ARCHIVE Thinking Europe. Towards a Europeanization of Contemporary Histories

Berlin/Potsdam, 6-8 May 2004


Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung (ZZF)/ Center for Research on Contemporary History, Potsdam, in cooperation with EURHIST XX Coordination: Konrad H. Jarausch, Thomas Lindenberger

Sponsored by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Hertie-Foundation

Despite the growing interest in general European history, the European dimension is surprisingly absent from the writing of contemporary history. In most countries, the historiography on the 20th century continues to be dominated by national perspectives. Moreover, the chronological definition and focus of contemporary history are widely disparate, ranging from the times since the French Revolution to the epoch of the Cold War. Although there is cross-national work on specific topics such as occupation or resistance, transnational conceptions and narratives of contemporary European history are still in demand.

This lack of attention within history as an academic discipline is largely a result of the delegation of European topics to other social sciences. Centers for European Studies in North America and comparable institutes in Europe are mainly staffed by political scientists, rather engaged in a curious mixture of analysis and policy advising, reflecting on and promoting the process of European integration. Only a few contemporary historians have felt called upon to comment on the development of the European community or to ponder the broader socio-cultural changes that are making greater cooperation on the old continent possible.

This deficit of engaging the problem of Europe within most writing on contemporary history calls for a transnational effort at critical discussion. If left unchallenged, the traditional national framing will ironically persist just at a time when organized efforts to transform Europe from an object of debate to an actual subject have some chance of succeeding in making it into a polity in its own right.

The international workshop on "Thinking Europe: The Europeanization of Contemporary Histories" is an effort to add intellectual substance to the historicization of "Europe". Co-sponsored by Eurhist-XX, a network of contemporary history institutions in Europe, and the Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam (ZZF), it will assemble historians from all areas of the continent to explore the chances of transcending national contemporary histories and to reflect their European dimensions in a self-critical way.

Everyone interested is invited to participate. The opening event of the conference will be a round table discussion in German language, in Berlin-Mitte, Französischer Dom, generously supported by the Gemeinützige Hertie-Stiftung, on the evening of May 6. The conference will continue in English language in the ZZF Potsdam on May 7/8. Since seats are limited in the Potsdam auditorium, registration for this part of the program via e-mail is necessary (Simone Schlindwein ).

Thursday 6, May 2004

19.00 - 21.00 Podiumsdiskussion (in deutscher Sprache): "Integrieren oder Erinnern? Zur Europäisierung der Zeitgeschichte"

Chair: Ulrich Herbert (Universität Freiburg) Lead lectures: Konrad H. Jarausch (ZZF Potsdam): "Europäische Geschichte zwischen Nation und Union?" Thomas Lindenberger (ZZF Potsdam): "Eurhist XX – Ein Netzwerk zeitgeschichtlicher Forschungseinrichtungen in Europa. Entstehung und Ziele"

Interventions: Catherine Colliot-Thélène (Centre Marc Bloch Berlin/ CNRS, Paris) Wolfgang Höpken (Georg-Eckert-Institut für internationale Schulbuchforschung, Braunschweig) Christiane Lemke (Universität Hannover) Karl Schlögel (Europäische Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt/O.)

Friday, 7 May 2004

9.00-9.30 Opening: Konrad H. Jarausch (ZZF Potsdam)

9.30-12.30 Panel 1: Contested Memories

Chair: Martin Sabrow (ZZF Potsdam)

Lead lecture: Henry Rousso (Institute for Contemporary History, Paris): "History of Memory, Policies of the Past: What For?"

Interventions: Dragos Petrescu (Romanian Institute for Recent History, Bucarest): "The (still) other Europe. History, identity, and legitimating discourses in southeast Europe"

Stefan Berger (University of Glamorgan): "National historiographies in twentieth-century Europe: How to make them safe for the twenty-first century?"

Pieter Lagrou (Free University Brussels): "Between Europe and the nation: the paradox of the inward turn of contemporary history writing since 1945"

12.30-14.00 Lunch

14.00-17.00 Panel 2: Multiple Conflicts

Chair: Beatrice Heuser (Military History Research Institute, Potsdam)

Lead lecture: John Horne (Trinity College of Dublin): "War and conflict in contemporary European history, 1914-2004"

Interventions: Polymeris Voglis (University of Thessaly): "Postwar reconstruction reconsidered: Greece and the reconstruction of western Europe, 1945-1950"

Alfred J. Rieber (Central European University, Budapest): "The origins of the Cold War in Europe - different agendas"

Kiran Klaus Patel (Humboldt University, Berlin): "In search for a second historicization"

Saturday, 8 May 2004

9.30-12.30 Panel 3: Transnational Interactions

Chair: Rainer Hudemann (Saarland University, Saarbrücken)

Lead lecture: Sorin Antohi (Central European University, Budapest): "Homogenizing the Heterogeneous - transnational interactions in contemporary Europe"

Interventions: Karen Schönwälder (Social Science Research Center, Berlin): "Integration from below? Migration and European contemporary history"

Marsha Siefert (Central European University, Budapest): "Americanization in Europe"

André Steiner (ZZF Potsdam): "Economic consequences of the west European integration process from the fifties until the beginning of the seventies: questions and problems"

12.30-14.00 Lunch

14.00-17.00 Panel 4: Unfinished Political Processes

Chair: N.N.

Lead lecture: Hartmut Kaelble (Humboldt University, Berlin): "The European Union: A case of uncompleted democratization"

Interventions: Igor Casu (Moldova State Univsersity Chisinau): "Is the republic of Moldova a south east European country?"

Örjan Appelqvist (University of Stockholm): "From Internationale Gruppe Demokratische Sozialisten to the Economic Commission on Europe: tendencies in the reconstruction of Europe 1942-1948"

Martin Conway (Balliol College, Oxford): "The making of democratic order in post-war western Europe 1944-47: The case of Belgium"

17.00-17.30 Coffee break

17.30-19.00 Concluding Discussion

Chair: Thomas Lindenberger (ZZF Potsdam

Lead lecture: Michael Geyer (University of Chicago/American Academy Berlin): "The Subject of Contemporary European History"

Panelists: Martin Sabrow, Beatrice Heuser, Rainer Hudemann, Thomas Mergel

Conference report: Patchwork Europe? Towards a Europeanization of Contemporary Histories from Annelie Ramsbrock ramsbrock@zzf-pdm.de for H-Soz-u-Kult, 08.06.2004, http://hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de/tagungsberichte/id=498