“Revolutionary Cosmopolitanism. Transnational migration and political activism, 1815-1848” – one-day conference with a keynote by Maurizio Isabella (QMUL)

Date and place: Friday 22 January 2021, online

In the 1820s and 1830s, several waves of revolution went through the Atlantic world, culminating into the 1848 ‘springtime of the peoples’ in large parts of Europe and beyond. The same period saw large numbers of people moving beyond state boundaries: individual political activists and revolutionaries, but also migrant workers, seamen, soldiers, colonizers and colonized. Although many of these migrant movements can be associated with political uprisings, only few connections have been made between the study of migration history and history of political thought and practices. This one-day conference aims to open a conversation between these different strands of research. How did experiences of migration and cross-boundary mobility contribute to the formation of common revolutionary cultures in the period 1815-1848? To what extent did revolutionary cosmopolitanism survive into the first half of the 19th century? What forms of interplay existed between transnational migrations, cosmopolitanism, the rise of nationalism and imperial reform movements? These are the questions this conference intends to address.


9.30-9.40 opening words, Camille Creyghton (Utrecht University)

9.45-11.00 keynote by Maurizio Isabella (Queen Mary, University of London), Crossing the Mediterranean in the Age of Revolutions: the Multiple Mobilities of the 1820s
followed by a response by Beatrice de Graaf (Utrecht University) and questions

11.30-13.00 panel 1: Reluctant revolutionaries: Between saving old worlds and adapting to new ones

Moderator: Matthijs Lok (University of Amsterdam)

  • James Morris, Crossing the Counterrevolutionary Border in Wallachia, 1848-49
  • Oliver Zajac, Hotel Lambert’s Republic of Letters: František Zach’s mission in Belgrade as an example of a cosmopolitan revolutionary network
  • Piotr Kuligowski, Between Lamennais and Tocqueville: Polish Democracy in Exile at a Crossroads
  • Oliver Schulz, Policing immigration and migrant networks: the Swiss cantons, European politics and the question of political asylum (1815-1848)

14.00-15.30 panel 2: (Self-)fashioning of revolutionaries and PR strategies

Moderator: Alex Drace Francis (University of Amsterdam)

  • Pierre-Marie Delpu, The Transnational Community of Revolutionary Martyrs (Southern Europe, 1830-1848)
  • Peter Morgan, Exilic Anglophilia and the hope of intervention: Recasting British exile in the age of revolution with Francisco de Miranda and Simón Bolívar
  • Matilde Flamigni, Agostino Codazzi: A Transatlantic Life (1793-1859)

16.00-17.30 panel 3: Large scale and/or involuntary migrations and the spread of revolutionary ideas

Moderator: René Koekkoek (Utrecht University)

  • Sebastian Majstorovic, The Vagrant Threat: Political Journeymen Activism as a European Phenomenon, c. 1834-1848
  • Alessandro Bonvini, La causa del Nuevo Mundo: Bonapartists in the Latin American Wars of Emancipation
  • Elena Bacchin, Transportation of political prisoners: Roman detainees landing in Brazil in 1837

17.30-18.00 discussion and closing comments by Camille Creyghton

All times are in CET.

See also: https://revolutionarycosmopolitanism.blogspot.com/

“Women and the History of International Thinking” – Public lecture by Glenda Sluga (The University of Sydney/European University Institute)

Date: 2 February 2021 9.00-11.00, online


Over the last few decades, historians have reshaped the spatial and conceptual contours of intellectual history.  In particular, the prospect of a global intellectual history has provoked reflection on methods and questions of representativeness that transcend the default national parameters of this sub-field. In my lecture, I want to invite into these historiographical developments the place of women, and a specific international framing of ideas and their agents.  My aim is to outline a history of European “International Thinking” from the turn of the 19th century to the mid-20th century, with women at its centre. I argue that the history of women and international thinking requires us to expand not only where, but who and what counts in intellectual history.


Glenda Sluga is an Australian historian who has contributed significantly to the history of internationalism, nationalism, diplomacy, immigration, and gender, in Europe, Britain, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, and Australia. She is a Professor of International History and Capitalism at the European University Institute, in Italy, where she is Director of the European Research Council Project ECOINT and Joint Chair of the Department of History and Civilization and the Robert Schumann Centre for Advanced Studies. She is on secondment from her post as Professor of International History at the University of Sydney.

Conquering Peace: From the Enlightenment to the European Union – Public lecture with book launch by Stella Ghervas (Newcastle University)

Date and time: 18 May 2021, 17.00-18.30 (CET) (16:00 London GMT), online
discussants: Balazs Trencsenyi (CEU) & B. van Dijk (Melbourne)

This seminar is jointly organised with the Rethinking Modern Europe Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, London. See: https://www.history.ac.uk/seminars/rethinking-modern-europe


Political peace in Europe has historically been elusive and ephemeral. In her new book Conquering Peace: From the Enlightenment to the European Union (Harvard UP), Stella Ghervas shows that since the eighteenth century, European thinkers and leaders in pursuit of lasting peace fostered the idea of European unification.

Bridging intellectual and political history, Conquering Peace draws on the work of philosophers from Abbé de Saint-Pierre, who wrote an early eighteenth-century plan for perpetual peace, to Rousseau and Kant, as well as statesmen such as Tsar Alexander I, Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churchill, Robert Schuman, and Mikhail Gorbachev. It locates five major conflicts since 1700 that spurred such visionaries to promote systems of peace in Europe: the War of the Spanish Succession, the Napoleonic Wars, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. Each moment generated a “spirit” of peace among monarchs, diplomats, democratic leaders, and ordinary citizens. The engineers of peace progressively constructed mechanisms and institutions designed to prevent future wars.

Arguing for continuities from the ideals of the Enlightenment, through the nineteenth-century Concert of Nations, to the institutions of the European Union and beyond, the book illustrates how peace as a value shaped the idea of a unified Europe long before the EU came into being. Today the EU is widely criticized as an obstacle to sovereignty and for its democratic deficit. Seen in the long-range perspective of the history of peacemaking, however, this European society of states emerges as something else entirely: a step in the quest for a less violent world.


Stella Ghervas is Professor of Russian History at Newcastle University and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. She works on Russian and European history in an enlarged perspective, in time (from the Enlightenment to the present) and in space (including Eastern Europe and the Balkans). Her previous book Réinventer la tradition: Alexandre Stourdza et l’Europe de la Sainte-Alliance won the Guizot Prize from the Académie Française.

A Food Utopia? Italian colonial visions of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, 1911-1913 – Public lecture by Or Rosenboim (City, University of London)

date: 15 June 2021, Online


This paper examines ideas of food plenty as motivation for the Italian colonization of Libya in 1911-1912. It looks at the writings of three Italian journalists in Libya, and examines their ideas of agricultural production and food abundance as a form of utopia. The paper argues that food utopias were linked to notions of race, civilization and modernity, and helped motivate colonial ideas in Liberal Italy before fascism.


Or Rosenboim is a lecturer and Director of the Centre for Modern History at the department of International Politics at City, University of London.  Her book, The emergence of globalism: Visions of World Order in Britain and the United States, 1939-1950, was published by Princeton University Press in April 2017. The book won the Guicciardini Prize for the Best Book in Historical International Relations (2018) and was shortlisted for the Gladstone Prize and the TSA/CUP Prize.

Cosmopolitan Conservatism – online book launch

date: 25 June 2021, Online

Matthijs Lok (UvA), Juliette Reboul (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen) and Friedemann Pestel (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg) presented their book Cosmopolitan Conservatisms. Countering Revolution in Transnational Networks, Ideas and Movements (c. 1700‒1930), which has appeared in the Brill Series Studies in the History of Political Thought. SHIP series editor Prof. Annelien De Dijn and the book editors talked about the volume, and several contributors presented their chapter.

This volume presents a fresh picture of the historical development of “conservatism” from the late 17th to the early 20th century. The book explores the broader geographies and transnational dimensions of conservatism and counterrevolution. The contributions show how counterrevolutionary concepts did not emerge in isolation, but resulted from the interplay between ideas, media, networks, and institutions. Like 19th-century liberalism and socialism, conservatism was the product of traveling ideas and people. This study describes how exile, mobility, and international sociability shaped counterrevolutionary identities. The volume presents case studies on the intersection of political philosophy, scholarly practices, international politics, and governmental bureaucracies. Furthermore, Cosmopolitan Conservatisms offers new approaches to the study of conservatism, including the prisms of ecology, gender, and digital history.

German Genius in the Bengali Imagination, 1920 – 1940: An Intellectual History – Public lecture by Arnab Dutta (Groningen and Freie Universität Berlin)

DAte and place: 5 October 2021, Amsterdam and online
Discussant: Hanco Jürgens (Duitsland Instituut)


Placed within a broader project on German-Bengali cultural and intellectual entanglements in the interwar years, this lecture draws from the Bengali fascination with the German trope of das Volk der Dichter and Denker (the nation of poets and thinkers) and critically situates the genealogy of conservative and upper-caste internationalism(s) in late colonial British India. By doing so, it delineates the reception of German Geniebegriff (genius-concept) in British Bengal and its political habitations within the rhetoric of anti-colonial nationhood.


Arnab Dutta is a PhD candidate of Modern History at the Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands. He is also a visiting doctoral fellow at both the Department of History of Ideas, Uppsala University, Sweden, and the Global Intellectual History Graduate School, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.