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Preparations for the biennial Dutch Historians’ Days (from the 26th to the 28th of August 2021) are in full swing. The three-day event, jointly organised by the Royal Netherlands Historical Society (KNHG) and the History Department of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), are meant for everyone interested in history, professionally or otherwise.

The event showcases the many diverse and dynamic ways of doing history. Through a wide spectrum of lectures, debates and workshops the Historians’ Days tackle issues and challenges on the frontline of historical research and public debates. Keywords include networking, inspiration, orientation, career and relaxation.

The Historians’ Days are modelled on well-known, influential and professional conferences abroad, such as the annual gatherings of the American Historical Association and the biennial Historikertag of the Association of Historians of Germany.

The Historians’ Days 2021 evolve around the theme of History Beyond Borders, and promote diversity in participants, audience, program, stories, methods and presentations.

At the moment, it is not possible to register for the Dutch Historians’ Days 2021.

The Historians’ Days are an initiative of the Royal Netherlands Historical Society (KNHG), organised biennially in close cooperation with a Dutch university. The university partner for the 2021 edition is the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

KNHG is the professional society for historians in the Netherlands. Under the banner of ‘Teaming up for History’,  KNHG brings historians together and promotes the interests of the discipline.

The Department of History at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) takes a unique approach by focusing on how history shapes present-day societies from 1500 onwards. Students focus on modern history and political, cultural, social and economic issues. The history department at EUR has a yearly intake of about 120 students and a staff of over fifty academics.

Each edition of the Historians’ Days has a different theme. The Rotterdam edition has chosen the theme of History Beyond Borders.

In the sixteenth century Erasmus wrote: ‘The whole world is my homeland’. Since then, Erasmus’ place of birth, Rotterdam, has grown into an especially diverse port city in which international connections, external influences, and innovative solutions play an important role. For these reasons history beyond borders is a fitting theme for Dutch Historians’ Days 2021 (Historicidagen 2021) which will be jointly organised by the Royal Netherlands Historical Society (KNHG) and the Erasmus University Rotterdam from 26 through 28 August 2021 at this university. This theme also reflects how history is taught and studied in Rotterdam: in an interdisciplinary, transnational and unconventional manner in terms of periodisation and other traditional characterisations of the past.

In this edition of Dutch Historians’ Days, we want to ask whether borders and boundaries are necessary to the study and understanding of history. Can we understand our world through canons of national history without heeding global developments? Is it possible to construct a historical narrative without acknowledging national boundaries? What borders and boundaries are so widely acknowledged as to remain unquestioned? Do representations of history lead necessarily to well-defined and possibly binary juxtapositions in terms of, for instance culture, gender and nationality? How could perspectives from other disciplines inform the historical debate? Are some borders and boundaries useful or perhaps even necessary to communicate and engage with audiences in our times? Or is there no place for borders or boundaries in a world where everyone is connected?

In times when borders and boundaries such as those of the nation-state are being defined and redefined, any debate on borders and boundaries evokes strong emotions that could lead to heated discussions. We invite all parties involved to make their voices heard at the upcoming Historians’ Days so that together we may take the debate on ‘history beyond borders’ yet one step further

The Historians’ Days 2021 will take place in Rotterdam, predominantly at the university campus.

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Introduction

All history professionals can take part in compiling the program for Historians’ Days 2021.

The Call for Papers invites everyone to submit suggestions for papers, presentations, sessions, workshop etc. Note: formally submitting a proposal will not be possible until between 1 December 2020 and 31 January 2021. Keep an eye on this website for information related to the submitting process.

Conference formats

In this third edition of the Historians’ Days the program once again features a broad range of lectures, presentations, workshops and discussions to which you may contribute. If you would like to do so, please submit a proposal for the following sections:

  • Spreading the News Sessions accommodate individual or group presentations about innovative historical research, as well as sharing new approaches, projects of heritage institutions or practices in teaching history. Applying new digital research and presentation techniques relates to this as well. Conditions for these sessions are a maximum of five speakers (including the moderator) and sufficient opportunity for debate with the participants after the presentations. Duration: one and a half hours.
  • Opinions Without Borders offers a forum to speakers whose opinions explicitly differ on relevant historical topics and are seeking dialogue. All opinions are to be heard, as long as they derive from historical knowledge and are based on arguments. We hope that facilitating the debate will improve understanding of the different opinions about complex historical subjects. Conditions for these sessions are a maximum of five speakers (including the moderator) and sufficient opportunity for debate with the participants after the presentations. Duration: one and a half hours.
  • Crossing Border Sessions are exactly what the name indicates: sessions that transcend or cross borders. This may be substantive but may also entail presenting in a different format. These sessions are organized simultaneously with the other types of sessions. The objective of Crossing Border Sessions is to challenge and encourage each other through alternative ways of imparting knowledge. Crossing Border Sessions may entail the following formats:
    • Brainstorm – submit a (research) idea, question or problem, and participants are invited to brainstorm with you about answers, solutions or (research) questions. Duration: 45 minutes.
    • Storytelling – in this format speakers are invited to convey their research or subject matter creatively, for example as a story or a spoken word performance. Duration: maximum one hour. Shorter is fine, in that case different contributions will be combined in one session.
    • Labs – workshops in all kinds of formats and manifestations. Options include Think Digital!, interpreting sources together, discussing new teaching methodologies, introducing a new website, etc. Duration: one and a half hours.
    • Hyde Park Speaker’s Corner – in the tradition of this renowned setting, we are offering Historians’ Days participants a chance to step up onto the soapbox. In a brief speech, addressing a large audience, you talk about your current issue, present your provocative statement, or incite controversy. Duration: the presentation shall not exceed 5-10 minutes, after which the audience shall have another 5-10 minutes to respond. The sessions shall also be recorded and posted on the website to continue the discussion online as well.

The Historians’ Days are designed to convey current events throughout the discipline.

The contributions relate to History Beyond Borders but may also concern matters that transcend this theme. They may be specialized or interdisciplinary and may comprise Dutch and foreign participants alike but will ideally appeal to historians from different professional fields (academia, education, heritage) and those interested in history.