CfP – Towards a New Political History of the Court, c. 1200-1800: Delineating Practices of Power in Gender, Culture, and Sociability

Deadline: 13 mei 2018. Voor de volledige CfP, zie H-Net

Towards a New Political History of the Court, c. 1200-1800: Delineating Practices of Power in Gender, Culture, and Sociability

Parijs, 14-16 november 2018

Dynastic centres, or courts, played a pivotal role in the state building processes out of which developed our modern political practices and institutions. Yet, for a long time, the court was regarded primarily as the field of anecdotal ‘petite histoire’ and consequently neglected by scholarly research. In recent years, however, the exploration of the dynastic centre made considerable progress, as historians sought to build on, and go beyond, the venerable sociological models of Norbert Elias. The exploration of symbolic communication, patronage, micro-politics, gender, the body, materiality, and transculturality are only some of the innovative approaches that have been brought to bear on the subject of court history and they have produced remarkable results. We now understand that the court was a multifaceted space for innovation in the arts, and sciences, in religious and political thought, as well as a central hub for the deployment of power relationships. But how do these different aspects interact? And how do these new approaches modify our current understanding of, for instance, state-building narratives? Do they suggest new chronologies, and do we consequently have to rewrite traditional textbook narratives in order to reflect these new impulses?

Building on such questions, this conference invites its participants to reflect and discuss on how to conceptualise the political dimension of courtly culture and sociability in the context of a new political historiography of the court. (…) In our conference, we would like to bring together scholars who are working on all aspects of court history, including historians of diverse periods and regions beyond early modern Europe. Our aim is to both take stock of the recent developments in court history, as well as to reflect on its challenges and areas in need of further development.

If you would like to join us in this endeavour, please apply with an abstract of the planned presentation of no more than 250 words, as well as a short biographical note (research interests, past and current academic affiliations, major publications, 3-4 sentences) to Regine Maritz ( and Pascal Firges ( We intend to publish both the paper abstracts and biographical notes of all participants on our conference blog. Presentations will have a length of no more than 20 minutes. Work-in-progress is welcome. The working language is English. Depending on successful funding applications, travel costs and accommodation for participants may be covered fully or partially.