The Research Project Europe 1815-1914

P.O. Box 24
Unioninkatu 40
FI-00014 University of Helsinki




The programme is continuously updated. New events might be advertised with short notice. External participants are welcome but preferably on a regular basis. Since the number of seats is limited pre-registration with project coordinator Minna Vainio (erere-info[at] is requested.

December 2010
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Dec 7
14-16 Historiography sem. Session 6: Universal history and after Outline (pdf)

On December 7, 2010, project members met for "Historicism and the Nineteenth century" seminar}s final session. The concluding session centered on three primary readings --Friedrich Schiller, "What is Universal History, and to What End Does One Study It?" (1789), Andrew Seth, "Man´s Place in the Cosmos" (1893) and Rosa Luxembourg, excerpts from The Accumulation of Capital (1913)-- and a chapter from John Edward Toews' Becoming Historical (2004) on the life and thought of Prussian intellectual and diplomat Christian Bunsen.

After a brief presentation of the texts, Kelly Grotke opened up the discussion by placing special emphasis on the need to historicize philosophical debates. Toews' discussion of the German intellectual project of universal history was presented as a point of departure to understand the specificity of intellectual and philosophical projects. In that regard, Schiller's formulation served to contrast the changes undergone by the debates on universal history that took place between 1780s and 1830s, especially with the raise of German nationalism. Finally, some attention was paid to the expansion of capitalism and the analysis of imperialism by way of Luxembourg's critique of orthodox Marxist analysis. As before, the readings gave way to an animated discussion and left the question if universal history is still a general underlying framework, if it still affects the ways that history is discussed today and the way historians generally conceive the task of researching and writing history.

Dec 15
Self-evaluation seminar