CALL FOR PAPERS
The Contours of Legitimacy in Central Europe:
New Approaches in Graduate Studies
Postgraduate Conference, St. Antony's College, Oxford, 24-26 May 2002
Mr. Timothy Garton Ash (St. Antony's College, Oxford)
Dr. Eva Hahn (Oldenburg)
Dr. Martyn Rady (SSEES, London)
Dr. Jan Fellerer (Wolfson College, Oxford)
Professor George Schöpflin (SSEES, London)
Themes and approaches
The idea of Central Europe rests, paradoxically, upon ambiguous boundaries and essential definitions. This heartland remains a contested area in terms of overlapping and competing conceptions of territorial frontiers, political authority, economic trading blocs, ethno-linguistic communities, and cultural development. Nonetheless, the region retains a genuine and unique character whose expression extends far beyond the terms of nationalist myth-making. In an effort to identify the workings of this paradox, and consequently the nature of the region itself, the Conference Committee of Postgraduates in Central European Studies at the University of Oxford is calling for papers in the field which focus on the concept of legitimacy.
The notion of legitimacy embraces Central Europe's uncertainties and certainties: it is a model both of justification and vindication, based on a mixed historical legacy. On the one hand, Central Europe shares the same instances of great socio-political change as Western Europe, from the Reformation to the European Union. On the other hand, the dynamics of these changes were and are different in Central Europe. From the Early Modern period varied relationships between the spiritual and secular spheres combined with alternative forms of social-economic hierarchy, absolutism, and imperialism to produce different founding principles for future state development. From these processes and principles we can trace varying subsequent patterns of ethnic diversity and national identification. This legacy ironically pushes the region to the periphery of Europe, even as its relations arguably provide the key to the continent's affairs.
We are calling for interpretations of legitimacy that address this basic contradiction. Our starting point is Max Weber's definition of legitimacy as any one of three different ways of exercising power: by tradition, charisma, or rational legal authority. We aim to draw from these three concepts of authority as we debate legitimacy in language, culture, history, geography, economics, and politics in Central Europe. We hope that the ensuing discussion will bridge the methodological gaps between the academic disciplines, whose respective approaches have come to reflect cleavages in the subject matter itself. Panel sessions will follow a chronological framework, from the Early Modern period to the present.
The boundaries of 'Central Europe' for these purposes remain broad and can include the region as it has been, and is defined, in relation to either Western Europe or Eastern Europe. In addition, we particularly welcome papers on minority (e.g Jewish and Roma) communities within the region.
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The Committee suggests the following possible
topics for papers from the Counter-Reformation to the present.
However, proposals need not be limited to these suggestions, nor to the placement of particular themes within this loose chronology:
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