Diversity in unity : an introduction to historiography at the European University Institute
Title: Diversity in unity : an introduction to historiography at the European University Institute
Citation: Tilman KULKE, Moritz VON BRESCIUS, Robrecht DECLERCQ and James WHITE (eds), Current historiographical research at the European University Institute, Zeitenblicke, 2013, Vol. 12, No. 1
External link: http://www.zeitenblicke.de/2013/1
Since its foundation in 1972, the Department of History and Civilization (HEC) of the European University Institute (EUI) has proven to be a highly innovative and interesting project in the long tale of professional history. Seated in the same spot that Boccaccio wrote his Decameron, the HEC is heir to the legacy passed down from the Renaissance of pan-European intellectual co-operation and intermingling. It is a department that, in other words, is deeply committed to the idea of diversity in unity. What does this idea mean in practice? Its most obvious manifestation is in the student body itself. Researchers are selected from all over Europe (and, in more than a few cases, beyond) to complete their doctoral training at the EUI together, attending the same seminars and using the same facilities. The result is a productive dialogue where different traditions and languages meet on equal ground to exchange practices, share cultures and debate concepts. This, in combination with a multi-national faculty, means that no one national tradition is able to dominate at the HEC, a fact that renders it almost unique among doctoral institutions. True, many universities have students and staff from every corner of the globe but it is nearly always the case that the host country will often impose the historical tradition to which both groups are expected to conform. In the EUI, however, the traditions sit side-by-side, engaging and transforming each other. This is but one side of the coin, however. Student diversity is not simply limited to where they are from but what they are doing. From medieval Catalonia to modern Africa, from gender studies to intellectual history: research topics at the HEC span across time, space and methodologies. Again, the result is interaction. Such a vast range of subjects with so many proponents fights against introspection within a single field of research. The HEC researchers are constantly forced to ask themselves about the place of their work within the wider historical discipline. It is for this reason also that comparative historical studies have found a congenial home at the EUI.
Type of Access: openAccess
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