The Institute of History of Present time
The Institute of History of Present time (research unit 301 of the CNRS, the French National Center for Scientific Research) was founded in 1978 and inaugurated in 1980. Heir to the discipline as it developed in the immediate post war era, the creation of the IHTP responds foremost to the recent renewal of contemporary history research.
After having largely contributed to the study of very recent French history, the IHTP is now engaged in a trend towards Europeanization of research in contemporary history, promoting a distanced view on societies from a transnational perspective of the past which the IHTP refers to as "shared history".
Collective and individual research is focused on three broad themes and one epistemological orientation.
Theme 1 - Traces, events, war and violence
This first axis follows the evolution of the history and memory of the dramatic events that took place in the XXth century. Political regimes and the extensive fighting surrounding colonization and decolonization are also examined.
Theme 2 - Birth and mutation of "wellbeing societies" in the XXth and XXIst century
This theme addresses problems raised by entering an era of mass culture, by growth and by the
consumer society. Research questions the link between history and headlines and leads to a discussion over what motivates historical research.
Theme 3 - Justice, politics and society
In the legal sphere as in the sphere of politics, the question of ethics is raised, in particular during times of struggle when ethics plays an important role in the collective memory of societies. Research is focused on transitional periods and legal issues that arise with during such periods.
Theme 4 - Epistemology and writing the history of Present time
The goal of this transversal axis is to renew the link between epistemological research and historical analysis. Furthermore, this approach underlines a committment to bring teaching closer to current research.
The IHTP is run by a score of permanent members (« équipe ») who are associated with over thirty scholars and professors from French Universities as well as a growing number of French and foreign doctoral students, professors and scholars from around the world.
The IHTP works in collaboration with several doctoral schools from the Universities of Paris I - Pantheon Sorbonne, Paris VII - Denis Diderot (Jussieu), Paris 8 Saint-Denis, Paris 10 Nanterre, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), the École Normale Supérieure of Cachan (ENS Cachan) and others. This collaboration allows to connect research and teaching in a number of working groups. Several IHTP seminars are therefore teaching and research seminars within the French Research Master Degree framework ("Diplome d’Études Approfondies"). Moreover, the majority of IHTP scholars and associated scholars also teach in higher education establishments. In addition, doctoral students may work directly with the IHTP, in particular doctoral students who are preparing their thesis under the guidance of an IHTP scholar or associated scholar as well as foreign doctoral students who have been granted a scholarship (CNRS scholarship or other).
The IHTP also runs a network of around fifty correspondents working all over France.
The IHTP is the siege of an international organization : the International Committee of History of the Second World War (« Comité international d’histoire de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale ») (CIH2GM), affiliated with the international Committee of Historical Sciences (CISH), and is member of several European research networks.
The IHTP library (« Bibliothèque ») is open to the public. The library is mainly specialized on the history of the Second World war and the period after 1945, with approximately 25 000 books ; over one thousand periodicals dating from the Thirties and Forties as well as current periodicals (covering French and foreign history, sociology, political science, anthropology, etc.) ; and many small private archives on the Second World War, the Algerian War, the Sixties.
The IHTP publishes a semi-annual Bulletin (available on the website as well as in print). The IHTP has its own book collection (« Histoire du temps présent ») with Éditions Complexe (Brussels/Paris).
The ambition of the IHTP is to be a center of historiographic innovation and a bridge between academia and research, between research and students from various countries and disciplines, but also to reach a larger audience of witnesses and actors of the XXth century.
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