The GRACEH (Graduate Conferences in European History) series was launched in 2007 as the collaboration of several European graduate schools in history (Central European University, Budapest; European University Institute, Florence; Berliner Kolleg für Vergleichende Geschichte Europas, Berlin) and some other institutional partners. In 2010 the University of Vienna (Universität Wien, Historisch-kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät) joined the board of GRACEH organizing institutions. Our annual conferences aim at promoting the professional training of young historians through a regular forum of trans-national and inter-generational discussion on some of the most pertinent topics in contemporary historical studies.
By their conception, their underlying principles, their structure and many other features, the partner institutions are conceived as trendsetters in European historical studies. All three departments actively participate in recent historiographical and theoretical debates, apply in their teaching a rich plurality of views, and aim to surmount national perspectives on history, to place national historiographies in a distinct European perspective and to integrate them in a broader methodological and thematic context. Developing professional ties among these established centres with an outlook on the social sciences and the humanities will encourage a new type of academic socialization for young scholars from the “old” and the “new” Europe and beyond.
After having had a series of successful bilateral conferences, the three research centres decided to start a new project, based on mutual collaboration, but also the involvement of a much wider audience than only their own students: the Graduate Conferences in European History. The initiative of GRACEH is envisaged as a ‘bottom-up’ scheme (encouraged by and receiving support from established senior researchers in the field), which involve different generations of PhD students working together and transmitting their organizing experience to their peers. Doctoral students from the organizing institutions have formed a steering committee, and while relying on advice from interested faculty members (an “advisory board”), they possess control of and responsibility for the initiative. Naturally, the membership in the steering committee and the organizing tasks are passed down from one generation of students to another, and this practice trains them to be able to build state of the art research and at the same time link persons, ideas, methods, and approaches.
The committee has defined theoretically and methodologically pertinent topics capable of accommodating a broad chronological span but facilitating a dialogue of scholars working in disparate fields. As of today, six highly successful conferences have taken place, with the participation of about 40-50 junior scholars (over half of them from outside the organizing institutions, coming from Europe, Asia and North America) and several outstanding established historians of the respective fields each time.
The 7th conference, entitled “Historians in Space” will be hosted at Central European University in Budapest on April 25–27, 2013.
GRACEH 2013 Advisory Board:
Nadia Al-Bagdadi, Head of the CEU Department of History and of the School of Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies, EC member of the Religious Studies Program
László Kontler, Professor at the CEU Department of History , Pro-Rector for Hungarian and EU Affairs.
GRACEH 2013 Organizers:
- 2007, Budapest: “New Histories of Politics”
- 2008, Berlin: “Ruptures and Continuities in Modern European History”
- 2009, Florence: “Migration and Movement in European History”
- 2010, Budapest: “Biography and Identity: Dilemmas and Opportunities”
- 2011, Florence: “Transfers and demarcations”
- 2012, Vienna: “Transformation in European history. Preconditions – Processes – Perceptions”
 Because of the peculiarities of the German academic funding system, the BKVGE has been discontinued in 2009, and its place among the organizing members was taken by the University of Vienna.