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.

May 2013
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16-17 May,
Second meeting of the Working Group Ordering the World in the Nineteenth Century: Beyond Realism and Idealism


The second meeting of the working group, ‘Ordering the World in the  Nineteenth Century’ concluded the work the group had begun in January, exploring new perspectives on the problems of the interstate order in the nineteenth century and its relationship to contemporaneous debates on law, markets and cultural identity.  As with the other working groups associated with the EReRe project, there was a real sense that the opportunity for an extended period of reflection between the meetings had given the group’s discussions a much greater sense of focus on the problems involved.   What was most striking was the extent to which the various papers succeeded in speaking to each other.  Martti Koskenniemi’s opening paper on the ‘void’ left by the decline of the old jus gentium in the late eighteenth century opened up a panoramic view of the instrumentalised use of law in the first half of the nineteenth century provided a compelling background against which to understand Liliana Obregón’s account of the struggles of Italian liberals attempts to secure recognition of the ‘principle of nationality’ in the nascent ‘international law’ of the 1860s and 1870s.  Norbert Waszeck’s detailed reconstruction of the intricacies of Hegel’s views on maritime commerce placed civil society at the centre of the reconfiguration of thinking about the international scene.  This theme was explored further in two rich and subtle papers from Adrian Brisku and Lauri Tähtinen exploring the multi-layered experience of empire of Georgia and Finland through the thought of Niko Nikoladze and J.V. Snellman respectively.  Finally, in Hugo Drochon’s study of Nietzsche’s ‘Great Politics’ and Anne-Isabelle Richard’s account of the thought of the political entrepreneur Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, we had presentations of two contrasting visions of European unity, neither sitting comfortably within the retrospective accounts of the origins of the European Union that we have become used to.