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Working group

MEMH - Working Group on Methods in Early Modern History

The working group "Methods in Early Modern History" tackles methodological challenges in studying history, embracing interdisciplinary approaches and questioning fixed periodisation. Activities include reading, seminars, and discussions to foster active engagement among researchers.

Our working group brings together early modernists in their shared obstacles to discuss methods, methodologies and approaches to sources and topics. Due to a lack of materials enabling us to study new emerging processes (both global and local) in full scale, early modern history is – in most cases – an interdisciplinary working challenge. This often demands creativity in the identification and interpretation of ‘our’ material. There is also a need to examine the relevance of arbitrary historical periodization leading to fixed time frames and the names we label them, such as the ‘early modern’ period itself. Concerning historiography, historical contexts in which we build up our narratives are much more localized in time and space during the early modern period.

The aim of this working group is to face such issues of methods and “how to” questions through a wide set of activities, ranging from reading classical and newest publications to seminars with established early modern scholars, and to round-table discussions on our respective research, methodological approaches and concerns. The Working Group also aims to organise auxiliary sciences of history training sessions (among others, palaeographic workshops) and seminars, thus providing a forum in which early modernist researchers can discuss a wide variety of methods actively employed in today’s early modern history writing.

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