Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies

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Melcher, Matthias

Matthias Melcher, M.A.

PhD Student in East European History - Doctoral Student Representative


Doctoral Project

Geschichte(n) schreiben. Fakt, Fiktion und Narration und ihre Wirkmächtigkeit im Osteuropa des 19. Jahrhunderts

Writing (hi)story. Fact, Fiction, Narrativity and Their Power in 19th Century Eastern Europe

Since Hayden White’s famous books on the “Tropics of Discourse” it is historiographical commonplace that there is no writing history without plotting events in a certain narrative order. Thus, he or she who writes history also always tells some kind of story. This doctoral project turns White’s thesis around and asks how stories (including all different kinds of narrativity) make history. Some stories vanish quickly out of societal discourse, while others are told time and again, thus eliciting performative impact. The research will analyze what enabled the success of a given story in Eastern Europe from a historical perspective during the (long) 19th century within the following categories: national and international narratives, antisemitic and orientalizing narratives, and narratives on progress and the future. The goal of this doctoral project is thus to generate new insights into the historical contexts of a given narrative, as well as to develop a typology of both powerful and ultimately inconsequential social, political, or economic stories.

Curriculum Vitae

Born 1994 in Regensburg. 2014-2020 Studies of Comparative Literature, Slavic Literature and East European History at Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) Munich and École Normale Supérieure Paris. Master’s thesis: The Invention of National Literature. Mystifications, Forgeries and the Imagined Communities of East European National Movements During the 19th Century. Since May 2020 speaker of the local group of the Junge Deutsche Gesellschaft für Osteuropakunde (JDGO) in Munich. Since October 2020 Ph.D. student at LMU Munich. Project topic: “Writing (hi)story. Fact, Fiction, Narrativity and Their Power in 19th Century Eastern Europe”


  • 2014-2020 scholarship holder of the Max-Weber-Programm and member of the Elite Network of Bavaria
  • 2014-2020 scholarship holder of the Stiftung Maximilianeum
  • 2015-2020 scholarship holder of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes – German Academic Scholarship Foundation



  • Bernhard Unterholzner: Die Erfindung des Vampirs. Mythenbildung zwischen populären Erzählungen vom Bösen und wissenschaftlicher Forschung. Wiesbaden 2019. In: Erinnerungskulturen, March 13, 2019. URL:
  • Mannová, Elena: Minulosť ako supermarket? Spôsoby reprezentácie a aktualizácie dejín Slovenska. Bratislava 2019. In: Bohemia 60 (2020) 2, pp. 327-329.

Conference Reports

Das 23. Münchner Bohemisten-Treffen. In: Bohemia. Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Kultur der böhmischen Länder 59 (2019) 1, pp. 168-172.



  • “Die Erfindung der Nation(alliteratur). Mystifikationen, Fälschungen und die imagined communities osteuropäischer Nationalbewegungen im 19. Jahrhundert” Colloquium of the Chair of East and Southeast European History, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, May 27, 2020.


  • “Geschichte(n) schreiben. Fakt, Fiktion und Narration im Osteuropa des 19. Jahrhunderts”  (Colloquium of the Chair of East and Southeast European History, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, April 14, 2021.)
  • “Geschichten schreiben Geschichte. Zur Wirkmächtigkeit von Narrativen im Osteuropa des langen 19. Jahrhunderts” (28. Tagung der Jungen Osteuropa-Expert*innen. Neue Forschungen zu Osteuropa, September 30 – October 2 2021, Zurich.)
  • “Playing for Sovereignty in the App Store of History: Online Games Issued by the Polish Institute of National Remembrance and their Role in Memory Politics”  (Competing Sovereignties: Intertwinement, Contestation, Evolution. 2nd Graduate Workshop of the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies at the University of Regensburg in cooperation with the Leibniz ScienceCampus Europe and America in the Modern World, December 2 – December 4 2021, online.)


  • “Pfeile und Pergamente. Die Geschichte vom (Er-)Finder der „böhmischen Ilias“ und ihre mediale Verbreitung.“ 26. Münchner Bohemisten-Treffen, March 11 2022, online.