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The recent issue of the Dutch journal De Negentiende Eeuw published my review of Henk te Veldes new study

Sprekende politiek: Redenaars en hun publiek in de parlementaire gouden eeuw

[Speaking Politics: Orators and their Audience in the Golden Age of Parliamentarism]

sprekende-politiek

The book, which analyses the history of parliamentary rhetoric in Great Britain and France throughout the ‘long’ nineteenth century, comes highly recommened, both to scholars of the period and to a wider public.

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On April 6 to 7, I will participate in a conference organized by the History of Parliament research group in cooperation with Prof. Christopher Reid of Queen Mary University London.

The conference program may be found here.

My own paper, titled

“A Rhetoric of Silence: Silent Members in the July Monarchy Chamber of Deputies (1830-1848)”,

will be concerned with the rhetorical role of the silent members in the parliamentary debates of the July Monarchy. As I will argue, these silent members were anything but passive. Rather, they developed a complex rhetoric of their own, playing a significant role in the development of debates.

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The conference proceedings of a workshop I participated in two years ago have now been published under the title:

Denis Diderot und die Macht / Denis Diderot et le pouvoir

My own contribution considers Diderot’s discussion of power, sexuality and colonial rule in the Supplément au voyage de Bougainville and is titled

Stimmen der Natur. Diderot, Tahiti und der homme naturel

Voices of Nature. Diderot, Tahiti and the homme naturel

Summary (in German):

Im Supplément au voyage de Bougainville setzt sich Diderot am Beispiel Tahitis mit Fragen der Macht, der Sexualität und der Kolonialherrschaft auseinander. Der Text gilt als Paradebeispiel für die exotistische Verklärung eines fremden Naturvolkes als Kontrastbild zur Verkommenheit abendländischer Zivilisation. Und tatsächlich gibt es Stimmen im Text, die einer solchen Idealisierung und einem ‚Zurück zur Natur’ das Wort reden. Aber es gibt auch andere. Erst die Auflösung der Stimmenvielfalt des Textes zugunsten der Identifikation einer eindeutigen Grundaussage lässt bestimmte Äußerungen im Text als Elemente einer systematischen ‚Naturtheorie‘ Diderots erscheinen. Jedoch muss eine solche Lesart nicht nur eine konstitutive Ebene des Textes – seine multiperspektivische Form – außer Acht lassen, sie verstrickt sich auch auf inhaltlicher Ebene in Widersprüche. In diesem Beitrag wird versucht, die verschiedenen Positionen im Text in ihrem Zusammenhang zu betrachten. Aus diesem Blickwinkel zeigt sich, dass Diderot sich keineswegs als autoritatives Sprachrohr der Natur aufführt. Im Gegenteil. Indem er die Vielfalt der Stimmen, die sich auf die ‚natürliche’ Ordnung als Legitimitätsbasis ihrer jeweiligen Autorität beziehen, miteinander kontrastiert, zeigt er performativ, was es heißt, sich auf die Veränderlichkeit der Natur einzulassen, ohne den Anspruch zu erheben, sie ein für alle Mal festlegen zu können.


I’m very grateful to the volume’s editor, PD Dr. Isabelle Deflers and the team at the Frankreichzentrum (Center for French Studies) of Freiburg University for making this publication possible.


Edit: A digital file of the article has now been made available here.

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Summer break is coming to an end and soon the winter term will start again. As usual, I will be offering an intensive ‘Seminar’ course as well as a smaller ‘Übung’ or reading course.

The Fourth Estate: Press and Politics in Germany and France (1789-1914)

Whereas the constitutive role of the press in any well-functioning democracy stands beyond doubt today, at the same time its power in modern ‘mediocracies’ is often the target of criticism. The origins of this tension lie in the 19th century – when the press developed an unprecedented importance to political processes. In this seminar, these developments are traced from a comparative viewpoint, focusing on the French and German cases.

The Power of Language: Introduction to Historical Semantics

Since the emergence of the so-called ‘linguistic turn’ in the 1970s a variety of new theoretical and methodological approaches in the field of historiography have stressed the role of language not only as an indicator, but also as a factor in historical processes. This reading course offers an introduction to the different theoretical research models developped in this context as well as to their empirical results.

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This summer semester I will be teaching one master seminar and an exercise course on the reading of French sources. As usual, I have assembled a ‘pearltree’ for each of these courses with weblinks to the specific themes.

A History of Time – Changing Cultures of Temporality (ca. 1750-1850)
(Pearltree – websites on this topic)

and

Politeness – Sources on the History of Manners in France (ca. 1700-1850)
(Pearltree – websites on this topic)

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Since the general meeting of January 24th, I am officially an associated member of the Center for French Studies (Frankreichzentrum) of Freiburg University.

The Center was founded in 1989 as an autonomous interdisciplinary institution bundling the university’s  research and teaching with a focus on France. It offers master programs in  economics, journalism and intercultural studies and strives to intensify interdisciplinary cooperation between various fields – especially economics, law, French language, history and communication studies. Moreover, the center functions as a catalyst of German-French cultural exchange

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