Writing Contemporary History
Only two decades ago, "memory" was just an idea, explored, if at all, by cultural historians. In Germany, historians had long sought to distance themselves from so-called "eye-witnesses" to history, who were considered unreliable and potentially apologetic toward their own era and experience. Since the 1990s, however, considerations of memory have grown dramatically. In fact, a "second order historiography" focused on memory threatens to displace history, conventionally understood. This course explores recent trends in historical methods and writing in Germany. In addition, it examines other European countries and how they have approached their pasts in the age of memory.