This article explores the ways the emerging concept of humanism was circulated and defined in early nineteenth-century German-language press. By analyzing a digitized corpus of German-language newspapers and periodicals published between 1808 and 1850, this article looks into the ways the concept of humanism was employed in book reviews, news, political reports, and feuilleton texts. Newspapers and periodicals had a significant role in transmitting the concept of humanism from educational debates into general political language in the 1840s. Furthermore, in an era of growing social problems and political unrest, humanism became increasingly associated with moral sentiments. Accordingly, this article suggests that its new political meanings and emotional underpinnings made humanism culturally contagious, particularly immediately before and during the 1848/49 revolutions.
How Medieval Ideas of Time Influenced the Development of Mechanical Reproduction of Texts and Images
The methods of intellectual history have not yet been applied to studying the invention of technology for printing texts and images ca. 1375–ca. 1450. One of the several conceptual developments in this period reflecting the possibility of mechanical replication is a view of the relationship of eternity to durational time based on Gregory of Nyssa’s philosophy of time and William of Ockham’s. The article considers how changes in these ideas helped enable the conceptual possibilities of the dissemination of ideas. It describes a direct connection of human perceptual knowledge to divine knowledge that enhanced the authority of printed production to transfer and reproduce the true and the good.
A Struggle for Representation in the Discourse of the Polish Great Emigration, 1832–1846/48
This article presents a conceptual history of representation in the political debates of the Polish émigré community in the period 1832–1846/48. As I argue, while the concept was present in the output of all political environments of the Polish Great Emigration, there were more discrepancies than similarities about how to understand it. As a result of debates about what the Polish diaspora in exile actually was and who had the right to represent it, the concept became a part and parcel of political frays. In this way, the right to use it—and consequently to represent the whole Polish community and Polish nation as well—occupied a central place in the evolution of the concept of representation.
Its Innovative Thrust and Transnational Semantic Transfers during the Sattelzeit (Eighteenth to Nineteenth Centuries)
Samuel Hayat and José María Rosales
Representation is a major and multifaceted concept of modern politics. Through open and regular elections, it shields the democratic character of representative governments, compelling politicians to pursue the interests of their constituencies and become responsive to their demands. But since the concept of representation is so embedded in the day-to-day workings of democratic regimes, it has largely lost significant traces of its history that shed light on its political dawn. The instrumentalization of the concept by representative governments in order to assess their democratic legitimacy obfuscates its seminal ambiguities and the history of conflicts about its meaning and institutional functions.
The Timeline of a Concept
Juan Francisco Fuentes
The concept of populism has generated endless controversy marked by both the contrasting political feelings it conveys and a particular problem of definition. This article—based on political speeches, academic literature, and relevant online sources, such as Google Ngram Viewer, catalogs of great libraries, and digital archives of newspapers—adopts a pragmatic approach to the concept throughout its history, from the moment when the noun appeared in North American political life in the late nineteenth century until the most recent “populist moment” in response to the economic crisis that started in 2008. The study of its changing meanings shows, however, some elements of continuity that make sense of what Margaret Canovan defined as “a notoriously vague term.”
The Controversy over the Stadtholderate (1705–1707) and Simon van Slingelandt
This article reconsiders the way political representation was understood in the early modern Netherlands by focusing on the contemporary contribution of Simon van Slingelandt. His views of the representative nature of the government of the Dutch Republic were deeply polemical when he developed them, but went on to have a profound influence on the later literature and are notably sustained in modern histories of the subject. The best way to nuance the view of political representation our historiography has inherited from Van Slingelandt is by returning to the earlier views he set out to discredit. By examining both views, I thus hope to shed some new light on the representative nature of early modern Dutch government.
Annabel Brett, Fabian Steininger, Tobias Adler-Bartels, Juan Pablo Scarfi and Jan Surman
Searching for the Political History, Archaeology, and the History of Ideas. Elías José Palti, An Archaeology of the Political: Regimes of Power from the Seventeenth Century to the Present (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017), xx + 235 pp.
Translation in International Relations and Ottoman-Turkish History. Einar Wigen, State of Translation: Turkey in Interlingual Relations (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2018), 276 + xvii pp.
The Invention of Conservatism as a Modern Ideology. Amerigo Caruso, Nationalstaat als Telos? Der konservative Diskurs in Preußen und Sardinien-Piemont, 1840–1870 [Nation-State as Telos? Conservative discourse in Prussia and Sardinia-Piedmont, 1840–1870] Elitenwandel in der Moderne, Bd. 20 (Berlin: de Gruyter Ouldenberg, 2017), 516 pp.
Reconsidering Friendship in the Face of Anarchy in International Society: Refreshing Insights from Conceptual History. Evgeny Roshchin, Friendship among Nations: History of a Concept (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017), 264 pp.
On the Use of Foreign Words. Falko Schmieder and Georg Toepfer, eds., Wörter aus der Fremde: Begriffsgeschichte als Übersetzungsgeschichte [On the Use of Foreign Words: Conceptual History as History of Translation] (Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2017), 328 pp.
Religions, Morality, and Culture
Page Dougherty Delano
This article is a study of the complex social environment within the Vittel internment camp in eastern France during World War II. The Germans arrested some two thousand British women and then nearly three hundred American women of different class backgrounds, religions, political beliefs, and national affiliations, who were placed in the hotels of this spa town. The Vittel internment camp also became the temporary home of around three hundred Jews from the Warsaw ghetto, who claimed to possess American and South American citizenship. Most of these Jews were sent to their deaths at Auschwitz. Drawing on memoirs, letters, Red Cross reports, and scattered histories, this article explores the interactions, resistance, and prejudices of camp inhabitants. It argues that American women’s behavior was guided less by religious beliefs than one might expect in the context of the 1940s.
Anastasia Deligiaouri and Jane Suiter
How can we define democracy today given the continuous changes that modern societies are undergoing? What is the role of a democratic theorist? This paper articulates a threefold argument in responding to these questions by analyzing the term of democracy in vitro, in vivo, and in actu. The first step is to secure a democratic minimum and the core principles of democracy. The second step involves studying democracy as an ongoing project and examining how the principles of this democratic minimum are encoded. In the third step we deploy the basic premises of discourse theory of Laclau and Mouffe when evaluating a specific discourse of democracy, as this approach encompasses both discursive and nondiscursive practices. Utilizing this three-level evaluative framework for democratic theory will allow us to not only articulate normative principles but also evaluate them according to their mode of implementation.
Niklas Olsen, Irene Herrmann, Håvard Brede Aven and Mohinder Singh
Crisis and Existentialism in the Work of Reinhart Koselleck
Gennaro Imbriano, Der Begriff der Politik: Die Moderne als Krisenzeit im Werk von Reinhart Koselleck [The concept of politics: Modernity as a time of crisis in the work of Reinhart Koselleck] (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2018), 187 pp.
Jan Eike Dunkhase, Absurde Geschichte: Reinhart Kosellecks historischer Existentialismus [Absurd history: Reinhart Koselleck’s historical existentialism] (Marbach: Deutschen Literaturarchiv Marbach, 2015), 67 pp. --- Humanity in Practice: New Approaches to Conceptual History
Fabian Klose and Mirjam Thulin, eds., Humanity: A History of European Concepts in Practice from the Sixteenth Century to the Present (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016), 324 pp. --- The Merits of Mistranslation
Eric Schatzberg, Technology: Critical History of a Concept (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 344 pp. --- Beyond Universalism and Nativism: The Conceptual Vocabulary of Indian Modernity
Gita Dharmpal-Frick, Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach, Rachel Dwyer, and Jahnavi Phalkey, eds., Key Concepts in Modern Indian Studies (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015), 350 pp.