Call for Papers: “The German Archipelago: German ethnic minorities and interwar eugenics”

“The German Archipelago: German ethnic minorities and interwar eugenics”An International Conference 16-19 December 2011, Balliol College, Oxford

The Archipelago of German minorities in Central and Eastern Europe are often seen as pawns on the wider geo-political and eugenic stages of interwar Europe, and especially so with regards to Nazi Germany’s designs for these Volksdeutsche. But while the ongoing study of eugenic and racial policies pursued the Third Reich, and the international contexts they operated in, have substantially added to our understanding of eugenic paradigms’ broader appeal, we still know very little about how ethnic minorities themselves interacted with eugenic themes and strategies.

This conference sets out to investigate and compare how, when, and why German ethnic minorities engaged with, and related to, wider international discourses on eugenics, and the extent to which these ideas were internalized and adapted to suit their local needs. That is, to what extent did German ethnic minorities became active agents in the promotion of eugenics and its promise of a healthier, homogenized, and hereditarily reinvigorated nation? The key themes and questions the conference seeks to cover are:

·The international context: To what extent did ethnic minorities interact with, and partake in, international debates on eugenics from the late nineteenth century unto 1945?

·Internal eugenic and racial agendas:To what extent did minorities develop indigenous eugenic movements and societies, were these able to elaborate or even implement eugenic policies, and if so by what agency?

·Interaction with the host nation: How did potential indigenous movements interact with the eugenic or otherwise nation-building agendas pursued by their host nations? How does this exemplify cultural or racial self-exclusion?

·Relationship with other German minorities: Did different German minorities engage with each other’s eugenic discourses, societies, or even policies? Did an inter-minority network of eugenicists and societies emerge?

·German minorities and Nazi-Germay:  How did minorities relate to the wider geo-political and racial ambitions of the Third Reich, especially with regards to the transfer and adaptation of eugenic concepts, the construction of racial self-imaginings, the conduct of racial research, as well as resettlement policies?


If you want to propose a paper please send a title and abstract of 250-300 words along with a short cv to

Tudor Georgescu: or

Björn Felder:

by no later than 15 October 2011. And, of course, please do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions you may have!


The organizers will offer board and accommodation and contribute towards travel expenses.

Organized by:

Oxford Brookes University and its Working Group on the History of Race and Eugenics

University of Göttingen


Kindly funded by:

The Berendel Foundation, London

The Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media upon a Decision of the German Bundestag.






© 2011. All content,