Why Europe, Which Europe? A Debate on Contemporary European History as a Field for Research

Date/Year of publication

Sonja Levsen / Jörg Requate

Between the persistence of methodological nationalism on the one and the rise of global history on the other side: What are European history’s contributions to understanding the past – and the present? In what ways has the field developed within the last decade in research institutions all over Europe? What are its challenges at present, and what critical themes can be raised within the near future? Such questions, surprisingly, have never been discussed between historians from all parts of Europe, and only to an even more limited extend beyond its borders. Europe Debate aims to provide a platform for a new dialogue about European history. We have invited contributors from a wide range of European historiographies to comment upon both the present state and future avenues in the field. Based on the observation that challenges vary according to historical epochs, we have decided to focus the debate on contemporary European history in a broad sense. Following an introductory essay by the editors that sketches fields of debate and develops first arguments, each week a new contribution will be published. EuropeDebate brings a wide geographical breadth to the debate about European history, as we are convinced that the place from which history is written matters. Institutional structures, national publics and political contexts in European societies shape the way historians conceive of and do European history. We have thus invited participants whose work is shaped by different historiographical contexts, who have experiences with different institutional structures, and whose research interacts with different national historiographies. EuropeDebate is an ongoing project. Readers are welcome to comment upon the articles online. The participants of the first round (fall 2020) have written their contributions largely in parallel. Further rounds of the debate will follow, widening the geographical, historiographical and institutional contexts. Participants will then be able to react to and build upon earlier contributions. The next round of contributions is planned for spring 2021. After that, further steps are envisioned. While the debate begins by bringing together a plurality of perspectives from various parts of Europe, a focus on doing European history from beyond Europe is supposed to follow. Furthermore, subpanels on specific questions and fields are being developed. We want to profit from the flexibility of the blog format, however, thus the next steps are planned, but not fixed.

Max Weber Stiftung









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