30 Years of German Reunification and the Long History of the ‘Transformation’

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On December 4, FNF Korea, the Forum for Comparative History of Korea and Germany, and the Tübingen Center for Korean Studies at Korea University jointly hosted an academic seminar on “30 Years of German Reunification and the Long History of the ‘Transformation’”. Following the COVID-19 restrictions, this forum was hosted completely online via Zoom Webinar with German researchers Kerstin Brückweh, Kathrin Zöller, Clemens Villinger and Korean panellists Woo-Young Lee (Kyungnam University Graduate School for North Korean Studies), Jin-Hwan Kim (Institute for Unification Education), Jung-Ah Cho (Korea Institute for National Unification), and Jinil Lee (Sungkyunkwan University).

In the first session, Brückweh, Zöller, and Villinger of the Center for Contemporary History (ZZF) presented the results of their four-year long research on the "long history of the transition". They emphasized that we have to look at a longer time period and not just the years surrounding 89/90 to better understand the “transition” of peoples’ life in East Germany caused by the unification of Germany. The Korean discussants then compared the research results with the situation on the Korean peninsula and interesting discussions took place between both sides.


In the second session, the German scholars presented their public history approach. They had toured the areas of East Germany to have a direct conversation with residents of East Germany and present their research to the East German public. The experience of these tours and the exchange of opinions among scholars were published into the book “Die lange Geschichte der Wende“. This presentation was also followed by intensive discussions about the methods of research and the importance for scholars to engage with a wider audience.