In 2019, the vor—gänge museum opened its doors. The museum, in a squatted building in the Gängeviertel neighborhood of Hamburg, Germany, is the result of a four-year process involving student groups and collaborations with the public. This case study reflects on the underrepresentation of the historic Gängeviertel neighborhoods and the marginalized groups they represent in the self-narrative of Hamburg. It evaluates the potential of squatting empty buildings to regain agency for these groups and discusses the current public history project from the perspective of an engaged actor. Based on this interdisciplinary collaboration of academia, art, and activism, it argues for structural and institutional change in academic teaching and an increased scholarly awareness for the importance of local networking, especially among marginalized groups, to create a multiperspective metropolitan narrative.
The Squat-Museum: Public Urban History in Autonomous Spaces: The Hamburger Gängeviertel
Stephan Fender has worked at the School of Public History (University of Hamburg) from September 2017 to August 2018, teaching courses on urban subculture and the gentrification of working-class neighborhoods. He is the founder of the vor—gänge museum, where he is involved since May 2016. Currently, he is a research fellow with the Gerda Henkel Foundation and a visitor researcher at University College Dublin, working on his second monograph “Mexico: A Global History, 1895–1940.”
Stephan Fender; The Squat-Museum: Public Urban History in Autonomous Spaces: The Hamburger Gängeviertel. The Public Historian 1 May 2022; 44 (2): 29–55. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2022.44.2.29
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