World on fire! And that is precisely why we are working with archives!

The Fifth Wall

Transnational and transcultural archives are an indispensable component in the resistance against nationalist narratives. Their presence, visibility and accessibility in both academic and non-academic institutions shows that migration is historically undeniable and constitutes an important part of what we understand as cultural heritage. Research into these archives makes a significant contribution to the critical examination of colonial history and post-colonialism, as well as to gender and migration studies. Living archives are places of networking, research and collaboration across borders. Taking Navina Sundaram's estate as an example, we have invited a panel of experts with diverse research approaches to report on their practice and develop possible perspectives in an open dialogue with the audience. A prior visit to the exhibition is recommended.

Guests: Alexandra Schneider (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz), Britta Lange (Institute für Cultural Studies, Humboldt University Berlin), Minu Haschemi Yekani (Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Free University Berlin), Nadja-Christina Schneider (Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt University Berlin), Sonja Hegasy (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient), Stefanie Schulte Strathaus (Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art e.V.), Urmila Goel (Institut for European Ethnology, Humboldt University Berlin) and Volker Patenburg (University of Zürich, Harun Farocki Institute)

Alexandra Schneider
Alexandra Schneider is Professor of Film Studies with a focus on media dramaturgy at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. She previously taught at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and at the Department of Film Studies at the Free University Berlin. Since her studies at the University of Zurich (film studies, sociology, political theory), where she also received her doctorate, she has been working on questions of decentralised film historiography.

Britta Lange
Britta Lange studied art and cultural studies and completed her doctorate at the Humboldt University in Berlin in 2005 with a thesis on clichés of foreigners in the form of life-size “types of peoples” by the company Umlauff (1869-1925). Together with Philip Scheffner, she produced the exhibition The Making of... Ghosts, which was shown in Berlin, later Mumbai, Delhi and Prague. Her book Gefangene Stimmen was published by Kadmos Verlag in a print edition in 2019 and as an English e-book in 2022. Britta Lange has been a research associate at the Institute for Cultural Studies at Humboldt University Berlin since 2014 and is actively engaged in teaching and research.

Minu Haschemi Yekani
Minu Haschemi Yekani is a research associate at the Friedrich Meinecke Institute at Free University Berlin (Global History Department) and academic coordinator for the MA program Global History. Her monograph Koloniale Arbeit. Rassismus, Migration und Herrschaft in Tansania (1885-1914) was published by Campus Verlag in 2019.

Nadja-Christina Schneider
Nadja-Christina Schneider is a South Asia scholar. She specializes in media culture and gender studies. She teaches and researches at the Institute for Asian and African Studies at HU Berlin. For her, engaging with Navina Sundaram and the archive The Fifth Wall opens up new perspectives on a special chapter in the history of Indio-German entanglements in the 20th century. 

Sonja Hegasy
Sonja Hegasy is Deputy Director of the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. She studied Arabic and Islamic Studies and graduated from Columbia University in 1990. Her research interests include modern Arab thought, cultural history of modernity and memory politics in post-conflict societies. In 2019-2021, she held the professorship of Postcolonial Studies at the Barenboim-Said Akademie. In 2023 she was Senior Fellow at ICAS:MP in New Delhi.

Stefanie Schulte Strathaus
Stefanie Schulte Strathaus is a film scholar and has been working as a curator at Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art since the early 1990s. Since 2004, she has been a member of its board of directors. From 2001–2019, she was a member of the selection committee of the Berlinale Forum, which has been organised by Arsenal since 1971. Together with Anselm Franke, she founded Forum Expanded in 2006, which she headed until 2020. More recently, she has made archival work an essential working area of Arsenal under the banner of “living archive”.

Urmila Goel
Urmila Goel is guest professor at the Institute for European Ethnology and associate member of the Centre for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies at the Humboldt University Berlin. Research on migration from South Asia to German-speaking Europe, at present especially on the recruitment of nurses since the 1960s and of trainee butchers. More on

Volker Pantenburg
Volker Pantenburg is professor at the University of Zurich since 2021 and currently head of the Department of Film Studies. In 2015, together with others, he founded the Harun Farocki Institute, on whose board he serves. He heads the Swiss National Science Foundation-funded project "Paranational Cinema. Legacies and Practices" (2024 to 2027). Current books: Einfachheit und Vereinfachung. Zur Praxis Harun Farockis (Autumn 2024), Aggregatzustände bewegter Bilder (2022) and as editor Harun Farocki: Eine indexikalische Spur. Nachträge und Register (2024).


programme booklet for the exhibition

Friday, July 5 
4–7.15 pm
Registration here