AccueilRethinking Continuity and Change in Early Modern and Modern History

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Publié le vendredi 20 mai 2016 par Céline Guilleux

Résumé

In the past decade historians have increasingly questioned the categories used to distinguish the early modern and modern phase in political history. For example, rationality as a feature of modern bureaucracy is now seen as projected onto the governmental process, rather than inherent to it. Furthermore, as the nation state loses its status as a sovereign historical agent, it is instead seen as the subject and outcome of historically variable and contested representations. With this perspective in mind, the Political History PhD Network invites PhD candidates in political history to submit a proposal for its second annual workshop.

Annonce

Argument

In the past decade historians have increasingly questioned the categories used to distinguish the early modern and modern phase in political history. For example, rationality as a feature of modern bureaucracy is now seen as projected onto the governmental process, rather than inherent to it. Furthermore, as the nation state loses its status as a sovereign historical agent, it is instead seen as the subject and outcome of historically variable and contested representations. Significantly, Jürgen Osterhammel in his global history of the 19th century sees empires, and not nation states, as the dominant political formation of this century. Jürgen Habermas’ Structural transformation of the public sphere has been empirically challenged by showing that already early modern monarchical courts communicated in a discursive form with their intended audiences. Instead historians, and in particular those who employ a cultural approach to political history, emphasize the interaction between the practices of institutions and agents and the symbols, beliefs and values that constitute a political culture. This forces us to rethink what constitutes the distinction, continuities and changes between the early modern and modern era in political history.

With this perspective in mind, the Political History PhD Network invites PhD candidates in political history to submit a proposal for its second annual workshop. Participants can discuss their project in specialized panels and in the framework of current research being carried out across European universities, as well expand their network with young scholars. Candidates can apply for one of the following panels:

I. Decision making processes

Traditional political history has assumed decisions to have been the result of actors and rational deliberations. However, Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger, in her research on the political culture of the Holy Roman Empire, has argued that decisions are historically variable social and communicative acts and the outcome of a process in which alternative options are gradually ruled out. The workshop’s first panel is keen to learn more about new perspectives on changes and continuity in the decision making processes in the early modern and modern period, emphasizing in particular what was the subject of a decision, modes of decision, resources for its legitimacy and its representations.

II. Security cultures

The 19th century is often seen as dominated in the first half by the European balance of power and the congress-system, while the second half is characterized by the rivalry between nation states. The existence of a collective European security culture is believed not to have merged until the 20th century. The research project led by Beatrice de Graaf at Utrecht University has sought to challenge this argument. It seeks to demonstrate that the dynamics between states’ interests, perceptions of the enemy and corresponding practices were crucial for the coming of a European security culture after 1815 with global reach. This panel is not only interested in getting to know more about forms and implications of this security culture, but also how it relates to preceding security cultures of Ancien Régime Europe and the causes of its subsequent transformation.

III. Civic identities and local authorities

A consensus among scholars still exists that the 19th century saw the emergence of nation state in conjunction with the formation of a national identity and a centralized government. However, two research fora, the research project The persistence of civic identities in the Netherlands, 1747-1848 carried out at the Leiden University and the upcoming conference The cooperative Empire. Political and societal cooperation in late Austria Hungary organized by the Collegium Carolinum, test the hypothesis that top down government could not do without local cooperation and older, civic identities. The limited availability of manpower and resources required horizontal collaboration in order to perform state tasks, such as infrastructure. This dynamic between central government, local and provincial authorities and the persistence of identities which predate any national identity point at the contradictory character of 19th century nationhood, which was in essential, rather than complicating, for the functioning of the modern polity. Our third panel is particularly interested in these dynamics, their origin and development before, through and after 1800 across Europe.

IV. Language

The American and French revolutions have been considered for a long time as the starting point of the modern patriotic language. Recent studies, for instance those by Edmond Dziembowski, underlining the role of the Seven Years' War in forging the French patriotism, invite to reassess the question analysing continuities and changes in the patriotic and national discourse before and after the 18th-century revolutions. This debate can be expanded by taking into account other contexts: writing in his highly influential pamphlet On death for the Fatherland at the low point of Prussia’s fortunes in the Seven Years War in 1761, the philosophy professor Thomas Abbt stated that he was ‘overcome with the thought that it is noble to die fighting for one’s fatherland’. With our final panel, we want to concentrate on the persistence and transformations in the role of language for the construction of patriotic identities and its role for mobilizing polities from the early modern period onwards.

Practical information

The workshop is hosted by the European History Research Centre at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom and will be held on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 December 2016.

During both days an early career researcher will introduce the panel themes by relating them to his or her own research and the current state of the debate. A plenary debate will be held at the end of the first day.

Submission guidelines

PhD candidates wanting to participate are asked to submit an abstract of maximum 350 words, a short biography and preference for a panel in a one page word document

by 15th of July 2016

to phdpolhis@gmail.com. Notification of acceptance will be announced before the end of July.

Participants are expected to submit a 3.000 – 5.000 words paper ahead of the workshop by 15 November 2016. A limited amount of funding is available for travel reimbursements. Participants wishing to apply for this should indicate this on their submission.

For further information and questions please contact us at phdpolhis@gmail.com, join the Political History PhD Network on LinkedIn and subscribe to our monthly newsletter!

Scientific committee

  • Frederik Frank Sterkenburgh, PhD Candidate, University of Warwick
  • Alessandro Capone, PhD Candidate, Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po)
  • Thomas Maineult, PhD Candidate, Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po)
  • Anne Petterson, PhD Candidate, Leiden University

Catégories

Lieux

  • University of Warwick
    Warwick, Grande-Bretagne

Dates

  • vendredi 15 juillet 2016

Mots-clés

  • modernity, decision making, security, civic identity

Contacts

  • Alessandro Capone
    courriel : alessandro [dot] capone [at] sciencespo [dot] fr
  • Frederik Frank Sterkenburgh
    courriel : f [dot] f [dot] sterkenburgh [at] warwick [dot] ac [dot] uk
  • Anne Petterson
    courriel : phdpolhis [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Thomas Maineult
    courriel : thomas [dot] maineult [at] sciencespo [dot] fr

Source de l'information

  • Alessandro Capone
    courriel : alessandro [dot] capone [at] sciencespo [dot] fr

Pour citer cette annonce

« Rethinking Continuity and Change in Early Modern and Modern History », Appel à contribution, Calenda, Publié le vendredi 20 mai 2016, http://calenda.org/366498