Episode 97: LGBTQ+ Spaces, Public Art, and Memory

Eric Langenbacher

Senior Fellow; Director, Society, Culture & Politics Program

Dr. Eric Langenbacher is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Society, Culture & Politics Program at AICGS.

Dr. Langenbacher studied in Canada before completing his PhD in Georgetown University’s Government Department in 2002. His research interests include collective memory, political culture, and electoral politics in Germany and Europe. Recent publications include the edited volumes Twilight of the Merkel Era: Power and Politics in Germany after the 2017 Bundestag Election (2019), The Merkel Republic: The 2013 Bundestag Election and its Consequences (2015), Dynamics of Memory and Identity in Contemporary Europe (co-edited with Ruth Wittlinger and Bill Niven, 2013), Power and the Past: Collective Memory and International Relations (co-edited with Yossi Shain, 2010), and From the Bonn to the Berlin Republic: Germany at the Twentieth Anniversary of Unification (co-edited with Jeffrey J. Anderson, 2010). With David Conradt, he is also the author of The German Polity, 10th and 11th edition (2013, 2017).

Dr. Langenbacher remains affiliated with Georgetown University as Teaching Professor and Director of the Honors Program in the Department of Government. He has also taught at George Washington University, Washington College, The University of Navarre, and the Universidad Nacional de General San Martin in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has given talks across the world. He was selected Faculty Member of the Year by the School of Foreign Service in 2009 and was awarded a Fulbright grant in 1999-2000 and the Hopper Memorial Fellowship at Georgetown in 2000-2001. Since 2005, he has also been Managing Editor of German Politics and Society, which is housed in Georgetown’s BMW Center for German and European Studies. Dr. Langenbacher has also planned and run dozens of short programs for groups from abroad, as well as for the U.S. Departments of State and Defense on a variety of topics pertaining to American and comparative politics, business, culture, and public policy.



Jennifer Bihr

University of Heidelberg

Jennifer Bihr is a queer rights activist from Germany focused on political education, empowerment, and community building. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a minor in philosophy from the University of Heidelberg. They have built community structures in their hometown of Heidelberg and expanded them into a politically engaged network nationwide. Jennifer has led social media campaigns, written policy letters, engaged with politicians, and participated in cabinet meetings.

Building bridges between and within generations and communities are Jennifer’s priorities. Jennifer believes social change and equality is only possible if diverse perspectives and needs are respected. To build bridges, Jennifer has worked with different media methods such as movies, books as well as through art workshops, where people from different backgrounds come together through their creativity. Art and media offer Jennifer’s participants not only a mutual foundation for discussions, but also demand participants to be empathetic towards each other and engage in new perspectives. In addition to community engagement, Jennifer is pursuing a Masters in political science from Heidelberg University with a graduation expectation of 2025.

Susanne Dieper

Director of Programs and Grants

Susanne Dieper is the Director of Programs and Grants at AICGS. She oversees the Institute’s programs and projects within the three AICGS program areas, manages all AICGS fellowships, and is in charge of grant writing. Her current focus is on issues related to transatlantic relations, immigration and integration, diversity, the next generation of leaders, workforce education, and reconciliation. She develops programs that align with the mission of AICGS to better understand the challenges and choices facing Germany and the United States in a broader global arena.

Previously, Ms. Dieper was in charge of organizational and project management at AICGS as well as human resource development and board of trustees relations. Prior to joining AICGS, she worked in transatlantic exchange programs, language acquisition, as well as the insurance industry in Germany.

Ms. Dieper holds an MBA from Johns Hopkins University with a concentration in International Business and an MA in English Linguistics and Literature, History, and Spanish from the University of Cologne. She has completed course work in nonprofit management at Johns Hopkins University.


sdieper@aicgs.org | 202-900-8331

Wilfredo Hernandez

Communitas Arts + Culture, LLC

Wilfredo Hernandez is a cultural producer, interdisciplinary artist and consultant with over 20 years of experience in nonprofit arts leadership and producing. He is the Founder/CEO of Communitas Arts + Culture, LLC, as well as the Founder/Executive Producing Director of the Drag Arts Oral History Project, a new multimedia social impact project that documents the lived experiences, artistry and histories of drag artists in Philadelphia and beyond. He recently served as Interim Executive Director of CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia and has worked/consulted with many notable organizations, including: the Institute for Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Latino Arts & Film Festival, the Independence Public Media Foundation, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, etc.

Wilfredo holds a Masters of Arts in producing & directing theatre from New York University, completed the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office on LGBT Affairs’ LGBTQ Leadership Program and serves on the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

Public memorials have many functions: honoring victims, acknowledging history, or symbolizing values. After the 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the site was transformed into an interim memorial to honor the 49 people who were killed. As LGBTQ+ groups in Germany and the United States work to build community spaces and bring LGBTQ+ stories into public consciousness, what lessons can be learned from commemoration efforts in Orlando? Participants of the AGI Project “Building LGBTQ+ Communities in Germany and the United States” join The Zeitgeist to discuss the power and politics of public art and memorials.

Organizations mentioned in this episode:

onePULSE Interim Memorial The Center Orlando

Kinfolk Monument Lab

Guest Host

Eric Langenbacher, AGI Senior Fellow; Director, Society, Culture & Politics Program


Jennifer Bihr, Queer Rights Activist, Heidelberg, Germany
Susanne Dieper, Director of Programs and Grants, AGI
Wilfredo Hernandez, Founder/CEO, Communitas Arts + Culture, LLC; Founder/Executive Producing Director, Drag Arts Oral History Project

This podcast is part of the project “Building LGBTQ+ Communities in Germany and the United States: Past, Present, and Future” and is generously funded by the Transatlantik-Programm der Bundesrepublik Deutschland aus Mitteln des European Recovery Program (ERP) des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz(BMWK) (Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany with Funds through the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry for Economics and Climate Action (BMWK)).

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American-German Institute.