Conference 2012

Place: Jena, Germany
Organiser: ISHA Jena
Date: Apr 02, 2012 - Apr 08, 2012
Topic: "Identities in Transition"

  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 in April, 2012, called 120 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students of history and related disciplines from more than twenty countries to come to Jena, Germany. In workshops, presentations, discussions, guided tours, and excursions, as well as extensive intercultural contact, the participants gained insights into the handling of identities in a variety of contexts. Through an interdisciplinary, comparative approach, they viewed the topic from a variety of perspectives, helping them grow both personally and professionally.

The seminar location stimulated theparticipants 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 was to approach its complex material through discussion and open cooperation. In the workshops, all the participants were 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 widened academic and cultural horizons, created contacts and networks across Europe, and moved towards overstepping the boundaries of national and cultural patterns in education and thought.

Conference 2012