The recent debates about the impact and heritage of Prussia in Germany, especially in the wake of the so-called Hohenzollern Dispute, show that the origins of modern German nationhood are still contested. Splitting along the identification of its very founding moment, there are – to put it simply – those that present the German nation-state as the result of a “bottom-up” process in the wake of the Frankfurt Parliament in 1848/49 and those that view Germany as the outcome of a Bismarckian “top-down” state formation in 1870/71. Between these two poles, the Erfurt Union remains a niche topic although it has not yet been examined “whether the Erfurt Parliament really broke up ‘without any positive repercussions’”. (Hans-Werner Hahn, 2000, p. 19)
For this reason, the organisers of this conference seek to examine the Erfurt Union’s preconditions and efficacy. In doing so, they aim for an answer to the question of whether the Erfurt Union was merely a conservative farewell to the Revolution of 1848/49 or a liberal-conservative herald of the 1870/71 foundation of the German Empire. Consequently, the Union’s impact on parliamentarisation in Germany, the question for continuities and ruptures in terms of political ideas and concepts (e.g., of representation, participation, constitutionalisation) before/after the Erfurt Union, as well as the Union’s overall impact on society and political culture in Germany are at the heart of this conference.
For this reason, we invite scholars of all career stages and disciplines (preferably history, political science, sociology, law, and divinity) to join us for an interdisciplinary discussion about the Erfurt Union in spring 2023.
Please note: The workshop will be based on joint, text-based discussions. So, we aim for short presentations (max. 10 min.) of previously circulated written contributions (5.-6.000 words incl. references and bibliography). Following individual presentations, the papers will be debated in the larger plenum. Consequently, we kindly ask that prospective participants are ready to submit their contributions by 15.01.2023. (A publication of all contributions is planned.)
All scholars interested in the nineteenth century are invited to submit their abstract (max. 300 words) until 30.09.2021. Ideally the abstract addresses at least one of the following topics:
I. Concepts of identity and nation (1800-1860)
II. Demands for representation and participation (1800-1860)
III. Biographical perspectives: The Union’s supporters and opponents
IV. The Erfurt Union’s Constitution: Continuities and innovations
V. Spaces of political cultures: Coffee houses, the media, the churches (etc.)
VI. Parliamentarian self-consciousness and spaces for political actions from the Erfurt Union to the North German Confederation
VII. State and Church(es): The Erfurt Union and religion(s)
As we have not yet secured additional funding, we kindly ask you to indicate whether you were eligible for reimbursement from your home institution (travel or conference funds etc.).