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Discussion Forum: The Vanishing Nineteenth Century in European History?: Introduction: The Shifting Space of the Nineteenth Century in European History

  • Karen Hagemann (a1), Simone Lässig (a2), David Blackbourn (a3), James M. Brophy (a4), Pieter M. Judson (a5), Alexander M. Martin (a6), Lloyd S. Kramer (a1), Alex Chase-Levenson (a7), Roger Chickering (a8), Suzanne Marchand (a1), Sebastian Conrad (a9), Birgit Aschmann (a10), Jürgen Osterhammel (a11) and Andrew Zimmerman (a12)...
Extract

This forum explores from multiple perspectives the often stated impression that the nineteenth century is “vanishing” from German and European history. It asks how one can explain this trend, what consequences it has for the development of historiography and public historical knowledge, if and why the nineteenth century matters for the present, and what the future of nineteenth-century history might be. Fourteen experts on different regions and historiographical approaches to European history from the United States and Germany discuss these questions. We sought contributors from these two countries in order to illuminate differences in the historical profession on either side of the Atlantic, and are sure that a broader regional comparison would point to more varieties in the state of historical research on the nineteenth century.

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Copyright
Footnotes
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We would like to thank David Lazar and Insa Kummer of the German Historical Institute Washington, D.C., for their help in preparing this forum for publication.

Footnotes
References
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1 Blackbourn, David, “Honey, I Shrunk German History,” German Studies Association Newsletter 38, no. 2 (2013–2014): 4453.

2 Ibid., 45–48. We have no numbers for later developments.

3 Marchand, Suzanne, “Embarrassed by the Nineteenth Century,” in Consortium on Revolutionary Europe, 1750–1850: Selected Papers 2002, ed. Cook, Bernard et al. (Tallahassee, FL: Consortium on Revolutionary Europe, 2004), 116; Osterhammel, Jürgen, “In Search of a Nineteenth Century,” Sixteenth Annual Lecture of the German Historical Institute (Nov. 14, 2002), Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 32 (Spring 2003): 928; Rahden, Till van, “Lumpen sammeln: Siegried Kracauer und die Geschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts,” Historische Zeitschrift 307, no. 2 (2017): 319–40.

4 See the website of the ZZF: https://www.potsdam.de/node/281638.

5 See the program of the 2018 Historikertag: https://www.historikertag.de/Muenster2018/sektionen/?term=28.

6 The two most important prizes awarded by the VHD are the Hedwig Hintze Prize for an “outstanding dissertation” and the Carl Erdmann Prize for “outstanding Habilitationen in the whole field of history.” See https://www.historikerverband.de/en/verband.html.

7 The other five Hedwig Hintze Prizes were awarded to one dissertation in ancient history, two in early modern history, and two in nineteenth-century history. See https://www.historikerverband.de/nachwuchs-und-preise/preistraegerinnen/preistraegerinnen-hedwig-hintze-preis.html.

8 The seven Carl Erdmann Prizes for the best Habilitation in history that were not awarded to studies on the nineteenth century were distributed nearly equally to the other epochs. See https://www.historikerverband.de/nachwuchs-und-preise/preistraegerinnen/preistraegerinnen-carl-erdmann-preis.html.

9 See Benjamin Schmidt, “The Humanities Are in Crisis,” The Atlantic, Aug. 23, 2018.

10 Smith, Helmut Walser, “The Vanishing Point of German History: An Essay on Perspective,” History & Memory 17, no. 1/2 (2005): 269–95.

11 See Blackbourn, “Honey”; Marchand, “Embarrassed.” On the development of German history in the United States, see also Epstein, Catherine, “German Historians at the Back of the Pack: Hiring Patterns in Modern European History, 1945–2010,” Central European History 46, no. 3 (2013): 599639; Port, Andrew I., “Central European History since 1989: Historiographical Trends and Post-Wende ‘Turns’,” Central European History 48, no. 2 (2015), 238–48, esp. 238–39; Stelzel, Philipp, History after Hitler: A Transatlantic Enterprise (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018); Hagemann, Karen and Harsch, Donna, “Gendering Central European History: Changing Representations of Women and Gender in Comparison, 1968–2017,” Central European History 51, no. 1 (2018): 114–27.

12 Hobsbawm, Erich, The Ages of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914–1991 (New York: Vintage Books, 1996).

13 Suzanne Marchand, “Celebrating ‘Boring’ Ideas in the Age of Impatience: The Nineteenth Century in Intellectual and Cultural History,” in this forum.

14 Lloyd Kramer, “The Dying Study of 19th-century France,” unpubl. mss. presented at the 48th Consortium on the Revolutionary Era, 1750–1850, Philadelphia, PA, Feb. 22–24, 2018. See also his contribution, “The Declining Study of Nineteenth-Century France,” in this forum.

15 Pieter M. Judson, “The Study of the Nineteenth Century in Habsburg Central Europe,” in this forum.

16 Alexander M. Martin, “Russia's Nineteenth Century: Thoughts on the State of the Field,” in this forum.

17 Alex Chase-Levenson, “The Nineteenth Century in British History,” in this forum.

18 Sebastian Conrad, “Colonizing the Nineteenth Century: Implications of a Paradigm Shift,” in this forum.

19 Marchand, “Celebrating ‘Boring’ Ideas.”

20 Ibid.

21 Ibid.

22 See Jürgen Osterhammel, The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century, trans. Patrick Camiller (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014).

23 See Koselleck, Reinhart, “Über die Theoriebedürftigkeit der Geschichtswissenschaft,” in Theorie der Geschichtswissenschaft und Praxis des Geschichtsunterrichts, ed. Conze, Werner (Stuttgart: Ernst Klett, 1972), 1028, 14–15; idem,  Einleitung,” Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe. Historisches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland, vol. 1: A–D, ed. Brunner, Otto, Conze, Werner, and Koselleck, Reinhart (Stuttgart: Ernst Klett, 1972), xxiv.

24 See, e.g., Décultot, Elisabeth and Fulda, Daniel, eds., Sattelzeit: Historiographiegeschichtliche Revisionen (Berlin: Oldenbourg Verlag, 2016); Motzkin, Gabriel, “On the Notion of Historical (Dis)Continuity: Reinhart Koselleck's Construction of the Sattelzeit,” Contributions to the History of Concepts 13, no. 2 (2018): 145–58. Koselleck himself made clear that the term Schwellenzeit (“threshold period”) would have been more precise; see Koselleck, Reinhart and Dipper, Christof, “Begriffsgeschichte, Sozialgeschichte, begriffene Geschichte,” Neue Politische Literatur 43 (1998), 195; Müller, Jan Werner, “On Conceptual History,” in Rethinking Modern European Intellectual History, ed. McMahon, Darrin M. and Moyn, Samuel (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).

25 Fritzsche, Peter, “Specters of History: On Nostalgia, Exile, and Modernity,” American Historical Review 106, no. 5 (2001): 1589; see also Terdiman, Richard, Present Past: Modernity and the Memory Crisis (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993), 6671.

We would like to thank David Lazar and Insa Kummer of the German Historical Institute Washington, D.C., for their help in preparing this forum for publication.

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Central European History
  • ISSN: 0008-9389
  • EISSN: 1569-1616
  • URL: /core/journals/central-european-history
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