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Contributions to Theory and Comparative History of Historiography

German and Brazilian Perspectives

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Edited By Luiz Estevam de Oliveira Fernandes, Luísa Rauter Pereira and Sérgio da Mata

This book bears witness to the tightening of bonds that has been taking place among the Brazilian and the German historiographical communities in the last years. It presents a wide array of historiographical issues by various scholars: the role played by history writing in modern processes of nation-building, Alexander von Humboldt’s indirect Brazilian experience, the humanistic and methodical legacies of 19 th century German historical thinking, current perspectives in the history of concepts, and the potentials and limits of history as a means for political education.
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What is Conceptual History and to What End Do We Use It?

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In 1789, Friedrich Schiller held his famous inaugural lecture, „Was heißt und zu welchem Ende studiert man Universalgeschichte?“ (What’s the meaning of universal history and to which end does one study it?) This lecture can be seen as being typical of the last third of the 18th century because Schiller outlined a philosophical view of history that highlights the progress of the human race as regards culture, humanity, and freedom. Moreover, it is itself meant to promote progress. In our time, such progressive philosophies are by no means typical. On the contrary, this way of thinking and literary genre is almost extinct. Instead, it is distinguished by various forms of political history, social history, cultural or intellectual history and, as a branch of the latter, history of concepts or conceptual history (Begriffsgeschichte).3 In these fields, several large dictionaries, at least since the 1970s in Germany, have been published, which are now used permanently in the field of humanities. For philosophy, the Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie is available (13 volumes), for the study of history, the handbook Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe) (8 volumes), for the literary history, Reallexikon der deutschen Literaturwissenschaft (3 volumes), for aesthetics and fine arts, Ästhetische Grundbegriffe (7 volumes). Other major projects of this type have not yet been completed, like the Handbuch politisch-sozialer Grundbegriffe in Frankreich 1680-1820 and within musicology the dictionary Handwörterbuch der musikalischen Terminologie. Meanwhile, even a historical dictionary of biology was published (Historisches Wörterbuch der Biologie, 3 volumes)...

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