Call for Papers: Royal heirs and the uses of soft power in 19th-century Europe

httprojectThe AHRC-funded project “Heirs to the Throne in the Constitutional Monarchies of 19th-Century Europe” is inviting proposals for papers for its second conference “Winning their Trust and Affection”: Royal Heirs and the Uses of Soft Power in 19th-Century Europe at the University of St Andrews, 28 – 29 August 2015.

The conference will be dedicated to an exploration of the uses of different forms of soft power made by the heirs to the throne in Europe’s monarchies between the French Revolution and the First World War. We are keen to learn more about how these activities and strategies were conceived, designed and implemented; whether they were successful; and how they contributed to a transformation of the nature and perception of monarchy in the course of the century.

When, in September 1885, Copenhagen’s Illustreret Tidende, explained the tasks of a royal prince to its readers, the weekly paper adopted the language of the fairy tale: “the King’s son still wanders amongst us in disguise, slaying the dragons of envy and narrow-mindedness, sharing people’s fate and circumstances and winning their trust and affection.” For all of its sugary coating, the paper’s statement simply reminds us of the new, demanding and varied range of public duties which heirs to the throne had to confront in the Long Nineteenth Century. As very public figures representing systems of rule that were increasingly in need of public endorsement and fresh sources of legitimacy, royal heirs were ideally placed to build consensus, popularise monarchical rule and generate renewed relevance for it.

Frequently kept at arm’s length from the immediate exercise of direct political or military power, royal heirs often had time, opportunity and the means to assume and develop different forms of soft power – i.e. to hone their ability to persuade, attract and co-opt, rather than coerce. This could enhance both their own reputation and the image of the dynastic system whose future they represented.

We are particularly interested in proposals that address one or more of the following themes with reference to one or more of Europe’s monarchies:

  • Patronage of or engagement with cultural, artistic, educational and/or scholarly institutions by royal heirs and heiresses
  • The role of heirs in the creation of the concept of “Cultural Kingship” (Kulturkönigtum)
  • The role of royal heirs in different forms of philanthropy; ideas on royal charity; gender relations; the financing of soft power
  • The engagement of royal heirs in the Social Question, welfare reform etc.
  • Royal heirs and the public promotion of virtues, especially family values, marriage, parenthood, care for children
  • Royal heirs and the uses of popularising media: newspapers, material cultural, visual media, commercialisation, popular literature, questions of celebrity and charisma
  • Royal heirs and the history of emotions; public empathy; marketing and dissemination of emotional forms of monarchical attachment (love, loyalty, duty)
  • Royal heirs and the politics of memory, dynastic legend (Geschichtspolitik)
  • The role of royal visits, travel or sports (such as yachting, motoring, tennis, golf, shooting or hunting) for the development/popularisation of soft power abroad and at home

Please send an abstract (500 words) of a 20-minute paper that would fall under one or more of these headings (together with a one-page CV) to Dr Heidi Mehrkens (hm64[at]st-andrews.ac.uk) by 31 January 2015.

Travel bursaries and free accommodation for speakers will be available. The proceedings will be published within the “Palgrave Studies in Modern Monarchy”.

Please find attached the Call for Papers (PDF).


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