Course date

26 July - 6 August, 1999
Application deadline
15 February, 1999
Course Director(s): 

Sorin Antohi

History, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Jorn Rusen

Institute of Culture, Essen, Germany
Course Faculty: 

Frank R. Ankersmit

History, Groningen University, the Netherlands

Ewa Domanska

University of Poznan, Poland

Daniel Fulda

University of Cologne, Germany

Rebekka Habermas

Frankfurt University, Germany

Friedrich Jaeger

Bielefeld University, Germany

Zenonas Norkus

Vilnius University, Lithuania

Hanna Schissler

Max Weber Chair for German and European Studies at New York University, USA

Jacob Tanner

Zurich University, Switzerland

Irmgard Wagner

George Mason University, Fairfax, Unites States of America

Hayden White

University of California, Santa Cruz, United States of America
Historical studies have been devastated by the long decades of state communism throughout the former Soviet bloc. Ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the study, writing, and teaching of history in this region still bear the scars of at least half a century of Party control and instrumentalization, of isolation from the international developments and theoretical debates. While alternative history textbooks are being published throughout the 'Region', their methodological, philosophical, and pedagogical standards remain quite often very low. While 1989 witnessed a certain societal interest for the 'True' National History -- especially for recent and contemporary history --, the quick recycling of the Party-inspired historical narrative into a new version of the traditional historical vulgate resulted in the revival of historical mythologies, and ultimately in ideological manipulation that alienated post-communist audiences once more. New research of high quality is being conducted, despite widespread scarcity of resources, often with international support, but the cleavage between theory and practice in historical studies remains deep.
This course attempts to bridge the East-West gap in historical studies, by bringing together respected Western and Eastern historical theorists for two weeks of debates, and by engaging history professors from around Eastern and Central Europe in this exchange. Applicants who are interested in methodological and theoretical problems are especially welcome. However, participation in the course is not limited to those who actually specialize in historical theory. High English language skills are critical; knowledge of German is recommended.
The course directors have compiled a minimal reading list including only books and articles in English. A course reader will be prepared and sent to all successful applicants. Reading assignments for each class, and a comprehensive list of  post-course recommended readings will be circulated.
Prospective participants are required to accompany their application with a research paper of their own, related to both the course agenda and their scholarly work. According to subfield, methodology used, or topic, the research papers will be assigned to the competent resource persons. The latter will have individual consultations with the papers' authors. Class participation will be evaluated by each resource person. An overall evaluation of the participants will be prepared by the course directors.