Freedom and the Construction of Europe
New perspectives on philosophical, religious and political controversies
Martin van Gelderen
We are inviting applications from scholars at an early stage in their careers to join a Network and research project for the study of freedom in early-modern and modern Europe. Our basic ambition is to make new and original contributions to historical scholarship. The Network will adopt as widely comparative a perspective as possible, seeking to correct the current imbalance in the historiography towards western Europe and the origins of the liberal state. We hope to do greater justice to the complexity of the political and intellectual traditions out of which modern European conceptions of freedom emerged.
Besides these scholarly ambitions, we want to consider whether the early-modern controversies may provide us with resources for thinking about contemporary political issues in Europe. The European Union currently faces the necessity of reinvigorating a culture based on freedom, democracy and mutual tolerance. These problems cannot be dealt with in an historical vacuum. Their solutions must in part be drawn from an understanding of the conceptual resources provided by European traditions of political thinking and practice. It is this understanding that we hope to deepen and to foster by means of our scholarly work.
The Network will have a core group of 20-25 scholars. It will provide a forum in which scholars at a relatively early stage in their careers can discuss their work with one another, and at the same time with more senior researchers. Two senior and eminent scholars will be invited to each of our workshops. They will present keynote addresses and discuss the work being undertaken by the core members of the group.
The goal of the Network will be to publish two volumes examining key philosophical, religious and political controversies surrounding the idea of freedom in Europe; the volumes will be submitted to Cambridge University Press, with which we are already closely in touch.
The Network will meet four times at the European University Institute, Florence. The themes of our workshops will be as follows:
- Religious freedom and civil liberty, 2-6 July 2008
- Liberty and liberties in legal and constitutional thought, 24-28 September 2008
- Freedom, citizenship and the state, early July 2009
- Boundaries of European discourses of freedom, September 2009
Scholars working on these topics at an early stage of their career (including advanced students, post-doc researchers and junior lecturers are warmly invited to send an application to join the Network to FreedomProject@EUI.eu
Please send us a cv, one letter of reference, and a research/chapter proposal. At present we are particularly looking for scholars working on topics such as German liberty in the Old Empire; Liberty and liberties in Aragon and Castile, the Habsburg monarchy, the Polish Commonwealth; Women and Liberties; The revival of the civitas libera; freedom and the tradition of political Aristotelianism; European perceptions of Ottoman freedom; Ottoman perceptions of freedom in Europe; Freedom, slavery, and colonial expansion; freedom and nature; natural and commercial liberty.
For more detailed information and a full list of topics please see http://www.iue.it/Personal/VanGelderen/FreedomandtheConstructionof%20Europeproject.shtml
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