As historical studies crossed the boundaries of event description, anthropological and social theories gained an ever-growing interest among historians, as a core element to help represent human social behaviours in its various forms. With the overflow of new theories, led by actors of every field of humanities and social studies, it is easy to get lost in the sea of theory. How and in which context do we use theories? What is the relevance of using theories? What are the limits and pitfalls of theories? Finally, what is the role of history in the conception of theories and how to research history in the 21st century?

With these questions in mind, we will interrogate, discuss and analyse different theories and concepts from different disciplines and their applicability for historical sciences. Therefore, we will read relevant texts and test theoretical models and concepts on various sources. All required readings will be included in a reader. A reading list will be handed out during the first meeting.

Class participation means regular attendance and in-class comments and questions related to the weekly lectures and readings. Furthermore, it is expected that after some introductory sessions, each participant, during a session, will present the fundaments, the major work, and the limits of a given theory. With this course, the student will gain an understanding of the major trends in anthropological and social theory, as well as a critical reading of such theories in regard to historical studies.