New Palgrave Series Co-edited by St Andrews historians

Modern Monarchy Series - call for proposals (2)-page-001The School of History is pleased to announce a new monograph series which has grown out of the AHRC-funded Heirs to the Throne project based in St Andrews. The series, “Palgrave Studies in Modern Monarchy”, will be co-edited by Professor Frank Müller (head of the Heirs project) and Dr Heidi Mehrkens, both of St Andrews, alongside Dr Heather Jones (LSE) and Professor Axel Körner (UCL). The series seeks to explicate a Long Nineteenth Century in which monarchy, far from declining after the execution of Louis XVI, continued to play a significant role in political and constitutional concerns across Europe. “Palgrave Studies in Modern Monarchy” will bring together monographs and edited collections exploring the state of monarchy after the end of the ancien régime. The series seeks to achieve a wide geographical and thematic coverage, and looks forward to welcoming studies examining a broad range of aspects of the modern monarchical world.

The formal series announcement and invitation for proposals can be found here.

Transnational History Retreat, 22-24 January 2014

The Centre for Transnational History recently hosted an inter-semester retreat by Loch Tay in the Scottish Highlands. One of the PGs researching in the centre, Dawn Jackson Williams, reports on a trip that combined enlivening intellectual discussion with taste bud-challenging whisky tastings…

Members of the retreat on Kenmore Hill (photograph: Alexander van Wickeren).

Members of the retreat on Kenmore Hill (photograph: Alexander van Wickeren).

The Transnational History retreat began, appropriately enough, with its 24 participants travelling from various points around the globe to reach Loch Tay, with scholars arriving from Vienna, Basel, and the United States. The group included PhD students attached to the Centre for Transnational History, staff members teaching the Crossing Borders Masters module and a number of their MLitt students, and representatives of the cross-European GRAINES network and steering committee. The retreat was also attended by members of the Heirs to the Thrones project.

The base for activities was Morenish House, once a laird’s dwelling near the shores of Loch Tay. Once the fire was burning well its cosy living room made the ideal setting for the first organised discussion of the weekend, on global history and the circulation of knowledge. This was followed by a stubbornly un-transnational, but very delicious roast dinner. Such fortifying fare was very much necessary, as the group was then treated to a whisky-tasting session under the tutelage of the Director of the Centre, Dr Bernhard Struck. The transnational nature of the modern whisky trade was discussed (Scotch whisky is, apparently, aged in casks previously used for Bourbon in the States) and various attendees were mildly chastised for their lack of their appreciation of an especially peaty Islay whisky.

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The view from Morenish House (photograph: Alexander van Wickeren).

The following morning it was agreed that such a rarely fine Scottish day as could be spied through the windows could not be wasted indoors. The majority of the group made for the easterly lip of the loch, from where they launched a brief venture up Kenmore Hill. Breathtaking views of snow-covered Ben Lawers were had from the high point, and as there so happened to be a distillery in the area the group descended to enjoy a tour at Dewar’s World of Whisky in Aberfeldy. The tour guides responded admirably to a barrage of questions regarding the embeddedness of their production within a wider global trade in spirits…

Upon returning to Morenish House the retreat split up into two groups, to discuss, respectively, cities and urban spaces, and questions of spatial and temporal scale in history. In the latter group a reading from the American Historical Review inspired an intense debate regarding the place and potential role of ‘deep time’ within historical narratives. After the session members of the GRAINES network discussed plans for forthcoming summer schools. The closing dinner, appropriately enough considering the proximity of Burns’ Night, took the form of haggis, neeps, and tatties.

After the dispersal of part of the group the following morning, a smaller cohort with neither flights nor other pressing business to hasten towards took a leisurely route back to St Andrews, with a visit to the partially ruined cathedral of Dunkeld, rounding off the retreat in aptly historic style. All in all, the two days provided valuable formal discussions but also, perhaps more importantly, they also provided the time and opportunity for participants to share their thoughts and ideas in a variety of contexts. The retreat also looked forward, as plans were set into motion for a GRAINES summer school in Vienna this summer, and another in St Andrews in 2015.

Spotlight on Prof. Frank Müller

FLMüller (2)Growing up in West-Berlin in the 1970s and 1980s, Frank Müller dedicated his youth to preparing for the West’s eventual victory in the Cold War and dodging the potential ill effects of a Jesuit education. He returned to the divided city after a year spent as a sixth-former in Bristol in time to witness the disintegration of East Germany, but sadly slept through the night of 9 November 1989 and instead watched the falling of the Berlin Wall on television the following day.

Thoroughly bitten by the British bug he went on to study for a joint degree in History and English at the Free University in Berlin and at Oxford. He returned to England’s First University as a Rhodes Scholar in 1996 to write a doctorate on British perceptions of 19th-century Germany under the direction of Professor Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann. Having published his thesis as a monograph (Britain and the German Question: Perceptions of Nationalism and Political Reform, 1830-1863) he stayed in Oxford as a Junior Research Fellow for another two years to write a book on the revolution of 1848/49 in the German lands (Die Revolution von 1848/49) before travelling north to join the School of History at St Andrews in 2002.

Over the last ten years Frank has remained faithful to the 19th century, focusing on issues such as the militarisation of the German national movement, the politics of memory (“Geschichtspolitik”) in Imperial Germany and, more recently, on biography and monarchy. In 2011 he published a life of the ill-fated German emperor Frederick III (Our Fritz. Emperor Frederick III and the Political Culture of Imperial Germany, Harvard University Press), which has also been translated into German. It is important to note, though, that the book would make an excellent present for speakers of any language!

Heirs Logo (2)Currently, Frank is engaged in leading an AHRC-funded project, ‘Heirs to the Throne’, on the roles played by royal heirs in the constitutional monarchies of 19th-century Europe. Research on the last kings of Bavaria, Saxony and Württemberg will take him on a tour of German capitals in 2014, but he has also a special interest in the education of heirs to the throne in Britain and Prussia between the 1850s and the First World War.

True to Germanic form Frank has, over the years, been relentless in bringing ruthless efficiency to any number of administrative roles across the School and the Faculty (Director of Teaching, Director of Postgraduates, Chair of Modern History, Pro Dean for the William & Mary Programme). Following his recent naturalisation as a British citizen, however, he has changed his ways and now greatly enjoys spending more time with his research, his fine troupe of PhD students and doing some teaching. Frank’s modules mainly reflect his interest in 19th-century European history and cover topics such as Bismarck (MO4936), British and German foreign policy (MO3323, MO3317), militarism (MO3712), Kaiser Wilhelm II (MO3329) and the 1848 revolutions (MO3318).

Frank has always studiously avoided active participation in sports and finds it hard to explain why his two sons appear to enjoy various forms of physical activity so much. Many decades ago Frank was a fairly competent trumpeter and even made some money playing in the “W.C. Blues Band” which used to rehearse in the converted toilet block of a Berlin primary school. Sometimes he toys with the idea of taking it up again, but inertia usually gets the better of him.

Conference hosted by the Heirs to the Throne Project

Heirs to the Throne processionOn 30-31 August, the Heirs to the Throne project hosted its first international conference on Monarchical Succession and the Political Culture of 19th-Century Europe, which brought speakers to St Andrews from Hungary, Germany, Italy, the UK, Denmark, Belgium, Spain and Austria.

The conference focused on the political roles played by heirs to the throne within their respective dynastic systems across a largely monarchical Europe between 1815 and 1914. The concept of hereditary rule made heirs and heiresses to the throne a crucial part of monarchical systems: While the sovereign represented the embodiment of existing rule, his successor embodied rule “in the making”; personality, ideas and concepts still to be shaped. The political sphere in any constitutional monarchy generated plenty of interested parties doing their best to “prepare” the future monarchy by actively influencing this next generation. Despite its strong appeal very little research on a national and even less on a comparative level have been done about the relationship between the heir to the throne’s office and political representation. In the context of this conference heirs and heiresses were used as prisms to explore Europe’s monarchical systems, the institutions, agencies, groups and individuals engaged in either sustaining or challenging them.

Two keynote lectures given by the project team, Principal Investigator Frank Müller and Postdoctoral Researcher Heidi Mehrkens, and Christopher Clark of the University of Cambridge, focused on dynastic generations, on Fathers and Sons. The (political) function of the heir was analysed against the backdrop of royal family-life and the supreme authority of the monarch, the heir being obliged to show love and respect against the pater familias. Four panels then aimed to explore the societies and cultures within which heirs existed and operated. The first panel concentrated on the heir’s biography, his perception as personality and individual contribution to specific constitutional contexts. The second panel dealt with succession crisis and what happened when there was no heir to succeed to the throne. To what extent was the political sphere involved in solving the most crucial dynastic dilemma of all? The third panel shed some light on “courtly contexts”, e.g. on political dimensions of appointing the heir’s entourage, while the last panel focused on heirs during the Great War. A detailed report and a conference volume are in preparation.