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La sociologie est une histoire pretendue reformée. Partout ou Vhistoire est incertaine, automatiquement et de la même incertitude la sociologie est incertaine.
Charles Peguy, Cahiers, VIII-3, 4.II. 1906
I come to this conference and to my particular subject as an outsider, and this in two ways. First, I am a specialist neither of German history nor more particularly of its historiography. I shall, perforce, approach my topic from a somewhat different, not exclusively German-centered perspective, in a different “discours.” I hope this will serve to broaden our perspective here, as well as to enhance the relevance of our discussions. Second, I confess that when Professor Melton invited me to comment on Professor Michael Burleigh's essay with Hermann Aubin as its subject, Hermann Aubin was but a name to me - a name vaguely associated with the history of German settlements in Eastern Europe, with all the negative implications this topic has for a historian of pre-revolutionary Russia. Since then I have tried to fill this blank spot in my knowledge by assiduously reading Aubin's works in the time available before the conference; needless to say, I have only been able to get superficially acquainted with them. I am, therefore, particularly distressed that circumstances prevented Professor Burleigh from submitting his essay, for it would have been a most valuable crutch.