Workshop – Reflect Yourself!?

On July 13 and 14, 2023, the workshop titled “Reflect yourself!? Potentiale und Grenzen einer kritisch-reflexiven Public History” (“Reflect Yourself!? Potentials and Limits of a Critical-Reflective Public History”) will take place at the University of Erfurt. Exploring the research field of public history and its potential for (self)reflection in historical scholarship, both established scholars, junior researchers and students come together to discuss the topic in regard to their daily work and historical research.  Part of the organizing team is our research assistant Meike Katzek.

Both researchers and practitioners will be invited to share and discuss ideas, thoughts and experiences from their work contexts. Where and how does the concept of (self-)reflection get caught up in daily research and work, and what follows from reflection? Does reflection on one’s own point of view occur more as a contingent moment or is it structurally anchored? How does an internalized critical attitude express itself? Is it a silent companion or is it constantly under discussion and called into question? Or does it sometimes even appear to be an obstacle to the work process? These are questions that also challenge junior researchers of the research group in their work and whose perspective on voluntariness as a major topic of the present will contribute to the discussion at the workshop.

The thematic scope e.g. touches upon the question of ‘Who speaks?’, ambivalent solidarities, thoughts on (self)reflexive hermeneutics, positionality and participatory practices in museums, motion comics as work on memory, public history from the perspective of a sociology of inequality as well as citizen science as reflexive practice. The program will be complemented by a special guided tour at the ‘Gedenk- und Bildungsstätte Andreasstraße‘ and by the keynote address ” Hinter den Spiegeln: 15 Jahre universitäre Public History in Deutschland” by Christine Gundermann (Professorship f. Public History, University of Cologne) at the Coelicum in Erfurt (Domstraße 10, 99084 Erfurt).

On behalf of the organizing team Meike Katzek and Sophie Kühnlenz (both Department of History, U Erfurt) we cordially invite you to the workshop on July 13 and 14, 2023, at the International Meeting Center of the University of Erfurt (IBZ, Michaelisstr. 38, 99084 Erfurt). Please register via email until July 9, 2023 with Sophie Kühnlenz (

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Conference on Solidarity and Volutnariness in Graz

What Else Is New?

Programm Konferenz in Graz

Conference on Solidarity and Volutnariness in Graz

On September 12 and 13, 2023, two co-investigators from the research unit will be speaking at the conference “Solidarity and Voluntarism in State-Socialist Societies” at the University of Graz, Austria. For a panel on Friday Carolyn Taratko and Elena M. E. Kiesel will be presenting aspects of their research projects on voluntariness in Ghana and the GDR.

We Welcome Mitchell Dean as Mercator Fellow 2023!

In summer 2023, we welcome Professor Mitchell Dean as Mercator Fellow of the Research Unit on Voluntariness. The political sociologist will support the projects of the research unit from April to July 2023 as a renowned expert in the field of governmentality studies.

Voluntariness as Political Practice – Work in Progress and Upcoming Talks

In order to explore how voluntariness functions as a resource for political participation and civic recognition in the US, our subproject in North American History provides a critical reexamination of the yellow fever outbreaks between 1793 and 1820 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and highlights first results.