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The Future of Central European Studies

  • Shelley Baranowski (a1)
Extract

It is obviously difficult to envision the future of Central European studies with any precision. The broader context that surrounds historians, as well as scholars in other disciplines, influences the topics and methodologies they choose. In recent years (i.e., the post-1990, neoliberal era), transnational, global, and imperialism studies have had a significant impact on the historical profession at large. As David Blackbourn observed in a 2013 address to the German Studies Association, ambitious “deep history” projects that cut across multiple cultures and historical periods have recently thrived, prompting him to encourage historians of Germany to push beyond their narrow graduate training and embrace such undertakings. To be sure, historians of Central Europe have adapted to prevailing trends in the discipline (discussed later), but concerns about the chronological, spacial, methodological, and topical limitations of the field have arisen. Even if scholars of Central Europe utilize different methodologies and approaches, they rarely pioneer. Rather, they latch onto the innovations that other fields have spawned instead of breaking new ground.

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References
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1 This is a result, in part, of the exigencies of the job market, especially in the United States; see Epstein, Catherine, “German Historians at the Back of the Pack: Hiring Patterns in Modern European History, Central European History (CEH) 46, no. 4 (2013): 631–35.

2 Blackbourn, David, “Honey, I Shrunk German History,” German Studies Association Newsletter 38, no. 2 (2013/14): 44.

3 Port, Andrew I., “Central European History since 1989: Historiographical Trends and Post-Wende ‘Turns,’CEH 48, no. 2 (2015): 247.

4 Ibid., 242–43.

5 See, e.g., the website “The New Fascism Syllabus: Exploring the New Right through Scholarship and Civic Engagement” (www.thehistoryquestion.com).

6 Judson, Pieter, The Habsburg Empire: A New History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016). Also see the forum on Judson's work in CEH 50, no. 2 (2017): 236–59, esp. Tara Zahra's comment on p. 249.

7 See, e.g., Baranowski, Shelley, Nazi Empire: German Colonialism and Imperialism from Bismarck to Hitler (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011); Conrad, Sebastian and Osterhammel, Jürgen, eds., Das Kaiserrreich Transnational: Deutschland in der Welt (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006); Kundrus, Birthe, Moderne Imperialisten: Das Kaiserreich im Spiegel seiner Kolonien (Vienna: Böhlau Verlag, 2003); Mazower, Mark, Hitler's Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe (London: Allen Lane, 2008); Naranch, Bradley and Eley, Geoff, eds., German Colonialism in a Global Age (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014); Steinmetz, George, The Devil's Handwriting: Precoloniality and the German Colonial State in Qingdao, Samoa, and Southwest Africa (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2007).

8 See the introduction to the special issue by Mark Spaulding in German History 35, no. 3 (2017): 353–61.

9 Maxwell, Alexander and Davis, Sacha E., “Germanness beyond Germany: Collective Identity in German Diaspora Communities,” German Studies Review 39, no. 1 (2016): 115.  See also the special issue Germans Abroad: Respatializing Historical Narrative,” Geschichte und Gesellschaft 41, no. 2 (2015), esp. the introduction by H. Glenn Penny and Stefan Rinke on pp. 173–96.

10 Penny, H. Glenn, “Latin American Connections: Recent Work on German Interactions with Latin America,” CEH 46, no. 2 (2013): 393.

11 Lower, Wendy, “The Spacial Turn: Locating Hitler's Germany in the European Holocaust,” in The Companion to Nazi Germany, ed. Baranowski, Shelley, Nolzen, Armin, and Szejnmann, Claus-Christian (forthcoming, 2018).

12 See, e.g., Liebscher, Daniela, Freude und Arbeit: Zur internationalen Freizeit und Sozialpolitik des faschistichen Italien und des NS-Regimes (Cologne: SH-Verlag, 2009); Martin, Benjamin G., The Nazi-Fascist New Order for European Culture (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016); Roberts, David D., Fascist Interactions: Proposals for a New Approach to Fascism and its Era, 1919–1945 (New York: Berghahn, 2016). There are ongoing research projects as well: Patrick Bernhard, “Race and Space across Borders: Cooperation between National Socialism and Italian Fascism in the Field of Production Policies, 1933–1943”; Daniel Hediger, “The Dream of a New World Order: The Tokyo-Rome-Berlin Axis, 1931–1942.”

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