Rewriting History

seminar Autumn/Spring 1999-2000

Mondays 11.00-13.00 in Sala Triaria, Villa Schifanoia


                The goal of this seminar is to generate a critical discussion on the preconditions of history writing in light of what have been called postmodern challenges. These challenges are no longer novel. Concepts such as "reality", "objectivity", "truth" etc. have been problematsed and are today seen, to a large extent, as carriers of ideologies. The opinion that no reality exists beyond the limits set by language is well established. The role of professional historians as producers/constructors of history is at the heart of a widening discussion.

Beginning in the autumn and continuing through the spring of 2000 this general problem will be addressed in a series of seminars. Three special aspects of the general problem field will be confronted:

1. What does the increasing attention to cultural history mean for social history as a subdiscipline? In the contemporary climate of growing social marginalisation and exclusion, interest in social history appears to be on the decline. Does this indicate reduced interest in the situation of the poor and social injustices? Can such interests be imbedded in cultural history? Are they already? Is a merger between social and cultural history conceivable? Is history a social or a cultural science?

2. Under which conditions is the past translated to the present? What is the meaning of concepts like "construction" and "representation"? How is it possible to differentiate between "presentation" and "representation"?

3. What does the methodological approach called "new historicism" mean in terms of possibilities and risks? In what respect is new historicism different from the tried and tested version? Can new historicism be reconciled with a social dimension in history writing? (These issues will be confronted in the Spring semester.)

Above all this seminar is designed to offer researchers working with Bo Stråth the opportunity to participate actively in a reflective process on how to rewrite history in their own work. Following a series of introductory seminars researchers will present papers. At each occasion two colleagues will act as discussants. Texts will be distributed about one week prior to each session. The purpose of this active involvement of the researchers is to increase communication and to develop a historiographical tradition of collective teamwork. This seminar will be augmented by a series of integrated workshops many with the participation of external guests. We invite both participants in the seminar as well as all others to contribute to the web-debate. For further information see Conferences and Workshops.


                11 October:
                Bo Stråth, General Introduction

18 October:
                Bo Stråth, Can Social and Cultural History be Reconciled?

25 October:
                Bo Stråth, Rewriting History from a Historical Perspective

15 November:
                Almut Höfert, The European Invention of the Turk
                Discussants: Rolf-Hagen Schulz-Forberg and Agneta Edman and as a special guest Miroslav Hroch

17 November: N.B. Wednesday 11.00-13.00 in Triaria, Programme-Change due to injury!
                James Kaye, Comparison, A Contingent Juxtaposition of Austria and Sweden
                Discussants: Renate Huber and Erik Tängerstad
                Comments, criticism and response: Peter Apor

22 November:
                Thomas Hippler, Citizenship and Subjectivisation: Military Service in 19th Century France and Prussia
                N.B. Two additional texts are available from Sergio Amadei.
                Discussants: Brigitta Frello and Katiana Orluc

29 November:
                Erik Tängerstad, History and the Possibility of Representing the Past: A Reflection on the TV-Film Death in the Seine
                N.B. Secreening of "Death in the Seine" in Sala Triaria at 10.00!
                Discussant: James Kaye
                Comments, criticism and response: Thomas Hippler

6 December:
                F. R. Ankersmit, History as Construction and as Representation
                Prof. Ankersmit's text "Danto on Representation, Identity, and Indiscernibles" in History and Theory, Vol. 37 No. 4, December 1998 is available from Sergio Amadei.

13 December:
                Rolf-Hagen Schulz-Forberg, Agents of Authenticity, Travellers and Travel Writing and How to Find a Historiographic Approach
                Discussants: Thomas Hippler and Peter Apor

6 March: N.B. 9.00-11.00!
                Peter Apor, The Construction of History in Communist Hungary
                Discussant: Carsten Humlebaek and James Kaye
                Comments, criticism and response: James Kaye, Carsten Humlebaek

13 March: 11.00-13.00
                Renate Huber, Occupation and Identity Construction. Vorarlberg after World War II
                Discussants: Sandra Mass and Agneta Edman

20 March: N.B. Double Seminar in CONVENTO seminar room 1
                Carsten Humlebaek, The Construction of Continuity in Post-Franco Spain
                Discussants: Peter Apor and Pablo Járegui
                Comments, criticism and response: Pablo Járegui, Peter Apor

                Katarina Andersson, National Political Symbols in Sweden in the 1860s
                Discussants: Amaia Lamikiz and Rolf-Hagen Schulz-Forberg

27 March: Interviews, No Seminar

29 March:
                Workshop Beyond the Printed Word: New Media and the Practice of History

3 April: N.B. Double Seminar
                Augusta Dimou, Paths towards Modernity: Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece in Comparison
                For further information and reading please contact dimou@datacomm.iue.it
                Discussant: Sabine Rutar

                Sociability as a Historical Category, Two Case Studies
                Sabine Rutar, Internationalist Networking in a Multicultural Setting: Workers' Associations in Triest (1888 - 1927)
                Amaia Lamikiz, Associative Life and the Study of the So-called Society of Silence Under Francoism
                For further information and reading please contact lamikiz@datacomm.iue.it
                Discussant: Augusta Dimou

10 April:
              June Paper Presentation, No Seminar

14-15 April:
                Workshop Homeland

17 April: N.B. 9.00-13.00!
                Sid Tarrow, Dynamics of Contention

Professor Tarrow will present a forthcoming book he is collaborating upon with Doug McAdam and Charles Tilly. The volume, which shares the title of this seminar session, is an attempt at a provocative comparative and macrohistorical approach where comparisons are often diachronic, i.e. used as a means to discover analogies in the past. The role of social protest in modernisation processes is the focus. Three crucial questions will be addressed at the session:

1. What has happened to the social dimension after the "cultural turn"? How can it be returned to historiography?
                2. To what extent are macrohistorical "grand narrative" approaches still conceivable?
              3. What relevance do comparative methodological approaches have?

Hanspeter Kriesi and Thomas Welskopp will open the discussion.
                Please contact kaye@datacomm.iue.it for a copy of the manuscript.

8-9 May:
                Workshop Ideology and Historiography: The Making of Yugoslavian Identity in Serbian, Slovenian and Croatian Historiography

15 May: 11.00-13.00
                Reinhart Koselleck, Reconciliation of Social and Cultural History?

15-16 May:
                Workshop Pasts Proposed, Factual and Contra-factual History


Beyond Flexibility: A Legal and Historical Analysis of Labour Regulations

An interdisciplinary seminar in co-operation between Robert Schuman Centre, Department of Law and Department of History

Professor Silvana Sciarra & Professor Bo Stråth

Spring Semester 1999

Wednesdays 11 - 13.00 (Starts 13 January) Sala Triaria


              Flexibility has become a word used with diverse connotations, in divergent circles.

This seminar will aim at analysing different meanings of flexibility related to work: the organisation of work, protection of workers and attitudes of political and social partners toward work. The analysis is centered in a European context and will have an historical perspective. It will attempt to deconstruct this widely used and often vague notion to discover concrete meanings in legal and historical terms.

The debate at community level is also full of insights: flexibility is not only the leading policy indicator in most documents and acts of the institutions in the social field; it also seems to be at the core of macro economic policies which directly affect social policies and labour standards.

The historical analysis will serve the purpose to show whether globalisation has meant dis-embedding social rights from their cultural and local traditions and whether fundamental principles of a new kind are emerging at a supra-national level.

This seminar is a continuation of the autumn seminar in 1998: After Full Employment: European Norms and Discourses of Work.


                13 January
                Silvana Sciarra: The Emergence of Flexibilisation Discourses in Europe

20 January
                Bo Stråth: The Embeddedness of the Market in the Social

27 January
                Laurent Gamet: Eléments d'une définition en droit du travail du terme "flexibilité"

3 February
                Stefano Giubboni: Flexibility in the Italian Social Security Protection System: some Reflections

10 February
                Alain Supiot (University of Nantes): The Commission Report on Transformation of Labour and Future of Labour Law in Europe

17 February
                Bo Stråth: Visions of Monetary Union and Labour Market Policies: an Evolving Problematic since the 1970s

24 February
                M. Rodrigues-Pinero: The regulation of the labour market in Spain: the case of temporary employment agencies

3 March
                Silvana Sciarra: The End of a Public Monopoly: Flexibility in the Italian Placement System

10 March
                Karl Klare (Northeastern University): The Emergence of Flexibility in the USA

A sandwich lunch will be organised for the seminar participants in Sala Bandiere after Professor Klare's seminar before the next seminar on this day, which also will be the last one in this seminar series, between 14.30 and 16.30:

10 March: 14.30:
                Fred Block (University of California at Davis): Postindustrial Possibilities: A Critique of Economic Discourses