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Calls for Papers

Shaping the Officer. Communities and Practices of Accountability in Premodern Europe

Conveners: María Ángeles Martín Romera (LMU Munich), Hannes Ziegler (GHI London)

Venue: German Historical Institute London
Date: 8-10 November

Closing date: 8 May 2017

Interactions between subjects and rulers have been studied in a wide range of historiographical approaches. Among them, the question of officers’ accountability has been of particular interest as a fundamental field for the analysis of rule and authority in premodern Europe. While recent research has attributed to communities a more active role in defining these interactions, they are still mostly portrayed as reacting to inputs from above. Even in recent approaches on ‘state-building from below’ or in more specific concepts such as ‘empowering interactions’, local populations are depicted as either posing resistance or participating in an arena conceded to them.

Officers’ accountability is the main focal point of our conference since it is a privileged field to analyse these phenomena. However, instead of thinking of communities as essentially reactive agents, we would like to look at how communities actively modelled the officers’ behaviour, shaped institutions – understood as including formal and informal practices –, and thus established both their own and the officers’ actual scope of action. We are especially interested in the various ways local populations engaged in holding officers accountable, both through regular and extraordinary procedures as well as through everyday interactions with office holders.

We would like to invite papers that reflect on the role of communities in processes of officers’ accountability in Europe from the 13th to 18th centuries. Special emphasis should lie on practices rather than regulations and local perspectives rather than central institutions.

Possible questions include, but are not limited to:

  1. What are the ways in which communities established and/or activated limits to the actions of officers? Rather than focusing on strictly formal procedures, we would like to look at strategies such as scandalisation, resistance, collaboration, negotiation, etc.
  2. Did the interaction with local communities create or enforce specific models of behaviour on the part of the officers, either in terms of internalised norms or externalised performance and dissimulatio?
  3. What are the relations and dynamics between more formalised and officially regulated procedures of accountability and more informal practices, such as active informing, petitioning and rumours?
  4. Does the analysis of practices and processes of accountability in this way allow us to question or reformulate established diachronic explanatory models of premodern Europe (such as state-building, modernisation, or bureaucratization)?

Proposals (in English) should include a title and an abstract (300 words) and a short CV. Please send your proposal to maria.martin(ghi) and ziegler(ghi) by 8 May 2017. Standard travel and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed.

Call for Papers (PDF file)

Heritage, Decolonisation and the Field: A Conference

Date: 26-27 January 2018

German Historical Institute London and UCL Institute of Archaeology

Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, German Historical Institute London/Max Weber Stiftung and the UCL Institute of Archaeology

Closing date: 31 May 2017

The development of heritage as a distinctive, international field of governance regulated through institutions like UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICCROM and the IUCN is closely linked to practices of decolonisation and fieldwork. Taking cultural heritage alone, anthropologists, archaeologists, architects and engineers worked across the decolonising world in countries like Egypt, Indonesia and Pakistan making the development of this new form of governance a reality; so too did experts from area studies, government survey agencies and philanthropic organisations. This work helped to (re-)constitute the fields that these practitioners were connected to, creating new disciplinary assemblages, new forms of knowledge, and rearranging the relationship of fieldworkers to the places where they laboured. At the same time, this process was not simply a product of decolonisation; in fact, it had its origins in knowledge practices which were often closely connected to practices of colonial governance and the complex administrative relationship between colonies and metropoles. These older, colonial practices were simultaneously reconstituted and entangled within these newly emergent disciplinary assemblages and knowledge practices as decolonisation gathered pace.

Yet despite increased interest in the histories and practice of cultural and natural heritage, there is little understanding of how their interconnection with decolonisation and the field actually took place. How did these three things work together to make heritage governance a reality? How did decolonisation shape the form of that governance and the sorts of fieldwork that took place? How, vice versa, did these forms of fieldwork and governance shape decolonisation, and how also did colonial practices play a role? Moreover, how (if at all) do the answers to such questions vary across time and space? If we are to understand the relationship between heritage, decolonisation and the field—and, by extension, the development of heritage governance itself—providing answers to these questions is a necessity, as is considering the methodologies which we might use to make these answers effective.

This conference invites papers which address these questions from a range of disciplinary perspectives, and which in particular use international, comparative, or global case studies to do so. We are interested in papers that take the field of ‘heritage’ as one which is intentionally broad and contingent, encompassing both ‘natural’ and ‘cultural’ heritage and the diverse range of institutions by which it is governed (museums, herbaria, zoos, regional, national and international historic preservation agencies etc). The organisers (William Carruthers, Andreas Gestrich and Indra Sengupta, German Historical Institute London; Rodney Harrison, AHRC Heritage Priority Area Leadership Fellow, UCL Institute of Archaeology) welcome abstracts of no more than 400 words, which should be submitted to carruthers(ghi) by 31st May 2017. Financial support will be prioritised for those participants without their own travel funds and early career researchers.

Call for Papers (PDF file)