Public History. Forms of Politics, Cultural Praxis and Scholarly Reasoning

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Call for Papers
January 15, 2020
Subject Fields: 
European History / Studies, Public History, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies

Conference organized by the Herder Research Council and the Pedagogical University Cracow in co-operation with the German Historical Institute Warsaw 

Cracow, July 2-4, 2020


History sells: Viking games, re-enactments, movies and documentaries, but also prominent historical museums, memorials and thick scholarly books – history and historical topics meet – as it seems – steadily growing interest in European public spheres. At the same time, disputes over historical truth, over politics of history and identity also play an increasing role in current conflicts, both within societies as well as within international relations. Such observations are not limited to nationalistic or radical right-wing groups and their intellectual protagonists but refer to official cultural politics and debates on gender politics as well. 

Frequently, spotlight is directed towards Eastern Europe and the new members of the EU, even though the uses of history and conflicts about the “how”, “why” and “by whom” play a crucial role for the whole of Europe and beyond. The conference not only aims at redrawing current lines of conflict, but instead at discussing the status and key aspects of the uses of history in Central and Eastern Europe, from the North Sea and the Baltic to the Adriatic and Black Sea, including further regions of Europe in comparative perspective. 

Topics to be addressed include more traditional fields like the presentation of history in memory politics and in cultural memory, but also the uses of history in the spheres of culture and consumption as well as references to history as part of group formation processes (as in in re-enactments). The conference intends to discuss the role of historical narrations within the context of truth practices and their political, epistemological and cultural contextuality. 

Possible topics of presentations are: 

  • academic and public controversies over current historical topics (also before the „age of extremes“) 
  • memory politics (memorials, monuments)
  • presentation of history in media 
  • strategies of cultural commemoration in literature and arts 
  • storage of history and coming to terms with the past in museums (and further aspects from this field). 


With regard to the interdisciplinary bandwidth of the Herder Research Council, the conference will not be limited to presentations from historians but will involve also further disciplines (sociology, political science, cultural studies).


Conference Languages: English / German / Polish

Proposals for presentations should be submitted with an abstract of not more than 250 words and a short bio until Jan 15, 2020 to and

Contact Info: 

Joerg Hackmann
Alfred Doeblin Professor of East European History 
University of Szczecin
Dept. of History and International Relations
ul. Krakowska 71-79
71-017 Szczecin

Contact Email: