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Veronika Čapská Research in Early Modern Gift Exchange and Personal Writings

The aim of this contribution is to show that cultural anthropology of gift exchange offers a wide array of analytical instruments that can help us study socio-cultural phenomena in their complexity and dynamics, thereby aiding historians in their efforts to capture changes over time. After briefly addressing the potential contribution of various types of egodocuments to gift exchange research, the author focuses on three epistolographic collections from the seventeenth and first half of the eighteenth century. It is noted that correspondence in itself can be viewed as an exchange of texts, ideas, and often also other accompanying objects. Elaborating on Irma Thoen’s thesis that early modern gift exchange was shaped by a discourse of honour and obligation, the author distinguishes within the relevant correspondence collections between the discourse of service, that of orphanhood and widowhood, and the discourse of ascetic piety. By drawing attention to a wide range of gifting practices, the article moves beyond the long dominant preference for gifts as objects in the earlier Central European historiography.

Veronika Čapská Editorial: the Journal’s Coming of Age

Veronika Čapská Interview with Professor William O’Reilly

Veronika Čapská MICHAELA WOLF, Die vielsprachige Seele Kakaniens. Übersetzen und Dolmetschen in der Habsburgermonarchie 1848 bis 1918

Veronika Čapská ZOLTÁN BIEDERMANN, ANNE GERRITSEN, GIORGIO RIELLO (eds.), Global Gifts. The Material Culture of Diplomacy in Early Modern Eurasia

Veronika Čapská, Lucie Storchová Transculturalism Instead of National Mythologies?

The study introduces a bloc of articles which explore the growing field of the so called relational approaches to history. It present a critical overview of the developments of the theoretical and methodological discussions in the last thirty years. The authors understand the label “relational history” as an umbrella term for a broad spectrum of approaches which analyse transfers, interactions, interconnectedness and interdependencies of historical phenomena and share the ambition to overcome the national interpretational frameworks. The article shows that the methodological debates often continue to be marked by national contexts (one can mention for example the French-German debate on cultural transfer and histoire croisee or the Anglophone preference for the so called concept of transnationalism which itself refers to an idea of a nation). The authors see opportunities for a reflective research and more refined analytical approaches particularly in a systematic border-crossing and intensive collaboration of relational history with other disciplines.