CFP: Transformation in European History, GRACEH 2012, Vienna

Transformation in European History
Preconditions – Processes – Perceptions

6th Annual Graduate Conference in European History (GRACEH), Vienna, May 3–5, 2012

organized by the University of Vienna (Universität Wien, Historisch-Kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät)
in cooperation with the Central European University (CEU), Budapest and the European University Institute (EUI), Florence

The “transicion” of political systems in Southern Europe and Latin America since the 1970s and the revolutionary changes in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989/91 have resulted in the rise of “transformation studies” in social sciences. The term transformation is commonly understood as the politically steered transition from communist dictatorship to democracy, from a planned to a market economy, and from a closed to an open society. In contrast to this teleological reading the 6th GRACEH conference intends to explore a historical approach to transformation. A very broad working definition of the term would characterize transformation as a “period of especially intense and accelerated structural changes on a political, social, economic, and cultural level” that were caused by major political and social upheavals such as the breakdown of the continental empires in 1918, the French Revolution in the late 18th century, or the Reformation. Unlike the social sciences, we wish to broaden the application as far back as to the beginning of modern age. In what way can this concept of transformation be applied to contemporary, modern and early modern contexts? What kind of adjustments of the concept are required for the historicization of transformation?

The following three key aspects will serve as guiding questions throughout the conference:

  • Which preconditions lead to periods of transformation? Which triggers, causes and turning points can be identified?
  • On which levels does transformation occur? How can the complexity of transformation processes be analyzed without being trapped in teleological assumptions?
  • How is transformation perceived and interpreted by internal and external observers? How do transformation discourses influence the process itself?

The conference invites postgraduate and early career researchers in history and related disciplines to submit their papers dealing with this broad concept of transformation on the basis of textual and visual sources from the modern age onward. The proposals should consider and discuss political, social, and cultural dimensions, causes, evolution and perceptions of transformation. In order to enrich the discussion the Graceh organizers have invited Gudrun Gersmann (DHI Paris/Universität Köln) and Christian Gerlach (Universität Bern) as external keynote speakers.

We look forward to receiving submissions on topics including but not limited to the following research areas:
  • Continuity and discontinuity in transformation periods
  • Agents of transformation
  • Transfers and transnational dimensions of transformation
  • Synchronic and diachronic comparative approaches for a history of transformation(s)
  • Historical source material of transformation research
  • Macro- and microhistorical approaches to transformation
  • Legitimizations of transformation such as nation building, independence, liberty, and economical welfare, social movements, social network analysis, gender issues

The main conference language is English.

The conference has no registration fee. We offer logistic help to find good and low budget accommodation near the University of Vienna. A limited part of the travel cost for external participants can be covered on the basis of individual request (if you like to apply for a stipend, please provide documentation about your economic situation).

Please submit your proposal of max. 300 words and your CV by using the application form to You can download the application form on the congress website:

Deadline for submission: January 15, 2012

If your proposal is accepted by the program committee, you are expected to submit a paper (5-10 pages) no later than April 1, 2012. For further information on the GRACEH 2012, please consult the congress website.

Organizing Committee
The GRACEH 2012 program committee: Katharina Ebner, Sandra Hertel, Florian Kührer, Rafael Prehsler, David Pruonto, Marion Romberg, Burkhard Wöller, Prof. Philipp Ther, Prof. Wolfgang Schmale

For further questions, please contact the organizers by e-mail:

Congress website: