Workshop Call for Papers: "Ruler Visibility, Modernity, and the Ethnonational Mindset"

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CfP “Ruler Visibility, Modernity, and the Ethnonational Mindset”

A Two-Day Workshop (May 17-19, 2017) at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS), Denmark

Organizers: Darin Stephanov (Post-doctoral Researcher, AIAS) and Peter Bugge (Professor, Aarhus University)


It is a widely accepted fact that in the aftermath of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, European monarchs were on the defensive. What is less well-known is that they employed a wide range of similar strategies for crafting their public images, engaged directly with the masses of their subjects along lines previously unknown, and in doing so met with, at the very least, considerable success for decades on end. Still less recognized is the comparability of the modernizing effects this new set of cultural policies and ceremonial events had on mass consciousness and the numerous resultant linkages and continuities between imperial and ethnonational mentalities, most of which can be traced to this very day.

One could therefore, from this angle, define modernity as the process of extension of long-standing local (micro) forms of belonging and their linkage to the center, embodied by the ruler, towards a new global (macro) form of belonging.

This workshop invites scholarly presentations, both single-case and comparative, which address the state of the art in the study of these phenomena in Europe, inclusive of the Russian and the Ottoman Empires.  What lines of causality or interconnectedness run between ruler visibility, modernity, and the ethnonational mindset? In what ways and to what degree were monarchs (and their courts, cabinets, etc.) instrumental in shaping imperial public space and forging credible direct vertical ties of subject loyalty, irrespective of language, location, creed or class?  What is the relationship between monarchic/dynastic patriotism, conceived as an empire-wide belonging, and particular communal-cum-ethnonational modes of belonging?

These are the questions this workshop will tackle in an open atmosphere conductive to brainstorming and the generation of fresh insights. The aim is to draw up a new research agenda including a re-orientation regarding sources and a re-constitution of methods in late imperial, modernity, and nationalism studies.

Please send paper proposals (maximum 500 words) in English by October 1, 2016 to The abstracts should clearly relate to the workshop topics, state the research questions, and outline the method(s) used. Your proposal should also contain your name, institutional affiliation, and e-mail address, as well as your discipline.

Selected participants will have their airfare, local transportation, lodgings, and meals covered by AIAS. Papers will be pre-circulated in order to facilitate stimulating, in-depth discussions.