The death of Thomas Welskopp, just before his sixtieth birthday, comes as a shock to his colleagues and friends. From the start, he belonged to the board of the Association for Political History, as testimony to his commitment to the international education of young historians. As director of the prestigious Bielefeld graduate school for history he organized one of the first conferences of our association in 2015. Important for us, but for him just one of his many achievements. When I spent a semester at the Berlin Zentrum für vergleichende Geschichte Europas in 2002, I met him for the first time, after I had read his monumental and admirable Habilitation thesis (the second thesis German academics needed to apply for a professorship) about the early German social democracy Das Banner der Brüderlichkeit (the banner of brotherhood). At the same time a work of classic scholarship in the tradition of German working class history as well as a pioneering study of political culture and working class culture, it has been very influential and has been used a lot for over two decades now. Welskopp himself was mostly interested in the early years of social democracy, when no stable organization was available yet and democratic mass meetings and charismatic orators predominated. His book earned him a professorship at his alma mater Bielefeld, where he fitted very well. He wrote about cultural history, but made sure he never lost the connection with social history, as a form of grounding and as an antidote against free-floating and too abstract forms of history. He was a firm believer in comparative history and his second expertise was American history, among other things resulting in a cultural history of prohibition. He spent several years at top American universities, both as undergraduate and as post-doctoral fellow. In modern competitive academic life, his modest and rather reticent, sometimes almost timid personality stood out. His intellectual qualities and many publications gave him authority and his engagement and friendliness endeared him to his colleagues in Bielefeld, Germany and abroad. He will be sorely missed.
Henk te Velde president Association for Political History
Series: Making Political History Global| 30 September 2021
Power in History, the Research Group Political History of the University of Antwerp
in cooperation with Association for Political History
Arguably even more than other subdisciplines of history, political history has been forged in Europe and has therefore taken Western political modernity as its starting point. New paradigms like postcolonialism and subaltern studies have not been able fundamentally to alter this situation. Scholars of non-Western history experience nearly insurmountable thresholds to engage in fruitful discussions with traditional political historians – thresholds situated at the level of concepts, languages, sources and methods. In this webinar, some empirical examples will serve as a starting point for a discussion on these obstacles – and on the ways to get rid of them.
This webinar in the series of ‘Making Political History Global’ focuses on sports history.
Webinars on the Department of History and Civilisation
The call for applications for the European University Institute’s funded PhD programme is opening on 1 November 2020 (deadline is 31 January 2021). The EUI Department of History and Civilization offers exceptional opportunities to study global connections within early modern and modern European history.
The Department of History and Civilisation is organising a series of live interactive webinars in which prospective applicants will be able to find out more about the PhD programme, by talking directly to its faculty and its researchers. After a short introduction to the EUI and the department, participants will be able to discuss and ask questions regarding the PhD, life at the EUI and Florence and more.
29 October at 11:00 CET with Professors Giorgio Riello and Lucy Riall (in English and Italian)
4 November at 15:00 CET with Professor Regina Grafe (in English and Spanish)
25 November at 15:00 CET with Professor Glenda Sluga (in English and Polish)
14 December at 15:00 CET with Professors Giancarlo Casale, Pieter M. Judson and Corinna Unger (in English and German)
For any question about the PhD programme, grants, requirements, application and selection procedures, please contact the EUI Admissions Office – Email: email@example.com
Webinar and debate organized by the Association for Political History (APH) and the LUISS School of Government (SoG) with Beatrice de Graaf (Utrecht University), Irène Herrmann (University of Geneva) and Richard Vinen (King’s College London).
The COVID 19 pandemic constitutes a challenge for political history and calls into question politics, institutions, and the essential values of the open society. Such a transcendental phenomenon resulted in extraordinary emergency conditions, dividing governments, polarizing public opinion, destabilizing the economy, and undermining the principles of democracy, free market, and cooperation between countries. In a global context, where the future seems more uncertain than ever, history tells us how these emergency situations change the relationships between citizens and authorities, redefine state dimensions, ideologies, and individual freedoms (even in countries with solid democratic traditions), and determine another crisis of the open society.
It is commonplace in politics, media and academia to portray the European Union (EU) as a technocracy, run by a faceless elite of rule-obsessed busybodies. Scholars and journalists have shown time and again that this image does not account for the member states, for no European laws get passed without them. Yet, the image of the EU as an undemocratic organisation persists, which also raises the question where this leaves the EU’s ‘democratic’ institutions, such as the European Parliament. Why have the institutions which represent popular interests at the European level not been able to fundamentally challenge the technocratic nature of the EU?
Our present predicament of omnipresent uncertainty, sudden twists of fate and the sense that a serious menace looms somewhere beyond our reach make it all the more understandable what seafaring people and coastal communities fear most about piracy – both in the present and the past. Like a foreign disease that washes upon the beach, piracy has been such a threatening aspect of life at sea because it appears out of nowhere, unchecked by rules on violence or raiding. A ship appears on the horizon, seemingly friendly at first, but then flags change and a chase on the vast expanses of the high seas begins. In the nineteenth century, piracy on the Mediterranean Sea was, in fact, even considered by some to be a type of plague that had to be fought with unprecedented security measures. As such, the historical repression of piracy touches upon enduringly relevant topics of security, violence, law and the dynamics of international inclusion and exclusion. My dissertation on the nineteenth-century fight against Mediterranean piracy, which I recently defended at Utrecht University, uncovers the dynamics of security during a pivotal moment in history and shows how piracy repression helped remake the Mediterranean into a space of European imperial expansion.