In 2013, the City of Regensburg is going to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Immerwährender Reichstag – a permanent assembly of the imperial estates of the Holy Roman Empire that initially had not been supposed to be permanent. According to contemporary diplomats, monarchs, and publicists who have been quoted repeatedly by later generations this institution was said to be lacking of efficiency and political influence and it was famous for its ceremonial disputes and diplomatic intrigues. The majority of historians in the 19th and 20th centuries tended to characterize the Immerwährender Reichstag in very negative terms, too. However, in the meantime this institution is seen in a more positive light. Due to the permanent or periodical presence of foreign legates at the diet, the free imperial city of Regensburg constituted a diplomatic centre, not only of the Holy Roman Empire but also of all Europe. Acting in this role, the Imperial Diet reflects the early modern accumulation of inter-state relations which led to the emergence of the European state system.
The conference “Town, Empire and Europe. Multiple Perspectives on the Immerwährenden Reichstag zu Regensburg (1663-1806)” aims at summarizing already existing research results on this assembly of the imperial estates as well as at initiating future research projects by raising new questions and discussing new methods and theoretical approaches. The Eternal Imperial Diet has been neglected by historians for a very long time but in recent times there can be noticed an increasing interest. Historians are no longer concentrating only on specific conflicts which were discussed at the Imperial diet or on the aims and the performance of certain diplomatic missions. Rather, they analyze the ways diplomats instrumentalized political procedures to promote their own interest. They look at strategies to gain information, at the influence of printed media on political negotiations, and at the public sphere of this assembly in general. They reconstruct structures of patronage amongst diplomatic agents at the diet.
Nowadays assessments of the historical relevance of the Immerwährender Reichstag are no longer based primarily on its actual output of political decisions. This institution is rather considered to have constituted a political sphere, in which various political interests could be articulated - also those of less powerful rulers as well as those of political entities without the political status of Reichsstandschaft. The Imperial Diet can be analyzed as a social space in which legates were able to deploy their social, cultural and economic capital but also to accumulate or lose it. Moreover, the Eternal Imperial Diet seems to have served as a school of diplomacy which produced whole dynasties of diplomats. At the conference, there will be various panels, each of them addressing a certain perspective on the Eternal Imperial Diet, such as
- the variety of strategies political actors exploited to promote their political aims at the diet
- information channels, media and public sphere of the diet
- its impact on the early modern processes of an institutionalization and professionalization of diplomacy
- patterns of cooperation and competition between the Imperial City of Regensburg and the Imperial Diet
- perceptions of the Immerwährender Reichstag by political actors outside of the Holy Roman Empire
- cultures of remembrance of the Eternal Imperial Diet
If you would like to contribute to the conference please send an abstract of your lecture (300 – 400 words) and a short CV with some information on your affiliation to Andrea.Stoeckl@geschichte.uni-regensburg.de until the 15th January 2013. Travel expenses and accommodation will be sponsored. Revised papers will be published after the conference.
Organization: Prof. Dr. Harriet Rudolph, Dr. Astrid von Schlachta, Dr. Christian König
Lehrstuhl für Neuere Geschichte
Institut für Geschichte
Sekretariat des Lehrstuhl für Neuere Geschichte
(Prof. Dr. Harriet Rudolph) Andrea Stöckl
Institut für Geschichte
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