Sine Ira et Studio: British Historiography and Contemporary Narratives of German History (Symposium)
When Joachim Whaley and Peter H. Wilson published their studies on the Holy Roman Empire a few years ago, some reviewers expressed surprise that there was anything to be gained from the German model of federalism for the future of the European Union. Whaley and Wilson were pointing to a model of flexibility and stability long vanished from the collective memory or, if at all, remembered as a deficient structure. When, shortly afterwards, Christopher Clark published his study on the European crisis of 1914, the German public eagerly read a book that suggested that the German Empire had not solely been responsible for the catastrophe of the First World War, and one could sense their relief: perhaps the centenary would not be dominated by yet another discussion about Germany’s path into the Third Reich.
The success of Clark’s study in Germany proved that the German public still agonises over the focus on their past having caused two World Wars and inflicted endless suffering on the European continent. Clark, whose sleepwalking Europeans have meanwhile become a common point of reference for those who admonish inconsiderate politicians, was promptly given the opportunity to speak to the German public ‘directly’: one wanted to hear more from the man who had successfully challenged the consensus of blame and guilt. This showed again the degree to which the public discourse of twenty and twenty-first-century Germans has become burdened with the quest for national identity.
In this context, recent ‘outsider’ studies of German history had a significant influence on the German public by underlining that 1914 and 1939 are not the only keys to understanding the German past, and that there are stories to be told beyond the ones Germans have become accustomed to telling themselves. Of course, the view that the history of modern Germany can be narrated from without a teleological, traditional historiographical framework is not new among German scholars. The period of the Historikerstreite may well be over and it has become possible to write about German history without normative judgements and moralising advice for future conduct. Yet sometimes the German public seems to be more willing to accept unconventional or controversial perspectives from Anglo-Saxon historians.
By debating narratives of German history in light of recent British and German historiography we want to examine the mental, intellectual and structural continuities of German history. Besides nationalist and völkisch thinking these might include ideas such as federalism, European exchange and interconnectedness, cultural and economic liberalism and internationalism or religious tolerance. This also includes discussing the interconnections between British and German scholarship historically as well as placing historiographical methodology within its philosophical and political contexts.
We invite contributions from both early-career and senior scholars who are engaged in historiographical research that is broadly related to these themes and to one or more of the following questions:
- If we follow Heinrich August Winkler’s argument that Germany overcame its supposedly exceptional position among western democratic states with the unification in 1990, to what extent was recent historiography able to establish new narratives beyond the Sonderweg? What is the focus of such narratives? How, if at all, did approaches by British historians differ from those of their German colleagues in this context?
- The recent studies of Clark, Whaley or Wilson are first and foremost major works of synthesis. Very few German studies have made the same impact on the German public. How can their success be explained? Can we pin down differences between historical research in Germany and the United Kingdom that may explain their differing reception by scholars and the public?
- In which ways have recent studies by British historians prepared a new direction for national remembrance in Germany, recognised by the political leadership in Berlin through the appointment of Neil MacGregor as advisor to the curators of the Humboldt Forum, a project designed to ‘reconcile the Germans with their past’?
- Is it still sensible to speak of British or German historiography, or has historical scholarship on German history become an international affair? How do distinct traditions in the historical profession and different working conditions at universities in both countries affect the study of German history?
- How have historical and political particularities such as the nineteenth-century discourses of nation building and empire shaped German and British historiography, respectively? To what extent do they continue to influence differing narratives of German history?
- What impact has the shifting and often difficult relationship between Britain and Europe had on British narratives of German history? How did this relationship influence British views on Germany’s role in the European integration process?
- Both German and Anglo-Saxon commentators have described the current focus of German historiography on post- and transnational themes as escapism and self-denial. To what extent is this view justified? To what extent and in what ways did post- and transnational perspectives in recent historiography contribute to new narratives of German history?
- How do we evaluate Anglo-German relations historically and in light of recent political shifts? How can historians contribute to British-German exchange and relations in a post-Brexit political order? If we believe MacGregor that Berlin and London are the ‘liveliest European cities’ today, the cities where Europe is ‘redesigned’, the relevance of this endeavour cannot be overestimated.
To participate, please send proposals of up to 500 words and a brief biographical note by 1st August 2018 to: email@example.com.
The Troubles on Film: Critical Essays and Interviews: Editor: Matthew Edwards
This is a call for papers for a new anthology on The Troubles and how this tragic conflict in Northern Ireland has been represented in popular film and documentary.
Through films such as The Crying Game, Bloody Sunday, '71, The Hunger the collection will look to analyse the conflitct through both a historical and cinematic perspective. How have these films/documentaries dealt with such an emotive and sensitive subject and dealt with the controversial political discourse of The Troubles? How do these films portray the sectarian violence and do these films approach the subject matter with their own political agenda/viewpoint? How do these films portray the British forces, paramilitary groups and police/security forces during the conflict?
The collection is looking for scholarly essays (or interviews) on any aspect of the Troubles in relation to its cinematic portrayal. Both minor and major works will be considered along with documentarires and interviews with filmmakers who have been brave enough to turn their cinematic lens on this traumatic event. Films ideal for coverage include In the Name of the Father, Omagh, Bloody Sunday and the work of Neil Jordan.
Please send a full abstract and full biography to firstname.lastname@example.org. All abstracts should be in Times Roman, pt 12. If invited to submit a full essay for the collection, a style guide will be sent to adhere to (all essays should use the MHRA referencing system). Matthew Edwards is hoping to get all the content finished by September 2018 in order for a 2019 publication.
Matthew Edwards is the editor of a number of scholarly books relating to cinema. He is the editor of The Atomic Bomb in Japanese Cinema, was was published by McFarland to co-inside with the 70th Anniversary of the bombings (2015); Film Out of Bounds (2007, McFarland and Co) and the acclaimed collection Klaus Kinski, Beast of Cinema (McFarland and Co, 2016). He is also the author of Twisted Visions: Interviews with Horror Filmmakers, which was published in 2017 by McFarland and Co. His next collection, The Rwandan Genocide on Film will be published in spring 2018 by McFarland. McFarland and Co are interested in the collection as well are a number of other publishers.
Ukraine–Ireland: A Comparative Perspective
Guest editors: Volodymyr Kravchenko (Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta) and [TBA]
As a means to overcome the conceptual isolation that area or ethnic studies sometimes have to contend with, this special issue of East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies (EWJUS) aims to look at some exceptional yet not unique issues in both Irish and Ukrainian socio-political history. This issue is a logical follow-up to another special issue of Схід–Захід (East–West), predecessor of EWJUS, volume 4, Rossia et Britannia: Empires and Nations on the Outskirts of Europe (2001). With a focus on Ukraine and Scotland, it examines the relationship between national identities and institutions in the eastern and western peripheries of Europe, reminding the reader that the modern state can both sustain and erode the very distinctiveness of peripheries while dealing with historical legacies and the unprecedented challenges of globalization.
Having experienced centuries of imperial domination, both Ireland and Ukraine have developed ways to co-opt and conceptualize the aftermath of their cultural, economic, and political colonization. The complex histories of both states include shared experiences of famine, political resistance, polyphonic language struggles, post-colonial culture, nation building, and collective identity construction, as well as large global diasporas and ongoing relations with them.
Some of the many questions to be unpacked in this special issue are:
- What can be learned from the similarities in the Irish and Ukrainian experience while placing them within the context of European and global events? What experiences are shared by these states as they endeavour to overcome the geopolitical rifts in their collective past? How unique are the singular events in their history and what do they have in common? How have cultural interactions and ethnic migrations shaped the history and politics of these states and their diasporas?
- Through comparative and transnational perspectives, we encourage scholars to apply creative approaches to this revisionist exercise, not only to better understand and potentially produce revised Irish and Ukrainian histories but also to address the problems of dealing with post-colonization in a globalizing world.
Ukraine–Ireland: A Comparative Perspective will be divided into four conceptual parts, to include the following respective themes:
- Nation: Between region and empire (multilingualism, identity, policy, culture, literature, etc.)
- Famine: Studies and memories (Holodomor and Gorta Mór)
- Resistance: UPA (Ukraine) and IRA (Ireland)
- Diaspora: The Canadian framework of the Irish and Ukrainian diasporas.
To express your interest, please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words to email@example.com by 2 April 2018 (passed).
The deadline for submission of complete manuscripts (up to 7,500 words, including references) is 10 October 2018. Only authors whose abstract is approved by the editors for publication will be invited to submit a complete manuscript.
For more information on East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies, click here. For submission guidelines, please refer to this.
Vita Yakovlyeva, PhD