In his greetings on the occasion of the 48th German Historians´ Symposium, Klaus Wowereit, the Mayor of Berlin, says that this year`s motto “Beyond Borders” is giving the Symposium a “special Berlin ring” to it. Thus various historical border crossings are expected in the formerly divided city this year. Werner Plumpe´s foreword shows convincingly that borders do not only encompass geographical borders like those between national states.

By Angela Siebold

Methods, theories, latest academic approaches and perspectives of historical science will be the central aspects of this event covering “border regions”, “moving borders”, “borderlines” between academic disciplines, subjects, identities and methods, which will all be discussed and negotiated. Even the aspects of “misunderstandings concerning borders”, semantic border changes and “virtual limits of historical science” will be addressed. “Border-crossing contacts” will be initiated, nationally speaking, as well as disciplinary related.

(Photo: jhuth /

The accompanying students´ section invites participants to discuss the „limits of hospitality” but also gives the possibility to google Hitler or dream of the possibility of flying in the Middle Ages.

Between and after the presentations participants will be able to join guided walking tours or walks beyond the „borders” of Berlin´s city center, maybe strolling to the district of the “Red Wedding” or to “immigrants and locals” of the “global city Kreuzberg”. Various exhibitions may inspire participants to deal with historical and local topics. Special guided tours give access to otherwise closed areas.

This year`s motto of the Symposium informs participants about the current academic discourse: It is not only the current attention, which is focused on the spatial turn in the historical science-community, which makes the motif “Beyond Borders” interesting. At the same time, this motto is quite open as the drawing up of borders itself is a precondition for their definition, positioning and, in that way, for communication. The impressing number of 75 scientific sections should present sufficient topics for discussions “without borders”.

(Übersetzung/Translation: Sylvia Semmet; Redaktion/Editors: MS/CJ)