Upcoming Event: ADEF Workshop and Keynote Lecture “Competitors & Companions: Britons and Germans in the World”

Next week, the Centre for British Studies at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin will host the ADEF Workshop  “Competitors & Companions: Britons and Germans in the World”, organized by Daniel Steinbach (Exeter), Tobias Becker (GHI London) and myself. The complete programme of the workshop is available at the ADEF homepage. Please register to attend the workshop. The public Keynote Lecture will be given by Professor Gaynor Johnson (Kent).

Meeting of the Legal History Research Group (GRR) on 10/02/2017: European Law

On February 10, 2017, the GRR Legal History Research group at Humboldt University  turned its attention toward the history and historiography of European law. Philip Bajon (Frankfurt/M.) presented his research project on the Luxembourg Compromise, asking whether it propelled a change in decision making patterns in the Council of the European Union. He posited that although the Luxembourg Compromise was not necessarily hard law, it established an informal veto culture that shaped the constitutional practice in the years to come. Manuel Müller (Berlin; www.foederalist.eu) discussed why the Maastricht Treaty did not turn into a “constitutional moment” and argued that while the political system became more integrated, the European public sphere did not: The main frame of reference, in which European politics and policies were discussed and legitimized, remained national. Finally, Anna Katharina Mangold (Frankfurt/M.) made a plea from a jurist’s perspective for a critical turn in the historiography of European Law. From her point of view, a teleological narrative of European integration continues to shape the work of legal historians. Therefore, she calls upon them to reveal historical contingencies and path dependencies as well as their own bias in prioritizing a specific narrative or subject matter over another in their research.

The presentations served as a departure point for a more general discussion about (legal) history. While Philip Bajon argued that a historical approach can uncover source material from actors other than official personas and institutions, Anna Katharina Mangold contended that contemporary historians can be too close to the individual whose motivations and actions they want to analyze. To resolve these issues, the participants agreed that both historians and jurists need to contextualize authors and their work by situating them in a specific historical context. A lively discussion followed on the question how researchers should deal with their own positionality and political leanings: While the jurists regarded normativity as essential for a future-oriented research that suggests improvements to today’s legal system from a historical perspective, the historians in the room interjected that a political standpoint – especially if not clearly indicated – can undermine an impartial analysis of belief systems and discourses of the past. This discussion also tapped into the recent public debate on “post-truth politics” and the role of academia within it, raising the question of the meaning of factuality in (deconstructivist) research projects – a concern not just for legal historians.

CFP: Competitors and Companions: Britons and Germans in the World

ADEF – Annual Conference, Berlin, 19 – 20 May 2017

Competitors and Companions: Britons and Germans in the World (19th and 20th Century)

This workshop is concerned with British-German relations beyond government level. While official bilateral relations between Germany and Britain have been thoroughly studied, their ‘unofficial’ connections and interactions await a systematic exploration. These encounters are manifold as Britons and Germans met in various different contexts at home, in Europe, and the wider world and constantly had to define their relationship to one another as either competitors or companions against a third ‘other’. In the colonial sphere a strong sense of a mutual ‘European-ness’ towards the indigenous population could override economic rivalry and cultural differences. Archaeological expeditions or other scientific endeavours could either create transnational collaboration or nationalist competition. Artists, musicians, missionaries, or explorers might be asked to further their countries’ reputation while they sometimes felt closer to their peers and colleagues of other national background. Diplomats representing their nations and pursuing their politics would still share the life and moral index of the diplomatic corps. On the other hand, British and German representatives at multinational organisations or the EU often opted for a surprisingly nationalistic approach and economic, political, and military collaboration was repeatedly undermined by espionage or even sabotage. The varying degrees of competition and/or collaboration were not necessarily in accordance with official policy and diplomatic relations and sometimes in direct contrast to them.
The workshop discusses different aspects of British-German relations between confrontation and cooperation during the 19th and 20th century in a global perspective, while at the same time explores the creation, role, and impact of ‘the other’ and ‘the third’ in the fluctuating construction of companionship and competition.

Convenors: Tobias Becker (GHI London), Julia Eichenberg (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin), Daniel Steinbach (University of Exeter)
Keynote Speaker: Prof Gaynor Johnson (University of Kent)

We invite proposals that investigate examples and case studies of British-German encounter in an international context discussing questions of competition and/or collaboration. All speakers are expected to deliver their papers in English.
The workshop will be held 19-20 May 2017 at the Centre for British Studies (Großbritannienzentrum) at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.
In the interests of fostering stronger links between scholars in Germany and the United Kingdom and Ireland, the German Historical Institute London will cover travel expenses for accepted speakers travelling in from the British Isles. Accepted speakers from Germany may qualify for bursary to cover travel expenses, depending on funding.
Proposals (in English) should include a brief one-page C.V. and a 250-word abstract of the proposed paper, and are due by 1 March 2017. Submissions and all inquiries should be directed to julia.eichenberg@hu-berlin.de

Kontakt

julia.eichenberg@hu-berlin.de

For more general inquiries about ADEF:
http://adef-britishstudies.org