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Experience, Judgement, and Representation of World War II in an Age of Globalization (JUDGINGHISTORIES)
Start date: Jun 1, 2014, End date: May 31, 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

“JudgingHistories” sets out to examine the epistemic premises innate to universalizing historical experience, by scrutinizing the quest for historical understanding and moral judgment against the backdrop of an emerging global cultural environment, fraught with multiple recollections, while using memories of World War II as the empirical core of the study. The pivotal constellation of research emerges by interfacing a horizontal (West-East) alignment traditionally significant for continental European history with a vertically oriented alignment (North-South) that sheds a colonial and post-colonial perspective on World War II. This constellation tends to lead a posteriori to a realm of conflicting, morally permeated discourses of comparison and analogy, revealing the Holocaust to function as the central event of continental narration, on the one hand, while genocidal atrocities highlight the colonial or post-colonial comprehension, perception and narration, on the other. Methodologically, and in order to offer a fresh and innovative view of the emergence of the specifics of knowledge and meaning in the domain of historical understanding in a globalizing world, while placing the signifying event of the Nazis’ systematic annihilation of the Jews at the heart of the question of universal historical judgment, the project proceeds from the colonial periphery of events, however. This “peripheral”, colonial perspective will in a further seemingly paradoxical turn find itself extended into continental European affairs where it functions to help us comprehend the multiplicity of experiences and the diversity of attendant memories unfolding there. Such a research perspective may epistemologically enable us to reconstruct a universally convincing and valid understanding of a foundational event in European and global history, namely the recollection of World War II, and thus render possible common judgment while re-determining the meaning of “History”.

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