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Next door to the Capitol

Author: Linda Thomßen

Levke Harders’ eight-month stay abroad as a Postdoctoral Visiting Research Fellow is being funded by the Max Weber Foundation. In addition to Washington, DC, the Foundation runs other historical institutes in London, Moscow, Paris, Rome, and Warsaw.

“I pass the White House on my way to the Institute. But I mostly work in the Library of Congress right next to the Capitol. I am spending eight months conducting research on the history of migration at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. Besides my work, I am enjoying the political and cultural life in the US capital. The new National Museum of African and American History and Culture is worth visiting more than just once to learn about the culture and history of African Americans, racism, and resistance.

Levke Harders at a table in a reading Room of the Library of Congress
The European Reading Room of the Library of Congress is Levke Harders’ favourite place for writing.

At the German Historical Institute, which belongs to the Max Weber Foundation and is headed by Professor Simone Lässig, I meet a lot of colleagues who are conducting research on migration and the categorization of race. Irish migrants in the USA, for example, were seen as ‘black’ before slowly becoming ‘white’ as more and more new migration groups arrived. The concept of race is also important for my research on migratory movements in Europe in the 19th century. I present this approach to other academics from the USA and Germany in the Institute’s Research Seminar. 

I am enjoying eight months of discussions, writing, and reading without any committee work, lectures, and distractions. It’s an absolute luxury.”

Further information

Levke Harders on Instagram and Twitter. Blog:

This article is a pre-release from “BI.research“, Bielefeld University’s research magazine of. The new issue of the magazine is to be published in May 2020.