Leibniz Research Alliance
Historical Authenticity

© ZZF/Dominik Juhnke

Our Research Area

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. Eighteen Leibniz institutes and four external partners are currently involved.


Call for Papers and Workshop "Historische Authentizität und Medien"
Entry deadline February 28th, Workshop July 13th to 14th 2017 |
Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam
Call for Papers (German)

Conference "How Long are New Towns New?"
February 23rd to 24th |
Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam

Conference "Authentizität als Kapital historischer Orte"
March 1st to 3rd 2017 |
Dachau Memorial Site
Program (German)



New Publication

"Historische Authentizität",
edited by Martin Sabrow and Achim Saupe,
Göttingen 2016.