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NIAS Seminar

Organizing the Masses, 19th c: Work in Progress

When 9 March 2017 from 11:30 to 12:30 hrs
Where Conference Room, Jorishof, Korte Spinhuissteeg 3
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Historian Maartje Janse will discuss nineteenth-century reflections on large-scale organization, and how these can be read as a debate on the merits and perils of a more inclusive society and a more democratic political life.

About the Seminar

Maartje Janse: “British and American nineteenth-century newspapers defined their century as the 'age of invention and discovery', as well as 'the age of organising societies'. In my research project I have studied the discovery of the power of large-scale organization, a phenomenon that we can trace specifically to the decades between 1820 and 1848. Organizational practices originating from the religious field were increasingly applied to moral, social and political problems such as alcohol abuse and slavery. My Veni research project titled Organizing the Masses:The Contested Nature of Early Irish, British and American Pressure Groups, 1825-1845 has given me the opportunity to develop a broad, transnational perspective on this phenomenon. I have not simply traced the dissemination of organizing practices, but more specifically analyzed contemporary reflections on large-scale organizing as such, and its social and political implications, both by those who understood the new organizing practices as a promise and by those who regarded them as a threat. Social and political outsiders were successful in forging new public roles for themselves, that often involved criticizing and challenging authorities and members of the elite. These in turn were highly critical of the power of organization to disrupt the status quo. In that sense, the reflections on large-scale organizing can be read as a debate on the merits and perils of a more inclusive society and a more democratic political life.

At the seminar I will give an outline of my current book project, and invite the audience to help me solve some dilemma's involved in presenting my findings.”

About the Speaker

Janse w.jpgMaartje Janse is Assistant Professor of History at Leiden University. At NIAS, she is working on a project on visualizing the relation between antislavery ideas and practices.

About NIAS Seminars

NIAS Seminars are aimed to stimulate scientific cross-pollination within the NIAS academic community, but seminars are open to others who are interested. Please  if you wish to attend.

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