The Centre for Democratic Culture at the University of Sheffield announces a call for papers for a workshop to explore new ways of thinking about the transatlantic exchange of social thought and policy, broadly defined, from the nineteenth to the late twentieth century. The event will be held at the University of Sheffield’s Humanities Research Institute on Friday 16 September 2011.
Potential participants are invited to contact the workshop coordinators with a brief outline of the research they would like to present (250 words), attaching a one-page CV. The deadline for submissions is 30 April 2011. Contributions from postgraduate and early career historians are welcome. Following a second, follow-up conference in early 2012, a selection of papers stemming from the workshop will be submitted for publication in a proposed edited volume with Palgrave USA.
In 1998 Daniel T. Rodgers published Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age. His magisterial study showed how between the 1870s and the 1940s Americans, seeking solutions to the problems brought about by rapid urban and industrial transformation, turned their gaze eastward. Shaken from their exceptionalist assumptions by tumultuous economic and social conflicts of the Gilded Age, successive generations of social scientists, planners, and politicians realised they had much to learn from an Old World experimenting with new programs like old age pensions, unemployment insurance, and a minimum wage. The major policy achievements of the first half of the twentieth century, Rodgers implied, were made in Europe and imported by the United States.
By reimagining exceptionalism as a historical mindset that American could embrace or reject by measuring their nation against Old World rivals, Rodgers broke the virtual monopoly of Early Americanists on Atlantic World history. His insights inspired new scholarship on the transnational exchange of social politics in a long Progressive era reaching from the end of the Civil War to the aftermath of World War II. Yet his work raises many unanswered questions, and more than a decade after Atlantic Crossings first appeared, we propose to explore new directions in the history of transatlantic exchange. Indicative questions and topics papers might address include the following:
• Rodgers implicitly reaffirms exceptionalism either side of the period 1870-1950, years in which, he argues, American were ‘peculiarly open’ to foreign ideas. Do we therefore need to rethink how we periodise the ‘transatlantic moment’ in social politics?
• Can supposedly inward-looking and parochial social movements such as Populism be studied as part of a cosmopolitan Atlantic World of ideas too?
• How did Atlantic politics change when the United States arguably became a net exporter of ideas after World War II?
• In what ways did the flow of ideas and influence between and within conservative networks operate differently from, or in ways similar to, those of the progressives and liberals studied by Rodgers?
For further details contact
Dr. Andrew Heath (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Daniel Scroop (email@example.com)
Department of History, University of Sheffield
Dr. Daniel Scroop
Department of History
University of Sheffield
1 Upper Hanover Street
Sheffield S3 7RA
+44 (0)114 2222598
+44 (0)114 2222576 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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