Germans’ Things: Material Culture and Daily Life in East and West, 1949-2009

The Wende Museum and German Historical Institute presented a three-day international conference, bringing together more than 30 scholars, journalists and observers from throughout Europe and the U.S. to question the role of “things,” namely objects of material culture and their importance for the understanding of German history, since the Wende era in 1989 and 1990.  The conference papers focused on three areas of research: 1) the function of things in everyday life of East and West Germans; 2) the history of culture as an instrument of power; and 3) contemporary museum practices as indicators of the politics of writing about and visualizing history.