Numerous conflicts emerging between individuals, social groups, communities and states marked early modern life. Just as numerous were strategies and rhetoric of peacemaking. For a long time historical peace studies have focused on political conflicts and peace building processes. Although recent works have looked at cultural perspectives and social practices of conflict negotiation not only in diplomacy but also in other social contexts, different conflict levels and peace processes are usually considered detached from each other - research links between those levels are rare. Although researchers have pointed out that the question of a shared core of early modern peace concepts is a desideratum, (e.g. Schmidt-Voges, 2010, Stuart Caroll 2011) a systematic comparison has not yet been undertaken.
This conference aims at juxtaposing different spaces and levels of peacemaking in order to work out analogies, common references and frameworks as well as transfer processes. The spaces are close social circles (house, neighbourhood and friendship) the community (protests, uprisings, civil wars, and colonial conflicts) and the intergovernmental level in European, colonial and non-European contexts. The conference aims for bringing together researchers from different disciplines working on early modern societies and historical peace studies to discuss analogies and differences in the patterns of knowledge, perceptions and action in conflict resolution and peace processes.
We understand peace not as an essentialist state of being but as a dynamic and space-related process of communication and attribution. In order to make peace, the actors had to resort to shared concepts of peace as frameworks of reference. This offers links and starting points for a comparative approach. Analysing the different peace processes (successful as well as failed ones) according to the following categories shall facilitate comparisons between the different spaces and levels of action.
- Rhetoric: which semantics and codes do the actors use? In which discourses are they involved, to which systems of knowledge and legitimization do they refer? What kind of media is used? Which rhetoric is conveyed and how? - Practices: which rituals are central to the different phases of peacemaking? Which practices enable or prevent peace? Which forms of symbolic communication accompany conflict resolution? - Strategies: how do actors use rhetoric and practices in concrete situations to assert their interests? What role do asymmetrical relations of domination and social hierarchies play here?
The conference will take place from the 7th to the 9th of May in 2020 at the Philipps-University of Marburg. Its concept is an interdisciplinary and thematically transnational one; therefore, contributions from all disciplines working on early modern topics (1500-1800) (e.g. history, social and cultural sciences, art history, literature, theology) are welcome. Proposals for a 30-minute presentation paper should not exceed one page and include a short Curriculum Vitae. Young researchers are explicitly invited to apply.