Historical Culture: Conceptualizing the Public Uses of History

History Writing and Constructions of National Space: The Long Dominance of the National in Modern European Historiographies

Stefan Berger

Learning history is an exercise that takes place in many locations and involves a multitude of organisations, institutions, scenarios, narratives, networks, media and actors. However, the huge diversity of forms of learning history very often, albeit by no means exclusively, harks back to professional history writing. The prominence of professional history-writing in other forms of historical knowledge-production and history learning has much to do with the authority that professional historians obtained during the long nineteenth century as the only ones who could speak authoritatively about the past. Professional historians gained their special status in close alliance with national states, both existing and aspiring ones, that recognised the enormous potential of national history writing for collective identity construction. In this chapter I would like to give a brief survey of the way in which processes of professionalisation of the historical discipline went hand in hand with processes of nationalisation in the period from around 1750 to the present time. The history of historiography has, of late, been a buoyant sub-discipline of historical writing and a range of new works have shed light both on the processes of professionalisation and their links with the nationalisation of the discipline’s subject matter (Iggers, Wang with contributions from Berger, 2015; Carretero, 2011; Mukherjee, 2008; Raphael, 2010; Woolf, 2011).

S. Berger (*)

Institute for Social Movements-Foundation Library of the Ruhr (Ruhr-University Bochum), Bochum, Germany

© The Author(s) 2017

M. Carretero et al. (eds.), Palgrave Handbook of Research in Historical Culture and Education, DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-52908-4_2

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