History and the Public Sphere

Efforts to create a common European culture of memory fall back especially on the main common historical narratives. This risks eliminating the ambivalences of historical experience and options for a more differentiated view. At the same time the history of the region of Eastern Europe is threatened with being broken down into a wealth of national histories competing with one another. Victim and hero narratives have shaped the national narratives and interpretations of historical events of the twentieth century in Eastern Europe. Actors from historical museums, memorials, and other institutions of historical culture have a significant impact on these discourses, serving to shape knowledge, perception, narration, and visual associations in many ways.
The aim of the Imre Kertész Kolleg's History and the Public Sphere research area is to contribute to differentiated, contextualized, and objective debate of historical culture. It does not see itself as an independent historical, political actor, but instead addresses museum workers, exhibition makers, and researchers to provide them with a forum for exchange outside of national contexts encumbered by political history.
Establishing a network of correspondents, an interactive Internet portal, workshops, and excursions will serve to create offers and options for scholars and people working in historical culture to be able to engage in an intensive dialogue on current topics of historical culture and to scrutinize and critically reflect on their own role and significance as actors in historical culture. The History and the Public Sphere research area thus represents an explicit contrast to the processes of forming a European memory. Instead, it takes a decided step toward strengthening a transnational and reflected-upon historical consciousness in Europe.