1984, the year in which George Orwell's dystopian novel is set, was a year of political upheavals and terrorism, of innovation and progress, of changes and chances. The world still knew the Eastern and Western power blocs; the IRA was still very active (1984 saw two attempts to assassinate the English Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher), and Germany was still a divided country. Just to mention a few other randomly chosen key events of 1984: Brunei became independent of British rule, the Soviet Union decided to boycott the Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles, and the Indian Prime Minister Indira Ghandi was assassinated. Bruce Springsteen brought out his best-selling album Born in the U.S.A., and Apple Computers released a commercial introducing the Macintosh personal computer, drawing heavily on the imagery of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Closer to home, wearing seat belts became mandatory in Germany, the first commercial TV stations started broadcasting, and Katharina Witt won gold for the German Democratic Republic at the Olympic Games in Sarajevo. Interesting times, indeed!

For the English Department, 1984 also proved something of a (physical) watershed. It was in the summer of 1984 that the English Department moved house, from the Nikolausberger Weg to what then was Humboldtallee 13, and what now is Käte-Hamburger-Weg 3: to the Jacob-Grimm-House. Over the summer semester of 2019 we look back to 1984: to the move itself, but also to the different departmental divisions, their teaching and research, and to studying and working at the Department. How have we changed, and what is still the same? The entries shed light on these and related questions in a series of spotlight posts and videos.