The Panel asks for different ways of new orientations in scientific work of ethnological disciplines in Europe, of leaving "old epistemological tracks" behind and of taking new routes in the form of innovative methods and of "relevant" themes to a disciplinary future in the years 1945-1980s.
Ethnological disciplines in Europe faced multiple challenges after World War II: The war not only had cutting effects on scientific cooperations and international scientific institutions, the discipline of german-speaking "Volkskunde" was also discredited due to collaboration with the fascist regimes. Furthermore the Cold War brought new political affordances for the discipline and its broader societal contexts in European countries and thus divided the discipline in specific national contexts. The years after 1945 were therefore a time of searching new tracks in epistemology, of leaving old paths of scientific work, of (re)defining contents and of searching a new disciplinary identity.
We take the congress theme of "Track Changes" as a perspective to reflect on different ways of new orientations in scientific and societal and political work, of leaving "old tracks" behind and of taking new routes to a disciplinary future in the years between 1945 and 1980s. We do not aim at specific institutional or biographical histories, but rather look at three dimensions of tracking knowledge: First as new epistemological perspectives, e. g. with the influence of sociological questions or with the new focus on urban contexts. Second we are interested in the complex relations of disciplinary developments with political conditions, with science and university politics and with ongoing transformations and dynamics in European societies. The third aspect deals with the existence of a cognitive disciplinary identity after 1945 and reflects on the logic behind writing knowledge and disciplinary history in our field from a today's perspective.