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German History from the Margins (German History Society Regional Conference)
Southampton, September 2002

"German History from the Margins"
German History Society Regional Conference
University of Southampton, UK, 13th-14th September, 2002

First Call for Papers:-

The conference German History from the Margins seeks to approach German History
since the enlightenment through comparative study of its minorities. The
underlying aim is to challenge not only the idea of a homogeneous national
master-narrative, but also the view that national minorities can be studied in
isolation from one another.  Thus while studies of German-Jewish identity, of the
construction of the Jew in modern German culture (the Jew as "other") and of
German Jewry as historical agent as well as object, have done much to illuminate
many broader aspects of modern German history, even here the exclusive focus on
the relationships between "Germans" and Jews homogenises both majority and
minority cultures that were in fact far more fluid, pluralistic and open.  
Historians have recently become more aware that as local, regional and national
identities and cultures evolved, and as state boundaries shifted and political
structures changed, the very notion of a "minority" or a "minorities problem"
changed as well.  The conference 'German history from the margins' thus seeks to
offer a more open and pluralistic approach to the history of minorities in Germany
since the Enlightenment. Through comparative treatment of the position of Jews and
other groups it asks whether there is a specific German minority problem.

Papers are invited under the following general headings:-

1. Dominant cultures and minorities: How did the concept of a Leitkultur emerge
within Germany and what place did minorities have in dominant cultures?

2.  Minorities and dominant cultures: How did minorities imagine the dominant
culture and how far did they enter into it?

3.  Minorities and each other: Did minorities compete with each other in their
claims for access to economic power, for political influence or for membership of
the "nation"?

4.  Minorities and majorities in a comparative international perspective: how does
the historical treatment and experience of minorities in Germany compare to
developments in other countries? How did Germans experience the status of a
minority outside of Germany?

The intention is that the conference deliberations will be the starting point for
a subsequent edited volume.

Paper givers do not have to be a member of the German History Society to take part
in the conference.

Please send paper proposals (title) and 250 word abstract to the organisers at the
History Department, University of Southampton:

Dr Neil Gregor,
Dr Nils Roemer or
Professor Mark Roseman

The German History Society is the UK organisation for historians of Germany. It
welcomes members not only from the UK but also from Europe and overseas. The
Society publishes the journal German History. For more details about the German
History Society, see its website at

The History Department at the University of Southampton has research
concentrations both in German and in Jewish history.  For more information about
the department, see its website at