German Historical Institute London

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Calls for Papers

European Democracies Workshop

European Democracies: Origins, Evolutions, Challenges – A Workshop in Memory of Peter Blickle

Venue: German Historical Institute London
Date: 23-24 March 2018

Closing date: 30 November 2017

Gemeinde, Reformation und Widerstand – the title of his 1998 Festschrift captures three main research areas of the German historian Peter Blickle who died earlier this year. As one of the leading specialists of early modernity (or, as he would have preferred, the period of Alteuropa spanning from around 1300 to 1800), he transformed our view of the political and religious agency of burghers and peasants in the German lands (and much beyond). Monographs like The Revolution of the Common Man (original edn, 1975), The Communal Reformation (1987) and his two-volume conceptual survey on Kommunalismus (2000) shaped the field and inspired new generations of scholars, not least in the Anglophone world.

This workshop, to be held at the German Historical Institute London (GHIL) in March 2018 (coinciding with both the first anniversary of his death and the year in which he would have turned 80), seeks to commemorate Blickle’s life and work through a close focus on an overarching theme: popular participation in decision-making and government from the Middle Ages up to the present. His oeuvre highlighted ‘bottom-up’ influence through petitions, village / town councils, involvement in representative institutions (e.g. German Landtage) and various forms of active and passive resistance (most spectacularly in the Great Peasants’ War of 1524-26). Throughout his career, Blickle also addressed issues of continuity and rupture with regard to modernity, stressing centuries of communal self-government and grass-roots engagement against serfdom as important traditions to be considered alongside classical / Renaissance political thought and the human rights ideas of the Enlightenment and Atlantic Revolutions (Eine Geschichte der Freiheit in Deutschland, 2003).

The London gathering, co-organized by Wolfgang Behringer (Saarbrücken), Andreas Gestrich (GHIL) and Beat Kümin (Warwick) and kindly supported by the GHIL, German History Society and Warwick’s European History Research Centre, seeks to reinvigorate such debates at a time when democracy (appearing to triumph after 1990) is facing fresh challenges through voter apathy, the rise of populist movements and the spectre of authoritarian regimes (to name but a few), also in Europe. Rather than a ‘mere’ celebration of Blickle’s life and work, contributors – made up of former colleagues and pupils as well as other researchers – will examine related issues from fresh perspectives and for a variety of chronological contexts (also addressing some of the gaps in Blickle’s oeuvre, e.g. relating to gender relations and the ‘new cultural history’).

We now invite proposals for 20-minute papers on any aspect of the themes sketched above. Preference may be given to research students and emerging scholars with current projects in the field. Abstracts (of max. two pages) and a biographical note should be emailed to b.kumin(ghi) by 30 November 2017.

The organizers can offer free registration, meals and one night of London accommodation; additional support for travel costs may be available. Successful applicants will be notified by the end of December. A call for workshop registrations will be issued early in 2018.

Contact & Further Information:

Prof. Beat Kümin
Department of History
University of Warwick
Humanities Building
University Road
Coventry CV4 7AL
(email: B.Kumin(ghi)
Workshop webpage (This link will take you to the University of Warwick website)

Fourteenth Workshop on Early Modern German History

Organised by the German Historical Institute London in co-operation with the German Historical Institute Washington and the German History Society.

Date: Friday, 11 May 2018
Deadline: 1 February 2018

Venue: German Historical Institute London

Conveners: Bridget Heal (University of St. Andrews), Katherine Hill (Birkbeck, University of London), David Lederer (NUI Maynooth), Alison Rowlands (University of Essex) and Hannes Ziegler (GHI London)

Our first workshop ran in 2002 and has established itself as the principal annual forum in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland for new research on early modern German-speaking Central Europe. It fosters exchange on work-in-progress between post-graduates and experienced scholars in a relaxed atmosphere. Previous transdisciplinary themes include artistic and literary representations, medicine, science and musicology, as well as political, social, economic, military and religious history. Contributions are also welcome from those wishing to range outside the period generally considered as ‘early modern’ and those engaged in comparative research on other parts of early modern Europe.

The day will be organized as a series of themed workshops, each introduced by a panel chair and consisting of two to three short papers followed by discussion. The papers present key findings in summary format for discussion and/or suggestions. Each participant has 15 minutes to highlight their work-in-progress and indicate how work might develop in the future.

The workshop is sponsored by the German History Society and the German Historical Institute London in cooperation with the GHI Washington. Participation is free, including lunch. However, participants will have to bear costs for travel and accommodation themselves.

Doctoral students from North America (USA and Canada) who wish to present at the workshop can apply for two travel funding grants provided by the GHI Washington. Please indicate your interest in this grant in your application.

Support for postgraduate and early career researchers from the United Kingdom and The Republic of Ireland is available on a competitive basis, subject to eligibility requirements. Postgraduate members of the German Historical Society currently registered for a higher degree at a university in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, and those who have completed a PhD within two years of the deadline for application but who have no other institutional sources of funding may apply for up to £150 for travel and accommodation expenses. Please see the GHS website for further information and application deadlines.

If you are interested in presenting a paper, please send a short synopsis (max. 300 words) and a CV by 1 February 2018 to Hannes Ziegler, German Historical Institute, email: ziegler(ghi)

All students and academic researchers interested in Early Modern German History are very welcome to attend. There is no charge for attendance but due to limited space booking is essential. Please RSVP to Carole Sterckx: sterckx(ghi)

Download Call for Papers (PDF file)

The Global Knowledge of Economic Inequality. The Measurement of Income and Wealth Distribution since 1945

Convened by Dr Felix Römer

Venue: German Historical Institute London
Date: 15-17 November 2018

Closing date: 28 February 2018

Economic inequality has become one of the most contentious political topics of our time, and statistics on income and wealth disparities have come to play an increasingly important role in modern political culture, influencing public debates about distributional questions, societal self-descriptions and perceptions of other societies. Global knowledge on economic inequality and poverty evolved incrementally, with important spurts occurring in the 1960s/1970s and then again during the 1990s/2000s. The first initiatives towards an international standardisation of income and wealth statistics were launched by the UN and the OECD during the 1960s/70s, but made only slow progress. This contributed to delaying the debate about global inequality, which had long been confined to measures like GDP per capita, while comparisons in terms of personal income have only recently been possible since more data has become available. Both these debates and the underlying statistics have a history that is not yet fully understood.

Historians have recently begun to historicise the measurement of economic inequality as well as the changing public and academic interest in the subject since the post-war era. The German Historical Institute London will host an international conference to contribute to this growing field of research by bringing together historians and scholars from other disciplines working on the history of inequality knowledge. The conference will take a transnational perspective, but we also welcome comparative papers and case studies on individual countries that will help us to understand how global developments and entanglements are negotiated domestically. In particular, we invite contributions that address one of the following four broad themes:

  1. Context, theory, and production of knowledge: the changing public and scholarly concern with inequality and poverty in varying political and socio-economic contexts since 1945; the evolution of income and wealth statistics as historical constructs including their underlying assumptions and theories; processes and techniques of collecting information and producing knowledge; the interplay between official statistics, state bureaucracies, independent scholars, research institutes, NGOs and international organisations.
  2. Circulation, transformation and popularisation: the circulation of inequality knowledge within societies and across the world (including circulation across disciplinary boundaries, the economisation of social sciences, and traces of inequality knowledge in arts and literature); publicity strategies of governments and official statistics; secrecy, non-circulation and non-knowledge; the role of the media in the transformation and popularisation of inequality knowledge; modalities of textual and visual representation of income and wealth statistics.
  3. Application, use and discourse: the application of inequality knowledge in state bureaucracies and the political decision-making process; the use of inequality knowledge in public discourse and in political narratives such as the myth of the „income revolution“ in the United States or the „great transformation“ of society in the United Kingdom; the influence of statistical knowledge on societal self-descriptions and political languages and vice versa.
  4. The global inequality debate: the emergence and shifting framing of the global inequality debate and its entanglements with domestic debates about inequality and poverty; the role of intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations in the production and dissemination of knowledge about cross-country inequality; the causes and effects of the delayed global debate about personal income inequality.

We welcome submissions from scholars at all career stages. Please send an abstract of up to 500 words, accompanied by a short CV, to roemer(ghi) by 28 February 2018. Economy travel and accommodation in London will be available for invited speakers.

Call for Papers (PDF file)