Category Archives: PhD Workshop

RSPH PhD Training Program 2022-2023


The Research School for Political History (RSPH) aims to offer PhD students in the history of politics and the political a high-quality training program supervised by some of the leading scholars in the low countries. The RSPH training program is open to all PhDs based in the Netherlands, Flanders or affiliated with the Zentrum für Niederlande-Studien in Münster, conducting research in the broad field of political history,
history of international relations, conflict studies, military history, area studies, global history, and other subdisciplines in premodern and modern history with an emphasis on politics. We offer an extensive curriculum of in-depth tutorials and workshops, focusing on the historiographical, thematic, conceptual and methodological aspects of political history in general and your PhD project in particular. In addition to this, considerable attention is paid to professionalization and transferable skills.
The RSPH is dedicated to creating a research environment which brings you into contact with fellow PhD candidates at other universities, postdocs and senior researchers in the field of political history. We provide excellent network and platform facilities for all researchers in political history, whether ambitious to pursue a career inside or outside academia. The RSPH program for PhD students offers training in the following competencies:

  • Disciplinarily and Interdisciplinary: Students have an informed and critical awareness of the historical and conceptual underpinnings and contexts of political history as an intellectual tradition and academic discipline, and of its relationship to other fields of study. They have knowledge and understanding of the foundations and insights of other disciplines relevant to the study of political history.
  • Theories and concepts: Students have specialized knowledge and critical understanding of theoretical, conceptual and analytical notions relevant to political history. They can reflect on the principal theoretical approaches to political history, evaluate the state of the art in political history, and recognize and develop innovative research orientations in political history.
  • Methods and techniques: Students have focused knowledge and critical understanding of relevant methods and techniques for the study of political history, and the ability to apply proper methods and techniques to research problems. Students have an advanced and critical understanding of sources and data for political-historical research and their associated conceptual frameworks.
  • Communication: Students have an informed and critical awareness of the specific methods used to communicate information about one’s field in scholarly/academic and public contexts. They can use and apply the proper means of communication, suited to the aims of their scholarly and public interventions.
  • Professional Development: Students have an informed and critical awareness of the concrete ways that the political-historical perspective can be developed in professional situations and be of benefit to society.

2022-2023 Program:

The program is structured in accordance with the end terms and competencies:
• Tutorials in year 1 discuss disciplinarily and Interdisciplinary, theories and concepts, and methods and techniques on an advanced level
• Workshops in year 2 are devoted to the application of methods and techniques, disciplinarily and interdisciplinary, and introduce international outreach and science communication.
• Seminars in years 3 and 4 are devoted to the individual application and assessment of disciplinarily and Interdisciplinary, theories and concepts, methods and techniques as well as science communication and professional development.

Opening of the Academic year – the history of ‘ordinary citizens’ and their relation to power

Date: 23 September 2022
Location: Trippenhuis, Amsterdam
Time: 13.00 – 18.00 (including drinks)
The beginning of a new academic year is marked by the annual RSPH opening event. The theme of this year’s opening is writing the history of “ordinary citizens” and their relation to power. Harm Kaal (Radboud University) and Marnix Beyen (University of Antwerp) will deliver an introduction, after which journalist and author Marcia Luyten will give a lecture and discuss the theme. Before the plenary thematic session, there will be a meet & greet for all PhDs enrolled in the school. For PhD candidates at the start of their trajectory, this is the moment to get acquainted with the program, and
meet the program directors and fellow PhDs. For advanced PhD candidates, the event offers the opportunity to catch up with each other and make plans for the coming year.
As a bonus, the thematic session following the meet & greet offers a sneak preview of the summer school scheduled at the end of the academic year. This summer school is open to both RMA and PhD students.

Year One: Tutorials

B.1 Introduction to the Discipline: What is Political History?
Supervisor: prof. dr. Ido de Haan (Utrecht University)
Date: 28 October 2022
In this tutorial, we will discuss the very general, yet at the same time crucial question ‘what is political history?’ The discipline of political history has changed quite dramatically in the last couple of decades. From a well-established, yet also rather stuffy history of national political institutions, it has become a vibrant study of the political as it manifests itself in a variety of places and a multiplicity of forms, and is informed by various disciplines, ranging from law and philosophy to political science and anthropology. In this tutorial, we discuss reflections on the history of ‘the political’ and invite you to reflect on your use of the term, how your research is a contribution to an interdisciplinary political history, and how you account for processes like politicization and depoliticization.

B.2 Crucial Concepts in Political History
Supervisors: prof.dr. Annelien DeDijn (Utrecht University) and dr. Karin van Leeuwen (Maastricht
Date: 18 November 2022
Despite their crucial importance for defining a subject, concepts often receive only little attention in historical research projects. While the lessons on conceptual change learnt from scholars such as Koselleck and Skinner have resulted in the establishment of an entire subfield of conceptual history, many historians working on politics in practice are easily tempted to leave conceptual reflections entirely to these specialists. Yet, it is hard to imagine research projects in political history that do not in one or another way
engage with concepts such as power, violence, rule of law, institutions, identity, colony, democracy, ideology, representation etc. PhDs working on international topics, like the history of international relations, often do work with concepts, often borrowed from the social sciences. In this tutorial, we will briefly introduce you to the various ways in which both historians and social scientists deal with the challenge to define and/or reflect upon their central concepts, and invite you to reflect upon the concepts
central to your research project.

B.3 Methods and Techniques in Political History
Supervisors: prof.dr. Dirk Jan Wolffram (University of Groningen) and dr. Joris Gijsenbergh (Radboud University)
Date: 12 January 2023
This tutorial is dedicated to research methods: the trajectory from historiographical debate through research questions to an effective research strategy. In this interactive tutorial, the central questions are: what is the use of historical methodology, what is your methodological approach, how does your topic legitimize your research methods, and what are the major methodological challenges of your research project? In the tutorial, PhD candidates reflect on the aforementioned questions, present their most urgent methodological bottleneck and try to find the best strategy to solve their problems together with other PhD candidates and senior researchers.

B.4 Sources in Political History
Supervisor: dr. Marijke van Faassen (Huygens ING)
Date: 10 February 2023
The increasing use of digital techniques for researching both analogue and digital texts, archival sources and data clouds requires a new research methodology in which traditional knowledge is closely interwoven with digital skills. In this tutorial, an interdisciplinary team of political historians and information scientists will use case studies from their research to provide insight into this current methodological discussion and to more practically discuss ways to find, criticize, contextualise and finally prepare such complex sources to use them for research. To prepare for the tutorial, the PhD-students are requested to write a text in which they describe the digital and ‘paper’ sources they use in their research and reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of using them. During the tutorial, there will be ample time to interactively discuss the problems they experience and to create awareness for alternative sources to work around the problems they face.

B.5 Themes in Political History: governmentality and gender
Supervisor: prof. dr. Geertje Mak (University of Amsterdam)
Date: 10 March 2023
In the final tutorial of the year, we bring together conceptualizations of the political, relevant concepts for the study of politics, methodologies and sources, by focusing on a specific theme in political history. Based on readings and presentations by senior researchers, the participants will practice the integration of these various aspects of research in political history in a coherent research outline. This year’s tutorial departs from Foucault’s notion of governmentality – the capacity of any administration to direct and transform the people governed. Crucial to this notion is that you cannot govern people when you do not know them, but you cannot know them if you don’t have any control over them. Power and knowledge (over people) are thus entangled. As James Scott explained in his seminal Seeing like a State, reordering the population and the land is a necessary precondition for rule or ‘development’. Therefore, categorizations – even in very mundane techniques of administration – are key to governmentality (see for example Peter Miller and Nikolas Rose Governing the Present). For this tutorial, we specifically consider the crucial role of gender and sexuality in colonial categorizations.

Year Two: Workshops

B.6 Advanced Thesis Design: justifying your choices
Supervisor: dr. Anne Heyer (Leiden University) and dr. Carla Hoetink (Radboud University)
Date: 21 October 2022
This Workshop poses the question: ‘What exactly am I doing and how can that be justified?’. Based on a short, advanced paper on the methodology of their projects, PhD students explore opportunities, challenges and limitations of their theoretical and methodological choices, and alternatives presented and discussed in class.

B.7 Interdisciplinary Approaches
Supervisor: dr. Iva Pesa (University of Groningen) and dr. Christian Wicke (Utrecht University)
Date: 25 November 2022
This Workshop looks beyond the limits of the discipline of political history. How do/can other scientific disciplines inspire and inform political history research? Which debates outside the confines of political history are of interest, and to which debates can your PhD project contribute? We will look at relevant examples of interdisciplinarity in political history research, for example, political anthropology and political economy approach.

B.8 Internationalization
Supervisor: prof.dr. Jacco Pekelder (Zentrum für Niederlande-Studien, Münster)
Date: 20-21 January OR 17-18 February 2023
Please note: this two-day Workshop takes place in Münster (Germany) and will include a social program As a professional historian, you will have to present your research both in national and international print and at conferences. You will also want to be able to organize (international) seminars yourself. This two-day Workshop is meant to learn you how to present yourself and your research in an international context. This Workshop will result in a proposal for a symposium or a conference panel, co-created with one or two fellow PhD candidates.

B.9 Advanced Thesis Design: presenting and defending
Supervisor: dr. Maartje Janse (Leiden University) and Jan Julia Zurné (Radboud University)
Date: 21 April 2023
This Workshop focuses on effectively presenting your PhD project before an audience of senior political history scholars and experts in your field, and responding to comments, feedback and essential critique.The emphasis is on academic debate, Q&A and presentation technique.

Year Three: Seminars

B.10 Outreach and Communication
Supervisor: prof.dr. Dirk Jan Wolffram (Groningen University) and dr. Adriejan van Veen (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Date: 4 November 2022
This seminar is dedicated to the science outreach and communication – vis-à-vis both academia and the public at large – of the individual PhD projects of the participants. Invited speakers from academia, publishing, and journalism will provide information and share experiences on publishing a PhD thesis, presenting scientific results for a larger audience, and publishing in scientific journals.

B.11 Applied History and Current Affairs
Supervisor: dr. Harm Kaal (Radboud University), Stefan Couperus (University of Groningen) and Beatrice de Graaf (Utrecht University)
Date: 24 February 2023
This Workshop has a dual goal. First of all, it invites PhD students to reflect on the links between their research project, their research methodologies, and current affairs. Students are asked to rethink the relevance and the methodologies of their project from the perspective of current social and political concerns. What is the ‘big question’ that you are trying to respond to? Second, in interaction with people working in the sphere of policy-making, heritage, the press and think tanks students reflect on how they can develop methods of ‘applied history’, how their research can be considered ‘usable history’ for others outside academia, and/or how they may present their academic skills and knowledge to the world beyond academia, also with an eye towards their post-PhD-career.

B.12 Professional Development
Supervisor: dr. Carla Hoetink (Radboud University Nijmegen) and dr. Margit van der Steen (Huygens ING)
Date: 14 April 2023
This final seminar is dedicated to knowledge utilization, CV, finding your way to or creating research consortia and –networks, preparing for grant applications, and career opportunities outside academia. RSPH alumni will share their insights and experiences with you, their successes and – more often – their misfortunes.

How to register:

The PhD training program is open to all PhD candidates in the field of political history that are based in the Netherlands, Flanders or affiliated with the Zentrum für Niederlande-Studien in Münster. We explicitly welcome external PhDs too.
In most instances, the Graduate School of your home university takes care of your registration as soon as you indicate you want to join the RSPH. If this is not the case, or if you have any further questions regarding your enrolment, please contact us via Please include the
following information in your e-mail:
• Your full name
• Your home university
• The title and a brief description of your PhD project
• The names of your supervisor(s)

Work load, credits and certificates:

As a member of the RSPH PhD community, we assume you are willing to take full advantage of our training program. We highly recommend you follow all the tutorials and workshops on offer in year 1 and year 2 of your trajectory, given the structure of the program and the building up of competencies. This recommendation also goes for the seminars in year 3 of the training program, devoted to deepening your
skills as well as to professional development. Participation in other RSPH events is optional (see schedule above).
As standard, each training activity (tutorial, workshop or seminar) is awarded with 1 ECTS for preparation and active participation. Unless stated otherwise, these training activities consists of a 3–4-hour meeting with an open discussion based on the input and research interests of the participants. Active participation is considered self-evident. Each activity requires preparation in the form of reading literature, writing a
preparatory paper of ca 750 words according to the assignment given. Often you are asked to prepare in advance for commenting on the papers of your peers.
If you wish to earn more (or less) credits, a specific arrangement will be made in consultation with the director of studies of the RSPH. In case you wish to consider this, please send us a reasoned proposal via
At the end of the program, each participant will receive a certificate, specifying the credits that have been
obtained. In general, the school offers three types of certificates:
• Basic (10 ECTS)
• Regular (20 ECTS)
• Advanced (30 ECTS)

In addition to our training program, PhDs are warmly invited to take part in other events organized by or in close cooperation with the RSPH, e.g. master classes, seminars and conferences. Stay informed of our activities by visiting our website or subscribing to our newsletter.

Come and join us!

PhD Course Announcement: Summer School in Global History

Global History today forms a vibrant field of research. It explores how societies in different parts of the world were shaped by global entanglements and reveals that globalization is by no means a new phenomenon but has a history that goes well back until the Early Modern period. It involves historical processes such as European expansion and imperialism on the one hand, but also the ways European societies have been influenced by influx of ideas, raw materials, plants, animals and peoples from other continents. Theoretically, the field has been recently enriched by conceptualizations of for example the Anthropocene or the planetary perspective. To put it short, global history argues that we cannot understand the birth of our contemporary world without historically examining transregional interaction.

Aimed at PhD Candidates at any stage of their research, the 2022 Summer School in Global History is organized by a network of established scholars from the fields of global, imperial and transnational history as well as area studies coming from six leading European research universities (Aarhus, Bern, King’s College London, Oslo, Paris and Tübingen). It will focus on the theme of Transformative Connectivity, i.e. on the transformations that global entanglements provoked in different societies across the globe on the one hand and the ways actors and institutions which established these entanglements were in turn shaped by such processes of globalization.

Key information:

Dates: 08 June 2022 – 11 June 2022

Location: Sandbjerg Gods Sandbjergvej 102, Sønderborg

For more information on the course and how to apply:

Workshop Political History PhD Network | Florence, 2019 | Call for Papers

Identities and Politics throughout History

5th Workshop for PhD Candidates in Political History (second session)
17-18 October 2019, European University Institute, Florence, Italy

Application Deadline: 30 June 2019 (extended deadline)

Identities are powerful drives in human history. They build the understanding of the world of all human actors, and inevitably affect their actions. Both collective and individual identities are – now as ever – key features of all political activities. The creation and the control of identities are at the heart of all power relations, and as such they have been deeply investigated by human sciences. Indeed, political historians encounter the performative power of identities in most of their research. Nevertheless, they rarely find spaces to debate on identity issues and the tools needed to understand them. The main goal of the Florentine session of the 5th Workshop of the Political History PhD Network is to provide such space.

Since the cultural turn, the constructivist stance has been crucial in historiography. The seminal works of Benedict Anderson and Eric Hobsbawm questioned ethnical and national identities, while E.P. Thompson with his The making of the English working class inaugurated the investigation on the construction of class identities. In the meantime, gender studies have shown the cultural nature of gender identities. More recently, studies on personal identification have revealed the close relation between political power and the control of personal identities. In any case, it remains clear that it is not possible to conduct research on political history without questioning the identities used by both the historical actors and the historical observers as ourselves.

We encourage applications on topics including (but not limited to) the following areas:

  • The construction of identity as a political process
  • Performative identity: how collective identities influence politics (and vice versa)
  • Gender identities in question
  • Reframing national identity with transnational/global/diaspora case studies
  • Practices of personal identification throughout history
  • Identities in motion: borders and movements

Practical Information

Proposals for papers should include a title, an abstract of maximum 300 words, and a short CV of the presenter. Please send proposals to before 30 June 2019. Notification of acceptance will be announced before 15 July. Participants are expected to submit a 3.000 – 5.000 words paper ahead of the workshop by 15 September. Limited funding is available for travel reimbursements. Participants whose travel costs are not covered by any other institution and who wish to apply for a reimbursement should indicate this on their application.

For further information and questions please contact us at, join the Political History PhD Network on Linkedin and sign up for our monthly newsletter by writing us an email.

The second session of the 5th Workshop for PhD Candidates in Political History is organised thanks to the contribution of the European University Institute, the Autonomous University of Madrid and the University of Padua.

Workshop Political History PhD Network | Jyväskylä, 2019 | Call for Papers

Political in Political History – Meaning and Understanding of Politics

5th Workshop for PhD Candidates in Political History (First Session)
17–19 June 2019, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Application Deadline: 15 February 2019

The question of what is political seems like a banal one as it is such an obvious part of our everyday lives and experiences. Most of us follow politics and are dependent on the political institutions defining the framework we operate within. But are historians taking the concept of politics for granted? Is politics too often understood only as parties and parliaments? The first session of the fifth annual workshop of the Political History PhD Network focuses on the meaning and understanding of politics. We invite PhD Students to discuss the complexities of the concept of political in the field of political history.

Politics is a subject that gathers and unites academics from different backgrounds and traditions. Historians interested in politics have studied, among other things, ideas, intellectuals, political cultures, parliamentary rhetoric, and social movements. But what are we talking about when we talk about politics? The analytical nature of politics should be one of the defining subjects of debate in the field of political history, enabling scholars of different subjects, cultures, and eras to participate in a shared theoretical and methodological discussions. We believe that such discussions would enrich the field of political history.

The tradition of political history practised in the University of Jyväskylä has traditionally emphasised the political in political history, a result of multidisciplinary co-operation with political science and applied linguistics. An inclusive understanding of the nature of politics is one of the founding principles of the political history practiced in Jyväskylä. Hence we encourage the participants of the first session of the 2019 Political History PhD Network Workshop to submit papers on the following themes:

  • Political and politics as analytical concepts
  • Historical uses of the concepts of political and politics
  • Differing understandings of the nature of politics
  • Political agents, movements, parties, and ideas
  • Transnational and global influences
  • Politics – continuity and change in the long term

Practical Information

Proposals for papers should include the title, an abstract of maximum 300 words, and a short CV of the applicant. Please send proposals to before 15 February 2019. Notification of acceptance will be announced before the 15 March. Participants are expected to submit a 3 000 – 5 000 word paper ahead of the workshop by 10 June. An amount of funding is available for travel reimbursements. Participants who wish to apply for a reimbursement should indicate this on their application.

For further information and questions please contact us at and visit our website. We also encourage you to join the Political History PhD Network on Linkedin, and sign up for our monthly newsletter by writing us an email.

Zachris Haaparinne, MA, MSSc, PhD Student (
Juho Saksholm, MA, PhD Student (
Joonas Tammela, MA, PhD Student (


Political History PhD Network | Workshop 2018 Programme

The Pursuit of Legitimacy. Power and its Manifestations in Political History

25-26 October 2018, Leiden University, the Netherlands

Thursday, Oct. 25  2018
location: Huizinga building, Doelensteeg 16, Leiden

13:15 – 13:45              Registration (room 026)
13:45 – 14:00              Words of welcome

14:00 – 16:00              Parallel session I

Panel 1. The crafts of power. Observing, stratifying and condemning populations
room 023C
Chair: Remzi Çağatay Çakırlar (Leiden)

Joonas Tammela (Jyväskylä): Legitimation of Heavenly and Earthly Power: Local Sermons as a Mediator of the Societal Values in Swedish Realm, 1790–1820

Cristiana Plamadeala (Paris): On Dossierveillance and Collaboration with the Securitate, Romania’s Secret Police in the Communist Period (1945-89)

Sandrine Maulini (Geneva): The demands of former administrative inmates and children in out-of-home care: a crisis of legitimacy in Switzerland?

Panel 2. Signs of the times. Questions of legitimacy in periods of change
Room 025
Chair: Iva Vukusic (Utrecht)

Raisa Blommestijn (Leiden): The step-in-the-back myth. Reconceiving Weimar’s legitimacy

Maja Lukanc (Ljubljana): The legitimation of communist power: Comparative cases of post-war Poland and Yugoslavia (1944-1948)

Pierre Botcherby (Warwick): Seeking continuity in a period of change: resisting industrial decline and postindustrial regeneration in St. Helens, Merseyside

16:00 – 16:30             Coffee break  (room 026)

16:30 – 18:00             Key note panel: The question of legitimacy
Room 025

Maartje Janse, Anne Petterson & Elisabeth Dieterman (Leiden)

19:00                           Dinner (Malle Jan)
app. 21:00                  Social programme

Friday, Oct. 26 2018

09:30 – 10:00             Coffee  (room 026)
10:00 – 12:00             Parallel session II

Panel 3. Thinking (il)legitimately. Contrarian, demonical and provocative ideas
room 023C
Chair: Dirk Alkemade (Leiden)

Thomas Ashby (Florence/Leiden): Resisting Satan: Algernon Sidney contra the House of Stuart, the invasion plot of 1664-1666

Catherine Hulse (London): Legitimising representative popular power: the ‘paradox’ of Sieyès and Roederer?

Arthur Ghins (Cambridge): A liberal view on democracy: Benjamin Constant on sovereignty, representative government and political liberty

Shane Little (Loughborough): The anarchism of Josiah Warren: Sovereignty of the individual and experiments in utopian living

Panel 4. The imaginary dominium. Identity constructs and aesthetic representations as sources of legitimacy 
room 025
Chair: Wouter Linmans (Leiden)

Fons Meijer (Nijmegen): Establishing a Dutch consensus culture: Representations of Dutch monarchs in times of disaster, c.1807-1861

Nathalia Schomerus (Potsdam): Viewpoints of National Liberals on legitimacy in 19th century Germany

Rohit Dutta Roy (Cambridge): Right to govern and the construction of epistemic authority: History as a source of Political Legitimacy in late-nineteenth and twentieth-century India

Marvin Menniken (Berlin): War veteran morality and the nation: The American Legion in twentieth-century U.S. politics

12:00 – 13:00             Lunch

13:00 – 15:00             Parallel session III

Panel 5. Reading revolts against the grain. The legitimation of dissent
room 023C
Chair: Larissa Schulte Nordholt (Leiden)

Ivan Gracia (Barcelona): Legitimacy and popular violence in a catholic city: Barcelona during the Reapers’ Revolt (1640)

Oscar Broughton (Berlin): Redefining construction: Legitimacy and the National Guilds League

Juho Saksholm (Jyväskylä): The Nordic 1968: Transnational discourses on the legitimacy of dissent

Panel 6. Communicative challenges. Or how to mediate legitimacy
room 025
Chair: Alp Yenen

Jonas Stephan (Münster): Security, authority and legitimacy. The art of doing politics in the Holy Roman Empire after the Peace of Westphalia

Zachris Haaparinne (Jyväskylä): The virtues and ideals of parliamentary representation and political participation

Chris Monnox (Australia): Legitimising party: Public meetings and party politics in Australia, 1910-1929

Sara Mirahmadi (Leiden): Ideological usage of poetry in the Jāmi’ al-Tavārīkh

15:00 – 16:00              Plenary closing (room 025)

Political History PhD Network | Workshop 2018 Call for Papers

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

Practical Information

Proposals for papers should include the title, an abstract of maximum 300 words, and a short CV of the presenter. Please send proposals to 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.

For further information and questions please contact us at, join the Political History PhD Network on Linkedin and sign up for our monthly newsletter by writing us an email!

Remzi Çağatay Çakırlar, Universiteit Leiden
Wouter Klem, Universiteit Utrecht
Erik de Lange, Universiteit Utrecht
Lauren Lauret, Universiteit Leiden

Political History PhD Network | Workshop 2017 Report

The Changing Frontiers of Political History,16th-20th Centuries

Workshop Political History PhD Network
26-27 October 2017, Sciences-Po Paris, France


This two day-workshop is an initiative of the Political History PhD Network. It was organised by Alexandre Boza, Alessandro Capone, Laurent Cuvelier & Thomas Maineult (Sciences Po Paris).

Workshop report

by Alexandre Boza & Laurent Cuvelier

The third workshop of the International Political History PhD Network was hosted by Sciences Po Paris, on 26-27 October 2017. Federating under the headline « The Changing Frontier of Political History », around twenty PhD Students from several European countries (Italy, Spain, The Netherland, France, Germany, the United Kingdom…) and from United States, gathered to present their research. As defined in previous workshops’ organization, each paper was discussed within small groups of high expertise within their respective fields. Joint sessions were held for those study endeavours that bridged two of the panels, thus ensuring comprehensive feedback from the audience. Papers were distributed beforehand, and after brief presentations followed from an assigned commentator, collective feedback opened fruitful discussions. Contributors were grouped into four panels (Empires and Nation-States in a global perspective; Religion, politics, and modernity ; New perspectives in history of international relations ; Politics and practices of social control).

The first panel focused on the importance of Imperial studies for the renewal of political history. It emphasized the methodological influence of cultural history, especially the studies of controversies and discourses linked to specific social and political contexts. It also implied different extra-European contexts such as the first Spanish-Empire or the 19th Century French Empire.

Daniel Alleman (Cambridge University) analysed controversies between Spanish jurists about forced native labor in colonial Peru. Studying those debates, he has shown the connections between Spanish scholastic thought, more practically oriented treatises on the government of the New World, and the broader discourse of empire in early modern Spain.

Madeline Woker (Columbia University) presented her research about politics of taxation in colonial contexts. She focused mainly on colonial Algeria at the beginning of the 20th century, and has traced the debates that led to the abolition of the impôt arabe in 1918. In her paper and presentation, she underlined how taxation crucially shaped the way colonial rule was experienced by all members of colonial society.

Betto van Waarden (UC Louvain) studies how Belgian, British, and German political leaders interacted with the press during its expansion to a ‘mass’ phenomenon between 1880 and 1914. During the conference, he has developed a case study about the 1901-2 verbal conflict between British Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain and German Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow. This conflict has been shaped by the communication of both politicians and has contributed to the emergence of a transnational public sphere. Van Waarden’s study of their communication shows how they understood the importance of publicity and visibility to shape their political careers and their celebrity.

Remzi Çağatay Çakırlar (Leiden University-EHESS) focused on the role of French Radical politician Édouard Herriot in the relationship between France and the Young Turk movement in Turkey, both with its Unionist and Kemalist guise. Based on extensive archival research conducted in Leiden, Paris, Lyon, Aix-en-Provence, Carcassonne, and Istanbul, the paper demonstrates that Herriot’s relations with the Young Turks, in the time period from the 1908 Revolution to Atatürk’s death in 1938, were bilateral and frequent. His influence were crucial and can be seen through the ideological foundation of the Kemalist State. Thus, Republicanism and Laïcism are two of the Six Arrows who were added to Turkish Constitution in 1937.

Panel II drew the audience interest on the renewal of religious dimension in modern politics history. Speakers presented several perspectives on this general through diverse topics.

Chloé Lacoste (Université Paris IV) presented her ongoing inquiry on public funerals Northern Ireland in the late 19th-early 20th centuries. She focused on the way Fenians used public funerals and memorials to build up both their political and cultural identity. She wondered if catholicism was a way to nationalism a path to catholicism, and explained how catholicism has challenged and transformed the former Irish republican nationalism. Doing so she emphasized the importance of “role models” as narrative for such a construction and of monuments locations as milestones for identity building.

Serena Presti Danisi (Padua University) has proposed the first results of her prosopography on the first Roman Constituent Assembly of 1849. Elected through universal suffrage, these representatives expressed the liberal movements of the late 1840s, merging liberalism and elitism in a clientelistic way. Roman deputies appeared to have an important former political culture through local and european networking as most of them were already second rank actors in administration and economy.

Stefan Trajkovic Filipovic (Justus-Liebig University, Giessen) presented a study of the relation between belief and space through the media coverage of recent political uses of Mount Rumija. The building of a church dedicated to St Vladimir’s millennium cult raised harsh opposition between Serbian nationalism supported by Serbian orthodox church in Montenegro and Montenegrin nationalism. Articulating local, federal and european scales, S. T. Filipovic showed by this example how the geographical issue of the interface became symbolic frontier for political identities.

Panel III was focused on new perspectives in International relations. Speakers examined this issue following different perspectives and adopting original methodological approaches.

Francesco Caprioli (Univ. Autónoma de Madrid) has studied the Spanish diplomacy during the first third of the 16th century in Maghreb and in Italy as a system to preserve Spanish influence in the Mediterranean. He has focused on both the decision-making circles of the royal court in Madrid and the go-betweens employed with the Berber dynasties as well as with the Italian Renaissance families.

Edoardo Angione (Roma Tre University) has presented his work on information channels used by the papal State under Paul V’s pontificate. He analysed three of them: diplomacy, independent informants and clergymen to underline how the needs and local contexts of informants have shaped international relations between Rome and the Ottoman Empire.

Carlos Antolín Rejón (Univ. Autónoma de Madrid) focused on Prince Filiberto of Savoy (1588-1624) and his public image, using iconic representations and portraits. Between the image of a Habsburg-Savoy Prince or an Italian-Spanish one, the study of material aspects (his clothes for example) shows the progressive “hispanisation” of Fliliberto’s public image even if the Savoy identity were never left completely.

Michele D’Angelo (Univ. Autónoma de Madrid-Univ. de Toulouse) has shown how France and Spain established and consolidated, between 1950s and 1960s, diplomatic relationship throughout the control and repression of their foreign citizens. He underlined the new cooperative relations through different issues such as the control of anti-francoist activists or the Algerian Independent War. In that process, Spanish diplomats have taken a key part to avoid the politization of Spanish workers in France.

Finally, panel IV focused on the practices of social control. It underlined the importance of administrative connection and transfers across state borders and among the local, the national and the European scale. It also has shown how material approaches of political practices and specific case studies are still fruitful methodological perspectives.

Stefano Poggi (EUI, Florence) has developed a specific case study from his research focusing on the techniques of identification in the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy. With his case about Security Cards in the Napoleonic Vicenza (1805-1809), he has underlined the potential of a micro perspective in the identification studies, especially to study how the local society reacted to new practices of social control.

Erik de Lange (Utrecht University) studies the European fight against piracy and privateering during the first part of the 19th century. During this workshop he focused on European policies and efforts against ‘Barbary piracy’. After the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818, European tried to address concerted communications to the Ottoman Porte. Moreover, France and England organised a joint expedition to Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. The different reaction and opposition of the Barbary Regencies shows the limits of inter-imperial practices of security and the problematic application of the ‘piracy’ label.

Wouter Klem (Utrecht University) has presented his research focusing on the European campaign against anarchist terrorism and the importance of transnational networks of police. He has shown how the anarchist threat catalyzed police experts to engage in a transnational epistemic network, to exchange and readapt different kind of police practices (such as the anthropometric measurements developed by Alphonse Bertillon).

In his paper and presentation, Nicola Baković (Justus-Liebig University, Giessen) has focused on the methodological aspects of his research. The later is about marches in Soviet Yugoslavia, which has shaped the representations of Yugoslav Territory during the Socialist period. He has developed a methodological approach linked to the process of “place making” (geographical locations, material structures, human agencies…) and the concept of “routinisation”. This approach has let him to emphasize how local actors, non-political aims and economical factors were important for the success of those marches.

Uygar Aydemir (Sabanci University, Istanbul) has presented his work about a political treatise written by Mahmud Nedim Pasha during the 19th century. He developed Mahmud Nedim’s criticism of modern Ottoman bureaucracy and has tried to link Nedim’s perspective with the critique of bureaucracy in Eastern and Central Europe during the 19th century.

As a complement to the organization in panels, coffees and diner in the sideline of the workshop offered occasion to deepen discussions and establish personal contacts over coffee or dinner, eventually to discover french gastronomie.

The presence of scholars from so diverse countries allowed challenging discussions over topics and strong attention to methodological issues. Alongside with the good quality of most presentations, this seems to indicate that the Network is attracting a growing attention, starting being recognized as a valuable scientific experience. The conference programme was further complemented by a keynote discussion on Thursday evening where Michele Di Donato, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Centre for History of Sciences Po, reflected on the challenges of applying for a post-doc position through transnational study of contemporary communists networks. The discussion was appreciated for focusing on the innovating processes in young researchers fundings projects.

On Friday 27th, Marc Lazar, chair of the Association for Political History, addressed the relationship between the PHPN and the APH, insisting on the strengthening of proximity between the two networks. The discussion highlighted the opportunity for PHD to join the APH and get involved in the three next steps : the 2018 APH Conference in Paris, the 2018 PHPN Workshop in Leiden. The discussion moved on to making explicit the Association’s concern for PhD students’ formation and job opportunities. Marc Lazar insisted on the forthcoming Political History job market initiated by the APH and on the importance for the APH website to contribute to turn into a place for “community building”.