Workshop:Criticisms of democracy, authoritarianism and populism in Europe: Continuities and disruptions from the inter-war period until today
September 30, 2018: Application deadline End of October 2018: Announcement of selected abstracts March 14 – 15, 2019: Workshop at the German Historical Institute, Paris
Facing the feeling of »crisis« of democracy arising in recent years and symbolized by the rise of populist movements, there is a recurrent comparison with the inter-war situation in today’s political debate in many European countries1 . Is this comparison relevant to understand the specific democratic practices during both periods? Building on this question, the workshop serves as kick-off for the research program Which democracy/democracies? Reflections on the crisis, modernization and limits of democracy in Germany, France, England and Central Europe between 1919 and 1939 supported by the Centre interdisciplinaire d’études et de recherches sur l’Allemagne (CIERA). The workshop questions the concept of populism from a historical perspective and will conclude with an interdisciplinary round table. It aims at discussing the comparability of the current political context with that of the inter-war period, as well as testing the heuristic advantages that this analogy can offer to historical analysis. Submissions for this workshop should concern one (or more) of the following topics:
Persistence of phenomena and concepts
- Criticisms of representative democracy: What echoes of inter-war debates can be found in current criticisms of representative democracy?
- Authoritarianism yesterday and today: Is the comparison with the inter-war period relevant to understand contemporary authoritarian temptations?
- »Novelty« of contemporary populism? Can the concept of populism help to compare the opposition of »people« and »elites« recurrent in both periods?
- Relevance and instrumentalization of historical and geographical comparison
- Virtue of comparison in history and social sciences: Under which conditions is a comparison between democracies of different periods relevant in order to grasp the specific issues of the time respectively?
- Political instrumentalization of historical comparison: How can we attempt to understand the recurrence of references to the 1930s in the contemporary European debate? What positions towards the current political situation do they support?
Proposals may include case studies of one or more countries (preferably Germany, France, Great Britain, Poland or former Czechoslovakia) or methodological or epistemological reflections on the question of comparability. The proposals of young researchers are particularly welcome. The working languages will be French, German and English.
Please send an abstract of your presentation (title, summary, biographical notice) with a maximum size of one page (or 3.000 words) to email@example.com until September 30, 2018. We will cover the cost of transportation and accommodation if funding can be secured for the workshop.
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