histoCON2020 - 75 years after WWII: Peace Under Construction?

Charlotte Jahnz's picture
Call for Papers
May 6, 2020 to May 9, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, European History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, History Education, World History / Studies

To commemorate the end of World War II, the German Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb) will be organizing the histoCON 2020 in Berlin, Germany, from the 6th to the 9th of May 2020. 500 young people aged between 18 and 35 from around the world will be invited to this festival to learn about and discuss new perspectives on war and post-war events. The histoCON 2020 combines two events for two different target groups (the „Newcomers“, and the „Young Professionals“) in one location: the EUREF-Campus in Berlin-Schöneberg. The explicit intention of the histoCON 2020 is not only to commemorate World War II but also to consider the implications for the present and future.

Conceptual Background

The 8th May 2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. In the Pacific, the Japanese Empire was to surrender on 9th and 12th September respectively. This global conflict was caused by the Third Reich in its racist and anti-Semitic imperial aspirations and by the superpower delusion of the Japanese Empire. What distinguished this war from World War I was its extreme violence, which led to a war of annihilation, especially in Eastern Europe. The war cost between 55 and 70 million lives worldwide over a period of almost eight years. The end of the war meant the collapse of the Nazi regime and showed the world the full extent of the Holocaust and its crimes against humanity. But it also meant a change in international relations and the balance of power. The memory of World War II as a global war of the 20th century continues to shape the German and European culture of remembrance to this day. The historical reappraisal of the war and its consequences is also an ongoing issue.

Although the war in Europe is understood to have been a global one, its history is usually presented mainly from a European or national perspective. For example, the war in the Pacific has barely found its way into representations of the war in Europe. In recent years, global historians have repeatedly pointed out that World War II began as early as 1937 with the Japanese invasion of China. It is necessary to introduce other perspectives into this representation to gain a differentiated understanding of what the end of the war meant around the world with a view to promoting a transnational exchange of views. According to the historical-political education approach, which sees remembrance as a prerequisite for understanding and actively shaping the present, it is necessary to reveal cross-connections, continuities and dependencies and thus to create thematic links to current developments and discourses.

Target Groups

The histoCON Laboratory event is aimed at the target group of newcomers: 250 young people between the ages of 18 and 25 who, apart from their schooling, have had little or no contact with the history of World War II so far. The aim of the histoCON Laboratory is to reflect on the significance of war and peace in the past and present. Here we are looking for innovative methods suitable for young people, which can also bridge different levels of knowledge of a diverse and heterogeneous target group, focus on transcultural learning and civil commitment to peace and understanding. The approach of the applied methods should be primarily low-threshold and offer space for the accompanied discourse of conflicting narratives, thus creating a protected, needs-based learning atmosphere.

The histoCON Campus event is aimed at the target group of Young Professionals: 250 young people between the ages of 25 and 35 who are experienced actors with previous knowledge in the field of historical education. Here, the 75th anniversary of the end of the war will provide an opportunity to reflect on its significance for contemporary historical images and receptions, for historical learning and cultural projects. In addition to high-quality inputs from renowned actors from science, education and culture, the programme also includes an interactive exchange on international project approaches and networking opportunities for the participants, which may lead to new projects.

Both events are to be linked at central programme points (e.g. opening, closing, meetings with representatives from politics and science). In addition, emphasis will be placed on the transfer of knowledge between the two events in order to link theory and practice of historical learning. This also includes the possibility that the Young Professionals of histoCON Campus can act as input providers at selected program points of the histoCON Laboratory. In addition, histoCON 2020 will offer an accompanying cultural programme, some of which will also be open to the interested public.


Thematic focuses

We would welcome any suggestions pertaining to the various formats that focus on the following focal points:

  1. After the Holocaust
  2. Global Memories of War
  3. Hopes for Peace, Liberty and Human Rights

We are also open to proposals concerning the accompanying cultural program. Here, we are looking forward to submissions for the artistic and/or cultural exploration (e.g. readings, film screenings, concerts, theatre or art performances) of one or more of the focal points.

General Conditions

We are looking for:

Workshops in various formats such as fishbowls, panel discussions, lectures, open spaces, cultural and artistic workshops, excursions, city tours etc. as well as proposals for the Cultural Side Program such as readings, film screenings, concerts, theatre performances, art performances, dance performances etc.

  • that focus on one of the three topics of the concept paper
  • which are aimed at one or more target groups from the concept paper
  • which especially contribute transnational / transregional perspectives
  • which use notably interactive / innovative / creative methods
  • which use English as working language

What we offer:

  • remuneration
  • payment of travel expenses, accommodation and meals
  • participation in the entire festival (if desired)
  • a platform for networking and developing new project ideas with fellow international participants


Submission of Proposals

If you want to hand in a proposal for one or more program parts, please fill out the form on http://www.bpb.de/histocon2020 by January 10th 2020 the latest. On our website you will also find the concept paper and further information about the thematic focuses and the event in general. If you have any question, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at histocon2020@bpb.de.

Contact Info: 

Charlotte Jahnz
Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung
Adenauerallee 86
53113 Bonn

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