The Engaged Historian: Perspectives on the Intersections of Politics, Activism and the Historical Profession. Edited by Stefan Berger

Povjesničar Stefan Berger uredio je 2019. godine zbornik koji dovodi u pitanje uvriježenu pretpostavku o nespojivosti povijesne znanosti i političkog angažmana ukazujući nasuprot tome na kontinuiranu povezanost političkog djelovanja i profesije povjesničara.



The Engaged Historian

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


Edited by Stefan Berger


Afterword by Georg G. Iggers†


Berghahn Books


322 pages



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


About the Author

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.



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





“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