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Prosopography in International and Economic History

Dates:
  • Thu 17 May 2018 13.45 - 18.00
  • Fri 18 May 2018 09.30 - 18.00
  Add to Calendar 2018-05-17 13:45 2018-05-18 18:00 Europe/Paris Prosopography in International and Economic History

The aim of this workshop is to explore the contribution, purposes, and limits of the use of prosopographical methods in international and economic history.
Prosopography – the collective biography of a previously defined group of actors – has regained prominence in recent years (Delpu 2015, Descimon 2015, Fellman 2014, Kansikas 2015, Lemercier and Picard, 2011). While it has always been central in ancient history, prosopography in modern history went through various phases of prominence and decline, giving way to biography before coming back over the last decade. To some extent, international and economic history have followed the same pattern. However, as international history has longer been focussed on ‘great men,’ the use of prosopography has been less salient, while in economic history, studies of entrepreneurs, business elites and business communities have a long-established tradition. Still, despite these differences, prosopography has until now been comparatively less used in international topics.
There has been much debate over the merits and pitfalls of this methodology. Its objectives, definition, and ways of proceeding have long been discussed and never been definitely settled. From the ‘elitist’ focus on small groups of important actors to the statistical analysis of large social groups, prosopographical approaches have been very diverse. How to define the group under study, and what characteristics to look at, prompt different answers from different scholars.
Yet, recent developments in international and economic history, paying more attention to networks, to the entanglement of state and non-state actors, or to the role of ideas, call for a fresh look at prosopographical methods. In particular, prosopography can help international and economic historians better understand the relationship between individuals and institutions, and the interpersonal links or intellectual influences across these institutions. Prosopography can also shed light on previously little known actors, clarify the workings of specific international networks and professions, and contribute to explain the international circulation of ideas. How can prosopography be used in international and economic history, despite the challenges and idiosyncrasies of each discipline and method? The conference is thus designed as an opportunity to discuss historiographical and methodological approaches to the use of prosopography in international and economic history.

Seminar Room, Villa Malafrasca DD/MM/YYYY
  Seminar Room, Villa Malafrasca

The aim of this workshop is to explore the contribution, purposes, and limits of the use of prosopographical methods in international and economic history.
Prosopography – the collective biography of a previously defined group of actors – has regained prominence in recent years (Delpu 2015, Descimon 2015, Fellman 2014, Kansikas 2015, Lemercier and Picard, 2011). While it has always been central in ancient history, prosopography in modern history went through various phases of prominence and decline, giving way to biography before coming back over the last decade. To some extent, international and economic history have followed the same pattern. However, as international history has longer been focussed on ‘great men,’ the use of prosopography has been less salient, while in economic history, studies of entrepreneurs, business elites and business communities have a long-established tradition. Still, despite these differences, prosopography has until now been comparatively less used in international topics.
There has been much debate over the merits and pitfalls of this methodology. Its objectives, definition, and ways of proceeding have long been discussed and never been definitely settled. From the ‘elitist’ focus on small groups of important actors to the statistical analysis of large social groups, prosopographical approaches have been very diverse. How to define the group under study, and what characteristics to look at, prompt different answers from different scholars.
Yet, recent developments in international and economic history, paying more attention to networks, to the entanglement of state and non-state actors, or to the role of ideas, call for a fresh look at prosopographical methods. In particular, prosopography can help international and economic historians better understand the relationship between individuals and institutions, and the interpersonal links or intellectual influences across these institutions. Prosopography can also shed light on previously little known actors, clarify the workings of specific international networks and professions, and contribute to explain the international circulation of ideas. How can prosopography be used in international and economic history, despite the challenges and idiosyncrasies of each discipline and method? The conference is thus designed as an opportunity to discuss historiographical and methodological approaches to the use of prosopography in international and economic history.


Location:
Seminar Room, Villa Malafrasca

Affiliation:
Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Conference

Contact:
Angelika Lanfranchi - Send a mail

Organiser:
Prof. Youssef Cassis (EUI)
Dr Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol (University of Glasgow and RSCAS Jean Monnet Fellow)

Attachment:
Final Programme
 
 

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Page last updated on 18 August 2017