European Memory: Universalising the Past?

A new special issue of the European Review of History, edited by Friedemann Pestel, Rieke Trimçev, Gregor Feindt, and Félix Krawatzek.

European Memory has become an omnipresent phenomenon of our times. Both scholarship and the public sphere frequently refer to the European quality of something past or a specifically European way of remembering. It is, however, especially in Europe’s present crisis that these discussions on European memory reveal conflicts and a broad, often contradictory meaning of ‘Europe’. Practices of universalising the past are central to these conflicts and allow for an in-depth understanding of European Memory.

Invoking ‘European memory’ promises to overcome such conflicts by acknowledging difference and relating particular memories to other memories, i.e. those of different experiences or those of different people. This process of universalizing memory reduces difference, omits contexts, and eventually diffuses conflicts. To confront this bias, future research needs to employ an understanding of European Memory as a discursive reality rather than a normative ideal. In a new special issue of the European Review of History recently published, we – Friedemann Pestel, Rieke Trimçev, Gregor Feindt, and Félix Krawatzek – have taken up this challenge and confronted our discursive approach towards ‘European Memory’ with a set of empirical examples, ranging from the early modern memory of ‘Turk’, Versailles and French May 1968 to the massacre of  Srebrenica. This blog post outlines ideas and central findings from the Special Issue ‘European Memory: Universalising the Past?’. Continue reading

CROSS-files: New Blog of ICRC Archives

Cross-posted from https://hhr.hypotheses.org/

The Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva has created the new blog CROSS-files! This blog aims at promoting the contents of the rich audiovisual archives, library collections, general archives and what the ICRC calls the “Agency Archives”. This great collection of books, sound recordings, films, videos and photos illustrate and document the activities of the ICRC from the end of the 19th century up to the present day. These archives and library have been continually expanded over more than 150 years and today represent a significant heritage in the field of humanitarian law and action. It is a fantastic resource for all researchers working in the entangled fields of the history of humanitarianism and peace and conflict studies!

Furthermore, there is also the new ICRC Archives facebook account, where you can find additional material regarding the archives.

Enjoy exploring the rich history of the International Committee of the Red Cross and its archives!

Research Fellowships for International Postdocs

The Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) awards

Research fellowships for international postdocs

for a research stay in Mainz beginning in April 2018 or later.

Deadline: October 1, 2017.

Applicant profile

The IEG awards fellowships for international young researchers in history, theology and other historical subjects. The IEG promotes research on the historical foundations of Europe from the early modern period to 1989/90, particularly regarding their religious, political and social dimensions. Projects dealing with European communication and transfer processes as well as projects focusing on questions related to theology, church history and intellectual history are particularly welcome.

What we offer

Funding is € 1,800/month. Research fellows live and work for between 6 and 12 months at the Institute in Mainz and can pursue their individual research project (extension possible).

Aims

This fellowship is intended to help you develop your own research project in close collaboration with scholars working at the IEG. Your contribution consist in bringing your own interests to bear on the work of the IEG and its research programme »negotiating difference in Europe«. This includes the possibility of developing a perspective for further cooperation with the IEG. If for this purpose a promising application for third-party funding is submitted, an extension of the fellowship is possible.

Requirements

  • Applicants must have completed their doctorate no more than three years before taking up the fellowship.
  • Fellows are required to register officially as residents in Mainz and to take part in events at the Institute.
  • Fellows are not permitted to undertake paid work while receiving the IEG fellowship.
  • The linguae academicae at the IEG are German and English; fellows must have a passive command of both and an active command of at least one of the two languages so as to participate in the discussions at the Institute.

Please send your application via e-mail to: fellowship@ieg-mainz.de
Subject: Stipendienbewerbung 

For further information on the fellowship programme and application see:

http://www.ieg-mainz.de/en/fellowships/application_details

Guest Lectures of the GHRA 2017

Cross-posted from https://hhr.hypotheses.org/

Our third Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) has started with one week of academic training at the Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) Mainz before continuing with archival research at the ICRC Archives in Geneva. On this occasion, the GHRA is very pleased to welcome Dr. Jean-Luc Blondel and Prof. Madeleine Herren-Oesch as two distinguished guest lecturers on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.

In the morning session Dr. Jean-Luc Blondel, the former Head of the ICRC Archives and former special advisor to the previous ICRC president, will speak on ICRC work and policies during the period 1966 to 1975.

In the afternoon session Prof. Madeleine Herren-Oesch, Director of the Institute for European Global Studies at the University of Basel will give the guest lecture “Exchange ships: enemy aliens, repatriation and forced migration during World War II”.

We are all very much looking forward to these two presentations and the following discussion!

IEG Research Fellowships for Ph.D. Students

Cross-posted http://hhr.hypotheses.org/1641

The Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) awards

Research fellowships for

international Ph.D. students

for a research stay in Mainz beginning in March 2018.

Profil

The IEG awards fellowships for international junior researchers in history, theology and other historical subjects. The IEG promotes research on the historical foundations of Europe from the early modern period to 1989/90, particularly regarding their religious, political and social dimensions. Projects dealing with European communication and transfer processes as well as projects focusing on questions related to theology, church history and intellectual history are particularly welcome.

What we offer

Funding is currently € 1,200/month. Research fellows live and work for between 6 and 12 months at the Institute in Mainz and can pursue their individual Ph.D. project. Fellows are advised by a mentor from among the IEG’s academic staff.

Requirements

PhD theses continue to be supervised and are completed under the auspices of the fellows’ home universities. Fellows are required to register officially as residents in Mainz and to reside and take part in events at the Institute. The linguae academicae at the IEG are German and English; fellows must have a passive command of both and an active command of at least one of the two languages so as to participate in the discussions at the Institute.

Please send your application via e-mail to: fellowship@ieg-mainz.de  Subject: Stipendienbewerbung

Deadline for Application:

15 August 2017

For further information on the fellowship program and application see:

http://www.ieg-mainz.de/en/fellowships/application_details

http://www.ieg-mainz.de/media/public/PDF-Stipendien/Bewerbungsformular_Application%20Form_PhD.pdf

Contact:

Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) | Fellowship Programme | Barbara Müller, M. A. Alte Universitaetsstraße 19 | 55116 Mainz – Germany | E-Mail: ieg3@ieg-mainz.de | Tel. 0049 (0)6131 – 39 39365

Conference on Gender & Humanitarianism at the Leibniz Institute of European History

The international conference at the Leibniz Institute of European History discusses the relationship between gender and humanitarian discourses and practices in the twentieth century. In particular, it analyzes the ways in which constructions and ideologies of gender shaped and were shaped by humanitarian practices, interactions, ideas, bodies, and institutions on local, regional, national and/or global scales. By introducing the analytical category of gender into the historical study of humanitarianism, the conference discusses how (hierarchical) relations between men and women, social and cultural constructions of masculinity/femininity and gendered conceptions of human bodies worked out in the various types of humanitarian organizations (e.g. IOs, NGOs, networks, aid agencies, churches), campaigns, perceptions, works and subjectivities. Focusing on the time between the First World War and the end of the Cold War, the conference concentrates on a period that not only witnessed a great expansion of humanitarian action worldwide but also saw fundamental changes in gender relations and the gradual emergence of gender-sensitive policies in humanitarian organizations in many Western and non-Western settings.

Convenors: Esther Möller (Mainz), Johannes Paulmann (Mainz) and Katharina Stornig (Giessen)

Programmflyer-Gender-and-Humanitarianism (pdf)

Continue reading

Humanity: A History of European Concepts in Practice

Cross-posted from imperialglobalexeter and humanitarianism & human rights

Fabian Klose and Mirjam Thulin (eds.), Humanity: A History of European Concepts in Practice From the Sixteenth Century to the Present. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016. 324 pp. £75 (hardback), ISBN: 9783525101452

Reviewed by Ben Holmes (University of Exeter)

What Does it Mean to Act With Humanity?

What does it mean to belong to the human race? Does this belonging bring with it particular rights as well as responsibilities? What does it mean to act with humanity? These are some of the big questions lying at the heart of a new edited collection from Fabian Klose and Mirjam Thulin, Humanity: A History of European Concepts in Practice From the Sixteenth Century to the Present (2016). Based on a 2015 conference at the Leibniz Institute in Mainz, the book, as the title suggests, is not a purely conceptual history of the term ‘humanity’.[1] Rather it looks to discover ‘the concrete implications of theoretical discourses on the concept of humanity’ [page 18]. In other words, how did ideas of ‘humanity’ guide European practices in areas like humanism, imperialism, international law, humanitarianism, and human rights?[2] The editors argue that despite the implied timeless, universal nature of the term, humanity is both a changing, dynamic concept, and has been prone to create divisions as much as it promotes commonality. Although the volume is a study of European conceptions of humanity, the contributions are transnational, displaying how conceptions of humanity were practiced in Europe and in the continent’s interactions with the wider world over the course of five-hundred years.

Continue reading

Graduate Workshop 2017/18 at Leibniz Institute of European History

European History across Boundaries from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century

Conveners: Gregor Feindt, Johannes Paulmann (Mainz) and Lyndal Roper (Oxford)
Venue: Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz, Germany
Date: 24 – 26 January 2018
Deadline for Applications: 16 July 2017

CfP Graduate Workshop 2017_2018 pdf

The Leibniz Institute of European History invites international PhD students to a workshop on European history across boundaries from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, including Europe’s relations with the world. We encourage researchers working in this field to present their dissertation projects and to discuss the transcultural and transnational scope of their findings in a stimulating environment. Topics that aim to cross and reflect boundaries and borders are of particular interest. Projects can employ a variety of methodical approaches such as comparative studies, the study of transfer processes and entanglements, or the histoire croisée.

The Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG), an independent research institution in Mainz (Germany), contributes to this new approach from an interdisciplinary perspective. It fosters research on the religious, social, and political dynamics in Europe from the early modern period into the twentieth century and focusses on processes of establishing, coping with and enabling difference. The Graduate Workshop 2017/18 takes place in cooperation with Lyndal Roper, Regius Chair of History at the University of Oxford.

At the workshop, we will discuss pre-circulated papers based on archival research (max. 8,000 words, written in English, submitted by 7 January 2018). The institute will provide accommodation for the duration of the workshop and contribute to travel expenses within Europe.

Proposals should include an abstract of the overall project and its archival sources (500 words) plus a brief biographical note (including institutional affiliation, thesis supervisors, and contact details). These documents should be sent in one pdf-file to Gregor Feindt – feindt@ieg-mainz.de – by no later than 16 July 2017. For any questions, please contact the organisers.

CfP Graduate Workshop 2017_2018 pdf

Prof. Barbara Keys as Senior Research Fellow at the IEG Mainz

Cross-posted from https://hhr.hypotheses.org/1584

Prof. Barbara Keys from the University of Melbourne is staying as Senior Research Fellow in May and June 2017 at the IEG Mainz.

Her research focuses on the area of international human rights, the influence of transnational movements and organizations on international affairs, the role of emotions in history, and the history of sport. Her most recent book, Reclaiming American Virtue: The Human Rights Revolution of the 1970s (Harvard University Press, 2014), offers an explanation of the origins of the human rights “boom” of the 1970s in the United States.

Her current projects include a book on anti-torture campaigns since the end of the Second World War and their effects on global human rights movements. Accordingly, she will give a lecture on the topic of “Anti-Torture Campaigns since 1945” on May 30, 2017 at the IEG.

Her first book, Globalizing Sport: National Rivalry and International Community in the 1930s (Harvard University Press, 2006), is a transnational study of the emergence of international sports competitions as a significant political and cultural force in the 1930s. It won six prizes, including the Myrna Bernath Book Prize of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the best book award of the North American Society for Sport History. She has written several articles and chapters on sports in the Cold War.

You can find and download many of her publications at academia.edu: https://unimelb.academia.edu/BarbaraKeys

Cosmopolitanism: Provincializing a Eurocentric Concept & Bringing Norms Back

‘But today, too many people in positions of power behave as though they have more in common with international elites than with the people down the road, the people they employ, the people they pass in the street. But if you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word “citizenship” means.’

Theresa May’s anti-cosmopolitan statement in defence of Brexit in October 2016 stands in stark contrast to one of her great predecessor’s declaration, Winston Churchill, who in May 1948 pronounced in Amsterdam: ‘We hope to see a Europe where men of every country will think as much of being a European as belonging to their native land, and that without losing any part of their love and loyalty to their birthplace. We hope wherever they go in this wide domain, to which we set no limits in the European continent, they will truly feel “Here I am at home. I am a citizen of this country too”.’

May’s attack on world citizenship rejects Enlightenment values going back to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant who propagated the ideal as a means to achieve peace and famously propagated hospitality as a right of world citizenship. As Jeremy Adler pointed out in the Guardian the pejorative sense of cosmopolitanism adopted by the Prime Minister echoes the stigmatizing accusation of rootlessness that marked German, and later Soviet, anti-semitic discourse. In the 19th century the ‘rootless Jew’ was seen as a ‘cosmopolitan’ citizen from ‘nowhere’. Continue reading

Writing a Contemporary History of Poland Beyond Totalitarism: Some Remarks from a Postcolonial Perspective

The Polish sociologist Zdzisław Krasnodębski considers Poland a postcolonial country and often employs the postcolonial as a concept to argue for understanding Polish history in terms of oppression and resistance. Postcolonial studies have influenced historians studying the modern history of Central and Eastern Europe for years and yet, this transfer of a theoretical framework calls for some critical remarks. Postcolonial theory can inspire the study of post-war Poland, but it needs to move beyond an epistemology of totalitarism.

Man standing in front of the Gdańsk shipyard. The former sign at the gate naming the shipyard after Lenin has been removed, the banner calls for supporting the 1980 workers’ 21 demands.

Krasnodębski and many other conservative Polish intellectuals tell the story of Communism and Soviet hegemony as a colonial experience, to be followed by a period of coming to terms with this experience after 1989. Here, Polish history revolves around the too easy antagonism of the Communist regime (or władza) and a society that resisted the Communist takeover and the re-making of Poland after the Second World War. To underpin this dichotomy, both research and popular discourse describe the Communist regime as totalitarian which goes along with a simplistic focus on a small elite of Communist officials. In recent years, such narratives often make uses of postcolonialism and present a heroic history of resisting society and essentially unstained national identity. Following various and complex political conflicts in today’s Polish society, these conservative intellectuals denounce many oppositional protagonists as de facto Communists or collaborators. Such patterns of interpretation are in fact rather anticolonial than postcolonial. Like it or not, this anticolonial effect is the point of reference for present day historical research on Poland. Continue reading

Material Culture in Modern Diplomacy

Out Now – Open Access

The new issue of the European History Yearbook on “Material Culture in Modern Diplomacy from the Fifteenth to the Twentieth Century” has been published.

ed. by Harriet Rudolph and Gregor M. Metzig;

with contributions by:

 

The open access volume outlines a new field of research with regard to the history of diplomacy: the material culture of diplomatic interaction in early modern and modern times. The material culture of diplomacy includes all practices in foreign policy communication in which single artifacts, samples of artifacts, or the whole material setting of diplomatic interaction is constitutive for creating an effect in terms of diplomatic objectives. Continue reading

‘The colonial past is never dead. It’s not even past’

Matthew G. Stanard (Berry College) on ‘Histories of Empire, Decolonization, and European Cultures after 1945’, in the recent issue of European History Yearbook (open access), addresses the theme of imperial legacies and the persistence of empire in the former imperial metropoles of Europe through the lens of three recent publications.

buettner-europe-9780521131889

Elizabeth Buettner, Europe after Empire. Decolonization, Society, and Culture (2016)

It is a timely choice to publish an essay on the topic because there seems to be a generational change. The books in the centre of the article reflect this change, with Bill Schwarz in one group, Elizabeth Buettner in the other, and the volume edited by Kalypso Nikolaïdes, Berny Sèbe, and Gabrielle Maas combining both. The theme treated in Stanard’s essay has been a vibrant field of research over the last quarter of a century, and the study of Empire and its reflection has recently been boosted by an astonishing degree of self-reflective books and articles by some of the foremost practicioners of imperial history. Apart from the book project by Bill Schwarz one could also mention the recently published How Empire shaped us (2016), by Antoinette Burton and Dane Kennedy. Such reflections are about justification as much as they are about securing a legacy, and they indicate that, among other things, the interest in the topic and the paradigms chosen for its analysis have a lot to do with the generational experience of scholars who often had imperial family roots in the empire. This is as true for a defining generation of white male British imperial historians as for those academic and intellectual migrants who articulated their presence in the centre and tried to subvert the dichotomy of colonizer and colonized under the banner of postcolonialism. Continue reading

Citizenship and Belonging in Europe – Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS – PhD candidates in the Humanities and Cultural Studies as well as in the Social Sciences and Law to present their dissertation projects and to discuss their ideas in a stimulating, interdisciplinary environment overlooking Lake Como. Venue: Villa Vigoni, Menaggio, Como, Italy, Date: 20-24 November 2017
Deadline: 28 February 2017

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Villa Vigoni – the Villa Garvaglio Ricci

In cooperation with the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the German-Italian Center for European Excellence Villa Vigoni has established the Gerda Henkel Academy at Villa Vigoni to discuss past and present challenges of Europe in the political, social and cultural realm. The Academy’s work is dedicated to the theme “From the Ideas on Europe to the European Citizen”. The first graduate workshop of the Gerda Henkel Academy will take place in November 2017 at Villa Vigoni. Continue reading