Kategoriarkiv: Okategoriserade

När blev alla ”forskare”?

När jag började min forskarkarriär fanns det en outtalad kodex som menade att forskare kunde man kalla sig när man beviljats doktorsgraden. Fram tills dess var man bara doktorand. Så var ryktet då. Om det stämde vet jag inte, men jag följde det, jag kallade mig för doktorand, inte forskare. Idag är det annorlunda. Jag är doktor och alla ”forskar”. Det räcker i princip med ha att slagit in ett sökord i Google för att vem som helst kan säga att ”jag har forskat lite i ämnet”. Därmed är det inte bara doktorer som är forskare, vem som helst som kan läsa kan påstå att den ”forskar”. Och det här är inte helt ofarligt. Det är högst problematiskt. Läs mer

Civis Academiae – om oss vid universitetet

Det har funnits en benägenhet att beteckna mig som kund som erhåller service av förvaltningen och de administrativa enheterna. Dessa serviceproducenter tillhandahåller en rad tjänster som de tillhandahåller mig så att jag skall kunna utföra mitt förvärv. Må så vara när jag går till banken eller butiken. Jag går in i affären eller kaféet, väljer och vrakar bland produkterna som erbjuds, förväntar mig betjäning eller så utgår jag ifrån att den för länge sedan rationaliserats bort och självservering gäller. Jag är konsumenten av de tjänster och varor som står tillhands, jag får upplevelser och i bästa fall är jag nöjd, andra tider missnöjd och klagar högljutt. Läs mer

Samtidighetens parallellitet och möjliga enhet

Föreställ dig att du går över ett torg. Emot dig kommer en annan människa. Vi finns samtidigt på torget och under det ögonblick som vi möts kanske vi stannar upp och blickar den andre i ögonen. Vi fortsätter åt var sitt håll, mötet kanske varade inte längre än en sekund. Samtidigheten är obruten, vi finns parallellt i samma rum, på samma torg. Vi registrerar kanske vårt möte samtidigt men bryter inte tystnaden som finns, stannar inte upp. Läs mer

Hybriditet, Guldkusten och euroafrikaner i sekelskiftet 1800–1900

Brittiska Guldkustens euroafrikaner är intressanta studieobjekt då man vill lokalisera det globala i det lokala. Deras historia hör också till en bortglömd historia eftersom den nationella historieskrivningen har fokuserat på Ghanas självständighet och velat glömma den koloniala tiden. Anmärkningsvärt är att euroafrikanerna under kritiska perioder i Guldkustens historia var etablerade politiska aktörer med interkontinentala nätverk och kunskap som de satte i rörelse på hemmafronten. Läs mer

Om att leda seminarier och stöda studenter

Vi kan ha olika uppfattningar om vad som är universitetsstudiernas kärna. För en del är det inhämtandet av ny kunskap i form av olika delmoment, för andra att behandla den inhämtade kunskapen så att studenten i slutändan kan skriva en avhandling.

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Statyer och historiepolitik i Ryssland

av Sune Jungar

Historiska statyer och minnesmärken kan vara symboliskt laddade med många betydelser. Under de senaste veckorna har vi läst om huru en minnesplatta över Mannerheim i St. Petersburg gett upphov till motstridiga reaktioner. Efter att den varit utsatt för vandalism beslöt de som satt upp den, d.v.s. kretsar nära den ryska regimen, att avlägsna den.

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Den digitala revolutionen

När Finland för dryga 100 år sedan blev självständigt så var det inte klart hur den nya staten skulle formas. Under den första tiden av vår självständighet utbyttes regeringarna flitigt, men det som såg ut som ett otyglat kaos lades grunden för det demokratiska Finland. Det gjordes stora reformer inom jord- och skogsbruket. Torparlagen förändrade det gamla Finland och i det stora hela fick Finland ett ekonomiskt uppsving där bruttonationalprodukten växte med fem procent per år. Sen kom kriget. Läs mer

Brexit and Broken Britain

An EU official hangs the Union Jack next to the European Union flag at the VIP entrance at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. British Prime Minister David Cameron is visiting EU leaders two days ahead of a crucial EU summit. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

An EU official hangs the Union Jack next to the European Union flag at the VIP entrance at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. British Prime Minister David Cameron is visiting EU leaders two days ahead of a crucial EU summit. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

”Historikerbloggen” publish a contribution on Brexit, authored by Norry LaPorte, historian and Reader in Modern European History at the University of South Wales. In the blog, LaPorte gives us his own view and interpretation on the context and the consequences Brexit will have on Great Britain once the result of the referendum became evident on the morning of Friday 24 June. LaPorte’s research focus primarily on Europe’s radical history during the twentieth century, and he has published numerous articles and books on this topic, e.g. on the German Communist Party and one of its leading figures Ernst Thälmann; the Communist International and the implications of Bolshevization and Stalinization on the international communist movement between the wars.   

”Historikerbloggen” publicerar ett bidrag om Brexit författad av Norry LaPorte, historiker verksam vid University of South Wales. I bloggen ger LaPorte sin syn på Brexit och dess konsekvenser för Storbritannien efter att resultatet av omröstningen stod klart på morgonen fredagen den 24 juni. LaPortes forskning fokuserar primärt på Europas radikala historia under 1900-talet, och han har publicerat artiklar och böcker om det tyska kommunistpartiet och en av dess ledargestalter Ernst Thälmann; den Kommunistiska internationalen och hur ”världspartiet” påverkades av bolsjevisering och stalinisering under mellankrigstiden.

Norry LaPorte,

Reader in Modern European History at the University of South Wales,

6 July 2016 (with thanks to Jane Finucane)

In the aftermath of the vote to leave the European Union, a widely viewed satirical video appeared on Youtube. A scene in the German film ‘Downfall’ carried spoof subtitles in which Hitler lambasted the Nazi leaders around him in the bunker: ‘You were not supposed to actually win’! To those who had vehemently opposed Brexit, there seemed to be more than a grain of truth in this. Before Michael Gove and Boris Johnson acrimoniously parted company – in the words of Scottish Nationalist Party leader at Westminster, Alex Salmond – they looked like they wanted to cry at their ‘victory’ press conference. At least Johnson seemed to realise why this would be a pyrrhic victory. As mayor of London, he knew that the City and its financial services risked sinking beneath the waves if it stayed on board Gove’s good ship Britannia, together with close to 50 percent of British exports.

For all its complexity, the campaign leading up to the ‘Leave’ vote in the referendum of 23 June was reduced to two messages: immigration (bad) and the economy (bad if we leave). So why did ‘Leave’ win as it risked making voters poorer? And why did ‘Remain’ lose when referenda usually opt for the least risky option, not least economically – as happened in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence? One reason is that the ‘Remain’ campaign failed even to engage with the wider European project as a means to bring peace and prosperity to post-1945 Europe. Their only clear and consistent message was that you’ll have to pay the cost of leaving EU.

What caught the voters’ imagination – and secured their support – was a cross-class alliance held together by what we can term ‘project Britannia’: a denial of post-imperial decline after 1945, which has been tied to a very Conservative political project. A political discourse already so infused by references to the Second World War went into overdrive. In its referendum special issue the neo-conservative monthly Standpoint called the campaign the ‘Battle for Brexit’ in which ‘we’ were again standing up to the threat from Europe and the EU’s failed project of preventing ‘German domination’.

Great Britain Divided

Great Britain Divided

For 52% of the electorate, the message was seductive. Usual political alliances were thrown in the air as those traditional Labour voters living in post-industrial parts of England and Wales who have suffered from the impact of Chancellor George Osborne’s austerity policies stood on the same side of the debate as more affluent core Conservative voters in rural England. Both groups appear to have believed that ‘immigrants’ were the problem, even if there was not a foreign accent to hear for miles in most of the countryside. A discourse of xenophobia was spewed out by the tabloid press, which hammered out the ‘Leave’ campaign’s simplistic message: ‘take back control’. After decades of hostility to the EU, this large and influential section of the media called for ending the influx of migrant workers (who in reality have contributed significantly to the economy) and ending the so-called Diktat imposed from Brussels – it is only Europe, if you subscribe to this worldview, that does dictatorship, not the ‘mother of democracy’.

Yet, it became clear that the Brexiteers really did not have any plan for a future outside the EU, and social divisions and political discord defined post-referendum Britain. Prime Minister David Cameron resigned and the Tory government became a caretaker government. The opposition Labour Party fell into a civil war between the parliamentary party and the left-wing, Jeremy Corbyn supporting membership. The 48% who voted ‘Remain’ felt totally disenfranchised. The Brexiteers were dividing into ‘fundamentalist’ (no compromise on immigration) and ‘realist’ (a compromise on immigration to secure access to the EU’s single market) camps. In Scotland, the governing SNP reopened issues of Scottish independence as this part of multinational Britain voted 62% to 38% for ‘Remain’. Northern Ireland too voted ‘Remain’, which now risks all the achievement of the peace process encapsulated in the ‘Good Friday Agreement (1998). Will there really be a hard border dividing Ireland and risking a return to the troubles? According to the hard-line Gove, Westminster should never have appeased ‘Irish nationalism’ in the first place – after all, in his view, if you yield to one ‘demand’ what comes next?

So what did the potent slogan ‘take back control’ mean? Here there is something uniting two of the main candidates in the Tory leadership contest, Gove and Theresa May, beyond the focus on immigrant on ‘borders’ in a globalised world, which has led to a surge in hate crime as recorded by the police. They are enthused by the prospect of repealing the ‘Human Rights Act’ and the intervention of ‘foreign’ judges in the ‘European Court of Rights’ and European labour and working legislation has also been deemed unwelcome in deregulated, free-market Britain.

Is there a way back to the ‘imagined community’ trumped in the tabloid press and the Daily Telegraph when Britain ruled the waves, could stand alone and trade with the wider world? No. All great powers rise and fall, and this vote will only accelerate decline – from multinational state into a ‘Little England’ with Scotland, and perhaps even a re-united Ireland, returning to their common European home.

What, if anything, is the lesson from history in these uncharted waters? One point is to beware myths of national renewal which are exploited by right-wing populists and more readily believed by sections of society in troubled times. 1940 is not 2016 and fixating on Hitler’s ‘Downfall’ not only tells us about British humour but also about how nationalist myths defined against foreign ‘others’ and past battles obscure a positive vision of the future and ‘our’ place in it. The empire is gone and the war long over. Can’t we adopt another myth of Britishness: being a fair, open and hospitable people? It would be much better than Tory leadership hopefuls debating whether Europeans can remain in the UK.