Upcoming Events

Upcoming events will be posted within two weeks of presentation date.

Please contact Konstantin Wertelecki (kw85) with a 100 word biography and a 200 word abstract if you wish to secure a presentation slot. 

MARTINMAS TERM 2018

   Wednesday, 12 December

Muzzling the King: Monarchy by Popular Instruction in the 1790s. ~ Amy Westwell, PhD Candidate

The end of the eighteenth century is often considered to be a time of extremely anti-monarchical public sentiment. Thomas Paine’s criticisms of the institution of monarchy and his exceptionally high readership might lead us to believe that radical strategy in Britain in the 1790s was concerned with removing the king. But some radicals, in a political climate void of legitimate outlets for radical action, began to see the potential of sovereign power in a new light. I will talk about how folk like David Steuart Erskine, Robert Watson, David Williams and James Kennedy theorised the relationship between illegitimate political action and the power of monarchy in the upheaval of the 1790s.

The Fable of the Frogs: Late Jacobite Conceptions of Monarchy ~ Cailean Gallager, PhD Candidate

This paper explores the Scottish debate about monarchy between the 1745 rebellion and the French Revolution in the light of an unpublished commentary upon David Hume’s History of the Tudors by James Steuart. Surprisingly, this Jacobite scholar’s understanding of monarchy is more recognisably modern than that of his Scottish whig contemporaries, who believed the characters of rulers was becoming increasingly irrelevant with the development of public opinion. As author of the Principles of Political Economy, a groundbreaking investigation of the transition from a feudal to a market economy, Steuart maintained that the effective stewardship of the common good, at a time of unprecedented economic acceleration, depended on a strong and popular leader. Steuart’s desire to defend Mary Stuart’s reputation – and to restore the Stuart line – was inseparable from that of equipping an executive to deal with the new force of public opinion and to manage an increasingly strident establishment class. Failure to do so would result in the public throwing off the monarchy in the name of liberty, only to find themselves calling for its restoration a short time later, like the frogs in Aesop’s fable. Rather than being beholden to reactionary royalism, as most scholars still maintain, certain Jacobites developed a case for a popular monarchy that would sustain social integration against the corrosive effects of liberty and commerce.

The Media-Kaiser Abdicates: Early Weimar Intellectuals’ Evaluation of Wilhelm II’s Role as a Press Figure, 1918-1922 ~ Per Rolandsson, PhD Candidate

Following the military surrender and abdication of the last Hohenzollern ruler of Germany, Wilhelm II (1859-1941), political intellectuals of the newly established Weimar-republic began to reflect on the key features of Wilhelm’s rule in order to derive political knowledge from it. The focus of several Weimar assessments of Wilhelm’s reign lay in his relation to the press, as the abdicated monarch was understood both during and after his regency as being a celebrity. Both the liberal sociologist and political theorist Max Weber (1864-1920), and the conservative philosopher of history Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), designated the monarch’s medial presence and conduct as an illustration of modern power politics.

In this paper, I propose to analyse the intertwined relation between mass-press and mass-politics through the lens of early Weimar intellectuals’ criticisms or apologias for the then newly abdicated monarch. I will trace how the changing perception of modern monarchy amongst intellectuals in the republic, primarily Weber and Spengler, decisively altered concepts of political power and leadership. This intellectual history of how Wilhelm II was evaluated as a monarch will pinpoint how the intersection between mass-politics and mass-mediality became the fundament for understanding modern politic in the Weimar republic.

CANDELMAS TERM 2019

Wednesday, 13 February 

(1/2 Presentation Slots AVAILABLE)

Wednesday, 13 March

( 2/2 Presentation Slots RESERVED )

Wednesday, 17 April

(1/2 Presentation Slots AVAILABLE )

Wednesday, 8 May

( 2/2 Presentation Slots RESERVED )