Today, more than ever before, attitudes to the past are characterised by an intense striving for historical authenticity. In practical terms this manifests itself, for example, in the value attached to "authentic objects" in museums, collections and archives or to "authentic places" - be they historic buildings, urban architectural ensembles or memorial sites as apparently direct embodiments of history. This desire for historical authenticity and past "reality" goes hand in hand with an attachment to "tradition" and a longing to experience history "first hand". Ultimately, this is all bound up with a desire for things regarded as "genuine", with a wish to reconstruct and preserve the "true" and "original".
The Leibniz Research Alliance Historical Authenticity seeks to explore how contemporary conceptions of authenticity affect the way we deal with our cultural heritage by examining the reconstruction and conservation of historical artefacts, by studying the function of language as a cultural repository and instrument, by tracing the development of school textbooks and maps, and looking at the conception of museums, archives, monuments and memorial sites.
The Leibniz Research Alliance Historical Authenticity is a new form of cooperation and includes historical, educational, social sciences and spatial research institutes as well as research museums. It will take a transdisciplinary and international approach, drawing on the full range of competence and expertise offered by cultural studies and by the social and life sciences at the participating research museums and institutes. Nineteen Leibniz institutes and three external partners are currently involved.
Workshop "Historische Authentizität und Medien"
July 13th to 14th 2017
Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam
Program (Download PDF German)
Gebaute Geschichte. Historische Authentizität im Stadtraum.
Edited by Christoph Bernhardt, Martin Sabrow and Achim Saupe,
Göttingen: Wallstein-Verlag 2017.