“Identities in Transition” – ISHA Annual Conference 2012

I am somebody who attracts no attention, an anonymous person before an even more anonymous background, and if you, dear reader, still could not help but notice me […], it is just because I am called ‘I‘, and that is everything you know about me. But this alone is reason enough for you to invest a little bit of your own self in this unknown ‘I’.

Italo Calvino: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller

Almost nothing seems to be so strongly connected to human being as the concept of personal natures and properties, usually referred to as an own ‘identity’. But what is meant when one speaks of ‘identity’, of an ‘I’? Where do various forms of identities come from? How do they develop, and what purposes do they serve?

With these questions in mind, the 23rd ISHA Annual Conference will call over 120 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students of history and related disciplines from more than twenty countries to come to Jena, Germany, from April 2nd-8th, 2012. In workshops, presentations, discussions, guided tours, and excursions, as well as extensive intercultural contact, the participants will gain insights into the handling of identities in a variety of contexts. Through an interdisciplinary, comparative approach, they will view the topic from a variety of perspectives, helping them grow both personally and professionally.

The seminar location will stimulate the participants to reflect upon their own understandings of identities and their background mechanisms and agents. Located in the heart of Europe, the region around Jena and the state of Thüringen has experienced and created many central events in European history, from the Christian missionisation of central Europe to the Reformation, the Napoleonic Wars, and the terror and violence of the twentieth century.

The goal of the seminar is to approach its complex material through discussion and open cooperation. In the workshops, all the participants are held to contribute to the success of this goal by adding their personal perspectives and experiences in an atmosphere of intercultural, informal learning. The seminar will widen academic and cultural horizons, create contacts and networks across Europe, and move towards overstepping the boundaries of national and cultural patterns in education and thought.

Further information can be found via the menu above, and by contacting ISHA Jena.

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