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14-16 nov. 2018, Paris : Towards a New Political History of the Court, c. 1200-1800

Dynastic centres, or courts, played a pivotal role in the state building processes out of which developed our modern political practices and institutions. Yet, for a long time, the court was regarded primarily as the field of anecdotal ‘petite histoire’ and consequently neglected by scholarly research. In recent years, however, the exploration of the dynastic centre made considerable progress, as historians sought to build on, and go beyond, the venerable sociological models of Norbert Elias. The exploration of symbolic communication, patronage, micro-politics, gender, the body, materiality, and transculturality are only some of the innovative approaches that have been brought to bear on the subject of court history and they have produced remarkable results. We now understand that the court was a multifaceted space for innovation in the arts, and sciences, in religious and political thought, as well as a central hub for the deployment of power relationships. But how do these different aspects interact ? And how do these new approaches modify our current understanding of, for instance, state-building narratives ? Do they suggest new chronologies, and do we consequently have to rewrite traditional textbook narratives in order to reflect these new impulses ?
Building on such questions, this conference invites its participants to reflect and discuss on how to conceptualise the political dimension of courtly culture and sociability in the context of a new political historiography of the court. We envisage that the discussion could be structured around five thematic axes, which we understand to be interrelated.

The working language is English.

Lieu : Institut historique allemand Paris

Organisateurs :
Pascal Firges (IHAP)
Regine Maritz (Walter Benjamin Kolleg, Bern)