Monday September 3rd and Tuesday September 4th 2018#


“Mobility: a bridge between the past and the present”

Photo: Helmut Leitner

The topic of « mobility » is understood here in its paradigmatic sense. It takes into account the mobility of human beings, goods, animals and plants, diseases or knowledge, including infrastructure, effects on environment, societies and politics, gender issues, transport, etc. At the same time, an historical dimension may serve to bestow upon such paradigm the perspective given by time when applied to different patterns of mobility. However, the bridge is not only between past and present, but also between disciplines, both within and beyond the realm of humanities and social sciences.

The purpose of this workshop, therefore, was to consider strengthening the links between the two component disciplines of our Section, namely History and Archaeology, while at the same time consolidating our disciplinary voice within the Academia Europaea and establishing a constructive dialogue with the other sections of the Academia.

After a few words of welcome and presentation from the History & Archaeology Section Chair, Nikita Harwich, the first keynote speaker of the workshop, Prof. Amélia POLÓNIA (University of Porto) was introduced. Her intervention concerned « Mobilities: the role of Social Sciences and the Humanities under the United Nation Sustainable Goals for 2020-2030 »

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2020-2030, otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. They include areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice. They all point to the present and even more to the future, while history and historians study the past. The paper will discuss the possible contribution of the Social Sciences and the Humanities to these goals.

This will apply in particular to the topic of Migrations, which involves and connects with most of the previous concerns. The topic comprises broad concepts of socio-cultural, religious, political, economic, environmental and technological movement and change, duly emphasising notions of transnationality, syncretism and transition. The skills, experience and research interests of the Social Sciences and Humanities have a determinant role in this analysis furthering the proclaimed 17 Sustainable Goals. Since the study of mobility over time involves topics like intercultural exchanges and their reflections in society, language, culture and heritage, the Social Sciences and Humanities come inevitably to the fore.

Some of the topics mentioned above have been dealt with by historians, demographers, anthropologists, economists, or even biologists or epidemiologists – separately. Given the demonstrated usefulness of these concurrent yet often separate approaches, the paper will suggest to bring these disciplines together, to promote the interplay between their concepts, their methods and their knowledge, thus providing a new paradigm of approaching the topic.

Today more than ever, academics are encouraged to work across disciplines. The consensus seems to be that, while disciplinary research has its merits, the future lies in cooperation across disciplines. Rigid adherence to the borders of academia is a twentieth-century relic, scholars are told; the challenges of the twenty-first century (and beyond) will require historians to talk to botanists, literary critics to talk to physicists, and anthropologists to talk to astronomers. The question of this paper is: how far can social scientists go; how far do they want to go down this road?

Amelia Polonia
Prof. Amélia Polónia is professor at the University of Porto. She holds the chair of Portuguese Overseas Expansion. Among her latest publications are, as co-editor, Beyond Empires. Global, Self-Organizing, Cross-Imperial Networks,1500-1800 (Leiden: Brill, 2016); Seaports in the First Global Age. Portuguese Agents, Networks and Interactions (Porto: Editorial UPorto, 2016) and Mechanisms of Global Empire Building (Porto: CITCEM/ Afrontamento, 2017).

Following Prof. Polonia’s presentation, Stephen BI charmed the audience with a most enthralling account of « The Institutional Lock-out of Sustainable Transportation Technologies: Inherent, Intentional, Invertible? ».

Mobility lies at the crux of today’s global economy and of the modern human experience. Unfortunately, irreconcilable to the supposed international resolve to combat climate change, the worldwide transportation sector remains 93% dependent on the oil industry. Indeed, while other economic sectors in developed nations have begun to decarbonize in recent decades, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation have continued to rise. This observation runs counter to logic, given that sustainable mobility technologies were not only available but preferred over petrol engines over a century ago, long before analogous alternatives for other energy demands entered the market. The present paper will examine how automobiles came to be so dependent on a finite and socially detrimental resource when electric and ethanol-powered vehicles have always offered distinct performance advantages.

A commonly offered explanation couples the Texas oil boom with Ford’s mass production of Model T’s – conjuring the U.S. history trope of manifest destiny – but actor-level analyses in proper historical context suggest a narrative driven by serendipity and conspiracy. Presented here are two separate series of actions and events by which ethanol and EVs fell from socio-political favor to technological lock-out. These accounts will be framed within a neo-institutional perspective which entwines the concepts of path dependency, increasing returns, political economy, techno-institutional complexes and carbon lock-in. The novel concept of inherent vs. intentional lock-out is introduced in an effort to categorize the specific mechanisms and institutions exploited to facilitate such extreme consolidation of power within a liberal market economy. An exploration of the institutional context of mobility and its evolution in America and in Europe will follow, serving both to compare the lock-out forces active in either society and to illuminate policies and social levers which can help break these barriers to the decarbonization of personal transport.

Stephen Bi
Stephen Bi is a PhD candidate in climate economics, seeking to analyze the environmental, economic, and social aspects of sustainability. Research Assistant, Model Operations (Sustainable Solutions Research Domain) at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

The following speaker in the programme, Prof. Gideon BIGER of the University of Tel-Aviv, presented his topic of « International boundaries - The Bridge between History, Geography and Political Science. »

International boundaries are man-made separation lines, which divided between more than 200 different states which exist to-day all over our globs. These boundaries were described, a hundred years ago by Lord Curzon of Keddleston, later the British Foreign secretary, a "the razor's edge on which hangs suspended the modern issues of war and peace, or life or Death to nations". All of today's boundaries were created in the past; sometimes a few years ago, sometimes some decades ago and some boundaries were even established some hundred years ago. Thus, international boundaries reflect the historical moments in the life of a state, when its limits were made according to its force and ability at that time. Thus, understanding the process of boundary making and their location can become a bridge of research and knowledge between three major scientific areas – History, Geography and Political Science.

Another important bridge is the one crossed by the next speaker, Renate PIEPER, from the Karl-Franzens-University, Graz: « Migrating news from handwriting to print in early modern Europe ».[1]

The advent of the printing press, in the second half of the fifteenth century, has been of much interest to historians. Especially printed newspapers have been associated with the development of a modern public sphere. Nonetheless, most of the written information available continued to circulate in a manuscript form, well into the 20th century. Furthermore, on many occasions, handwriting was considered more precious than printing or typing. Thus, to a large extent, manuscripts set the patterns for imprints. This was also the case of newspapers. Thus, the purpose of my presentation is to show the intense dependency path of the first printed Dutch newspaper on Flemish handwritten newsletters.

The second keynote speaker who inaugurated the second workshop day was Prof. Em. Pieter EMMER, from Leyden University, who gave a most thought-provoking presentation on « Free and Unfree Migration, 1500-1900 ».

The discovery of the New World sparked a large-scale migration movement lasting more than four centuries. In his talk, Prof. Emmer discussed first the mobility within both Europe and Africa during the early modern period showing that most migrations took place within those continents. Before 1800 only 2 to 3 million Europeans availed themselves of the opportunity to move to the New World and a sizeable part of this migration consisted of indentured labourers. However, the demand for labour in the New World could not nearly be satisfied by the supply neither of local Amerindian labour, nor by the relatively modest number of European migrants. As a result, the Europeans turned to Africa and transported about 11.5 million slaves to the New World. Humanitarian pressures ended the slave trade during the first half of the 19th century. After 1850, the migration of Europeans increased dramatically, but these migrants avoided the former slave regions. In order to replace slave labour, some areas resorted to the importation of Asian indentured labourers, mainly from British India. However, these indentured migrants were not the “new slaves”, as is often argued.

Pieter Emmer
Pieter Emmer is Emeritus Professor in the History of the Expansion of Europe and related migration movements at the History Department of the University of Leiden. Visiting fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge, UK (1978-79), he served as visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin (1986-87) and at the University of Hamburg, Germany (1996-97). His recent publications include: The Dutch Slave Trade, 1500–1850. European Expansion and Global Interaction (Oxford and New York, NY: Berghahn Books, 2006) and The Dutch in the Atlantic Economy, 1580-1880. Trade, Slavery, and Emancipation (Aldershot,Variorum, 1998). Together with Klaus Bade, Jochen Oltmer and Leo Lucassen, he wrote and edited The Encyclopedia of European Migration and Minorities. From the 17th Century to the Present (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

Three history-centered presentations followed.The first-one, by Prof. Em. Sverre Håkon BAGGE (Bergen University), addressed the issued of « Social and geographic mobility in Medieval Scandinavia », taking as its departure point the kings’ travel pattern in thirteenth-century Norway which is relatively well documented. The king travelled on ship along the southern coast, between Oslo and Bergen, and spent the winter in one place – mostly in Bergen – where he gathered the leading men of the country for the Christmas celebrations. This pattern seems to form an intermediate phase between a period when he travelled all over the country and a later one, particularly during the unions with the neighbouring countries in the later Middle Ages, when he rarely visited Norway at all. This raises the question of the relationship between geographic and social mobility. A clearer social hierarchy would reduce the king’s need for travelling and the introduction of permanent and professional administrators would mean that these people would visit the king rather than vice versa. However, there are variations in this pattern, between the Scandinavian countries as well as over time. Moreover, the king did not travel exclusively for political reasons, but also for hunting and other entertainments and on pilgrimages. Nevertheless, the changes in this field form a significant part of the development of European monarchy.

The second presentation, by Prof. Jörg PELTZER (Heidelberg University), was concerned with « Transfer, Entanglement and Regal Traditions. The mobility of ideas or how to define princely rank in England and the Empire in the fourteenth century. »

Recent scholarship has argued that letter collections spreading through the chanceries across Europe shaped a European political language from the late 13th century onwards. This paper addressed the issue by looking at how the royal chanceries in England and the Empire justified the promotion to the rank of an imperial prince/earl/duke/prince in either realm. How did they portray their respective socio-political orders and the role of the aristocratic elite therein? Which criteria did they develop to define what made a person worthy of promotion to princely rank? To what extent did they share their language, conceptions and ideas? Which sources did they draw upon? While considering a wide range of source material, the anchor of this study is William, duke of Juliers and earl of Cambridge (d. 1361). As an imperial prince and earl, William was a unique figure in fourteenth-century Europe. He was a chief diplomat travelling frequently between England and the Empire who owed his promotions to his restless activities for both, the English king and the Emperor. His promotions are thus ideally suited to discuss both, the potential entanglement of political thought in England and the Empire, and the possibility of a concrete transfer of ideas from one realm to the other. By contextualizing these findings in the wider historical context, becomes then possible to assess to what extent a common European language of power was developed in late medieval Europe.

Finally, the third presentation, by Dr. Manuel LUCENA GIRALDO (CSIC, Madrid), emphasized the « bridging perspective » of « public works in the Spanish Empire ».

The day after the battles, public works began. At least in the Spanish – unexpected – empire, after the failure of Christopher Columbus’s governance in the Antilles. The foundation of cities in the Americas was the colonization strategy. As we will see in this paper, urban republics formed a network to support the kingdoms of the Indies for more than three centuries. Far beyond traditional and nationalistic explanations, it was precisely the ability to establish bridges – social, as well as material – that explains the resilience and durability of such network until 1825. But no doubt the question goes far beyond. Why do empires in History last ? Is the so-called « soft-power » related to the abilities and chances to built up structures of material grounds an explanation? A bridge is a symbol of communication, but it establishes a limit as well. And it maintains a human connection which, in due course, is what a public work actually stands for.

Mobility: a bridge between the past and the present
Manuel Lucena Giraldo (to the left) is Senior Researcher at the History Institute of the Madrid-based Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), within the research group of Compared Studies of the Caribbean and Atlantic World. His recent publications include: Historia de un cosmopolita. José María de Lanz y la Fundación de la Ingeniería de Caminos en España y América (Colegio de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos, 2005); A los cuatro vientos. Las ciudades de la América Hispánica (Marcial Pons Ediciones de Historia, S. A., 2006); Naciones de rebeldes. Las revoluciones de independencia latinoamericanas (Taurus, 2010), selected the The Times Literary Supplement as one of the best essays for the year 2010; Francisco de Miranda: la aventura de la política (Editorial Edaf, S. L., 2011); Ruptura y reconciliación: España y el reconocimiento de las independencias latinoamericanas (Taurus, 2012) ; Las independencias iberoamericanas. Libertad para todos (Bonalletra-El País, 2017).
Jörg Peltzer (to the right) is Professor of Comparative Regional History in a European perspective with a focus on the late Middle Ages at the Ruprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg. His work focuses on social, political and legal history in the high and late medieval periods of Western Europe and the Reich. The geographical focus of his research is particularly on England, France and the Holy Roman Empire. His recent publications include, among many others: 1066. The fight for Englands crown, Beck, Munich 2016; The rank of Palatine at the Rhine. The organization of the political-social order of the Reich in the 13th and 14th centuries Thorbecke, Ostfildern, 2013; Canon Law, Careers, and Conquest. Episcopal Elections in Normandy and Greater Anjou, c. 1140 and c. 1230 (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought) (Cambridge, 2008)

The remaining two papers in the workshop concerned contemporary issues.

« Brexit and sustained mobility », by Prof. Em. Hans Ulrich Jessurun D’OLIVEIRA (University of Amsterdam; European University Institute (Florence) assessed the tricky issue of EU citizens residing in the United Kingdom and UK citizens residing in (other) EU countries. Their secure residency status as EU citizens has become shaky: UK citizens lose their status as EU citizens, and EU citizens may lose their residency status as the UK regains control on immigration after Brexit. Negotiations between the UK and the EU try to solve their predicaments. As the outcome is as yet not cast in stone, the migrants involved seek their own solutions.

For a number of them an available solution is the acquisition of the nationality of either the UK or that of one of the EU member states.In my paper I will show that this bottom up approach, where the citizens take their destiny in their own hands, takes various forms, dependent on nationality laws of the states involved and their own opportunities. A few examples. UK citizens of Portuguese Jewish descent may opt for the nationality of Spain or Portugal, as these states have in recent years opened this possibility as a kind of Wiedergutmachung for the murder and banishment of their forbears.Likewise, UK citizens, descendants of German Jews exiled under the nazi regime, are now reacquiring German nationality. A numbers of persons seek to acquire the nationality of their partner, either to strenghten their residency status after Brexit, or in order to gain access to member states of the EU and retain their mobility in the EU. All this depends on the available laws on nationality, especially dispositions on plural nationality. Interestingly, some of these laws are changing under the pressure of Brexit.

The relevance of Prof. d’Oliveira’s ominous remarks caused such a sensation among his listeners, that it was unanimously agreed that the integral version of his paper was to be immediately reproduced, both in the « News Section » of the History & Archaeology Section and in the « News Section » of the Academia Europaea, as a stern warning of what some the heretofore unforeseen consequences of Brexit would entail.

The final paper in the workshop was presented by Prof. Rosa María MARTÍNEZ DE CODES (Univerdidad Complutense, Madrid) on the topic of « Migration, governance and religious identities across Western countries ».

The global refugee crisis has reignited longstanding debates about how to successfully integrate religious minorities into liberal democratic societies. Both United States, Canada and Europe share many of the same challenges but there are some relevant differences in how religious identity is managed. In Western Europe, cultural fears seem to dominate, with many misunderstanding Islam as a direct threat to the norms and values that bind their societies together. On the other side, security fears, particularly connected with terrorism, are preponderant in the United States. Are there fundamental differences in how religious identity and freedom are approached on both sides of the Atlantic?

Maria Martinez
Rosa-María Martínez de Codes is Professor of American history at the Facultad de Geografía e Historia of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Her recent publications include : Trends of Secularism in a pluralistic World (co-editor) Ed. Iberoamericana/ Vervuert, 2013 ; Los bienes nacionales de origen religioso en México. Estudio histórico-jurídico. (1833-2004), 2007, Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, Universidad Autónoma de México, México ; Rosa María Martínez de Codes y Jaime Contreras. “Hacia una historia Atlántica. Visiones religiosas compartidas”, Anuario de Estudios Americanos, Vol. 67, enero-junio, 2010, pp. 189-207 ; “La Ley Islámica y otros derechos”. In: R. Loyola y T. Calvillo (Coordinadores), Diálogo entre civilizaciones. Miradas, 2010, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, pp. 111-122.

With the exception of Prof. Renate Pieper’s and Prof. d’Oliveira’s papers, all the other workshop’s contributions will be edited and published in the European Review as a special dossier.

One of the pleasant luncheon breaks amongst the lovely surroundings and delicious dishes served at at Jasna restaurant, on Wroclaw’s riverside front.

Apart from the high level of the academic presentations and ensuing discussions,the 2018 Wroclaw workshop was also the opportunity for a number of extremely cordial encounters among participants, thanks to the excellent organization provided by the members of the Academia Europaea Wroclaw Knowledge Hub: its Director, Prof. Arkadiusz Wójs; its diligent and efficient manager Katarzyna Majkowska, who took particular care that this event be a successful one, which it certainly was.

Except otherwise mentioned, all photographs were taken by Katarzyna Majkowska.

Until next time on the Rynek !!!!#

[1] Prof. Pieper’s paper will not be included in the dossier issue of this workshop, to be published in the European Review, due to its impending publication in a collective work, edited by E.J. Brill.


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