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Call for Papers


Global Royal Families: Concepts, Cultures, and Networks of International Monarchy, 1800-2020

Date: 16-18 January 2020

Conveners: Falko Schnicke (German Historical Institute London), Robert Aldrich (University of Sydney) and Cindy McCreery (University of Sydney)

Venue: German Historical Institute London

Sponsors: German Historical Institute London, University of Sydney

Closing date: 25 May 2019

While they are usually celebrated as icons of nationalism, royal families have often maintained a global perspective. Both in and beyond Europe, royal families have developed and maintained overseas connections, for example by corresponding and exchanging visits with relatives on foreign thrones, undertaking royal tours of distant colonies, or practicing royal diplomacy with fellow but distant sovereigns. Royal families were also sending sons to other monarchies for education, military training etc. This practice accelerated in the nineteenth century, with the rise of European imperialism in the Asia-Pacific and Africa, and the concomitant desire by non-European sovereigns to raise their profile in European courts.

This conference will analyse these phenomena using perspectives from cultural, international and (post-)colonial history. We will investigate both the history of knowledge and the history of practices of monarchy combining political, diplomatic, dynastic, gender history and the history of kinship.

The conference organisers welcome proposals covering European and non-European monarchies on a broad range of topics related to global royal families in the period 1800-2020. We particularly encourage comparisons of different monarchies from Europe, the Asia-Pacific and Africa. Possible topics include – but are not limited to – the following:

(1) Concepts: different types and models of global royal families

  • marriage practises and royal monogamy, polygamy, concubinage
  • patterns of successions to thrones
  • heirs to the throne, royal children (legitimate and illegitimate)
  • politics of bloodlines such as royal marriages
  • royal family members as holders of state offices
  • the role of minor royals

(2) Cultures: cultures of conceptualising and practising global royalty

  • monarchy as family business
  • royalty and heritage (including museums and collections)
  • royal family traditions (gathering and ceremonies)
  • femininity and masculinity in royal families
  • educational/training exchanges of sons, heirs, and junior royals

(3) Networks: global networks and connections of royal families

  • royal travel
  • (inter-)cultural ties between royal families and problems of those connections, for example in times of war
  • ways of connecting colonial and royal (family) history
  • royal families and exile
  • international correspondence
  • material culture, e.g. gift exchange

We are inviting abstracts of up to 300 words. All applications should be in the form of a single PDF document (no multiple attachments please) including your proposal and a short biographical note and sent by email to Falko Schnicke (schnicke(ghi)ghil.ac.uk), Robert Aldrich (robert.aldrich@sydney.edu.au) and Cindy McCreery (cindy.mccreery(ghi)sydney.edu.au). Applications should not be exceeding one page altogether and should reach the organisers no later than 25 May 2019.

Please indicate whether your institution will be able to cover your expenses or whether your participation depends on external funds. We are currently trying to secure funding for the conference; however, we will only be able to inform you if travel and accommodation support is available at a later stage. Applicants will be notified of whether or not they have been successful by mid-June 2019 at the latest.

Download Call for Papers (PDF file)