Institute of Historical Research Seminar Series

Rethinking Modern Europe

Der Traum von der Universellen Demokratischen Republik

Frédéric Sorrieu, 1848 – Der Traum von der Universellen Demokratischen Republik

‘Rethinking Modern Europe’ is a new IHR seminar which aims to discuss and stimulate new research on modern European history. It wishes to promote debates on how to integrate regional, national, comparative and transnational approaches to history. Invited speakers will be encouraged to look beyond national borders and paradigms, to engage with comparative work and to review existing trends in the historiographies of Europe. Discussions about Europe with a transcontinental focus, and about Europe’s relationship with its colonial past and with the wider world, will also be considered. Understanding European history to include Britain as well as Europe’s former imperial possessions, the seminar seeks to ask questions about the importance of regionalism in Europe, about the meanings of East, West, South and North in relation to Europe and about changing concepts of Europe and the European.

Most mediaevalists and early modernists easily transcend national boundaries in their research, but scholars who work on modern and contemporary subjects often operate within the parameters of the nation state, and overlook wider European trends in history and historiographical research. While the national framework in modern historiography pays tribute to the ‘age of nationalism’ and acknowledges the importance of the creation of nation states since the late eighteenth century, this focus is also the consequence of increased specialisation within the historical profession. By questioning the limitations of national historiography, we aim to rethink how we teach modern European history and how we can encourage future research which attempts to reconnect different parts of Europe.

‘Rethinking Modern Europe’ follows the pattern of other IHR seminars by addressing itself to established historians and graduate students in London, the UK and beyond. Papers will focus on a wide range of topics covering aspects of European history and historiography from the late eighteenth century to the early twenty-first century. In addition to single-authored research papers, there will be presentations on recent graduate work and a number of panel discussions.

Convenors: Dejan Djokic (Goldsmiths), Alex Drace-Francis (Amsterdam), Christian Goeschel (Birkbeck), Axel Körner (UCL), Stephen Lovell (KCL), Lucy Riall (Birkbeck), Mary Vincent (Sheffield)

Rethinking Modern Europe Seminar Series

2012-2013 Autumn Term

Conveners: Dejan Djokić (Goldsmiths), Alex Drace-Francis (Amsterdam), Axel Körner (UCL), Stephen Lovell (KCL), Jessica Reinisch (BBK), Lucy Riall (EUI), Mary Vincent (Sheffield)

All meetings will take place on Wednesdays at 5:30 in the Holden Room (room 103) of Senate House (first floor), unless otherwise stated.

17 Oct 2012

Martin Conway (Oxford)

The Shape of Democracy in post-war Western Europe, 1945-68

Chair: Mary Vincent

31 Oct 2012

“Human Rights and the End of the Cold War”

A discussion based on Sarah Snyder’s book Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

Discussants: Geoffrey Hosking (UCL) and Arne Westad (LSE)

Chair: Axel Körner

(in collaboration with the UCL Centre for Transnational History)

14 Nov 2012

Cathie Carmichael (UEA)

Imagining Bosnia without Serbs: The Ustasa, the Drina Border and Exile in Spain

Chair: Dejan Djokić

(in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of the Balkans, Goldsmiths)

12 December 2012

European Regionalism

A debate with Maiken Umbach (Nottingham) and Xosé M. Núñnez Seixas (Santiago de Compostela)

Chair: Mary Vincent

Page last modified on 14 sep 12 10:48 by Gillian Pressley


If you would like to join our mailing list please contact Professor Axel Körner -