Leaving on a Jet Plane: Helping Historians Analyse their Holocaust Controversies

By Merel Boers.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Ideally, interdisciplinary research allows scholars to travel a part of their journey together. They can explore mutual research goals and benefit from the distance travelled by others. But an interdisciplinary exchange goes beyond fact sharing, especially when the disciplines involved employ wholly different methods. So before disciplines can profit from one another, they need to adapt to each others’ mode of travel, i.e. ‘inside knowledge’ of rules and regulations.

My dissertation attempts such an exchange between history and argumentation theory. Historians generally appear to agree on the epistemology of historical fact, their role as scientists, the tools they use. I focus on discussions between historians that disrupt this consensus: historical controversies about the Holocaust. Historians have identified their starkly differing moral views as the stumbling blocks in these controversies. But the way they present and debate their thoughts, prevents them from finding a way around the obstruction. They need to switch to a different mode of travel to escape the gridlock.

Keywords: History, Methodology, Holocaust, Controversy, Argumentation Theory, Pragmadialectic, Moral Views, InterDisciplinary

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 9, pp.225-234. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 657.001KB).

Dr. Merel Boers

PhD student, Department of Speech Communication, Argumentation Theory, and Retoric, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Noord Holland, Netherlands

Merel Boers (Groningen, 1980) is a historian by origin and a philosopher in training. She studied history in Amsterdam and Vienna, with a heavy emphasis on the twentieth century. Her interdisciplinary PhD project (history meets philosophy) tries to pinpoint the reason historians’ debates of the Holocaust often become vehement controversies.

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