The Pursuit of Legitimacy. Power and its manifestations in political history
4th Workshop for PhD Candidates in Political History
25 -26 October 2018, Leiden University, the Netherlands
Application deadline: 1 April 2018
Some political questions are never to be solved. The question of legitimacy is one of these issues that keep pressing themselves on history. How the wielding of political power is justified and contested hangs over the past as an open-ended question. Legitimacy may therefore very well be one of the great themes of political history. In the 4th annual workshop of the Political History PhD Network, PhDs from all over the world are invited to present their work and discuss this crucial question, thereby contributing to new historiographical perspectives on legitimacy.
Throughout history, legitimacy has been a contested concept. It was open to debate and dependent on mediation. As a political question, legitimacy was at play at intersections of different ideological outlooks. The issue of what constitutes a legitimate exercise of power, or a legitimate cause for revolt and resistance, engages all levels and spheres of political activity, from the individual actor to, for instance, the global structures of imperialism. The question of legitimacy therefore touches upon all the core themes of political history, including the topics of continuity and change, the workings of institutions, the dynamics of conflict, the functioning of networks, the spread of ideas, and the performativity of power. In encompassing these subjects, this workshop aims to bring together historians working on diverse periods and places.
The workshop’s central questions are: how did historical actors try to legitimate new capacities of power? How did discourses of legitimacy determine the shape and functioning of political organizations? In what ways was legitimacy depicted, imagined and acted out? How did understandings of legitimacy relate to notions of illegitimacy? How were dominant readings of legitimacy contested? How was legitimacy mediated between different settings and groups of people? Together, these questions should help us to grasp the multitude of ways in which historical actors thought about and engaged with legitimacy as a central issue of political activity.
We encourage applications on topics including (but not limited to) the following areas:
- Theories of legitimacy
- Diplomacy and legitimacy
- Legitimacy in official and societal organizations
- Discourses and depictions of illegitimacy
- The legitimacy of violence and political resistance
- Legitimacy amidst continuity and change
Proposals for papers should include the title, an abstract of maximum 300 words, and a short CV of the presenter. Please send proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org before April 1st, 2018. Notification of acceptance will be announces before the end of April. Participants are expected to submit a 3.000 – 5.000 words paper ahead of the workshop by 25 September. A limited amount of funding is available for travel reimbursements. Participants who wish to apply for a reimbursement should indicate this on their application.
Remzi Çağatay Çakırlar, Universiteit Leiden
Wouter Klem, Universiteit Utrecht
Erik de Lange, Universiteit Utrecht
Lauren Lauret, Universiteit Leiden