Since antiquity, the idea of “winners and losers” has been a central component in the interpretation of historical events. Our image of winners and losers has been shaped by competitive scenarios, but historical processes have winners and losers, too. Their actors need not directly interact against one another but emerge as opponents only in the wake of historical research and as a result of historical judgment.
All talk about winners and losers is always dependent on perspective. Assumptions about what “game” is actually being played and the expectations regarding future developments help determine who is considered a winner and a loser.
The historical attribution of victory and defeat, of winning and losing, is pitted against the self-image of the actors. It is only through the perspectives of the affected groups and individuals that we can access and understand the ways in which defeat or loss is experienced and communicated. Discourses of the losers can be a necessary corrective for a historiography that may find it hard to incorporate this perspective, despite its claim to objectivity.
Proposals for Sessions can be handed in until the end of October. Likewise, applications for the PhD-forum can be send in until the end of November. The official program of the 50. German Historikertag will be published in paper and on this webpage in the spring of 2014. Applicants for Sessions and the PhD-forum will be informed in December 2013.