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Inaugural Lecture by Roland Wenzlhuemer

May 13, 2015

Prof. Dr. Roland Wenzlhuemer gave his inaugural lecture at Heidelberg University. The Professor for Modern History at the History Department spoke about global history and the Great Moon Hoax. The event took place in the main auditorium Alte Aula on May 13, 2015.

Under the title "Globalgeschichte als Verbindungsgeschichte: Der große Mondschwindel des Jahres 1835", Prof. Wenzlhuemer discussed how the Great Moon Hoax became a popular topic of discussion in the mid-19th century. The term "Great Moon Hoax" refers to a series of six articles published in the New York newspaper The Sun in 1835. It reported on the supposed discovery of life and even civilization on the Moon. According to the legend, The Sun's circulation increased dramatically because of the hoax and, thus, several other newspapers also reported about it.

Roland Wenzlhuemer studied history and communication studies at the University of Salzburg, where he also earned a doctoral degree with his dissertation on "Ceylon 1880-1900: Economic, Social, Administrative and Religious Developments". Later, he became a Junior Research Group Leader at the Cluster and completed his habilitation on the topic "Transforming Global Spaces: The Telegraph, Communication and Globalization in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century". Subsequently, he was a Visiting Professor at the Institute for European Global Studies at the University of Basel and was offered a Full Professorship for Economic and Social History at the University of Innsbruck. Since September 2014, Prof. Wenzlhuemer holds the Chair of Modern History at Heidelberg University.


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  • Prof. Roland Wenzlhuemer giving his inaugural speech.

  • Great Moon Hoax lithograph of "ruby amphitheater" for The Sun, August 28, 1835 (4th article of 6), Source: Wikimedia Commons, Copyright: Public Domain in the USA and other territories