American Historiography: Approaches, Issues, Controversies
27th Annual Meeting of the Historians in the German Association for American Studies
Stiftung Leucorea, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, February 11 to 13, 2005
American historiography and the historical profession in the United States have undergone momentous changes over the past four decades. As academia began to open up to women and minorities, historians began to turn their attention to marginalized groups. Notions of progress and consensus were replaced by a focus on race, class, and gender as the central categories of analysis. New paradigms such as quantification or the linguistic turn took hold and whole new fields were opened up to historical inquiry, as, for example, the history of the environment. National master narratives and ideas of American exceptionalism fell into disrepute, as many historians enthusiastically embraced local studies, while others put the American experience into comparative and international perspectives. The historical profession also began to reflect its relationship with the broader society. Public history emerged as a vibrant discipline, but historians inevitably got caught up in the notorious culture wars. Studies of historical memory demonstrated the limited impact of historical scholarship on the public at large and the persistence of popular myths.
There is no question that American historiography is highly diverse and productive today, up to the point that most practioners complain about its utter fragmentation. Non-American scholars, in particular, face the dual challenge of staying on top of their respective fields of specialization and at the same time of not losing sight of the broader picture, if only for the benefit of their students and national audiences. Therefore, the 27th Annual Meeting of the Historians in the German Association for American Studies that will be held in February 2005 aims at taking stock of major historiographical trends and developments that have shaped scholarship on U.S. history over the past few decades. Paper proposals may relate to all fields and periods of American history. They may address theoretical and methodological issues and controversies directly or present those topics in the context of particular research projects. The selection will be made based on the quality of the individual proposals and on how they can be integrated with other papers into coherent panels. Please send your proposals (not exceeding one page) to email@example.com no later than October 15, 2004.