In a luncheon address at the annual meeting of the German Studies Association in 2013, David Blackbourn delivered an impassioned plaidoyer to “grow” German history, i.e., to rescue it from the temporal “provincialism” that has, he believes, increasingly characterized the study of Germany over the past two decades. Blackbourn was critical of the growing emphasis on the twentieth century and especially the post-1945 period—not because of the quality of the work per se, but rather because of the resultant neglect of earlier periods and the potential loss of valuable historical insights that this development has brought in its wake. There have been other seemingly seismic shifts in the profession as a whole that have not left the history of Germany and German-speaking Central Europe untouched: greater emphasis on discourse analysis and gender, memory and identity, experience and cultural practices (i.e., the “linguistic turn” and the “new” cultural history). Accompanied by a decline in interest about Germany exclusively as a “nation-state,” the last decade in particular has seen a spike in “global” or “transnational” approaches. And, like other fields, the study of Germany has also witnessed greater interest in the study of race, minorities, immigration, and colonization—what Catherine Epstein referred to as the “imperial turn” in a piece that appeared in the journal Central European History (CEH) in 2013.
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