International Conference VU University Amsterdam, 6 & 7 October 2011: Dynastic Identity in Early Modern Europe: the dynamics of aristocratic identity formation in comparative perspective: actors, motives and strategies.
This conference will be concerned with identities relevant to families. The self-definition of these aristocrats focussed on claims of eternity and universality (as Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann recently defined it). Aristocrats developed a sense of lineage and continuity between past, present and future generations. So far, these identities have been studied mostly for ruling dynasties. However, exclusive identities were not just a prerogative of the “great dynasties - as for instance the Habsburgs - they were carefully cultivated and promoted by noble houses throughout Europe.
Identities are rarely static or unchanging, and often influenced by a multitude of factors. It is not another definition of identity we seek, but rather an insight into the development of identity formation in the Europe of the Ancien Regime. This will allow us to reconstruct the worldview and motives of the most powerful individuals and families in early modern societies.
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