Keynote abstracts

1. Writing the History of Political Culture

Key note: Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger (Münster University)
Panelists: Marnix Beyen (Antwerpen University), Dennis Bos (Leiden University) and Lotte Jensen (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Chair: Dries Raeymaekers (Radboud University Nijmegen)

The study of the cultural dimension of politics has proven to be one of the most enriching ‘turns’ in political history. Influenced by developments in the related fields of cultural anthropology and semiotics, it has come to encompass a wide and diverse array of topics. Yet the concept of political culture is also criticized for becoming too unwieldy or too focused on micro-interactions to contribute to our understanding of macro-developments in politics. This session will explore how research into the cultural aspects of politics informs our insights into the nature and functioning of political power, and how we should evaluate its added value. What promising directions have so far been un(der-)explored, and to what extent can these relate to – and engage with – other scholarly disciplines?


2. Writing the History of Political Institutions

Key note: Mark Bevir (University of California, Berkely)
Panelists: Carla van Baalen (Radboud University Nijmegen), Anne Heyer (Leiden University) and Wolfgang Wagner (VU University Amsterdam)
Chair: Ronald Kroeze (VU University Amsterdam)

This panel deals with the question how to write the history of political institution in an era in which the role of national governments, parliaments and political parties seems to decrease while the influence of lobbyists, interest groups, NGO’s and the EU increases. To what extent does a shift from national to international and from government to governance urges us to change our methods and research objects? What are the consequences of these dynamics for political-historical research today?


3. The Politics of the History of Politics

Key note: Susan Legêne (VU University Amsterdam)
Panelists: Dienke Hondius (VU University Amsterdam), Wim van Meurs (Radboud University Nijmegen) and Boudewijn Steur (Dutch Ministry of Internal Affairs)
Chair: Karin van Leeuwen (University of Amsterdam)

Present-day political developments such as the rise of right-wing populism or the problems European integration after Brexit confront political historians with the inherent political nature of their subject. Also, funding institutions and the general public increasingly require scholars to focus on impact and social value of their work. These are issues that are especially relevant for political historians. Do the current times require a more active role of political historians in societal debate and if so, which topics need to be addressed? This panel, consisting of both academic historians as well as historians that now work in a more political environment, will discuss the political nature of the history of politics as it comes to the fore in matters such as left-wing idealism, the memory of slavery, or the ‘ever closer’ European Union.

4. Writing a Global History of Politics

Key note: Corinna Unger (European University Institute Florence)
Panelists: Kiran Klaus Patel (Maastricht University), Remco Raben (Utrecht University) and Anne-Isabelle Richard (Leiden University)
Chair: Liesbeth van de Grift (Utrecht University)

Today, some two decades after the ‘transnational turn’ occurred, its impact appears to have been substantial, judged by the large amount of scholarship on flows of people, ideas, products, processes and patterns operating across national boundaries. At the same time, its effect has been unevenly distributed, with national historiographies and subfields that have hardly been affected. This panel aims to take stock of recent developments and answer these questions. What has been the overall result of pleas to move beyond the narrative of the nation-state and instead adopt a transnational, or even global, perspective? To what extent has the ‘transnational turn’ had an impact on the subfield of political history? What has been the impact of ‘transnational history’ on both Dutch historiography and historiography on Dutch history?

5. Writing the Political History of the Social

Key note: Lutz Raphael (Universität Trier)
Panelists: Gita Deneckere (Ghent University), Karwan Fatah Black (Leiden University) and Geertje Mak (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Chairs: Harm Kaal (Radboud University Nijmegen) and Stefan Couperus (Groningen University)

One prominent thread in recent historiography articulates how society has been classified, organized and indexed by means of statecraft. Scholars like Scott, Patrick Joyce, Mary Poovey and Lutz Raphael have probed the mechanisms and politics of creating ‘the social’ in modern history. They ask questions that are key to political history and histories of power: How and why does the state distinguish between groups based on constructed categories of race, gender, class, nationality and age? What are the long term effects of this human ‘indexing’ in terms of inequality, social in- and exclusion? How do state projects such as colonialism, population management, social engineering and welfarism (re)produce social categories? Central questions in this panel are how the new political history of the social relates to the older social history ‘from below’, how it affects our understanding of the state as a set of practices, things and networks, and how to analyze the implications of the ‘scientization of the social’ for the history of politics, policy, democracy and citizenship.
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