The first two issues of the journal Documents from 1929 and 1930 can be seen side by side cropped, the image is black and white.
03 Jul 2024 – 05 Jul 2024

Dokumentarische Evidenz – Zu einem besonderen Genre sprachlicher und praxeologischer Vergangenheitserkenntnis

Venue: Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Ilse-Zimmermann-Saal, Pariser Str. 1, 10719 Berlin
Organized by Nicolas Berg (DI), Barbara Picht (ZfL)
Contact: Barbara Picht

Workshop organized by the Lab 1.1 “Language, Performance and Lifeworlds” of the Leibniz Research Alliance Value of the Past

All narratives of the past—be they scientific or not—feature the historical document or the documentary principle as a key factor of the intended evidence. In everyday language, documents and the documentary are attributed great authority; in epistemic reflections they are assigned high priority. be it in the form of a written document, a photograph, or historic film footage, the document becomes testament to or even proof of facticity and authenticity. It claims special significance and articulates a generally binding principle as if it were the guarantor of the truth of its own historical narrative.

Documentations are a genre in their own right, they should be viewed accordingly. Documentarism formulates its interests and aims through a number of factors, i.e., by distinguishing texts from other texts and using quotation marks to mark them as quotations, or by commenting on images or film footage in a way that transforms them from illustrations into an arguments. However, even documentarism requires narrativity while simultaneously co-creating it, working ahead of it, and directing it in a certain way. It thus prepares the credibility of statements which are then transferred to para- and metatexts. From this perspective, all documents are involved in both text and metatext. They keep their distance to the common text while simultaneously being closely intertwined with it.

What’s more, the documentary principle appears as a manifestation of practices, i.e., in the reenactment of historical and mythical pasts, in costumes, stagings, and literal “embodiments.” Here, it is not only the supposedly original practices of the documented individuals that leave their indexical traces with the document, but also the operative handling of documents in other situations and practical contexts: the documentations and the handling of documents (archiving, analysis, edition, publishing) are subject to changes through practices over time. Maybe counterintuitively, the specific perspective on documents as manageable, traceable, and transformed media of knowledge makes them appear as fluid, dynamic, but also as social, cultural, potentially political, and legally negotiated or yet-to-be negotiated “practical objects.”

For research interested in the value of the past, this means recognizing and reflecting on the changeability of the documentary epistemic foundation as well as the transformations potentially caused by one’s own work on documents. Upon closer inspection, the documentary’s evidentiary character is based on textual or praxeological methods, practices, and ascriptions. These are constantly evolving, potentially even competing with one another. The very fact that the presentation and exhibition of documents and document collections in itself contains both “time” and historicity points to the particularly interesting historicity of documentary evidence.


Fig. above: © Dirk Naguschewski


Wednesday, 3 Jul 2024    

6.00 pm
Opening lecture

Thursday, 4 Jul 2024

10.00 am

  • Nicolas Berg (DI), Barbara Picht (ZfL): Greeting and introduction

1st section
Moderation: Elisabeth Gallas (DI)

  • 10.15 am
    Martin Sabrow (ZZF): Biographische Evidenzproduktion in der Ich-Erzählung des 20. Jahrhunderts
  • 11.00 am
    Julia Steinmetz (HU Berlin): Wissenschaftsgeschichte dokumentieren

2nd section
Moderation: Nicolas Berg (DI)

  • 12.00 am tandem lecture
    • Stefan Scholl (IDS): Dokumentarische Evidenz(en) von Hitler-Reden: Überlegungen aus klang- und sprachgeschichtlicher Perspektive I
    • Muriel Favre (Goethe University Frankfurt a.M.): Dokumentarische Evidenz(en) von Hitler-Reden: Überlegungen aus klang- und sprachgeschichtlicher Perspektive II

3rd section
Moderation: Moritz Neuffer (ZfL)

  • 2.00 pm
    Elisabeth Gallas (DI): Zeugnisse der Anklage und Erinnerung: Jüdische Schwarzbücher nach dem Holocaust
  • 2.45 pm tandem lecture
    • Karin Reichenbach (GWZO): Experiencing the Past in Historical Reenactment. Bodily and Sensory Approaches to History and their Ambivalent Relation to Historical Documents
    • Svitlana Telukha (GWZO): Documentation During War Times: Challenges, Ethics, Results

4.00 pm
Panel discussion
Moderation: Barbara Picht (ZfL)

  • Gewalt und Dokument
    with Dominika Herbst (University of Potsdam), Katharina Menschick (Ruhr University Bochum), Matthias Schwartz (ZfL), and Britt Marie Schuster (Paderborn University)

Friday, 5 Jul 2024

5th section
Moderation: Mark Dang-Anh (IDS)

  • 10.00 am tandem lecture
    • Regine Strätling (Université de Montréal): Zwischen Klassifikation und Affekt: “Dokumentarismus” in der französischen Zeitschrift Documents (1929–1931)
    • Moritz Neuffer (ZfL): “Die Wahrheit spricht für sich – […] Uns scheint dieser Satz zu schön um wahr zu sein.” Dokumentarische Positionen in Kulturzeitschriften, 1945–1968
  • 11.00 am
    Nicolas Berg (DI): Eine andere kritische Theorie der 1960er Jahre – Walter Boehlichs dokumentarische Interventionen mit der “sammlung insel”

6th section
Moderation: Stefan Scholl (IDS)

  • 12.00 am
    Doris Stolberg (IDS): Tok Pisin: Dokumentation einer Sprache im kolonialen und postkolonialen Kontext (unter Einbezug des Archivs von Peter Mühlhäusler)
  • 12.45 am tandem lecture
    • Mark Dang-Anh (IDS): Zeichenhafte Medienpraktiken in, an und mit historischen Dokumenten
    • Johannes Paßmann (Ruhr University Bochum): Praktikenrekonstruktion mit Daten aus Web-Archiven