Challenging 1945 as a "caesura". New perspectives on transitions, continuity and change in Italy and beyond

Challenging 1945 as a "caesura". New perspectives on transitions, continuity and change in Italy and beyond

Stefan Laffin, Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology; Teresa Malice, Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology / Dipartimento di Storia Culture Civiltà, University of Bologna
Vom - Bis
29.01.2018 - 30.01.2018
Stefan Laffin

In contemporary historical research, 1945 is often understood as a watershed and a cipher for processes, developments and structures tied to the end of World War II. Yet in the last decades scholars have begun to question the strict caesura and focus more on continuities, thereby delineating the historiographical profile of the 1940s and the 1950s, too.
To what extent is this deeply rooted caesura still valid and conducive to interpretation? By the same token, in which ways does it prevent historical insight? Which are the generational implications of the watershed, for instance how do historians of different age groups deal with the subject matter? Can new ways of conceiving periodization be used by younger researchers, possibly also through the deconstruction of established patterns?
These questions represent a challenge for historical research in general, but particularly for Italy, where 1945 (and in many ways also 1943) gained an extremely significant role in the nation re-building’s process, as it marked a strong rupture with the Fascist past. This also had effects on the establishment of historiographical narratives of contemporary Italy, which are still visible today.
In the workshop, we are interested in papers that ideally engage with the suggested topic in a theoretically reflective manner and are a) either focused on Italian case studies or other European countries, though (if possible, this is not obligatory) with reference to Italy; b) tackle the topic from a multitude of perspectives, while specifically appreciating those that reflect upon 1945 critically, trying to overcome the before/after dichotomy and build on more nuanced interpretations of the 1940s and 1950s.

Potential topics may include, but are not limited to:

- Reflections on concepts like transition, change, continuity from a historical perspective (or related disciplines); new ways of conceiving of time and time spans, rupture points or the general organization of time spans into periods.
- Legacies, narratives and historiographical representations of 1945.
- Empirical research connected to Italy with a focus on the 1940s and 1950s, ideally putting 1945 into perspective; open to all potential studies and topics. Examples of possible subject fields: ruling classes, élites, justice, medicine, education, etc.
- Empirical research that is likewise interested in other European areas/states; references to Italian perspectives and experiences are welcomed here.

The workshop will take place on January 29-30, 2018 in Bielefeld, Germany. We especially encourage junior researchers to apply. Thanks to a funding of the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS), we can provide travel costs (up to 75 EUR for participants coming from Germany and up to 175 EUR for participants from abroad) and the accommodation for one night in Bielefeld. Proposals for papers will be accepted in English only as this is the working language of our workshop and presentations should not exceed 15 minutes.
Please send applications (brief CV and a proposal for a topic of maximum 300 words, both in PDF format) to no later than November 20, 2017. Accepted speakers will be notified by November 30, 2017.



Teresa Malice (