developing a substantive and methodological cooperation which has been extraordinarily intense and fruitful. 8 Though East German historians also attempted to follow the Marxist lead of their Soviet colleagues, their communication remained more superficial and reluctant than among their western counterparts. 9 In the West, the joint transatlantic effort to confront the historical reasons and consequences of the Nazi dictatorship produced an entirely new subspecialty – German contemporaryhistory. 10 How did this surprising disciplinary innovation that supported the
Institutional memory and contemporaryhistory
Institutional memory and contemporaryhistory in the House of Commons,
wo memories of the early modern House of Commons. The first is
in 1601: at the end of his entry for the last day of the last parliament of
Elizabeth I, just after he noted the subdued and cool response to the queen as
she emerged from the House of Lords, the Elizabethan parliamentary diarist
Hayward Townshend wrote that
over the seats in the parliament house are certain holes, some two inches square,
This essay discusses the ways in which different models of historical and social development, and especially of the relationship of the Gothic past to the present, might be seen to structure – and help us now to interpret – eighteenth-century Gothic fiction. It begins with an account of the representation of ‘Gothick days’ in James Beattie‘s poem The Minstrel (1771–4), and then gives an overview of how‘ Scottish’ conjectural histories attributed a pivotal modernizing role to feudalism and chivalry, in some cases defining an exceptional Gothic legacy with particular reference to the agency and influence of women. The essay concludes by suggesting that critical attention to different accounts of social development, and contemporary ‘histories of women’, might help to provide a better literary-historical map of eighteenth-century Gothic fiction, and a richer sense of the cultural and political work that that fiction may have performed.
Lewis Namier was one of the most important historians of the twentieth century. His work on the politics of the 1760s, based on the ‘scientific’ analysis of a mass of contemporary documents, and emphasising the material and psychological elements of human motivation, was seen by contemporaries as ’revolutionary’ and remains controversial. It gave a new word to the English language: to Namierise. Moreover, Namier played a major role in public affairs, in the Foreign Office, 1915–20, and in the Zionist Organisation in the 1930s, and was close to many of the leading figures of his day. This is the first biography of Namier for half a century, and the first to integrate all aspects of his life and thought. Based on a comprehensive range of sources, including the entire corpus of Namier’s writings, it provides a full account of his background, examines his role in politics and reconstructs his work as a historian, showing the origins and development of his ideas about the past, and the subjects which preoccupied him: nationalism, empire, and the psychology of individuals and groups. Namier’s life and writings illuminate many of the key events of the twentieth century, his belief in the power of nationalism and the importance of national territory, foreshadowing problems which still beset our own world.
should have priority.3 It is rather more certain that Camden had an ambivalent
attitude to the near-contemporaryhistory which was his next major undertaking, a history of England, Scotland and Ireland in the reign of Elizabeth
I, constructed on the model of the Annals of the Roman historian Tacitus, to
which we shall refer as his Annales.4 ‘History is in the beginning envy, in the
continuation labour and in the end hatred.’5 According to Camden’s own testimony, it was in about 1597 that Lord Burghley more or less ordered him to
undertake ‘an historical account
War crimes prosecutions and the emergence of Holocaust metanarratives
and repeated the prosecutorial narrative. Robinson had been an
advisor to the prosecution; Levin’s popular The Holocaust was
largely based on a repetition of the prosecution’s case. That case
had largely been built in association with the survivor historians
at Yad Vashem.22
Other trials processes had a relationship with academic historiography too. The Institute of ContemporaryHistory (Institut für
Zeitgeschichte, or IfZ) in Munich produced narratives of
various aspects of the Nazi regime to support the German war
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The enduring controversy about the nature of parliament informs nearly all debates about the momentous religious, political and governmental changes in early modern England – most significantly, the character of the Reformation and the causes of the Revolution. Meanwhile, scholars of ideas have emphasised the historicist turn that shaped the period’s political culture. Religious and intellectual imperatives from the sixteenth century onwards evoked a new interest in the evolution of parliament, shaping the ways that contemporaries interpreted, legitimised and contested Church, state and political hierarchies. For much of the last century, scholarship on parliament focused on its role in high politics, or adopted an administrative perspective. The major exception was J. G. A. Pocock’s brilliant The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law (1957), which argued that competing conceptions about the antiquity of England’s parliamentary constitution – particularly its common law – were a defining element of early Stuart political mentalities and set in motion a continuing debate about the role of historical thought in early seventeenth-century England. The purpose of this volume is to explore contemporary views of parliament’s history/histories over a broader canvas. Historical culture is defined widely to encompass the study of chronicles, more overtly ‘literary’ texts, antiquarian scholarship, religious polemic, political pamphlets, and of the intricate processes that forge memory and tradition. Over half of the essays explore Tudor historical thought, showing that Stuart debates about parliament cannot be divorced from their sixteenth-century prelude. The volume restates the crucial role of institutions for the study of political culture and thought.
The TransAtlantic reconsidered brings together established experts from Atlantic History and Transatlantic Studies – two fields that are closely connected in their historical and disciplinary development as well as with regard to the geographical area of their interest. Questions of methodology and boundaries of periodization tend to separate these research fields. However, in order to understand the Atlantic World and transatlantic relations today, Atlantic History and Transatlantic Studies should be considered together. The scholars represented in this volume have helped to shape, re-shape, and challenge the narrative(s) of the Atlantic World and can thus (re-)evaluate its conceptual basis in view of historiographical developments and contemporary challenges. This volume thus documents and reflects on the changes within Transatlantic Studies during the last decades. New perspectives on research reconceptualize how we think about the Atlantic World. At a time when many political observers perceive a crisis in transatlantic relations, critical evaluation of past narratives and frameworks will provide an academic foundation to move forward.
This book reassesses a defining historical, political and ideological moment in contemporary history: the 1989 revolutions in central and eastern Europe. It considers the origins, processes and outcomes of the collapse of communism in eastern Europe. The book argues that communism was not simply an 'unnatural Yoke' around the necks of East Europeans, but was a powerful, and not entirely negative, historical force capable of modernizing societies, cultures and economies. It focuses on the interplay between internal and external developments as opposed to an emphasis on Cold War geopolitical power struggles and the triumphalist rhetoric of how the 'freedom-loving' USA 'defeated' the 'totalitarian' Soviet Union. The book also approaches the East European revolutions from a variety of angles, emphasizing generational conflicts, socio-economic and domestic aspects, international features, the 'Gorbachev factor', and the role of peace movements or discourses on revolution. It analyses the peace movements in both parts of Germany during the 1980s from a perspective that transcends the ideological and geopolitical divides of the Cold War. The history of the East German peace movement has mostly been written from the perspective of German unification in 1989-1990. Many historians have read the history of the civil rights movement of 1989-1990 backwards in order to show its importance, or ignored it altogether to highlight the totalitarian character of the German Democratic Republic.
The ‘Sunningdale experiment’ of 1973-74 witnessed the first attempt at establishing peace in Northern Ireland based on power-sharing. However, its provisions, particularly the cross-border ‘Council of Ireland’, proved to be a step too far. The experiment floundered amidst ongoing paramilitary-led violence and collapsed in May 1974 as a result of the Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. Yet, many of the ideas first articulated in this period would resonate in later attempts to cultivate peace and foster a democratic. This collection asks what became of those ideas and what lessons can we learn looking back on Sunningdale over forty years hence. Drawing on a range of new scholarship from some of the key political historians working on the period, this book presents a series of reflections on how key protagonists struggled with ideas concerning ‘power-sharing’ and an ‘Irish dimension’ and how those struggles inhibited a deepening of democracy and the ending of violence for so long. The book will be essential reading for any student of the Northern Irish conflict and for readers with a general interest in the contemporary history of British-Irish governmental relations.