Ank.: The Practice of Historical Research in Archives and Libraries. Continuity and Change in Producing Historical Knowledge from the Eighteenth to the Nineteenth Century

Ort: Berlin, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte (MPIWG)

Datum: 02.07.2015 – 04.07.2015
Veranstalter: Prof. Dr. Markus Friedrich, Historisches Seminar, Universität Hamburg; Dr. Philipp Müller, Seminar für Mittlere und Neuere Geschichte, Universität Göttingen

The aim of the conference is to explore changes and continuities in the practice of historical research during the transition period from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century. The conference centers on the performance of historical research as well as the making of historical facts in everyday research, paying particular attention to the study of files and records kept in archives and libraries. The emphasis on everyday practices draws explicitly on recent developments in the history of science. Traditionally, the history of historiography dwelled chiefly on the study of narratives and textual representations of the past. As an important addition to these established perspectives, the conference will examine the performance of historical research and the circumstances under which historians generated knowledge about the past.

The conference will focus primarily on the transition from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century. The nineteenth century is generally acknowledged as the foundational period of history as a scientific discipline and yet studies of early modern historiography alluded to the long-term effects of older traditions and emphasized the continuities of the conditions of historical work. The conference thus raises the question as to how change and continuity of historical research during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is to be understood and described. In doing so, we seek to stimulate scholarly exchange, cutting across well-established periodical borders within the discipline of history. The conference will bring together experts specializing in the production of historical knowledge during the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries. It is not the least aim of the conference to provide a platform that allows us to question our own implicit notions and to render visible our rough-and-ready assumptions concerning the other epoch respectively.



Thursday, July 2

from 12.30pm onwards



Markus Friedrich (Hamburg) / Philipp Müller (Göttingen), Introductory remarks.

1.30pm – 3.30pm
The Many Uses of Records and Files

Chair Philipp Müller (Göttingen)

Andreas Erb (Dessau), Petitioner, servant, claimant: Using the archive and historiography in Anhalt from late en-lightenment to 1848

Alexander Denzler (Eichstätt), Johann Stephan Pütter (1725-1807) and the archive-supported everyday work of lawyers

The Many Uses of Records and Files (cont.)

Chair Markus Friedrich (Hamburg)

Wilfried Nippel (Berlin), Johann Gustav Droysen and his historical study of records

Stefan Berger (Bochum), The Future of National Histories

Friday, July 3

Editing and Publishing

Chair Mark Mersiowsky (Stuttgart)

Anna Senft (Berlin) / Ulrich Päßler (Berlin), Aspirations und realities of historical research in archives: J. D. E. Preuß and the edition of the oeuvre of Frederick the Great

Michael Riordan (Oxford), The editing and publishing of records in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England

Editing and Publishing (cont.)

Marco Tomaszewski (Freiburg), The town of the fathers. Urban historical research in Basel prior and after 1800

Institutional Politics

Chair Marian Füssel (Göttingen)

Maria Pia Donato (Paris), Classification and the use of documents in the Archives de l’Empire

Jörg Bölling (Göttingen), Different Institutes. The use of the Göttingen Apparatus Diplomaticus by Christoph Gatterer and Georg Waitz, 1759-1876

Keynote lecture

Anthony Grafton (Princeton), Premature Archivalism in Early Modern Europe

Saturday, July 4


Chair Angela Berlis (Bern)

Wolfgang Burgdorf (Jena), Transformations of Knowledge: From modern imperial constitutional law to medieval imperial and local history

Oliver B. Hemmerle (Grenoble), Approaching the „Sattelzeit“ during the 19th century: The origins of historical research on the Napoleonic era and its archival sources

Interpretations (cont.)

Jo Tollebeek (Leuven), Celebrating the new ‘Royal Historian’ in 1826. Political power and the magic of reliable sources


Prof. Dr. Markus Friedrich
Fachbereich Geschichte
Universität Hamburg
Von-Melle-Park 6
D- 20146 Hamburg

Dr. Philipp Müller
Seminar für Mittlere und Neuere Geschichte,
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Heinrich-Düker-Weg 14
D-37073 Göttingen

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