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The Research Project Europe 1815-1914

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News and events

News and events

Past Events

9-10 June
Final Concluding Meeting of the Project

Final Concluding Meeting of the Project.
The final conference of the project took place in the banquet hall of the Finnish Literature Society with some 50 participants: the team members, the chairs of the five working groups of the project, some fifteen invited discussants, several of the members of the working group on teleology, and friends and interested from the University of Helsinki. It was the 99th smaller or larger meeting (from seminars in the project premises in Metsätalo with one or few invitees to workshops and larger conferences) since the beginning of the project on 1 September, 2009, in addition to all internal team seminars and meetings.

On the 9 June, after a brief welcome address by Bo Stråth, Etienne Balibar opened the conference with a rich and perspectivising key note with the title "The Rise and Fall of the European Union: Temporalities and Teleologies." The talk connected the present predicament of the European Union to the longer historical view of the project. The key note was followed by the Rector's reception in the University Main Building.

The presentations and discussions on the 10 June were organized in three panels representing the thematic orientations of the project: "Ordering the World" (Chair Lauren Benton), "Securing Welfare and Creating Political Community" (Chair Jan-Werner Müller) and "Confronting Teleologies" (Chair Willibald Steinmetz). As a point of departure for the discussions the project had before the conference distributed the manuscript of a final report edited by Martti Koskenniemi and Bo Stråth (Creating Community and Ordering the World. The European Shadow of the Past and Future of the Present). The panel presentations were clear and concise, and the discussions touched on big issues about Europe in the past and in the present. The comments gave valuable feedback for the final fine-tuning of the results. A final panel with Lauren Benton, Mark Mazower, Ann Orford, and Anthony Pagden chaired by Martti Koskenniemi sorted in a critical way out the main arguments and innovations of the project.

See further the full programme and the participation list of the conference.

The final conference was the last public event of the project. A final report on the project was published in 2014. The remaining work until it expires at the end of August, 2014 deals with individual writing and editing of monographs, articles and edited volumes.


11-13 June
Sixth and the final meeting with the working group on Teleology and History
Programme

The Working Group "Teleology and History" has held its sixth and final meeting at Lake Saimaa in Karelia, 11-13 June 2013. The meeting served as a finishing workshop for the pre-circulated papers of which the volume the group will publish will be composed.

The volume will explore teleology, in its complicated combination with history, as a heritage of enlightenment natural philosophy in the long nineteenth century. Our contributions will focus on the fragmentation and multiplication of teleology after 1800. This exploration requires coverage of multiple concrete contexts as located in a variety of broader areas – especially theoretical discourse, textuality, ontology and epistemic techné, and political thought and practice – in which historical teleologies manifested themselves. Neither purely a history of ideas, nor purely a history of literary or political culture, the methodological make-up of the volume will be hybrid, and by necessity so.

The broader aim is to advance a revision of the history of historicity in the 19th century. In Walter Benjamin's view, in the period after 1800, the philosophies of history and the practice of historical writing colluded in the creation of a "homogenous and empty time" as coinciding with linear and secular physical time, to be understood as a unified and universal frame of meaning for the experience of the world and the determination of the politically possible. This and cognate views of historical time, for the most part dating from the interwar period, continue to exert great influence on the understanding of European modernity as achieved in the 19th century. The correlated assumption that the modern regime of historicity possessed genealogical as well as constitutional unity continues to be widely held.

Our volume, by contrast, casts in doubt the idea that a single, if powerful, conception of time could function as the unifying principle of all modern historicity. As a whole, it presents an argument as to the underlying features of modern European historical discourse that provides, not merely an additive empirical pluralization of historicities, but rather a structural explanation of the plurality at hand.