Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

It’s hard to get good answers to why Young Voters are so uninterested in politics. This is probably because it’s next to impossible to get someone to think hard about why he’s not interested in something. The boredom itself preempts inquiry; the fact of the feeling’s enough.

David Foster Wallace: Up, Simba, in: Consider the Lobster and Other Essays, London 2005.

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Lord Beaconsfield


The meteor Beaconsfield has pass’d away:

No Burke or Chatham, Gladstone, Peel, or Pitt

No shining star, to guide a nation’s way:

But glitt’ring statesman, novelist and wit.


24th April 1881 T.E.M.


Thomas Erskine May: Lord Beaconsfield, Parliamentary Archives, ERM/18/17.

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An Enemy’s Epitaph on Mr Gladstone

Here lies William Ewart Gladstone:
He could talk an old toad out from under a flagstone.
He sided with all: but in time overthrew
The Tories & Whigs, and the Radicals too.
“Ho! Ho!” quoth the devil “Why who is come down?
“It’s Gladstone of London (my own little Town)
Why, Billy, my work you’ve been doing so well,
I am sorry to see you so soon come to Hell!”

Thomas Erskine May: An Enemy’s Epitaph on Mr Gladstone, Parliamentary Archives, ERM/18/21.

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Es sind einige Städte – ich glaube, Breslau ist darunter – die haben wenigstens die Schlachtsteuer. Das widerspricht aber den politischen Parteien. Deshalb sage ich: Die Politik macht uns todt, indem sie uns hindert, unsere Interessen wahrzunehmen; sobald es der Parteipolitik, der Fractionspolitik nicht paßt, so können die Interessen zu Grunde gehen, und es kann darüber ausgepfändet werden oder Hungers sterben, wer will – das ist der Fraction als solcher vollständig gleichgültig; sie fragt nur: Was nützt es meiner Fraction? Vivat fractio, pereat mundus!

Otto von Bismarck: Reichstagsrede vom 9. Mai 1884, in: Die politischen Reden des Fürsten von Bismarck, ed. Horst Kohl, vol. X (Stuttgart 1894), 133.

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On April 6 to 7, I will participate in a conference organized by the History of Parliament research group in cooperation with Prof. Christopher Reid of Queen Mary University London.

The conference program may be found here.

My own paper, titled

“A Rhetoric of Silence: Silent Members in the July Monarchy Chamber of Deputies (1830-1848)”,

will be concerned with the rhetorical role of the silent members in the parliamentary debates of the July Monarchy. As I will argue, these silent members were anything but passive. Rather, they developed a complex rhetoric of their own, playing a significant role in the development of debates.



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On 9 and 10 July, I will be participating in a workshop in Berlin, organized by the DFG research network Auditory Knowledge in Transition. The workshop’s title is “Auditory Knowledge in Politics: The Sound of Power and the Power of Sounds”.

A keynote lecture by professor Monika Dommann of Zürich University with the title “Record, Rewind, Rewrite? Eine akustische Geschichtsschreibung der Presidential Tapes” will be held on Thursday July 9th, at 6 PM at the Seminarzentrum Silberlaube Otto-von-Simson-Straße 26 (Raum L 116). All are welcome.

I myself will comment upon a paper presented by my friend Daniel Morat of the Free University of Berlin.


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Last week (May 7-8), I participated in an international conference titled “Parlamentarismuskritik und Antiparlamentarismus in Europa” [Criticism of Parliamentarism and Anti-Parliamentarism], organized by the German Kommission für Geschichte des Parlamentarismus and EuParl.net, a European research network on the history of parliaments.


Besides a keynote speech by Dr. Norbert Lammert, speaker of the German Bundestag, I had the opportunity to discuss the varieties and modes of criticism of parliament and parliamentarism with a number of renowned experts in the field. My own presentation focussed on the question to what extent antiparliamentary sentiments and discourses current in the German Empire found their way into the ‘lion’s den’, the Reichstag itself. Combining qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis, I attempted to shed some new light on a few famous cases of antiparliamentary discourse in the imperial parliament as well as on their wider relevance for its political culture and modes of communication.

The conference’s program may be found here. A publication of the proceedings is planned.


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