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.

Spotlight on Heidi Mehrkens

Mehrkens_image (2)Heidi Mehrkens grew up near Bremen in northern Germany. As a trained journalist, she had already spent time working for newspapers and on the radio when fresh inspiration for the future struck and she decided to go to university. She studied modern and medieval history in combination with law at the Technical University Braunschweig and nurtured a special interest in art history whilst working as a freelance museum guide for the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum.

She then joined a DFG-sponsored research project focussing on France and Germany in times of war (18th-20th centuries), supervised by Professors Ute Daniel and Gerd Krumeich, and completed her PhD in 2005. Her doctoral thesis on the Franco-Prussian War 1870-1871 considered the implementation of the law of nations and French and German mutual perceptions of a strongly nationalised warfare; her first book Statuswechsel: Kriegserfahrung und nationale Wahrnehmung im Deutsch-Französischen Krieg 1870/71 was published in German in 2008.

Statuswechsel_cover (2)Generous post-doctoral scholarships granted by the German Historical Institutes in London and Paris offered her the opportunity to live and work abroad for almost two years whilst also expanding her academic teaching experience as assistant professor in Braunschweig. In 2012 she came to the School of History as a Research Fellow in Late Modern History, joining the AHRC-funded project Heirs to the Throne.

Heidi is currently writing a book on interactions between royal heirs and representatives of the constitutional state in Great Britain, France and Prussia between 1815 and 1914. While some royal heirs inherited seats and actively gave speeches in parliament, others were frustrated in their attempts to participate in the political process. Throughout the 19th century successors were denied active political participation; leaving them with the choice between concealing their ambitions and confronting the constitutional representatives or even the monarch as head of the dynasty. From the opposite end of the scale, politicians, political parties or cabinet ministers approached and dealt with the royal heir with very different agendas in mind. Their efforts to shape the future monarchy (as well as current politics) by actively influencing – or excluding – the successor to the throne can illuminate how spheres of influence between the royal and the constitutional elements of the state were constantly being re-negotiated.

Portrait of Louis-Philippe of Orleans with his two eldest sons, the Duke of Chartres (future Duke of Orleans) and the Duke of Nemours by Louis Hersent (1830).

Portrait of Louis-Philippe of Orleans with his two eldest sons, the Duke of Chartres (future Duke of Orleans) and the Duke of Nemours by Louis Hersent (1830).

Although her main focus is on research, she also runs the project’s website, where one can read about the “Heirs-Team” and their favourite topics, for example Heidi’s essay on the Prince, the President and the Cholera. She has recently co-edited a book, Sinngeschichten: Kulturgeschichtliche Beiträge für Ute Daniel (Böhlau, 2013), which assembles thirty-five essays on the history of the senses and sense in history. Another recent exciting project was a workshop at the German Historical Institute Paris about new approaches to German 19th-century political history, resulting in the edited volume L’espace du politique en Allemagne au XIXe siècle: Revue d’histoire du XIXe siècle, n° 46, 2013/1. Future book projects will most certainly include a comparative history of the experience of disempowerment in 19th-century Europe and a biographical study of King Louis-Philippe I Orleans, focusing on his (self-)perception as a teacher and father figure.

Heidi teaches transnational political and cultural history of 19th-century Europe with a special interest in alliterations (monarchy, military and media). This semester she is a lecturer and tutor for MO1008: Themes in Late Modern History.

On a mission to liberate the (academic) world from tense muscles and back pain, Heidi, who used to work as a fitness instructor in a gym, is a qualified yoga teacher and runs classes in Edinburgh and for School of History staff-members. She loves music and dance and enjoys watching football on TV (even though both of her favourite teams from Braunschweig and Bremen are currently straining her support to its limits…).

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.