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Posts Tagged ‘Nineteenth Century’

For an interdisciplinary volume on silence edited by Mahshid Mayar (Cologne) and Marion Schulte (Bielefeld), I wrote a chapter on the way Europeans have historically framed the question ‘talkative’ and ‘taciturn’ nations.

Even today, we often think of authoritarian and dictatorial regimes in terms of ‘silence’, while parliamentary and democratic politics are linked to the category of ‘voice’. Retracing the historical emergence of such conceptualizations during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, my chapter aims at a reconsideration of these familiar, but reductive binaries.

Exploring French, German, and British discourses on the question why some nations are more talkative than others brings to light a fundamental shift in the understanding of communication around the turn of the nineteenth century, when explanations in terms of national character were gradually superseded by a point of view linking taciturnity and talkativeness to specific political regimes.

This gradual reorientation from a spatio-cultural to a temporal framing coincided with a distinct politicization of the question of communication (and its absence) which still resonates today. Placing our current understanding of the significance of voice and silence into a wider historical perspective thus contributes to a reconsideration of the meanings of communication in the modern world.

  • Talkative and Taciturn Nations. Ethnographic and Political Perspectives in European Discourses on Communicative Cultures (c. 1750–1850), in: Mahshid Mayar und Marion Schulte (eds): Silence and its Derivatives. Conversations Across Disciplines. London 2022, 87–108.

The chapter can be dowloaded here. The whole volume is to be found here.

Many thanks to the editors for their meticulous organization of the publishing process.

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On August 18, 6 pm, I’m presenting my research on the first German national parliament and its role in the revolution of 1848/49 at the Cemetry of the March Revolution in Berlin.

Please note that due to expected weather conditions the venue has changed. More information can be found here.

0425_Verlegung-Vortrag-Theo-Jung.jpg

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I’m offering a PhD position in modern European history (3y, with a possible 1y extension) for any project on the ‘long’ 19th century at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg.

Deadline: 22 August, 2022.

Details in German and English may be found here.

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In a volume edited by Susanne Kitschun of the Berlin Cemetry of the March Fallen and Elisabeth Thalhofer of the Rastatt Memorial to the Freedom Movements in German History, I’ve published a short contribution on current perspectives in the historical scholarship regarding the revolutions of 1848/49. In it, I point to ongoing debates about the revolutions’ ‘democratic’ character on the one hand and about their transnational entanglements on the other as two areas in which much progress has been made in recent years. Both debates also offer new bridges between historical understanding and ongoing public debates about the current shape and development of European politics.

Die Aktualität einer umkämpften Vergangenheit. Neuere Forschungsperspektiven auf die Revolutionen von 1848/49

[The Topicality of a Contested Past. New Approaches to the Revolutions of 1848/49]

The volume builds on the founding conference of the network 175-year-anniversary network for the revolutions of 1848/49 held in Rastatt last year (a report in German here). It includes contributions by Peter Steinbach, Michael Parak, Constanz Itzel, Felix Fuhg, Dorothee Linnemann, Susanne Kitchun, Andrej Bartuschka, Elisabeth Thalhofer, Katerina Ankerhold and Lea Braun.

The whole publication is available online here.

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Depoliticization before Neoliberalism: Contesting the Limits of the Political in Modern Europe

All too often, depoliticization is reduced to a very recent phenomenon, an effect of ‘Neoliberalism’. In a workshop to be held in Nijmegen on April 1-2, 2022, organized by Adriejan van Veen (Nijmegen) and myself, we aim to place the concept in a wider historical perspective. On the basis of a broad spectrum of European cases from the late eighteenth century until today, depoliticization no longer appears as a monolithic and autonomous process, but rather as a complex bundle of practices and discourses contesting the boundaries of the political sphere.

For further information on the themes and questions we will be addressing, please refer to our call for papers here.

[Edit April 28, 2022: Oliver Weber wrote a detailed report on our workshop for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung titled “Entpolitisierung. Hinter unserem Deich sind wir keineswegs sicher”. It is available online here.]

Guests are more than welcome to attend, either off- or online (via zoom). Please contact the organizers for registration and further details.

Venue: Vergader- en Conferentiecentrum Soeterbeeck Elleboogstraat 2 5352 LP Deursen-Dennenburg

Workshop Program

Friday April 1

Introduction (9:30 – 9:55) Theo Jung and Adriejan van Veen

Keynote (9:55 – 10:40) Ido de Haan

Panel 1: Timeless Realms: Art and Religion beyond Politics (10:45 – 12:30)
● Tamar Kojman: Constructing an Apolitical Realm after the 1848/9 German Revolutions
● Jan-Markus Vömel: Unpolitical Islam? Stategies of De-Politicization Surrounding Islam in Turkey
● Klara Kemp-Welch: Antipolitics and Art in Late-Socialist East-Central Europe

Lunch (12:30 – 14:00)

Panel 2: Perspectives on Political Abstention (14:00 – 15:45)
● Oriol Luján: Articulating Political Unease in 19th Century Europe: Abstention and Blank Vote as Forms of (De)Politicization
● Adriejan van Veen: Passive Citizenship? Civil Society and Political Abstention in the Netherlands, 1780–1840
● Zoé Kergomard: Depoliticizing “Apathy”? Institutional Reactions to Non-Voting in France under De Gaulle (1958–1969)

Coffee (15:45 – 16:15)

Panel 3: Discourses of Competence and Functionalism (16:15 – 18:00)
● Ruben Ros: Technocratic Anti-Politics in Dutch Interwar Political Culture (1917–1939)
● Koen van Zon: Depoliticisation through Participation? Consultation and Consensus Formation in European Community Policy-Making, 1960s–1980s
● Wim de Jong: Politicizing the Police? The Problem of Depoliticization in the Public History of Democratic Municipal Policing in the Netherlands, 1945–2019


Saturday April 2

Panel 4: Protecting the System from Politics (9:00 – 10:45)
● Mart Rutjes: Depoliticizing the Will of the People: Limiting the Franchise for Political Opponents in the Netherlands 1780–1800
● Stefan Scholl: Doubly Politicized? Semantical Struggles around the Relation between Economics and Politics in the Weimar Republic and National Socialism
● Anna Catharina Hofmann: An Administered Society? Planning and (De-) Politicization in the Late Franco Dictatorship, 1964–1973

Coffee (10:45 – 11:05)

Panel 5: Ruling by Ideas and Dreaming of Rational Government (11:05 – 12:50)
● Matthijs Lok: Moderation and Depoliticization after the Revolution: the Case of the Idéologues
● Eva Visser: Planning the Technate. The Apolitical Politics of the 1930s’ Technocratic Movement
● Jussi Kurunmaki and Jani Marjanen: Ideology, Politicization and Depoliticization in Parliamentary Rhetoric

Lunch (12:50 – 14:00)

Final discussion (14:00 – 15:00)

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2023/24 will mark the 175-year anniversary of the revolutions of 1848/49. As a first step toward the planning for the commemoration of these events, a workshop in Rastatt brings together participants from many of the major German museums, memorials, and scholarly networks focusing on the history of the revolutions.

  • Gedenkort Friedhof der Märzgefallenen
  • Erinnerungsstätte für die Freiheitsbewegungen in der deutschen Geschichte, Rastatt
  • Gegen Vergessen – Für Demokratie e.V.
  • House of European History
  • Stiftung Bundespräsident Theodor-Heuss-Haus
  • Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand
  • Förderverein Erinnerungsstätte für die Freiheitsbewegungen in der deutschen Geschichte e.V.
  • Historisches Museum Frankfurt
  • Offenburger Salmen
  • Bundesarchiv

Together with my colleague Dr. Heléna Toth (Bamberg University), I’ve been asked to present an overview over recent developments in historiographical research on the topic. Building on my own research, I will sketch some of the ways in which the revolutions of 1848/49 have been linked to the “Age of Revolutions”, placing them in wider transnational, European, and global contexts. In addition, we will discuss the place of the revolutions within the framework of the long-term history of “democracy” and “democratization” in Germany, Europe, and beyond.

The workshop will take place in Rastatt on November 4 and 5 of this year. More information about the program and registration (all are welcome) may be found here.

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To mark the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the German Empire, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Orte der Demokratiegeschichte and the Otto-von-Bismarck foundation last year held a workshop on the Empire’s political culture. Its contributions, which were made available in a preliminary version online earlier this year (here), have now been published in extended form in the Weimarer Schriften zur Republik series at Franz Steiner Verlag.

My own contribution, titled

Cultures of Dispute in Imperial Germany

adresses the changing practices and organizational forms of political meetings. It shows how these slowly transformed from an arena of controversial debate to a more monologous form, focused mainly on the demonstration of the strength and energy of different political parties. Sketching the changing dynamics between speakers, audience, and outsiders, I argue that a more detailed analysis of the varying modes of (not just verbal) participation and interaction such venues encompassed can shed new light on the ways the society of the Kaiserreich dealt with political plurality.

Many thanks to the editors.

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On October 5, between 2:15 and 4 pm, I am participating in a panel titled

Deutungskämpfe um die Gegenwart: Zeitgenossenschaft und Zeitdiagnostik um 1800 in der Kontroverse [Controversies over the Present: Debates about Contemporaneity and Temporal Diagnosis around 1800]

at the German Historikertag. The panel is structured as follows:

  • Sebastian Schütte / Susan Richter: Einleitung
  • Theo Jung (Freiburg): Augenblick und Durchblick: Zeitgeistdiagnosen und ihre Kritik um 1800
  • Susan Richter (Kiel): Von der Seife und dem Besteck des Zeitgenossen. Formen und Analyseinstrumente der Zeitdiagnostik im Deutungskampf
  • Sebastian Schütte (Heidelberg): Von Nachtwandlern und Traumfängern im utopischen Dämmerschein. Geschichtsdeutung und Zeitkritik im (vor)revolutionären Paris
  • Uwe Justus Wenzel (Zürich): Auf der Höhe der Zeit und in ihren Niederungen. Einige Probleme philosophischer Zeitgenossenschaft
  • Helge Jordheim (Oslo): Kommentar

[EDIT: a review of the panel written by Kai Gräf has now been published on H-Soz-u-Kult and can be read here.]

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Next semester, I’m offering two courses at Freiburg University (one online, one in person).

The Age of Revolutions: Transatlantic Political Upheaval (1776-1848)

This in-person seminar considers current debates on the entanglements between the era’s political revolutions and asks if it makes sense to speak of a ‘Revolutionary Era’.

Laughing Matters: Spotlights on the Cultural History of Humor since the Early Modern Age

This online reading course presents an introduction to the history of humor. Focusing on the political significance of joking and laughing as a mode of interaction, it asks how historians can integrate this aspect of social life into broader narratives on the character of specific constellations and eras.

I’m looking forward to returning to the class room. As usual, I’ve started collecting online resources on these topics on the Pearltrees website. These collections can be found here:

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All too often, depoliticization is reduced to a very recent phenomenon, an effect of ‘Neoliberalism’. In a workshop to be held in Nijmegen on April 1-2, 2022, we aim to place the concept in a wider historical perspective. On the basis of a broad spectrum of European cases from the late eighteenth century until today, depoliticization no longer appears as a monolithic and autonomous process, but rather as a complex bundle of practices and discourses contesting the boundaries of the political sphere.

As organizers, my colleague Adriejan van Veen (Nijmegen) and I are pleased to invite paper proposals from all fields of modern European history and its neighbouring disciplines.

Call for Papers

Depoliticization before Neoliberalism: Contesting the Limits of the Political in Modern Europe

In recent decades, public commentators and political scientists alike have observed a widespread delegation of tasks from democratic to technocratic, international and market bodies. This ‘neoliberal’ displacement has often been pinpointed as the cause of dissolving ideological cleavages and of growing public disenchantment with politics. Yet while the shift of responsibilities from political to allegedly non-political spheres was long thought to have led to widespread political disengagement, recent upsurges in populism and identity politics have called this view into question. Are such recent developments to be understood as a repoliticization, in reaction to previous depoliticization? Or was the political never quite as deflated as we thought? Against this background, questions about the boundaries of the political sphere have again reached the top of both public and scholarly agendas.

Missing from such debates, however, is an expanded historical perspective on the complex entanglements of depoliticization and politicization processes. Research on political history often focuses on the many manifestations of politicization: the rise of political parties, mass movements, and popular leaders. Yet phenomena of depoliticization – the removal of particular issues from political agendas, the manufacturing of tacit political and ideological consent, and citizens’ non-participation – are often less visible and therefore far less studied. In recent years, historians of neoliberalism have started to explore this terrain, demonstrating how the institutional dismantling of the Keynesian welfare state involved the re-framing of contentious issues in terms of ‘natural’ globalization and economic ‘necessity’, placing them beyond the realm of collective deliberation. This workshop’s goal is to expand such insights beyond the narrow margins of the late 20th and 21st centuries: to study depoliticization processes and their interdependencies with politicization as an integral facet of European modernity since about 1750.

The workshop’s aims are threefold. The first is to improve our understanding of the contemporary dynamics of depoliticization and politicization by studying earlier iterations of their entanglements. Which discursive strategies and performative practices did historical actors from the late 18th to the 20th centuries employ to depoliticize certain issues? Is it true that depoliticization, as one prominent account puts it, ‘has to happen in a slow and unobtrusive way and that it is most effective when contemporaries do not even realize that it is taking place’ (Steinmetz/Haupt eds. 2013), or can it also be a publicly expressed strategy, as recent studies on neoliberalism have indicated? Under which conditions were past attempts at depoliticization successful? And when were non-contentious issues or processes eventually (re)politicized?

Secondly, the workshop aims to rethink the strong normative bent of current debates. Neoliberal delegation, citizens’ political abstention, and populism and identity politics are often approached as problems – aberrations of a mass democracy of engaged individuals respecting the boundaries of liberal debate. But this ideal is not only historically contingent; it is highly questionable if it has ever been fully realized. This workshop focuses on the plurality of historical contexts in which depoliticization and politicization processes took place, and on the diversity of actors, ideas and practices that drove them. How can these be compared between democratic and non-democratic regimes, and between various historical timeframes and geographical regions? To which spheres (economic, bureaucratic, legal, religious, scientific, private, etc.) did historical actors aim to displace contentious political issues and tasks, and how were such attempts contested and countered?

Thirdly, by analyzing the complex entanglements between depoliticization and politicization, this workshop seeks to enhance our understanding of ‘the political’ as a facet of historical modernity. The idea of the political as a specific sphere of social interactions has been contested since its emergence in the late 18th century. Depoliticization and politicization processes can therefore not simply be understood as a ‘decrease’ or ‘increase’ of activities aimed at this fixed realm. Instead, attempts at depoliticization or politicization should be seen as struggles between historical actors with very different conceptions of which institutions, actors, and practices count as ‘political’ and which do not. This leads to the questions how historical actors waged these struggles, which discourses and practices they implemented to achieve their respective aims, and which institutional or other changes resulted from such contestation of the limits of the political.

Submission guidelines

The workshop welcomes papers conducting (comparative) case studies on depoliticization in relation to its counterpart politicization. Cases can be drawn from any area in Europe and timeframe between the mid-18th and late-20th century. We also welcome papers on cases of global interactions with European areas, for example in transatlantic and (post)colonial settings. Paper proposals should include a preliminary title, an abstract of 250-300 words, and affiliation and contact details.

Abstracts can be submitted to adriejan.vanveen@ru.nl by October 1, 2021. Successful applicants will be notified before November 1.

The workshop will feature pre-circulation of first draft papers and oral presentations with subsequent discussion. It will take place at Radboud University, Nijmegen, on April 1–2, 2022, and/or partly or fully online, depending on the COVID-19 situation. Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered. The workshop is funded by the Thorbecke Fund of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW). A publication is intended.

Contact

For futher details, please contact the workshop organizers.

Dr. Adriejan van Veen (Radboud University Nijmegen), adriejan.vanveen@ru.nl
Dr. Theo Jung (Albert Ludwig University Freiburg), theo.jung@geschichte.uni-freiburg.de

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