European History Across Boundaries: PhD Workshop Oxford – Mainz

From 13 – 15 March 2019, the graduate workshop “European History Across Boundaries” took place for the first time in Oxford. The event was jointly organised by the Faculty of History at Oxford University and the Leibniz Institute of European HistoryLeibniz Institute of European History at Mainz.

Outstanding young researchers from universities all over Europe, the USA and Israel discussed their research projects. Topics ranged from Early Modern to Contemporary History. Participants analysed a variety of European boundary crossings, including imperial and colonial, gender, disciplinary and religious borders. Geographically, the projects dealt with connections, for example, in Brazil during the Hispanic monarchy, port cities like Hamburg, Switzerland and the Dutch colonial empire, St. Peterburg and Paris, the Soviet Union and Congo, Germany and Afghanistan as well as Tirol and Tuscany. The projects illustrated the challenges as well as the benefits of researching history across boundaries. It was fascinating to learn that this kind of scholarship attracts and creates early career scholars who are in practical terms as cosmopolitan as the historical subjects they are studying. For full programm click here.

Visit to Oriel College library by partiticpants of PhD workshop European History Across Boundaries

CfP: 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

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In the memory of 1919, the signing of the peace treaties and the foundation of the League of Nations figure prominently. The year also saw the birth of the Third International and ushered in a turbulent post-war period of revolutions and counter-revolutions, which drastically changed the international balance of power and incubated the fascist movements that in 1922 subverted the fragile democracy in Italy. As a result, the attention of scholarly and public debate focus on post-war political, diplomatic and institutional history and on Central and Eastern Europe. The conference proposes a dual shift of perspective: thematic and geographical.

On the one hand, it focuses on international relief and rehabilitation programs during and in the aftermath of war. This will direct attention to international projects for political and social stabilization and the transformation processes that took place in post-war societies. It will allow us to examine the effects the war had on international relations in peacetime from a different perspective than the better-known diplomatic history. On the other hand, the conference specifically concerns the Mediterranean area thereby shifting our attention away from the well-studied Northern European and Transatlantic region. It investigates the post-war rise of humanitarianism in the countries of Southern Europe, in the colonial territories of North Africa, in the Balkans and in the Middle East. The Mediterranean saw the redrawing of the geopolitical map after the disintegration of the old empires, while at the same time a challenge to European colonialism began to rise in several places. Humanitarian projects took different forms and meanings in these contexts, but they were usually conceived as instruments that would have an impact on the long term, not simply as an immediate response to temporary crises.

Research has begun to show the relevance that humanitarian affairs had for the League of Nations, which also operated in the Balkans and the Middle East. However, the League programs are only one chapter in the history of post-war relief, which saw the mobilization of national states, large and small private agencies, religious groups, societies founded on a common political ideology, experts in sectors such as medicine, public health, or education. The purpose of the conference is to study the way in which these different actors cooperated, interacted, and came into conflict, both in designing aid programs at the headquarters and in implementing them on the spot and within local communities. Specific case studies have shown that the historical development of humanitarianism came about through extensive transnational networks based on religious affiliation, on institutional relations among states, and on professional skills. With reference to the specific post-war context, the conference intends above all to highlight the way in which these networks, usually studied separately, came intersected and how the configuration in the Mediterranean area, including responses from within the societies concerned, shaped the development of humanitarianism at large.

We invite proposals for papers on any of the themes, topics and areas mentioned above. The time period covered may reach from the First World War into the 1930s discussing the aftermath and effects of continued or renewed war in the regions studied. The proposal should highlight the colonial and national contexts, the contemporary ideas on political and social stabilisation and the effects of the measures taken.

Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words and a short CV by April 8, 2019 to

Silvia Salvatici (silvia.salvatici@unimi.it) & Johannes Paulmann (paulmann@ieg-mainz.de)

The conference will take place from 3 – 4 December 2019, at the University of Milan, Italy. Travel and accommodation will be covered.

Download CFP Humanitarianism_postwar_mediterranean_def

Was wir jetzt brauchen – Für Restitutionen und einen neuen Umgang mit der Kolonialgeschichte

DIE ZEIT 52 - 2018
DIE ZEIT No 52, 13. Dezember 2018

Am 13. Dezember 2018 erschien in der Wochenzeitung DIE ZEIT ein Appell „Für Restitutionen – und einen neuen Umgang mit Kolonialgeschichte“. Für die Presseveröffentlichung musste dieser Appell geringfügig gekürzt werden. Wir veröffentlichen die vollständige Fassung inklusive aller Unterzeichnerinnen und Unterzeichner. Weitere Unterstützung ist unbedingt willkommen – bitte einfach Name und Ort/Institution per Kommentarfunktion eintragen.


Was wir jetzt brauchen – Für Restitutionen und einen neuen Umgang mit der Kolonialgeschichte: Ein Appell von Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern aus der ganzen Welt

Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler aus unterschiedlichen Disziplinen, u.a. aus der Geschichtswissenschaft, Ethnologie und Kunstgeschichte, verfolgen die Debatte um den Umgang mit kolonialen Objekten mit wachsender Spannung. Wir begrüßen, dass mit dem im November erschienenen Abschlussbericht von Felwine Sarr und Bénédicte Savoy nun konkrete Vorschläge über den Umgang mit diesem Teil der kolonialen Vergangenheit vorliegen. Auch wir erachten die Restitutionen sowie eine proaktive Restitutionsbereitschaft als unabdingbare Voraussetzung, um verweigerte Anerkennung und verweigerte Gegenseitigkeit zu überwinden. Wir unterstützen daher die Forderung nach Rückgaben und Restitutionen. Und doch: So wichtig die Frage nach Rückgabe auch ist, und so sehr historisches Erinnern immer auch mit Fragen von Schuld und Gerechtigkeit, Moral und Unrecht zu tun hat, so wenig darf vergessen werden, dass die Objekte noch viel tiefergehende Geschichten erzählen.

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Changing our understanding of migration and social spaces – new historical approach

Special issue on “Migration, Mobility and Sedentariness” in Geschichte and Gesellschaft, ed. by Anne Friedrichs (IEG Mainz)

“Disembarkation platforms”, “transit zones”, “transit procedures”, “detention camps in a no man’s land” – the question of how to govern migration has become a topic central to the political agendas of many European states again during the previous weeks. At the same time, filmmakers such as Christian Petzold have drawn our attention to the extreme predicaments that refugees in transit often face: Such migrants often have to decide whether to survive or to preserve relationships to close persons who are not permitted to move along with them. By transposing characters from Anna Seghers’ novel “Transit” (1947) to today’s Marseille, Petzold’s Transit (2018) uses surprising references to the present time hinting at the fact that neither the restriction of mobility nor the experiences of people in transit are new. What seems to be new, however, is the aggravation of the political tone in Germany – at least as compared to a time in 2015 when rights of migrants and asylum seemed to be given a more important consideration in German politics.

Globe designed by Peter Wagener and Anne Friedrichs

Anne Friedrichs (Leibniz Institute of EuropeanHistory, IEG Mainz) has edited a special issue on “migration, mobility and sedentariness” in Geschichte und Gesellschaft. She brings together contributions that explore transits between mobility and immobility in different historical contexts. Examining migration from a relational perspective enables new insights into the boundaries of the societal. Analyzing transitions between mobile and sedentary life phases and life worlds not only allows us to identify interpretative ambivalences and changes in how mobility is differentiated and evaluated. As we grasp that human movement and immobility are mutually constituted, we also gain insights into the different dynamics involved in shaping social life and societal order, as well as into the ways in which these processes intersect with one another. This new research perspective helps to achieve a better understanding of conflicts over the norms and values that define a collective or society, and thus contributes to a historiography that is sensitive to the historical variability of what is perceived as “distance” or “nearness”, and that considers different actors’ perspectives in its analytical categories. Table of contents TOC GG 44/2 (2018)

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