NCS Virtual Colloquium: The Historical Study of ‘Models’: How and to what End?

Professor Christiane Eisenberg and Associate Professor Mads Mordhorst discuss the potential and challenges to comparative research and different approaches to the historical study of ‘models’.

A map of the happiest countries in the world.
Foto: Wikimedia Commons

If you are interested in attending this meeting, please contact the organisers.

Understanding the past

In the early 1970s, German historian Hans-Ulrich Wehler called the comparative method a ‘Königsweg’ for historical research, the privileged path to an understanding of the past.

Few historians would dispute that comparisons can be a useful tool, though historical comparisons have provoked considerable critique since historians like Wehler adapted the method from the social sciences.

According to its critics, comparisons overlook transfers and entanglements as they isolate units for comparisons. Comparisons are further accused of maintaining methodological nationalism, establishing teleologies and creating ideal paths of developments.

Apparently, comparisons need to be handled with care. In turn, this poses questions to anyone who studies ‘Nordic models’, which is a concept never far from current historical research on modern Scandinavia, including our Nordic civil societies project.

Discussion

To discuss the potential and challenges to comparative research and different approaches to the historical study of ‘models’, we have invited Professor Christiane Eisenberg (Humboldt-University Berlin) and Associate Professor Mads Mordhorst (Copenhagen Business School) to discuss their experience with this topic.

  • Eisenberg is a historian of Britain, which has long served as a model of Western liberal democracy. She is also among the first historians in Germany who took the ‘Königsweg’ with her PhD thesis on British and German trade unionism in the nineteenth century.
  • Mordhorst works, among other topics, on nation branding and is co-editing a forthcoming volume on the global circulation of Nordic models.
  • Professor Klaus Nathaus, University of Oslo, will introduce Eisenberg and Mordhorst and lead the conversation.
Publisert 15. mars 2021 16:02 - Sist endret 16. mars 2021 11:41