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INTRODUCTION

The Southeast European History Network (SEEHN) is designed as an ongoing system of communications aimed to strengthen intraregional academic exchange in the field of history research and teaching and to support the professional development of young scholars. Its primary aim is thus to facilitate cooperation among young historians from the region by initiating debate on history as a discipline of study and research at universities in Southeastern Europe. Participants scrutinize dominant ideas and myths concerning the definitions of national identity and culture in individual countries and the regions as a whole. Further aims include improving teaching methodology and the interpretation of sources at universities. In SEEHN junior historians can share their experiences in using regional sources in their research and can collaborate to develop active teaching methods that assist students in their research encourage them to assess primary sources critically.

Needs statement

The network is an attempt to fill the gaps in scholarly communication, which has existed in academia in Southeastern Europe since the fall of communism. Universities no longer have the resources or the institutional infrastructure to foster networks of scholars. Examples of international cooperation are often limited to a few universities and individuals, leaving young scholars with little opportunity to network with colleagues in neighbouring countries concerning developments in their discipline. Although a number of bilateral partnerships and collaborative projects have been established with universities in the West, less attention has been paid to rebuilding local networks. SEEHN addresses this need in the most practical form, by bringing together scholars from different countries of the region and providing them with a venue for academic discussion and professional development.

The main objectives of the network are:

  • to facilitate the development of an ongoing intraregional network and exchange of information, methodologies and resources;
  • to initiating joint research projects, teaching materials development involving academics from Southeast European countries, including Turkey and Greece;
  • to discuss the specific issues and progress of history teaching, as well as curriculum development at universities in Southeastern Europe, and to coordinate future efforts relying on successful experiences;
  • to share research findings about the use of sources and their importance in rewriting national histories;
  • to discuss active teaching methods, which encourage students to approach sources critically;
  • to facilitate interaction between junior and senior Southeast European scholars, as well as between historians from Southeastern and Western Europe;
  • to facilitate knowledge of, and access to, historical sources relevant to an understanding of the region including:

-terminology, definitions, and ideological usage of geographical terms
-borders of and within Southeastern Europe in the framework of national identity-building and reinterpretations of regional history
-reasons for and consequences of changing borders, changing concepts of the area, and changing cultural influences
-the history of connections to Europe and between countries in Southeastern Europe in contrast to dominant myths
-historical sources relevant to the region to be analysed in a supranational context
-interconnections between the histories and cultures of countries in Southeastern Europe

  • to compare approaches to national history in various countries and share research findings about the use and interpretations of sources, taking into account their role in rewriting national histories;
  • to channel the implementation of the results of discussions on specific issues of history teaching and curriculum development at Southeastern European universities; and
  • to collect national data to be compared in regional meetings and used for cross-border research projects.
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