LBI for European History and Public Spheres

How should contemporary history of Europe be researched and written?

Can we still rely on the well-known national narratives of past generations in order to understand present-day Europe and its place in a globalized world?

These are only two among the leading questions motivating the activities of the LBI for European History and Public Spheres (LBI EHP). It aims at contributing to a multi-perspective and transnational historiography of Europe based on empirical, source based, and interdisciplinary research projects.

Since January 2009, the institute is directed by Professor Dr. Thomas Lindenberger. It was founded in 2005 by its first director, Prof. Dr. Oliver Rathkolb, and the Vienna based Democracy Centre, as well as several international partners [see archive]. Meanwhile, the institute is based on a contractual cooperation between the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft,  Malmö University (Sweden), J. Selye University Komárno (Slovakia) and BabeĊŸ-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca (Romania). Further partners of close informal cooperation include the ZZF (Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung) Potsdam and the SOI (Südost-Institut) in Regensburg.

Research Programme

In the two decades since the end of the Cold War and the overcoming of Europe's division, there has been a growing interest in developing new ways to research and represent contemporary European history. The institute’s programme is predicated on the premise that a teleological and often uncritical approach identifying “European History” with the history of the EU and its institutionalisation should be avoided. Within research projects, priority is given to concrete settings of agents on the micro- and meso-level (bottom-up perspective) over studying abstract or impersonal structures on the macro-level (top-down perspective).

LBI EHP's main fields of research include:

Communist and Post-Communist Times in Central Europe

Migration and Memory

European Cold War Cultures: Media and Memory before and after 1989