The GRACEH (Graduate Conferences in European History) series was launched in 2007 as the collaboration of several European graduate schools in history (Central European University, Budapest; European University Institute, Florence; Berliner Kolleg für Vergleichende Geschichte Europas) and some other institutional partners. Our annual conferences aim at promoting the professional training of young historians through a regular forum of trans-national and inter-generational discussion on some of the most pertinent topics in contemporary historical studies.

By their conception, their underlying principles, their structure and many other features, the partner institutions, CEU, EUI and BKVGE are conceived as trendsetters in European historical studies. All three departments actively participate in recent historiographical and theoretical debates, apply in their teaching a rich plurality of views, and aim to surmount national perspectives on history, to place national historiographies in a distinct European perspective and to integrate them in a broader methodological and thematic context. Developing professional ties among these established centres with an outlook on the social sciences and the humanities will encourage a new type of academic socialization for young scholars from the “old” and the “new” Europe and beyond.

After having had a series of successful bilateral conferences, the three research centres decided to start a new project, based on mutual collaboration, but also the involvement of a much wider audience than only their own students: the Graduate Conferences in European History.* The initiative of GRACEH is envisaged as a ‘bottom-up’ scheme (encouraged and receiving support from established senior researchers in the field), which involve different generations of Ph.D. students working together and transmitting their organizing experience to their peers. Doctoral students from the organizing institutions have formed a steering committee, and while relying on advice from interested faculty members (an “advisory board”), they possess control of and responsibility for the initiative. Naturally, the membership in the steering committee and the organizing tasks are passed down from one generation of students to another, and this practice trains them to be able to build state of the art research on networking, and at the same time link persons, ideas, methods, and approaches.

The committee has defined theoretically and methodologically pertinent topics capable of accommodating a broad chronological span but facilitating a dialogue of scholars working in disparate fields. Two reviewed international historical journals of high regard, European Review of History/Revue européenne d’histoire (ERH) and East Central Europe/L’Europe du Centre-Est. Eine wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift (ECE) showed an interest as partners for the publication of the best results of the conferences. As of today, three highly successful conferences have taken place (2007, Budapest: “New Histories of Politics”; 2008, Berlin: “Ruptures and Continuities in Modern European History”; 2009, Florence: “Migration and Movement in European History”), with the participation of about 40-50 junior scholars (over half of them from outside the organizing institutions, coming from Europe, Asia and North America) and several outstanding established historians of the respective fields each time. The fourth conference, on “Biography and Identity: Dilemmas and Opportunities” will be hosted again at CEU, on 6-9 May 2010.

The organizers of the GRACEH series are pleased to acknowledge the support they have received over the years from the organizing institutions as well as Collegium Budapest / Institute for Advanced Studies, the Gerda Henkel Stifung and the Hertie Stiftung.

* Because of the peculiarities of the German academic funding system, the BKVGE has been discontinued in 2009, thus the institutional-organizational background is now confined to the CEU and the EUI.

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