Robert von Friedeburg, Reader in History at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU), will give one of the key note lectures at the upcoming major international conference on ‘Monarchy and Modernity since 1500’ at the University of Cambridge.
Many pieces of received wisdom on the trajectory of Western Societies have been put into doubt by detailed research during the last couple of decades. The focus on monarchy allows researchers to try and reconstruct long term trends in the history of Western societies.
In his lecture Robert von Friededurg will question whether ‘power’ was ever at the core of the grip of monarchy in society in the Medieval and Early Modern West. Indeed, he argues that all modern research shows that monarchy in the Medieval and Early Modern West was supported by the societies it presided over because it fulfilled indispensable functions, namely the defence of true religion and the administration of justice.
Furthermore, those monarchies that still thrive today in the Scandinavian kingdoms, the Netherlands, or Britain, do so because they transformed to become symbols of the liberal and ultimately democratic values these nations chose to identify with. They consolidated that role and defended these values during World War II, allowing them to continue to thrive into the modern age.
In contrast, in many other countries on the continent, in particular in Germany, nationalist movements expected leadership to struggle against internal and external enemies and found monarchy wanting. In these countries, ominous dictatorships began replacing monarchy.
These diverging developments resulted in radically different ‘cultures of remembrance’ today. Robert’s lecturer will explore to what extent these diverging developments have their roots in the nineteenth or eighteenth centuries or even earlier, a question that remains a challenge for modern research.
The conference takes place over the 8th and 9th of January next year and you can book your space here.
Our academics are regularly invited to present at conferences around the world, you can follow all their travels on our news page and find out how you can start your own adventures on our course pages.
For additional scholarly background on this key-note lecture, Robert’s recent book publications on (ed.) ‘Murder and Monarchy: Regicide in European History, 1300-1800) (Palgrave 2004), ‘Luther’s Legacy. The Thirty Years War and the Modern Notion of ‘State’ in the Empire, 1530s to 1790s’, and (co-ed. with John Morrill), Monarchy Transformed. Princes and their Elites in Early Modern Western Europe (Cambridge 2017) are available.