Call for Papers

The deadline for all applications was 1st of December 2016. CFP is now closed. We thank all people who send us abstracts and will inform all applicants no later than 31st January 2017.


Beyond Established Narratives? New Approaches to European History from Early Modern Times to the Present.

The 11th annual Graduate Conference in European History (GRACEH), to be held at the European University Institute (EUI, Florence), April 27–29 2017

Recent years have seen significant challenges to established narratives that have dominated historiography for decades. The debates over approaches are not restricted to specific fields or time periods, and span to economic, social, philosophical, gender, environmental, and political history. As a result, teleological narratives, concepts of nation states and empires, are increasingly contested, and the role of culture, class, gender, and race in society have come to the foreground of historiographical discussions.

While many of these new approaches have contributed significantly to deconstructing deeply rooted master-narratives, it is worth asking where European historiography stands today. How do the cultural turn and (de)constructivist approaches affect the way we are writing history today? What role do debates over of cultural, political or social history play not only in the grand theoretical debates about the field, but on an empirical level, as well? What are the practical consequences of these paradigm shifts?

The end of often teleological master-narratives is often mentioned as an important result of these historiographical shifts. However, increasingly historians are asking whether a reintegration of the often fragmented pieces of European history into a new narrative, a new ‘big story’, would be necessary. Has the recent attempt to deconstruct metanarratives failed to provide us with viable alternatives for conceptualising the past?

The 11th GRACEH Conference will confront these past and present challenges to historiography, both with regard to theoretical questions and how they play out in concrete empirical studies. We want to offer a space for early career researchers’ critique of traditional and less traditional historiography and to present their new insights. We invite paper proposals that offer original contributions to the debates about European history and how it is analysed in the context of national and transnational debates on the continent and beyond.

The conference wants to raise three major questions:

  1. Narratives: How and why are historical narratives constructed and deconstructed? Is there a need to go beyond deconstruction and formulate new narratives?
  2. Cultural vs. political or social history: How does this alleged contradiction, which has been at the core of historiographical debates, affect the ways we are writing history today?
  3. Teleology: While critiquing established teleologies, should we not also consider whether historiography is in need of at least some form of teleology?

Topics and themes may include (but are not limited to):

  • Comparative and transnational approaches to European and ‘national’ histories
  • The discussion of philosophical trends within their geographic and chronological context
  • Challenges to narratives of rise and decline
  • Approaches to the decentralisation of Europe itself, as well as regional, national, and other more localized histories
  • Reflections on the concepts of centre and periphery
  • The role of race, class, gender, and other ‘categories of difference’ in critical historical analysis
  • Histories of historiography as a discipline
  • New methodological approaches and discussion of new sources
  • New approaches to (post-)colonialism and empire
  • Discussions that locate voices of people who have traditionally been marginalized in historiographical writings and address questions of agency (eg. queer/trans* history, subaltern history, children’s history).

Paper abstracts of up to 300 words and a brief biography with full contact details (email, telephone, postal address) should be sent to by 1 December 2016. Participants will receive a notification of acceptance no later than 31 January 2017. Final papers should be submitted by 15 March so they can be pre-circulated to commentators in a timely fashion.

Accepted speakers who do not have access to institutional support can apply for financial assistance. For further information, please visit

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