political, economic, social and cultural interdependence, but also strong ruptures in societies around the world. In order to better shape our future together, we also need to come to a common understanding of our history – in the sense of a shared history, although not necessarily assessed equally in all parts. We need political, cultural and academic exchanges, including disputes about the colonial past in order to come to a better mutual understanding of our colonial history and of the strong roots of racism. 

Meanwhile controversial public debates about the colonial past have been going on for decades in almost all countries, the debate in Europe has intensified only recently. We are witnessing public debates about an entangled global history and the question of how to deal with the material and immaterial witnesses of such an interconnectedness. These debates take place in universities and museums, in theatres, literature and newspapers, in parliaments or civil society initiatives and on the streets. The focus lies on questions about the restitution of colonial objects, the impact of colonialism and racism, and different ways of reading history.

However, remembering and coming to terms with a shared history can only be successful if the demand for a discussion on equal terms does not remain an empty promise. To this end, it must be possible to create a diverse and heterogeneous space of memory, the arts, and research, which deepens existing cooperation and opens up new forms of cooperation.

The aim of the conference is, therefore, to bring together research, the arts and civil society – namely from the former colonies and Germany – in order to question the past, present and future of colonial memory. What could a shared history look like? The conference should help to concretize and set in motion co-operative research.

If you would like to attend the conference, please contact to receive an invitation.


Scientific concept by Bettina Brockmeyer, Rebekka Habermas, Ulrike Lindner

In co-operation with the Gerda Henkel Foundation and with support of the German Federal Foreign Office

Media partnership with