Soft Power, Hard Power: Channels, Discourses, Practices - 17.-18.05.2018

Workshop with the Queen Mary University of London

In an increasingly interconnected world, established power dynamics are in a constant state of flux. How ‘power’ operates in the contemporary world inundates on our news screens, twitter feeds, and everyday conversations. These power dynamics have a long and complicated historical trajectory from the premodern to today. By examining the relationships between, and configurations of, soft and hard power dynamics historians can question and complicate established historiographical narratives.  These narratives examine practices, structures, and operations of power in its many forms including power relations between state and individual, metropolitan and provincial, elite and popular, men and women, and between nations, cultures, communities, and races. 

The Basel Graduate School of History is delighted to visit our friends and colleagues at the Queen Mary University of London. The two-day workshop will provide an informal environment to discuss co-option and coercion within a variety of historical periods, methodologies, and approaches. Postgraduate researchers and faculty members are invited to present papers that are fifteen minutes in length on any historical aspect of soft and/or hard power, focusing on any period or geographical area. Papers focusing on any period of European History, African History, Global History, and Medieval and Renaissance History are particularly welcome. 

Suggested topics include - but are by no means limited to:

• Social, cultural, economic, political, and religious discourses and practices of power relations.
• Successes, limitations, or failures of soft and/or hard power practices. 
• Discourses of nation- and myth-making as practices of soft power. 
• Channels and practices of alliances, power sharing, competition and rivalry. 
• Tension and coexistence within social and religious groups.  
• Tension and coexistence between communities, cities, and nations. 
• Private and personal discourses and practices of soft and/or hard power.
• Emotional experiences and discourses of power dynamics.
• Discourses and practices of object-subject relationships such as gift exchange. 

When & Where

Queen Mary University of London, Thursday 17th and Friday 18th May 2018


BGSH members can submit their proposals by 4th February via this form.

Please specify title and abstract in the comments field.

The BGSH will cover all travel expenses of their members participating in the workshop.