"Ruptures and Continuities in European History (16th - 20th Centuries). Periodisations in History, Historiography and the History of Historiography"
Organisers: Berliner Kolleg für Vergleichende Geschichte Europas (BKVGE)
In co-operation with Central European University, Budapest, and European University Institute, Florence
Supported by Gerda Henkel Stiftung & Gemeinnützige Hertie-Stiftung
Date: 24 - 27 April 2008, Berlin (Germany)
Deadline for applications: 16 January 2008
The Berlin conference is the second in a series of annual Graduate Conferences in European History (GRACEH) conducted by three established historical research institutes: the BKVGE, the Central European University (CEU), and the European University Institute (EUI). Altogether, GRACEH seeks to encourage and promote innovative historical research, in particular comparative methods and investigations of entanglements, by promising young scholars in European history.
GRACEH’s primary focus is on theoretical and methodological questions in historiography. With regard to this issue, one of the most fundamental problems is the historiographical task of periodisation. On the basis of their particular projects, participants are expected to determine and define distinguishable periods shaped by specific political actors, socio-economic structures or cultural contexts. Moreover, the findings and propositions on new breaks and turns have to be related to the periodisations already established by the discipline and in public (political) discourse. In the last two decades, historiography itself has undergone a series of “turns”. Despite these fundamental changes, however, the entrenched periodisation of European history that has been shaped by political history and based on particular events like revolutions and wars has largely persisted.
The conference will therefore deal with ruptures and continuities, and participants are expected to discuss, criticise and potentially re-evaluate historians’ understanding of periodisations. GRACEH 2008 will tackle the problems mentioned above on three different analytical levels:
1. Periodisations in history - the relationship between ruptures and continuities in concrete historical transitions (for instance in revolutions), focusing on the experience as well as the modes of perception and appropriation of change by historical actors. On this basis, established explanatory models for change will be evaluated and assessed.
2. Periodisations in historiography - methodological and theoretical problems related to the historiographical construction of ruptures and continuities. Paradigms like modernisation and secularisation as well as concepts like innovation, adaptation, destruction, legacy and transformation will be discussed. Another important aspect could be the potential for an overarching framework of a European historiography.
3. Periodisations in the history of historiography - ruptures and continuities in the history of the discipline itself. We will evaluate the role played by influential historians in stimulating certain changes of competing interpretative frameworks, the historiographical practice of skipping certain periods and the deliberations and negotiations about ruptures and continuities within and between different scientific communities and academic circles.
We offer PhD candidates working in the broad fields of early modern and modern European history a forum to develop a methodical framework for dealing with periodisations in history. Participants should analytically distinguish between the three proposed analytical levels and assign their proposal to one of them. Each of these three dimensions of the topic will be introduced by an eminent keynote speaker. The selected papers will be grouped in thematic panels of 5 or 6 contributions. Paper presentations should not exceed 15 minutes. At the end of each panel a renowned scholar will comment and summarize the papers before opening the floor for discussion. The papers will be precirculated in order to improve and facilitate exchange among the participants. No registration fee will be charged. Travel expenses up to 350 Euro will be covered, accommodation will be provided and meals are included.
Please send a paper proposal of no longer than 300 words with a short CV to GRACEH2008@gmail.com by 16th January 2008. For further information on the conference, please consult the website of the BKVGE at http://web.fu-berlin.de/bkvge/
The following scholars have confirmed their participation so far: Klaus Gestwa (Universität Tübingen), Heinz-Gerhard Haupt (EUI Florence), Georg G. Iggers (State University of New York Buffalo), László Kontler (CEU Budapest), Chris Lorenz (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Jeannette Madarász (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung), Gabriele Metzler (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin).
Prof. Dr. Arnd Bauerkämper (BKVGE), Benno Gammerl, Luminita Gatejel, Mateusz J. Hartwich, Jakob Hort and Rudolf Kuèera (doctoral students, BKVGE).
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