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Popular Historiographies in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Popular Historiographies in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Cultural Meanings, Social Practices

Edited by Sylvia Paletschek
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Popular Historiographies in the 19th and 20th Centuries
    Book Description:

    Popular presentations of history have recently been discovered as a new field of research, and even though interest in it has been growing noticeably very little has been published on this topic. This volume is one of the first to open up this new area of historical research, introducing some of the work that has emerged in Germany over the past few years. While mainly focusing on Germany (though not exclusively), the authors analyze different forms of popular historiographies and popular presentations of history since 1800 and the interrelation between popular and academic historiography, exploring in particular popular histories in different media and popular historiography as part of memory culture.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-973-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. 1 Introduction: Why Analyse Popular Historiographies?
    (pp. 1-18)
    Sylvia Paletschek

    At this point in time, popular presentations of history are booming – not only in the Western world, but worldwide. Recent allusions to history as the ‘new gardening’ by a BBC representative¹ or its characterization as the ‘new cooking’ by historian Justin Champion (2008a) suggest that in Britain history-related television programmes are on their way to outdoing the highly successful gardening or cooking formats in terms of popularity. While this may be a slight exaggeration, the fact is that there has been a rising interest in history since the 1980s. From the second half of the 1990s this interest has...

  5. Part I: Popular and Academic Historiographies in the Nineteenth Century

    • 2 Questioning the Canon: Popular Historiography by Women in Britain and Germany (1750–1850)
      (pp. 21-33)
      Angelika Epple

      Edward Gibbon, David Hume, Jules Michelet and Leopold von Ranke are all well-known and important historians from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries who earned fame for their role in the making of modern historiography. They were all men, however. Did women of that period write history? Of course they did, but they solely wrote popular historiography. Women across Europe lacked access to scholarly training until the beginning of the twentieth century. Consequently one cannot find any academic history written by a woman that would belong to the traditional canon of European historiography of that time. This picture alters, however, if...

    • 3 Popular Presentations of History in the Nineteenth Century: The Example of Die Gartenlaube
      (pp. 34-53)
      Sylvia Paletschek

      The nineteenth century has many names: the century of the bourgeoisie, the century of nations, the century of industrialization, and the century of natural science and technology.¹ However, it might just as well be called the century of history. From the late eighteenth century on, the engagement with the past, and particularly with ‘patriotic’ history (vaterländischer Geschichte), was an important means of shaping individual and collective identity. After the collapse of theAlte Reich(the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation) in 1803–1806, and following the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the German states in their new patchwork...

    • 4 Understanding the World around 1900: Popular World Histories in Germany
      (pp. 54-70)
      Hartmut Bergenthum

      Around the year 1900 popular world histories blossomed in Germany.¹

      Why were so many people at that time interested in the history of the world? What factors caused this boom and what did this particular upsurge signify? What kind of stories do these universal histories tell and what do these reveal about Wilhelmine society? What are the functions of these popular historiographies? Why is it worthwhile analysing popular world history compendia in general? And what can be said about the relation between these popular historiographies and the academic mainstream?

      Until today, popular world histories, apart from those of Leopold von...

  6. Part II: Popular Presentations of History in Different Medias in the Twentieth Century

    • 5 History for Readers: Popular Historiography in Twentieth-Century Germany
      (pp. 73-88)
      Wolfgang Hardtwig

      When addressing the public, the academic discipline of history has recently been facing unprecedented competition. Television broadcasts and series have been presenting the history of Nazi and post-war Germany in a manner appealing to a broader audience. Motion pictures tell stories from the Third Reich, the air raids and post-war life. Documentaries are in great demand. They offer an attractive combination of solid research, eyewitness interviews, a moving soundtrack and contemporary photographs and filmstrips (Benz 1986; Knopp and Quandt 1988; Bösch 1999: 204–18). As demonstrated by Steven Spielberg’sSchindler’s List(1993) or by Bernd Eichinger’sThe Downfall(2004), the...

    • 6 Between Political Coercion and Popular Expectations: Contemporary History on the Radio in the German Democratic Republic
      (pp. 89-102)
      Christoph Classen

      From today’s viewpoint it might not seem an obvious choice to include an essay on East German radio in a volume on popular historiography. There is currently a boom in history, and contemporary history in particular, on TV, in museums and exhibitions and lately on the internet. If we take this as a starting point, then we can assume it to be a phenomenon of the last thirty years. That means, of course, that the German Democratic Republic (GDR), or East Germany as it is also known, was only touched by this boom in its last decade. Even more important...

    • 7 Moving History: Film and the Nazi Past in Germany since the Late 1970s
      (pp. 103-118)
      Frank Bösch

      In summer 2007, the German public discussed the filmValkyrie, about Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and the attempted assassination of Hitler in July 1944. Although filming had only just started, numerous newspapers carried out detailed debates about this piece of popular historiography. An investigative journalist of theSüddeutsche Zeitungeven managed to get access to the screenplay and compared its designated historical facts to academic books and previous films.¹ Famous historians, journalists and relatives of the historical characters explained Stauffenberg’s resistance to Hitler and discussed whether a Hollywood production and an actor like Tom Cruise would be adequate for...

  7. Part III: Memory Culture and Popular Historiographies:: Case Studies

    • 8 Memory History and the Standardization of History
      (pp. 121-139)
      Dieter Langewiesche

      ‘Memory history’ (Erinnerungsgeschichte) is found at the start of every process of historical transmission.¹ As a theoretically grounded approach in the methodological arsenal of historical studies, however, it is a relatively new branch of historical inquiry, albeit one that is rapidly growing. The catastrophic experiences of the first half of the twentieth century contributed considerably to this. They created, according to Dan Diner in his European-oriented, universalhistorical attempt to understand this period, a separate ‘time of remembrance’, whose ‘negative telos’ overlaid other experiences and taught us to view history differently (Diner 2000: 17). The remembrance of this period, together with...

    • 9 The Second World War in the Popular Culture of Memory in Norway
      (pp. 140-154)
      Claudia Lenz

      As in all countries which were occupied by Germany during the Second World War, the German Occupation in Norway was met by resistance. This resistance was not only carried out by organized military groups but also by parts of the civilian population. Though it took very different forms and developed in different ways, resistance became an elementary component in the national self-image of Norway after 1945. Memory of the resistance in the post-war period was mostly shaped by the circulation of popular stories about ‘resistance heroes’ and their actions – such as in the extensive ‘experience’ literature. Individual participants in...

    • 10 Sissi: Popular Representations of an Empress
      (pp. 155-171)
      Sylvia Schraut

      ‘Sissi lives!’ a book recently published declared (Webson 1998).¹ A recent Google search of the term ‘Elisabeth von Österreich’ yielded 56,300 hits; a search of the term ‘Sissi’ in combination with Romy Schneider, the actress who played Sissi in the successful film of the same name, yielded 151,000 hits; while 303,000 hits were obtained from a search with the single term ‘Sissi’.² The GermanBooks in print(Verzeichnis lieferbarer Bücher) recently listed fifty-five historical biographies, coffee-table books and novels on the subject of Elisabeth von Österreich. Keep-sakes and devotional objects are in as well. The ZVAB (a central catalogue of...

    • 11 Scientists as Heroes? Einstein, Curie and the Popular Historiography of Science
      (pp. 172-187)
      Beate Ceranski

      In 2005, Germans encountered Albert Einstein virtually everywhere. The jubilee of hisannus mirabilis, 1905, when he published three epochal discoveries, among them the special theory of relativity, brought Einstein to the title pages of all major journals and magazines. A government campaign using the physicist’s quotations and portrait encouraged Germans to become actively involved in cultural, scientific and public life. People queued for hours at the entrance of an Einstein exhibition at the famous Kronprinzenpalais, Berlin, which was one of several important exhibitions about the scientist. Official activities like the Festakt of the German physics society (Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft)...

    • 12 Das Wunder von Bern: The 1954 Football World Cup, the German Nation and Popular Histories
      (pp. 188-200)
      Franz-Josef Brüggemeier

      The title of this chapter implies that what follows will be an article about football.¹ Or, to be more precise, about Germany winning the World Cup in Switzerland in 1954. However, the chapter will deal only briefly with football and the extraordinary sporting event that took place in the summer of that year. Instead, it will deal with how Germans reacted to their team winning the World Cup, and what their reactions tell us about German society and the German nation in the early 1950s, just ten years after the war.²

      The reaction of the German public was quite extraordinary...

  8. References
    (pp. 201-234)
  9. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 235-238)
  10. Index
    (pp. 239-244)