Biography Between Structure and Agency: Central European Lives in International Historiography
Volker Berghahn, Simone Lässig
Berghahn Books, Sep 30, 2008 - History - 288 pages
While bookstore shelves around the world have never ceased to display best-selling "life-and-letters" biographies in prominent positions, the genre became less popular among academic historians during the Cold War decades. Their main concern then was with political and socioeconomic structures, institutions, and organizations, or-more recently-with the daily lives of ordinary people and small communities. The contributors to this volume-all well known senior historians-offer self-critical reflections on problems they encountered when writing biographies themselves. Some of them also deal with topics specific to Central Europe, such as the challenges of writing about the lives of both victims and perpetrators. Although the volume concentrates on European historiography, its strong methodological and conceptual focus will be of great interest to non-European historians wrestling with the old "structure-versus-agency" question in their own work.
Contributors: Volker R. Berghahn, Hartmut Berghoff, Hilary Earl, Jan Eckel, Willem Frijhoff, Ian Kershaw, Simone Lässig, Karl Heinrich Pohl, John C. G. Röhl, Angelika Schaser, Joachim Radkau, Cornelia Rauh-Kühne, Mark Roseman, Christoph Strupp and Michael Wildt.
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Chapter 2Biography and the Historian
Chapter 3Dreams and Nightmares
Chapter 4Gustav Stresemann
Chapter 5Womens BiographiesMens History?
Chapter 6Historiography Biography and Experience
Chapter 7A Historians Life in Biography Perspective
Chapter 8The Heroic Ecstasy of Drunken Elephants
Chapter 10Criminal Biographies and Biographies of Criminals
Chapter 11From Himmlers Circle of Friends to the Lions Club
Chapter 12Contexts and Contradictions
Chapter 13The Improbable Biography
Chapter 14Structuralism and Biography
Notes on Contributors
Chapter 9Generational Experience and Genocide