Understanding and overcoming conflict Abstracts Section V – Digital approaches in the context of peacebuilding and history teaching

Die letzte Sektion thematisiert den Faktor der digitalen Zugänge im Kontext des peacebuilding mit Blick auf Social Media, digitale Editionen und Games.

The last section covers the factor of digital approaches in representing and building peace by looking at social media, digital editions and games.

Chair: Dorothée Goetze

Jonas Bechtold, 9.00 am – 9.45 am
A web of peace ? Digital dissemination of historical peacebuilding processes in social media
Famous multilateral historical peace building processes, such as the Paris Peace Conferences in 1919, the Congress of Vienna in 1815 or the Westphalian Peace in 1648, have developed decisive narratives on how a specific peace treaty affected the identity and history of a country, a region, a culture or a nation.

The reception of the Westphalian Peace, for example, by the multitude of stakeholders involved, has formed diverging stereotypes in different nations of today’s Europe on what this peace was meant to be (European Idea, tolerance, independencies of state entities, foundation of international law etc.). These stereotypes of a peace are being communicated in popular publications (media, books etc.), performances (jubilees, feasts etc.) as well as in ephemeral statements, such as Social Media content – a daily way of sharing and receiving information.

By approaching Social Media platforms as source funds for historical research, this paper enquires the stereotyping of the Westphalian Peace, its genesis and its actors in Social Media content. Do pre-Social Media master narratives of the Westphalian Peace continue to be produced and spread in Web 2.0? This analysis on Westphalian peace stereotypes in various European languages will take a close look at the understanding of the peace of 1648 in Social Media and in what contexts it is being functionalized, framed and valued. It therefore offers results on both the educational output of Social Media and the durability or dynamics of peace stereotypes in a digitalized society.


Sandra Müller, 9.45 am – 10.30 am
History lessons on YouTube? Conflicts and national narratives in online explanatory and educational videos
Video formats, such as explanatory videos, have an increasing impact on historical learning. Recent studies show that students often consider these formats as educational and sometimes even better than their lessons at school. Besides students using those videos in after school learning and exam preparations, there are tendencies towards teachers implementing explanatory videos in their lessons. However, these tendencies are suggested by the comments below the videos, not by empirical studies. The comment section says a lot about why people watch those videos, how they perceive them, which aspects they focus on and what they presume about history.

Bringing together this new genre of educational media and the topic of peacebuilding, the main question one has to ask is: To what extent do educational/explanatory videos hinder or facilitate peacebuilding?

In order to answer this question, the two biggest German YouTube channels with explanatory videos about historical topics will be analyzed using qualitative data analysis. The analysis will take the structure of the channels as well as the content of the videos and the comment section into account. By looking at these three aspects the chances and risks of explanatory videos for peacebuilding shall be deconstructed.


Lena Oetzel, 11.00 am – 11.45 am
Digitized Peace. The potential of digital editions of peace treaties as a tool for historical learning
The current global political situation has led to an increased interest of historians in peace, peace-making and peace-building. With regard to the early modern period for example we can draw – at least in parts – on an excellently accessible source base. With the “APW digital” the papers of the Westphalian Peace Congress – including the peace treaties – are available as an online edition. Moreover, the project “European Peace Treaties of the Pre-Modern Era Online” (“Europäische Friedensverträge der Vormoderne online”) provides 1800 early modern bilateral and multilateral peace treaties open access. These are just two very prominent examples for how source material on peace-(making) is made accessible online.

In a first step, this paper wants to give an overview on these projects: Which sources – and thus which peace processes – are available online? In a second step, I will look how the material was prepared. Which additional information are provided? This leads to the final question: In how far can a wider, non-academic audience use these online editions in order to learn about historical peace processes?


Nico Nolden, 11.45 am – 12.30 pm
Playing around with history. The staging of international conflicts in digital games, intercultural exchange among players, and lessons for education
A very significant proportion of digital games are concerned with history. Various forms of games create historical and contemporary spaces for action, in which gamers balance contradictory systems and resolve conflicts. Regarding content, they often focus on cultural and international conflicts. The lecture will use research concepts from public history to show, using a few examples, how these spaces for action shape such conflicts and what options players have to solve conflicts in them. It thus approaches the question of the extent to which players only practice, or perhaps rather exercise, methods of conflict resolution.


+++ The conference has been cancelled due to the unforeseeable spread of Coronavirus +++

Zitierweise / How to cite:
Peter Geiss, Michael Rohrschneider: Abstracts Section V – Digital approaches in the context of peacebuilding and history teaching , 16.03.2020, in: Histrhen. Rheinische Geschichte wissenschaftlich bloggen, http://histrhen.landesgeschichte.eu/2020/03/peaceteachingbonn-section-five/


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