During the twentieth century, traditional concepts of objectivity and narratives of Western exceptionalism have been forcefully challenged. Does that mean that our relationship with the past and the content and purpose of history are now less self-evident than before? Which historical problems appear most urgent for contemporary societies to explore critically? What and how do historians in an age intensely aware of global interconnections teach in universities, and do their interests productively inform school curricula? Following a year of intense debate on history teaching in schools, the panel will discuss the controversies over current visions of the discipline.
Christopher Clark's research interests are centred on the history of nineteenth-century Germany and continental Europe. His early work focused on the political and cultural history of religion. His first book was a study of the relationship between Christians and the Jewish minority in Prussia between 1728 and 1941; here he explored the ways in which contemporary understandings of Christianity shaped successive mutations of the 'Jewish Question'. Since then he has published various articles and essays on related subjects - some of them examine the trouble that results when the state authority takes the initiative in religious questions, others look at the ways in which questions of religious allegiance were implicated in processes of political and cultural change. In 2004 he co-edited, with Wolfram Kaiser of the University of Portsmouth, an edited volume about the 'culture war' between Catholic and secular social forces that polarised so many European states in the years 1850-1890. In the meanwhile, he has published a study of Kaiser Wilhelm II (2000) for the Longmans/Pearson series Profiles in Power and completed a general history of Prussia for Penguin, due out in spring 2006. He is currently working on a study of political change across Europe in the aftermath of the 1848 revolutions.