S·P·I·N - Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms

International conference CULTURAL MOBILIZATION

A major international conference on Cultural mobilization: Cultural consciousness-raising and national movements in Europe and the world will be held in Amsterdam between 19 and 22 September 2018. The conference is organized by SPIN in association with NISE (Antwerp) and ASEN (London). Proposals for papers or panels can be submitted until 31 October 2017.

Nationalism relies intensely on cultural consciousness-raising. Post-1789 states increasingly invoke the national culture they claim to incorporate; national movements assert their rights within or against the state by defining their identity in cultural terms (language, ethnicity, collective memory); cultural production (literature, the arts, music) and knowledge production (philology, folkore, history-writing) invoke, indeed often construct, the nation’s cultural identity.
That state institutions or political activists instrumentalize cultural notions of collective identity for propaganda purposes, is well known; but the “cultivation of culture” is more than a passive propaganda tool: it is a broadly-based social praxis, involving both cultural production and knowledge production, carried by artists and intellectuals, with its own inner dynamics, social agency and moblizing power.
The artistic and intellectual undercurrents of cultural nationalism, its intermedial entanglements and transnational diffusion, have been studied as part of the modernizing dynamics of, specifically, 19th-century Europe. On that basis, the conference proposed here aims to broaden the scope in two directions:
[1] How did cultural nationalism exercise its agency for social or political mobilization? How to analyse the relationship between political and cultural nationalism if we trace causality and agency from cultural practices into politics?
[2] To what extent is this cultural mobilization peculiar to Europe? What parallels, interactions or differences were there with nationalism and national movements in the wider world?

Possible fields of attention:
Historical cases of culturally triggered or motivated activism; cultural producers and knowledge producers as a conduit between ‘elites’ and ‘masses’; the European and global networks of cultural producers and knowledge producers; colonial nationalism ; cultural activism in anti-imperialism and anticolonialism; (non-)European empires and their multi-ethnicity; theory of culture-political relations; Bengal Renaissance; Pan-Africanism; Meiji Japan; Turanism; indigenous rights movements.
Papers/panels with a comparative/transnational scope will be particularly welcome.

Please address proposals for papers or panels to SPIN (SPIN@uva.nl) before 31 October.

Sports history and identity

A conference on sports and identity in Friesland and other countries will be held in Leeuwarden on Friday 7 February. More information here.

New ERNiE project: Book Links

In the coming years, SPIN will add a fresh project to its ERNiE strategy: Book Links. It will trace how data from book history can help us map and understand the dynamics of intellectual networks, cultural diffusion and knowledge production in 19th-century history.
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Making use of its trusted Nodegoat technology, SPIN will analyse how book publications function as links in intellectual traffic and in personal networks. This will be done by tracing re-editions (also in re-targeted adaptations, e.g. folklore or mythology for domestic or juvenile reading), translations into other languages, and various forms of textual-visual or textual-performative intermediality. In addition, the use of books as vehicles in networking and knowledge diffusion will be traced by mapping dedications and reviews.

This of course opens up a vast field. SPIN will concentrate, in the coming years, on elaborating proofs of concept in two pilot studies: the 19th-century translations and adaptations of Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley Novels and of the Grimms’ Kind- und Hausmärchen, Deutsche Sagen and Deutsche Mythologie.

These pilot projects will in turn also yield valuable experiences for a Digital Humanities approach to that exciting field where book history, literary history and intellectual history meet.
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SPIN will seek collaboration with other research partners in this venture.

Growth of ERNiE repertory

The online ERNiE portal has passed a various millennial landmarks in the past year. The number of ERNiE articles online now stands at 1200, with an additional 200 currently being processed editorially for imminent online posting. The checklist of nationally-themed musical compositions has passed the 1000 mark (300 of its items also being accompanied by an online audio fragment). There are now 3000 historical monuments online, 500 architectural landmarks, 4000 paintings and 400 murals, and 1200 textual specimens of writing in verse or prose (discursive or fictional).

In addition, our 38,000-strong repertory of correspondence metadata will soon be strengthened by the addition of the voluminous and transnational letter-writing network of Hoffmann von Fallersleben (with the kind permission and cooperation of Dr Erika Poettgens and Waxmann Publishers). All of these materials allow also for an online visualization of their diffusion across space and time.

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SPIN thanks its painstaking data-entry and research assistants for making ERNiE, not just a thorough and illuminating analytical encyclopedia but also a representative and comprehensive multimedia portal for the cultural repertoire of nationalism.

SPIN and NISE collaboration: research project, publication series

NISE and SPIN are planning closer cooperation in the future. Both institutions are dedicated to the critical and transnational study of nationalism in Europe, and within that common framework their emphases and approaches usefully complement each other: while SPIN is concerned with intellectual history, cultural production and the diffusion of ideas, NISE’s focus is on an archive-based study of sociability, associational life and sociocultural mobilization.

In addition, both NISE and SPIN are hubs aiming to bring international network together in collaborative enterprises. These networks show a pronounced overlap, so that it was felt that both Antwerp and Amsterdam had much to gain from a more structural integration of their (already harmonious) contacts.

The initial stage of this collaboration will take the form of two joint ventures: one on the cultural mobilization effected by choral societies, their membership base and activities, in various European countries; the other, the establishment of a digital series of occasional papers on the Transnational History of European Nationalisms (THEN) to complement the NISE online journals State of Nationalism and Studies on National Movements.
More on these joint ventures soon.

Grimm Ripples conference

SPIN will be hosting a conference on the Grimm brothers on 7-9 December 2016. All lectures are open to all those interested. Full program.

Workshop Icelandic Philology and National Culture, 1780-1918

SPIN will be hosting a workshop on Icelandic Philology on 3-4 November 2016. All lectures are open to all those interested. Full program.

Visualizing correspondence networks over time

Lab1100 in collaboration with SPIN has developed ultra-cool visualizations of correspondence networks as they develop in time and space. This development process has faced interesting challenges and generated exciting solutions, breaking new ground in the developing field of Digital Humanities.

The SPIN database contains the metadata of c. 38,000 letters by 19th-century artists and intellectuals.How the software developers of lab1100 mapped these data in European soace and over the 19th century with their "Nodegoat" technology can be read on their blog, at https://nodegoat.net/blog.p/82.m/18/network-visualisations-of-38000-letters.

To view the results, go to ERNiE, the Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe, at http://RomanticNationalism.net, and select the "Explore Letters" option. In addition, many ERNiE articles come with illustrative mappings of the related correspondence.