In Focus: Decolonization and One-Third Parity

As part of a series marking the university’s 50th birthday, two talks will focus on decolonization and the co-determination right of students in the form of one-third parity, which was in force at the university until 1977. The talks will take place via Zoom at 6 p.m. on July 1 and July 8, 2021.

In the lecture on July 1, 2021, Professor Manfred Hinz will talk about a long-term project in Namibia, which was to contribute to decolonization from the 1970s onwards. He will explain how the project in the South African country had its roots in the university’s first years. The reason was the leading role of Bremen’s economic sector in the acquisition of the German South West Africa colony (1884 - 1915) and the public’s pronounced disinterest in the political differences regarding the future of the apartheid regime in South Africa’s occupied territories in the 1970s. The aim was to start a project that was not only to work on colonialism and the difficulties in the fields of research, teaching, and public relations. Rather, it outlined practical support in the fight for self-determination in Namibia. The project ended in 2010 when it was handed over to the Namibian partners.

Professor Alisha M. B. Heinemann will then talk about the topic of “decolonize university” - a term that has its roots in the formerly colonized countries of Africa and South America and is being increasingly discussed in Germany and at German universities. The discussion often remains very vague. One of the aspects is identifying paths on which universities reproduce structural, colonial hierarchies. The aim is to redesign them and put alternatives into practice.

Professor Manfred Hinz is retired and held a professorship in public law, political sociology, and legal sociology at the University of Bremen. Alisha M. B. Heinemann is a professor of educational sciences with a focus on educational pathways and diversity at the University of Bremen.

The two-person talk will take place digitally via Zoom and access can be gained via the Zoom app or the following link:
Zoom-ID: 965 2498 6085
Access code: 480726

Talk on Students’ Right to Co-Determination on July 8, 2021

“More than Student Co-Determination - One-Third Parity at the University of Bremen from its Founding until 1977” - that is the name of the historian Dr. Birte Gräfing’s talk on July 8, 2021. She addresses both the equal participation of students in the founding phase of the university and said participation during operations in the first years. Until 1977, the so-called one-third parity system, where university lecturers, students, and staff had equal rights in the Academic Senate and all university committees was in place. The Bremen Higher Education Act withdrew the system in 1977. Amongst other things, Gräfing will talk about the points of the system that were criticized and the model’s positive aspects.

Dr. Birte Gräfing studied history, philosophy, and social science at the University of Bremen. She then worked as a scientific assistant and completed her PhD at the University of Bremen on the topic of “Education Politics in Bremen from 1945 to the University’s Establishment in 1971” (“Bildungspolitik in Bremen von 1945 bis zur Gründung der Universität 1971”).

The talk will take place digitally via Zoom and access can be gained via the Zoom app or the following link:
Zoom-ID: 934 5402 0995 
Access code: 248856

Series on the University’s 50-Year History

The “Looking Back – Looking Forward. A Foray into 50 Years of the University of Bremen” lecture series is being organized by the History Department (Modern and Contemporary History) in cooperation with the University of Bremen Archive. It focuses on the past, future, and present of the former reform university against its social and political background.

50 Years of the University of Bremen – We Would Like to Thank Our Partners:

•    University of Bremen Alumni Network
•    AOK – Die Gesundheitskasse
•    Bremen NEXT
•    Bremen Vier
•    Die Sparkasse Bremen
•    "unifreunde" Association of the Friends of the University of Bremen and Jacobs University
•    Stiftung Bremer Wertpapierbörse
•    Weser-Kurier
•    WFB Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen GmbH


Further Information:

•    Information and registration details for the whole lecture series can be found here:

Everything about 50 years of the University of Bremen:

•    Service for the media: Via this link, you can find additional press texts and photos concerning the University of Bremen and the topics surrounding “50 Years of the University of Bremen”:

•    Hashtags: #UniBremen50 / #OffenSeit1971 / #50JahreWarum



Prof. Dr. Cornelius Torp
History Department
Faculty of Social Sciences
University of Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67235
Email: cornelius.torprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Sigrid Dauks
Director of the University of Bremen Archive
Phone: +49 421 218 60-390
Email: dauksprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Black and white photo. Assembly with men and women. In the foreground two men shake hands
Close connection to Namibia: The archive image shows the former University President Professor Jürgen Timm (front left) as he appoints the former President of Namibia Sam Nujoma an honorary senator of the University of Bremen in June 1996.