"The Generation of the GDR: Economists at the Humboldt University Berlin," Till Duppe, Université du Québec à Montréal

Event Type: 
Friday, January 29, 2016
327 Social Sciences Building

The GDR existed for 41 years. This gave time for no more and no less than one generation that passed its entire professional life in this state - the generation born in the early 1930s that carried the hopes of this state. With Karl Mannheim’s notion of generations as a unit in the sociology of knowledge in mind, we describe the typical experiences of this generation from the point of view of a particularly telling group: economists at the Humboldt University in Berlin. We go through their socialization in Nazi Germany, the formative years in the aftermath of WWII that led to their choice for a politically devoted profession, their studies in the first years of the GDR when Stalinism was still the dominating dogma, their committing to a state career when writing their dissertation and habilitation, and review their daily life as professors in a continuous attempt of reforming teaching and research. 1989 was the ultimate reform, which turned out as the end of the state as well as their professional career.