The Rise of Comparative History
This book—the first of a three-volume overview of comparative and transnational historiography in Europe—focuses on the complex engagement of various comparative methodological approaches with different transnational and supranational frameworks. It considers scales from universal history to meso-regional (i.e. Balkans, Central Europe, etc.) perspectives. In the form of a reader, it displays 18 historical studies written between 1900 and 1943. The collection starts with the French and German methodological discussions around the turn of the twentieth century, stemming from the effort to integrate history with other emerging social sciences on a comparative methodological basis. The volume then turns to the question of structural and institutional comparisons, revisiting various historiographical ventures that tried to sketch out a broader (regional or European-level) interpretative framework to assess the legal systems, patterns of agrarian production, and the common ethnographic and sociocultural features.
In the third part, a number of texts are presented, which put forward a supra-national research framework as an antidote to national exclusivism. While in Western Europe the most obvious such framework was pan-European, in East Central Europe the agenda of comparison was linked usually to a meso-regional framework.
The studies are accompanied by short contextual introductions including biographical information on the respective authors.
About the Authors
Balázs Trencsényi is a Professor at the History Department of Central European University.
Constantin Iordachi is a Professor at the History Department of Central European University and President of the International Association for Comparative Fascist Studies.
Péter Apor is permanent research fellow at the Institute of History, Humanities Research Center, Budapest.
"Because of its manifold internal and external entanglements, the comparative history of East Central Europe presents a particularly fiendish challenge for historians. The strong analytical and methodological bent of this volume will make it an insightful read not only for specialists of this region, but for all those interested in exploring the benefits and pitfalls of comparative history."—Stefan Berger
"This volume's introduction is a masterful history of comparative history that should be required reading on the subject. Selected readings are in three sections. The first introduces the reader to the canonical West European scholars and works before and after the First World War. The other two introduce their East Central European contemporaries. Focusing on their divided region, their discipline paid greater attention to comparative history. Their debates on institutional structure reveal a growing distinction between Eastern and Western Europe replacing the earlier North-South division. Then we see interwar scholars already searching for a transnational framework to overcome the divisive national narratives stirred again by the wars of Yugoslavia's dissolution."—John R. Lampe