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The Engaged Historian: Perspectives on the Intersections of Politics, Activism and the Historical Profession

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Volume 37

Making Sense of History

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The Engaged Historian

Perspectives on the Intersections of Politics, Activism and the Historical Profession

Edited by Stefan Berger
Afterword by Georg G. Iggers†

322 pages, 24 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-199-4 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (April 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-200-7 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This collection of essays succeeds wonderfully well in revealing and analyzing the intellectual and actual challenges facing historians as they enter public affairs. It is a fitting addition to the literature on public intellectuals available to contemporary readers.” • James M. Banner, Jr., historian and author of Being a Historian: An Introduction to the Professional World of History

“This book is incredibly timely, given the current state of politics in the world, and the pressure on historians to become more engaged in conflicts of the day. The Engaged Historian is essential reading for every historian trying to negotiate their role as an engaged citizen.” • Robert B. Townsend, American Academy of Arts and Sciences


On the surface, historical scholarship might seem thoroughly incompatible with political engagement: the ideal historian, many imagine, is a disinterested observer focused exclusively on the past. In truth, however, political action and historical research have been deeply intertwined for as long as the historical profession has existed. In this insightful collection, practicing historians analyze, reflect on, and share their experiences of this complex relationship. From the influence of historical scholarship on world political leaders to the present-day participation of researchers in post-conflict societies and the Occupy movement, these studies afford distinctive, humane, and stimulating views on historical practice and practitioners

Stefan Berger has directed the Institute for Social Movements at the Ruhr University Bochum and served as the Chairman of the History of the Ruhr Foundation since 2011. Since 2016 he has been Honorary Professor at Cardiff University in the UK. Previously he held the position of Professor of Modern German and Comparative European History at the University of Manchester.

Subject: History (General) Peace and Conflict Studies Sociology


List of Illustrations

Introduction: Historical Writing and Civic Engagement: A Symbiotic Relationship
Stefan Berger

Chapter 1. Engagement: Metahistorical Considerations on a Disputed Attitude in Historical Studies
Jörn Rüsen

Chapter 2. The Ideal of Justice and Its Significance for Historians as Engaged Intellectuals
Martin Wiklund

Chapter 3. Committed Writing: History and Narrative Communication Revisited
Kalle Pihlainen

Chapter 4. The Historian-King: Political Leaders, Historical Consciousness and Wise Government
Antoon de Baets

Chapter 5. Historians with a Cause: Refugees’ Memory and Historical Practices in Interwar Greece
Emilia Salvanou

Chapter 6. The Making of the Zhanguo Ce Clique: The Politicization of History Knowledge in Wartime China
Xin Fan

Chapter 7. The Historicization of World War II in Greece After the Civil War: Looking Back on the Public Debate over a Lecture by British Historian C. M. Woodhouse
Manos Avgeridis

Chapter 8. Historians as Dissidents: Intellectual ‘Eros’ in Action
Nina Witoszek

Chapter 9. The Social Movement History as a social movement in and of itself
Michihiro Okamoto

Chapter 10. Professional Historical Writing and Human Rights Engagement in the Twenty-First Century: Innovative Approaches and their Dilemmas
Nina Schneider

Chapter 11. Using the Past: The Brazilian Cinema between Censorship and Representation
Meize Lucas

Chapter 12. Historians and the Trauma of the Past: The Destruction of Security Files on Citizens in Greece, 1989
Vangelis Karamanolakis

Chapter 13. Historians and/in the New Media
Effi Gazi

Chapter 14. Street History: Coming to Terms with the Past in Occupy Movements
Antonis Liakos

Afterword: The Historian as an Engaged Intellectual: Historical Writing and Social Criticism – A Personal Retrospective
Georg G. Iggers


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