German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
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Phone: Tel. +44-(0)20-7309 2050

URI: www.ghil.co.uk

 

Call for Papers

 

22–24 September 2022

Call for papers

Democratization, Re-Masculinization, or what?

Masculinity in the 20th century and beyond

Convenor: Prof Martina Kessel (University of Bielefeld)

German Historical Institute London


Deadline: 17 December 2021


6 May 2022

Call for papers

Medieval Germany Workshop

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

German Historical Institute London


Deadline: 17 January 2022


1–2 September 2022

Call for papers

The Politics of Iconoclasm in the Middle Ages

Convenors: Marcus Meer (GHIL), Len Scales (Durham University) and Sarah Griffin (The Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study, University of London)

German Historical Institute London


Deadline: 31 January 2022


 

Democratization, Re-Masculinization, or what?

Masculinity in the 20th century and beyond

Conference

22–24 September 2022

Convenor: Prof Martina Kessel (University of Bielefeld)
Venue: German Historical Institute London

 

Democracy in modern societies rarely meant gender democracy. Furthermore, democratization in terms of greater formal equality could spur the desire to re-masculinize politics and society, not only today but throughout modern history. The conference invites scholars from different areas of the world to discuss whether and how demands for democratization since the late 19th century engendered efforts to affirm (specific notions of) masculinity as a category of dominance.

The establishment of modern societies since the 18th century was based upon and intensified gendered and racialized hierarchies. The modern Western self was imagined as male, White, Christian, and heteronormative, and such assumptions impacted the structures of the modern world, in differing types of democracy as well as in authoritarian regimes, imperial systems and neo-colonial global structures after formal decolonization. At the same time, gender research on all world regions has shown that there was never one notion of masculinity (or femininity) but conflicting and competing (dominant) versions, intersecting with racializing projections, religion, class, caste, ethnicity, generation, or other categories used to define identity and belonging in specific contexts.

The long-cherished assumption that the time since the late 19th century, or at least the second half of the 20th century, saw a linear development toward greater gender equality has equally been challenged. Colonialism not only produced gendered notions of identity both in colonised and colonising societies, but a possibly democratic self-representation of imperialists at home could go hand in hand with intensified racializing and gendering practices in both the so-called metropole and the imperial context. In a formally decolonised world, gendered and racialized projections continued to define relations between the global North and global South, but also shaped the formerly colonising societies themselves. Democracies since the 18th and 19th centuries implemented heteronormativity in what Margot Canaday called “the straight state”. Discussing the aporetic understanding of democracy in Germany in the 20th century, Kirsten Heinsohn suggests a corresponding periodization: While the period from the 1900s to the early 1920s was characterised by moves toward democratization, already the mid-1920s Weimar Republic experienced an intense re-masculinization of politics that lasted in West Germany into the 1980s, spanning not only National Socialism but also the 1970s, a decade that has long been hailed as a turning point towards democratization. While ideologies in the 20th century competed in gendered terms, attacks on democracies and demands for a new world order since the 1990s work(ed) with masculinist projections to give status to their own ideas and discredit others. At the same time, wars, persecution, migration, or flights in the 20th and 21st centuries led to displacements in terms of status and accustomed position, sometimes, but not always, being answered by re-masculinizing practices.

Building on such insights, the conference wants to explore processes of masculinization, de-masculinization, and re-masculinization across the globe from the late 19th century into the present. It raises the following questions but invites corresponding ideas:

Where, why, and how were demands for or processes of democratization connected to forms of re-masculinization? Can we detect differing chronologies in different societies and cultures, considering possibly clashing notions of masculinity and their meaning for state, economy, education, religion, or other dimensions of society? When and why was democracy perceived as a “threat” to masculinity, and in turn, in which circumstances could groups or societies reduce or minimize masculinity’s impact as a structure of hierarchy or in- and exclusion? How did historical actors challenge the heteronormative priorities of modern societies, which influence did non-binary positions have in defining what democracy meant? Given that colonialism impacted but did not determine gender notions and gendered structures in colonised societies, which constructions of masculinity played a role in processes of decolonisation and in the subsequent history of all involved societies? How did historical actors in post-conflict societies or in situations of persecution, migration and flight implement, enforce, or change understandings of masculinity? What did and does a transnational identity mean in terms of masculinity? We might also compare how constructions of masculinity impacted the development of communist or socialist politics, often claiming to achieve gender equality, and whether and how these understandings of identity changed in shifts to post-communist or post-socialist societies.

Conceptually, we will discuss how we can systematically queer our understandings of gender and masculinity. By the late 19th century, the normative binary system defined as Western and modern was historically well in place but also always challenged. Analytically, binary notions alone rarely suffice to explain the complex historical processes of producing, criticizing, or re-inventing hierarchies or relationships between conflicting notions of masculinity and gendered forms of being in general.

The conference aims to bring together scholars from different parts of the world working on any world region and period from the late 19th to the present. It invites primarily contributions from historians but also other fields in the humanities.

The conference will take place from 22 to 24 September 2022 at the German Historical Institute London. Conference language is English. Pending the pandemic situation and visa issues, the conference might be held in a hybrid form.

Proposals of 350 words (max.) should be sent to martina.kessel@uni-bielefeld.de before 17 December 2021.


Medieval Germany Workshop

Workshop

6 May 2022

Organised by the German Historical Institute London in co-operation with the German Historical Institute Washington and the German History Society, to be held at the GHIL

This one-day workshop on the history of medieval Germany (broadly defined) will provide an opportunity for researchers in the field from the UK, continental Europe, and the USA to meet in a relaxed and friendly setting and to learn more about each other’s work. Proposals for short papers of 10–15 minutes are invited from researchers at all career stages with an interest in any aspect of the history of medieval Germany. Participants are encouraged to concentrate on presenting work in progress, highlighting research questions andapproaches, and pointing to as yet unresolved challenges of their projects. Presentations will be followed by a discussion.

Attendance is free, which includes lunch, but costs for travel and accommodation cannot be reimbursed. Doctoral students from North America (USA and Canada) who wish to present at the workshop, however, can apply for two travel grants provided by the German Historical Institute Washington. Please express 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 History 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. Please see the GHS website for further information and application deadlines.

Please send proposals, including a title and an abstract of c.200 words, to Marcus Meer: m.meer@ghil.ac.uk. Questions about all aspects of the workshop can be sent to Len Scales: l.e.scales@durham.ac.uk

Students and researchers interested in medieval German history are also very welcome to attend. There is no charge for attendance but because of limited space booking is essential. Please contact Kim König: k.koenig@ghil.ac.uk

The deadline for proposal submissions is 17 January 2022.

Call for Papers (PDF file)


Politics of Iconoclasm in the Middle Ages

Conference

1–2 September 2022

Organized by Marcus Meer (GHIL), Len Scales (University of Durham), and Sarah Griffin (The Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study, University of London)
Venue: German Historial Institute London

 

The role of the visual in constructing social and political power in the Middle Ages has enjoyed much scholarly attention in recent times, and interest in the subject shows no sign of waning. Much less consideration has been given to the responses that visual representations of power elicited from those who encountered them. Given that visual images and performances often aggressively served to stake controversial and, for some, threatening claims, there can be no doubt that such responses were often hostile. But how visual constructions of power were contested, and what visual strategies were open to their opponents – such as defacement, obliteration, or the creation of counter-images or performances – has been remarkably little studied outside the religious sphere. Yet if we think we should take seriously the power of images in politics and society, then the means available to medieval people to oppose and challenge that power is clearly an important subject. To study this volatile aspect of medieval society is important not least because current discourses make use of the past to oppose as well as promote the defacement, destruction, or removal of statues, for example.

Papers are therefore invited examining all aspects of (broadly) secular iconoclasm from any period of the Middle Ages and any part of medieval Europe. Papers concentrating on religious iconoclasm are also welcome where this focus has a clear relation to contests of social and political power. The subject is manifestly a large one. Locations for iconoclastic acts and behaviours might include the court, towns and cities, or the battlefield, and events and moments where power-displays were concentrated, such as coronations, royal and princely entries, tournaments, councils, and parliaments. Topics and media for consideration might include:

  • Attacks on the powerful in effigy, through their representations in portraiture, sculpture, or manuscript illustrations, as well as the creation and dissemination of polemical, satirical, or defamatory counter-images.
  • The destruction, defacement, or public dishonouring of insignia of power such as coats of arms, banners, seals, and clothing.
  • The destruction of sites of power (where this has a clear symbolic dimension), such as town walls and gates, palaces and castles and their contents, including the iconographic and performative ‘re-branding’ of such sites by their conquerors.
  • The human body as a site of iconoclasm, through acts and rituals of public dishonour, from symbolic inversion to physical mutilation.
  • The productive dimensions of iconoclasm as a performance that creates new meanings as it left visible damage or created conspicuous absences.
  • Reactions in the aftermath of iconoclasms that illuminate contemporary perceptions of such behaviour and reveal potential ambiguities resulting from displays and their destruction.
  • Verbal and textual ‘iconoclasm’: the denunciation, criticism, or contestation of images or visual performances of power in texts or in textual reports of speech-acts.

Abstracts of not more than 150 words should be submitted to Marcus Meer (m.meer@ghil.ac.uk),  Len Scales (l.e.scales@durham.ac.uk), or Sarah Griffin (sarah.griffin@sas.ac.uk) by 31 January 2022. Please include your full name, academic title, email and postal address, telephone number, and institutional affiliation if applicable.

Call for Papers (PDF File)