Conquerors and Conquered

Narrating the Fall of Constantinope (1453) and Tenochtitlán (1521)

Workshop, 7 – 8 April 2022, at Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) Mainz

Siege of Constantinople

Siege of Constantinople (Enluminure ornant La Cronicque du temps de tres chrestien roy Charles, septisme de ce nom, roy de France par Jean Chartier, c. 1470-79, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Ms. Français 2691, folio 254 verso; Source)

This workshop is the first of three conferences that ex- plore similarities and connections between Ottoman and Spanish histories of expansion in the early modern period as well as lasting memories thereof. It focuses on two key events in world history: the fall of Constantinople and the fall of Tenochtitlán. Although these events have much in common and were interrelated, they have rarely been looked at together.

Conquista del señorio caxcán de Apulco por los españoles y Tlaxcaltecas, 1585, Artist: Diego Muñoz Camargo (Source)

The workshop brings together historians of different regions to discuss how contemporaries saw the end of an old and the beginning of a new era, how they con- nected these events to ancient prophecies, how they wrote their histories of loss and victory, and how these early narratives have since shaped respective memory cultures. Did the conquerors, the conquered, and the various intermediaries in the Old and New World draw connections between their histories? Did they see, for instance, that the Ottoman expansion in the Eastern Mediterranean pushed the Spanish and Portuguese to seek new trading routes to Asia, which eventually led to the conquest of the Americas?

Organizers: Denise Klein (IEG), Thomas Weller (IEG), Barbara Henning (University of Mainz), Richard Herzog (University of Marburg)

Download Workshop Programm

The workshop is organised by IEG for the Leibniz Research Alliance “Wert der Vergangenheit” (Value of the Past)

Digital History: Fellowship @IEG_Mainz

Fellowship in Digital Humanities

The Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) in Mainz awards a fellowship for international doctoral students in the field of Digital Humanities

Deadline: April 18, 2022.

Download IEG_DH Fellowship (english) or 2022_DH Fellowship (German)

On the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine

Statement by the Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz

We, at the Leibniz Institute of European History, are dismayed by the news reaching us from Ukraine. In the last few years alone, ten Ukrainian historians have been guests at our Institute for extended research stays. Today we have to fear for their lives and those of their families and friends. Our thoughts are with them. We are with you! Ми з вами!

We strongly condemn Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which is contrary to international law. Our Institute was founded more than 70 years ago to contribute to overcoming Europe’s divisions by researching the historical foundations of Europe. During the Cold War, it was, among other things, the venue of the “German-Soviet Historians’ Talks”. Today it pains us to see that a brutal war is being waged in the heart of Europe. The painstakingly achieved foundations of a peaceful, future-oriented order in Europe are being trampled on by Putin – not for the first time. It is therefore all the more admirable that courageous people in Russia are also taking to the streets and saying “No to war”. Нет войне!

Ukraine is a fundamental part of European history. In historiography, it is undisputed that Ukraine is a sovereign European country with its own history and not merely an appendage of the historical or a future Russian empire. As historians, we are particularly appalled by the instrumentalisation and falsification of history that Putin uses to justify his military aggression against Ukraine. The community of scholars, including the German-Ukrainian Commission of Historians, has rejected these false claims in detail [Statement 2022-02-24 and Statement 2022-02-22]. We add that it is not a contradiction that Ukraine is both closely intertwined with Russian history, its various cultural manifestations and religions and in historical exchange with Central and Western Europe, not least with Germany. Ukraine is a multi-ethnic and culturally diverse country, with different denominations, religions, and languages, as well as a rich historical heritage. The diversity in European history is part of our research mission. Hardly any other country illustrates the diversity and mutual exchanges in Europe as clearly as Ukraine.

This European history of Ukraine must also be researched in the future without political interventions and restrictions. That is why we support initiatives for endangered researchers from Ukraine, to enable them to work in a safe place and to make their voices heard. We are with you! Ми з вами!

Mainz, 26 February 2022

Contact: Professor Johannes Paulmann (paulmann@ieg-mainz.de) and Dr Gregor Feindt (feindt@ieg-mainz.de)

download pdf (engl.): Statement Leibniz Institute of European History Russian War against Ukraine

download pdf (dt.): Erklärung Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte Russischer Angriffskrieg auf Ukraine

Oxford – Mainz PhD Workshop 2022

Call for Papers: Joint Mainz-Oxford-Graduate Workshop: “European History across Boundaries from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century”

Participants of the 2019 Workshop in the Oriel College Library

Academy Conveners: Noëmie Duhaut (Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz), Johannes Paulmann (Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz) and Lyndal Roper (University of Oxford)

Venue: Oriel College, Oxford University

Date: 30 March – 1 April 2022

Deadline for Applications: 15 December 2021

We invite applications for an international doctoral workshop on European history across boundaries from the 16th to the 20th century, including Europe’s relations with the world. We encourage PhD candidates working in this field to present their research projects and discuss the transcultural and transnational scopes of their work. Topics that aim to cross and reflect on boundaries and borders are of particular interest. Projects can employ a variety of methodological approaches such as comparative studies, the study of transfer processes and entanglements, or the histoire croisée. The location of the joint workshop alternates annually between Mainz and Oxford. The 2022 workshop will be at Oriel College in Oxford and include a discussion of disputed historical monuments – such as the Cecil Rhodes statue in this college – and their future.

We will discuss pre-circulated papers based on archival research (max. 8,000 words, written in English, to be submitted by 1 March 2022). We will provide accommodation for the duration of the workshop and contribute towards travel expenses within Europe.

Proposals should include an abstract of the overall project and its archival sources (500 words), a brief biographical note, and a completed application form, which you can download here: https://bit.ly/3mzdHrh. Please combine all your application documents into a single PDF except for the application form.

Applications should be sent to gw@ieg-mainz.de by 15 December 2021. For any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the organisers.

Contact: Dr Noëmie Duhaut, Leibniz Institute of European History, Alte Universitätsstr. 19, 55116 Mainz, Germany, +49 6131-39 39428, gw@ieg-mainz.de

Governing Humanitarianism – Past, Present, And Future

Two Digital Panels on 27 and 28 September 2021 in Preparation of the 2022 Herrenhausen Conference

Organized by Stacey Hynd, Fabian Klose, Johannes Paulmann, and Andrew Thompson in cooperation with the Volkswagen Foundation

North Coast at Lesbos, September 2015, by Rosa-Maria Rinkl via Wikimedia Commons, source.

“Human Rights and Humanitarianism – a Complicated Relationship?” – September 27, 2021, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (CET): panel discussion with Michael Barnett (George Washington University), Julia Irwin (University of South Florida, Tampa), and Angelika Nußberger (University of Cologne), chair: Fabian Klose (University of Cologne).

UNSG’s Special Advisor on the prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng speaking to the press in Tshikapa (by MONUSCO/Biliaminou Alao, 2017, source)

“Forced displacement, unlawful internment, and humanitarian neutrality” – September 28, 2021, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (CET): keynote by Adama Dieng (former Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, and Honorary Chair of the World Justice Project; chair: Andrew Thompson (Nuffield College, Oxford).

The digital panels are both part of next year’s Herrenhausen Conference “Governing Humanitarianism – Past, Present and Future” (2022), funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. Link to join events https://www.volkswagenstiftung.de/veranstaltungen/livestream.

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Two Postdoctoral Positions in Early Modern and Late Modern European History

The Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) in Mainz invites applications for two full-time postdoctoral position in Early Modern and Late Modern European History.

The Leibniz Institute of European History is a research institute within the Leibniz Association. It conducts research on the foundations of Europe in the modern period .

Job profile
You pursue an individual research project within the frame of the IEG ongoing research programme on »Negotiating differences in Modern Europe« and will contribute to its future development. With your research and publication activities, you will engage in the overarching working and discussion contexts of the institute and participate in elaborating its research profile. In addition, you will advise international (doctoral) research fellows, organise academic events and work towards consolidating the IEG’s international network.

Requirements

  • completed university degree in history
  • outstanding PhD
  • relevant academic publications on the history of the early modern or late modern period
  • internationally oriented academic track
  • excellent command of both German and English

For full details see here:

The IEG promotes professional equality between women and men and is committed to reconciling work and family life. Women are particularly encouraged to apply. Severely challenged persons with equal qualifications will be given preferential consideration. For any questions, please contact the research coordinator of the IEG, Dr Joachim Berger (berger@ieg-mainz.de).

Applications
Please send your application via email to the Leibniz Institute of European History by 03 October 2021 (bewerbung@ieg-mainz.de); all documents should be submitted in a single file (PDF).

Data meets History

New Essay on Research Data Management for History (online)

Data Meets History: A Research Data Management Strategy for the Historically Oriented Humanities by Fabian Cremer, Silvia Daniel, Marina Lemaire, Katrin Moeller, Matthias Razum, and Arnošt Štanzel

Example of a digital historical research workflow

The growing relevance of research data to practices, methodology and policies poses challenges for the historically oriented humanities in developing their own concept of research data management. A broader definition of research data is derived from recent discussions and an examination of the historical research workflow reveals its ongoing digital transformation. Based on current developments in Germany, this article provides an outline for a strategic approach towards a domain-specific research data management strategy including applicable metadata concepts, cultural conditions for data sharing and initial suggestions regarding the specification of the FAIR principles for the historically oriented humanities. The essay is the collaborative work of scholars engaged in NFDI4Memory, a consortium for the historically oriented humanities.

Fabian Cremer, Silvia Daniel, Marina Lemaire, Katrin Moeller, Matthias Razum, and Arnošt Štanzel are members of NFDI4Memory, a consortium for the historically oriented humanities.

Sovereignty Beyond the Modern State

Out Now – Open Access

New issue of the European History Yearbook on “Cultural Sovereignty Beyond the Modern State: Space, Objects, and Media”

In the past 25 years or more, political observers have diagnosed a crisis of the sovereign nation state and the erosion of state sovereignty through supranational institutions and the global mobility of capital, goods, information and labour. This edition of the European History Yearbook seeks to use “cultural sovereignty” as a heuristic concept to provide new views on these developments since the beginning of the 20th century.

 

ed. by Gregor Feindt, Bernhard Gissibl, Johannes Paulmann (Introduction), with contributions by:

FORUM

Data Meets History: A Research Data Management Strategy for the Historically Oriented Humanities by Fabian Cremer, Silvia Daniel, Marina Lemaire, Katrin Moeller, Matthias Razum, and Arnošt Štanzel

 

 

The Digital Knowledge Order and Data Quality

Contributions by Historical Scholarship and Challenges

Digitisation has taken hold of research in the humanities for some time: In everyday work at the computer, in searching books and articles, in reading sources online, in collaborative work and via electronic publishing, whether open access or not. The humanities are not awaiting but they are already in the middle of a new digital era.

New issue of the archival journal  “Der Archivar” with contributions by archivists, historians and digital historians (Der Archivar 1/2020)

The issue contains an essay by Johannes Paulmann, Director of the Leibniz Institute of European History, and Eva Schlotheuber, President of the German Historical Association. The write on the challenges for historians posed by the new digital knowledge order and on the issue of data quality. Paulmann Schlotheuber Essay in Archivar 2020

They content that digital research, that is research with digital tools and methods, works more or less well at the level of individual projects – or it just doesn’t work, especially when higher-level structures and links are needed: Technical and content standardization, data integration and interoperability, reusability, long-term preservation, copyright and rights of use and scientific evaluation have a variety of problems. In this situation, the initiative to establish a national research data infrastructure has been taken up positively on all sides in Germany. The initiative came from the German Council for Information Infrastructures (RfII) – a science policy advisory body to the federal government and the states.

From the point of view of the historical sciences, there are fundamental issues. We are, on the one hand, in the midst of building a new knowledge order. On the other, we deal with the essential question of how in the framework of a digital order data quality is ensured, can be checked and made transparent. For both areas – new knowledge order and data quality – the development of a scholarly led (inter)national data infrastructure is urgently needed. Reflecting ont the challenges for the historical scholarship also makes an essential contribution to the critical reflection of digital research and work in general as well as on societal use of knowledge in the present and the future .

These concerns are central to the 4Memory consortium initiative in which they are envolved . The initiative aims to establish systematic, sustainable links among three main categories of the producers and users of historical data: historical researchers, memory institutions (archives, libraries, museums, and collections) and information infrastructures. For more information see the 4Memory website.

 

The Path of Escape in the Age of Touristic Reproduction

Phil Kuehlthau

Graffiti at the wayside (photo: Phil Kuehlthau)

Walter Benjamin’s last resort for escaping the National Socialists in the autumn of 1940 was a path across the Pyrenees, which led from the French village of Banyuls-sur-Mer to Portbou in Spain. However, this path ended in a “situation with no way out” (Brodersen, p. 245). After Benjamin arrived in Portbou and was forced to return to France by Spanish authorities, he committed suicide.

Since 2007, Benjamin’s escape route has been marked as the Chemin Walter Benjamin. It invites those interested in cultural history to follow the path. But what exactly is marked by the Chemin Walter Benjamin?

The source material is problematic. Our knowledge depends on the memories of Lisa Fittko, Walter Benjamin’s escape agent, who described the path they took together in her memoirs. Her autobiography was written 40 years later, based on blurred and overlain memories, after her innumerable ascents of the Pyrenees. In historical science, one has to treat such a record as a questionable source. Continue reading

Pursuing the Past on the Spot as a Historiographical Method?

Alexander Milešević

The Pyrenees, 2019 (photo: Alexander Milešević)

It is difficult, almost impossible, to experience the past in the present, and this might be one of the reasons why historical methods usually do not include the after-perception of previous experiences. Sometimes, people try to experience the past via the method of re-enactment. Re-enactment is a social practice through which people attempt to recreate aspects of historical events. One the one hand, this practice enables one to experience and retrace the past. On the other hand, it is problematic because of the limited awareness about differences between the actual past and its faithful reproduction through re-enactment. Can empathizing thus lead to a better understanding of the past and of the decisions people took in their lifetime? Should we use such methods even in historical research to understand the past in a better way? The case of the German philosopher Walter Benjamin is a good example for discussing these questions. His flight from France to Spain across the Pyrenees in 1940 can be experienced by hiking from the French village Banyuls-sur-Mer to Portbou on the Spanish side of the border. Continue reading

The Aftermath of the First World War: Humanitarianism in the Mediterranean

Convenors: Silvia Salvatici (University of Milan) and Johannes Paulmann (Leibniz Institute of European History Mainz) in  co-operation with the German Historical Institute Rome and the Villa Vigoni – German Italian Centre for European Excellence

Date: 3 – 4 December 2019

Venue: University of Milan, Italy

Download Humanitarianism_programme

Escape Assistance in the Course of Time: From Lisa Fittko to Carola Rackete

Julian Kaiser/Marieke Wist

“We couldn’t judge anymore how people would react. For example, from the beginning there were people who said that they would go on hunger strike. Or we had people who, after there was a partial evacuation, asked if they would all have to get sick first or jump overboard to be rescued. And then you have to ask yourself if this could become real. No one can think clearly in such a situation.”

Sea-Watch Captain Carola Rackete

By recounting this emergency situation, the captain Carola Rackete justified her decision to call at the port of Lampedusa and bring 43 remaining refugees ashore on the night of 29 June 2019, after 17 days on board the “Sea Watch 3.”Rackete’s solo efforts created a media and political storm: Italy’s Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, described her as an “accomplice of human traffickers” as well as a “rich and spoiled German communist” and a “criminal captain.” Right-wing populist parties in Europe, like the Lega Nord and the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), did not hold back harsh criticism of Rackete and the refugee phenomenon itself. Different attempts were made to delegitimize her actions.

Others expressed support for Rackete’s decision by providing financial support in the form of massive donations (a total of almost 1.4 million euros was raised by 9 July in Germany and Italy alone). NGOs like “Sea Watch” were recognized as necessary in maintaining a minimum of humanity when dealing with refugees. Thus, effective publicity campaigns questioned European laws and procedures and worked to legitimize Rackete’s actions. Continue reading

Escape Assistance: An Enterprise with Varying Risks

Filip Schuffert

(photo: Filip Schuffert)

What in the photograph looks like a beautiful landscape today, used to be a dangerous border crossing zone between France and Spain in the first half of the 20th century, which many people crossed in flight.

Flight refers to escape by way of physical movement. However, people are not always able to flee by relying only on themselves. In some cases, people are locked up, as in the case of prison inmates, and perhaps hope for the aid of guards. Others stand in front of seemingly insurmountable seas, mountains or rivers and depend on the help of people who know the landscape and its secret pathways. One such example is Walter Benjamin, who fled across the Pyrenees, this beautiful landscape depicted above, in September 1940 with the help of Lisa Fittko. Others are confronted with “closed” borders and need the support of border guards. People who flee with the help of others take risks. They have to trust others out of necessity, and thus put their destiny in their hands.

Escape assistance can take various forms. Those who provide aid can furnish provisions and hide refugees, they can also issue new passports or lead refugees across a mountain range – as Lisa Fittko did. She not only helped Walter Benjamin but also numerous other refugees to cross the Pyrenees. Escape aid is any action that is carried out to help those escaping risk of death by persecution, torture or death. Escape assistance should not be considered as lugging (Schlepperei), which is motivated by enrichment, in principle. It can be an act of resistance against a political regime, but can also be carried out for humanitarian or altruistic reasons without material motivation (even today, human trafficking without intent to enrich goes largely unpunished). Continue reading