For decades the main questions of German historiography were usually centred around the history of nationalism, National Socialism and the bumpy path to democracy. Too often, these studies were done in the conceptual straitjacket of the German nation state. This has slowly changed since the 1980s. First comparative history became a hot topic, thanks to vehement debates over the German “Sonderweg.” Then, since the 1990s and early 2000s, German historians have increasingly placed German history in the up and coming research fields of transnational and global history.
Since these beginnings global history has become a historical perspective whose importance is widely accepted and firmly institutionalized at academic institutions. Surprisingly swiftly global perspectives have established a firm position in present university curricula and inspired several waves of wide-ranging publications in a wide array of historiographical areas. The histories of migration, (post-)colonial global relations, economic integration, flows of knowledge and ideas, environmental challenges, warfare and violence have greatly benefited from the global turn.
New ways to study German history
After this twenty years boom, it is time to take the pulse of German global history, to see how far we have come and to discuss new ways to study German history from a global perspective. What kind of new challenges and which problems does the field face? What is its relationship to international trends in scholarship? Is the diversity of German global history a curse or a blessing? Has it produced blind spots? How can non-German, non-European, non-elite perspectives be successfully integrated? How to study German history beyond its borders? Which new insights could the study of “global Germanness” offer? Why are some strands within the field, such as economic and colonial history, more successful than others? And does it matter whether German global history is written in Germany or by historians who live and work abroad?
Conference at Duitsland Instituut
These and more questions will take center stage at our international conference at the Duitsland Instituut Amsterdam in June 2024. David Blackbourn and H. Glenn Penny, two of the leading historians in the field, have agreed to frame the conference with keynotes.
All historians who work on the global history of Germany in a broad sense are invited. Ideally, all contributions would combine cutting-edge empirical research with discussions of methodological and theoretical problems and challenges of doing global history with a German focus.
Interested in attending? Please visit the H-Soz-Kult website.