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Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

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.

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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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Since my time in London at the German Historical Institute is slowly coming to an end, I’m starting to prepare for my teaching in the summer term in Freiburg. This time, I am offering two courses on different aspects of political history.

Politics from Below: Forms of Participation Beyond the Institutions (France and Britain, 1780-1914)

This seminar course deals with groups that remained excluded from the ‘authoritative’ political institutions (like women, workers, political fringe groups). It asks what strategies were available to them to participate in the political process nonetheless. The course also tries to determine the amount of success these different strategies could have, taking into account both the reactions of the wider public and establishment ‘countermeasures’.

Against Mob Rule and Government by Gabble: Left- and Right-Wing Criticism of Democracy in France and Germany (1870-1933)

In this reading course, we will look into the various traditions of French and German criticism of democracy before its collapse in the twentieth century. Considering the spectrum of anti-democratic positions at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century from a double comparative perspective will allow us to better evaluate the nature and context of what is often reductively interpreted as a specifically German tradition of right-wing ‘forerunners to Hitler’.

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In the coming summer semester, I will be teaching two courses at Freiburg University.

 

One seminar course, titled:

Political Arenas: Parliamentary Cultures in the Long 19th Century in Comparison
(see the official website and the pearltree with links about this theme)

 

And a reading course:

A Small European Country: Introduction to Dutch History (1581-1914)
(see the official website and the pearltree with links about this theme)

Dutch History

 

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Greuze_Portrait_of_Diderot

On October 5th, it will be 300 years ago that the French philosopher, writer, encyclopedia editor and brilliant conversationalist Denis Diderot (1713-1784) was born in a small town in north-eastern France. To commemorate this, Dr. Isabelle Deflers of Freiburg University and the Center of French Studies have organised a public symposium which will take place on October 28th. It’s title is:

Diderot und die Macht / Diderot et le pouvoir

Focussing on Diderot’s thought on power (and his quarrels with it), an interdisciplinary group of specialists will present various aspects of his work and influence. I have been asked to address Diderot’s intellectual confrontation with Tahiti, which he famously discussed in his Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville, a text written in the early 1770s but unpublished until well after his death. The focus of my presentation will be on Diderot’s views on sexual morals and their relevance to his political thought. The title of my presentation is:

Diderot und Tahiti: Europa im Spiegel einer außereuropäischen Gesellschaft

(Diderot and Tahiti: Europe Mirrored in a Non-European Society)

Admission to the symposium, which will take place in the historical Haus zur lieben Hand in Freiburg from 10:00 to 18:15, is free and open to all.

For the program, click here.

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At a workshop at the ZiF in Bielefeld, I will be presenting a paper on the use of the concept of zeitgeist in early nineteenth century political discourse, titled:

The Politics of Time: Zeitgeist in Early Nineteenth-Century Political Discourse.

The workshop, titled “Zeitgeist: an Inquiry into the Media of Time-Specific Cultural Patterns”, takes place from 19 to 21 September, 2013. For the programm, click here. For the workshop’s concept, click here.

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This winter semester, I will be teaching one bachelors seminar and an exercise course. As usual, I have assembled a ‘pearltree’ for each of these courses with links to websites on their specific themes.

Bürgertum and Bourgeoisie: A Comparison between the German Empire and the French Third Republic
(Pearltree – websites on this topic)

and

Linguistic Violence and the Theater of Politics: a History of Political Rhetoric (1848-1945)
(Pearltree – websites on this topic)

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My courses for the summer semester 2012 are:

Political Assassinations in the long 19th Century (from Jean Paul Marat to Franz Ferdinand)
Even today, political assassinations are by no means rare. Time and again, individuals or groups decide to use targeted violence as a means to attack or even end a political order that is – in their eyes – unjust. Most often, the key factor in their choice of target is not just his or her political function, but especially their symbolic significance as the representative of a certain political system. The reaction to such events has always been highly controversial, such that at times, the assassins themselves (Charlotte Corday, Carl Ludwig Sand, John Wilkes Booth, Gavrilo Princip) subsequently became as famous as their victims. Taking our starting point from a number of European and American case studies, this course traces the history of the phenomenon of political assassinations in the ‘long’ 19th century. Beyond the individual histories of single (successful or unsuccessful) attempts, its focus will lie on the attempt to identify long-term developments and trends. In addition to the assassin’s methods, motives and goals, we will discuss the multifarious dimensions of impact and reaction in politics, the justice system, the media and the culture as a whole.

The Bielefeld School of Social History: History and Significance of a Historiographical Program
It is without doubt that the so-called ‘Bielefeld School’ of social history marks one of the decisive turning point in the history of (Western) German historiography in the 20th Century. In the 70s, a group of historians around Hans-Ulrich Wehler and Jürgen Kocka, voiced an opposition to the Historicism then dominant in the historical field. Instead of the traditional history of political events, their focus was on the theory based interpretation of long-term structural developments, a full fledge ‘history of society’. Even if this program of historiographical innovation was controversial from the start, it has unmistakably had a profound influence on historiographical writing in Germany and beyond. For all that, however, from the 80s onwards, the paradigm of social history, came under criticism – especially from the perspective of new varieties of so-called ‘cultural history’. Since then, new models of historiography – from discourse analysis to the history of everyday life, from gender history to the plurality of ‘turns’ – seem to have displaced social history as the discipline’s dominant paradigm. And yet, in recent years, many have argued for the integration of cultural and social history. Against this background, this course aims on the basis of several programmatic texts to trace the history of the Bielefeld School and its critics. In a second step, we will discuss the significance of the Bielefeld program for historiography in the present.

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Next March, I will be attending the 33rd annual conference of the Ninteenth Century Studies Association in Asheville, North Carolina. The title of the paper I will present is ‘Spiritual Power in a Secular Age: The ‘Spirit of the Age’ in Early 19th Century Politics’.

For more information, see here.

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