Gepubliceerd op 26-03-2018

International scientific conference – open call for papers Christian Democrats in Exile 1925–1989


Location:         Bonn, Germany (Konrad Adenauer Foundation)
Date:               November, 21st –23rd, 2018

Deadline for submissions: March 31st, 2018

Conveners (and subsequent book editors):
Wolfram Kaiser (Portsmouth) & Piotr H. Kosicki (Maryland)


The political family of Christian Democracy has drawn increasing scholarly attention from historians, political scientists, and sociologists alike in an era of European crisis marked by “Brexit” and the ascendancy of populist politics across Europe.

And yet, the study of Christian Democracy is more than the study of the origins of European integration. It is a global and transnational history, encompassing Europe, Latin America, and a diverse assortment of transnational linkages, transfers, and displacements across continental and even trans-oceanic spaces.

Above all, the story of Christian Democrats’ contribution to 20th-century world history is a differential story of the impact of political exiles, displaced by a range of events in different eras and on different continents, including:

– by the collapse of dynastic empires in World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution

– by the rise of Fascism and Nazism

– by genocide and Holocaust in the Second World War

– by the expansion of Soviet influence across Europe’s eastern half

– and by coups d’état and revolutions in Cold War Latin America.

This conference is devoted to examining the full range of circumstances and consequences of the experience of political exile in Christian Democrats’ role in national and global/ transnational history in the 20th century. Our focus therefore spans Christian Democrats in exile from the mid-1920s, when Italian Catholics affiliated with Luigi Sturzo left Fascist Italy, to the end of the Cold War in 1989. Geographically, the focus spans the whole of Europe, and it includes also Latin America.

Its aim is three-fold:

1)     to bring together recent archive-based research on the experience and politics of exile;

2)     to break down the traditional spatial and temporal walls between the study of exile in the years of fascism and Nazi occupation and the (post-war) Cold War experience of East European and Iberian exiles after 1945; and

3)     to overcome a more old-fashioned history of “ideas” in exile.

We are particularly interested in proposals addressing the following four thematic axes:

1)     the social and political composition of “Christian Democrats” in exile in a very broad sense: who were the emigrants; where did they figure in their respective national party traditions; how to understand their choice (if they had one) to emigrate; how did they interact with pre-existing domestic traditions of political Catholicism, “Christian Democracy”, Christian socialism or conservatism; and how did they cross borders – into the United Kingdom, the United States or – especially for the post-war period – Latin America or continental Western Europe;

2)     the receiving countries and cultures: the relations (if any) of Christian Democrats in exile with state institutions, including government at the highest levels; their social and cultural networks with Catholics and Christian Democrats (esp. in Latin America or in predominantly Protestant countries, such as the UK);

3)     their political organization in exile – both national and transnational: how did they relate to other exile groups of their own nationality, and to Catholics and Christian Democrats from other countries; what organizational forms did their cooperation take, e.g. at the transnational level in the SIPDIC, the ICDU in London, or the CDUCE in New York, etc; and what was the relationship of East European and Iberian exiles with Western European Christian Democrats after 1945? How (if at all) did they adapt distinctively Christian Democratic structures to work in non-Christian Democratic organizations such as the Free Europe Committee or the United Nations?

4)     the programmatic work in exile: what ideas did the exiles develop for a new post-war/post-Cold War order in Europe; did they create any path-dependencies or were they marginalized by the apparent needs of the post-war/post-Cold War setting? Were there essential differences between the work in exile in the inter-war years, as compared to the Second World War or the Cold War-era exile? In the final analysis, what (if any) distinctively Christian Democratic ideology and agenda emerged under the conditions of exile?

The conference will be held in Bonn, Germany, during November 21st – 23rd, 2018. Interested researchers at any stage of their career are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 300 words including information on the research basis for their paper, and a short CV of no more than 300 words. They need to submit this information in one document in Word or pdf format to the conference conveners at civitas2018conference@gmail.com no later than March 31st, 2018. Applicants will be notified of decisions by April 20th, 2018 at the latest.

Conference organizers will cover the costs of lodging and light meals during the conference, and will provide reimbursement for economy-class travel costs. The sponsoring institution is the CIVITAS-Forum for Archives and Research on Christian Democracy, an international consortium of researchers and archivists engaged in the study and preservation of materials on Christian Democracy. Its founding members include the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the KADOC Centre at KU Leuven, and the Istituto Luigi Sturzo.

We will ask all selected speakers to submit a short paper with key arguments (3-5 pp.) to the conveners ca. six weeks before the conference. This will serve as a basis for the preparation of comments by discussants for each panel, intended to facilitate the discursive character of the conference and the preparation of more polished full papers. The planned long-term outcome of the conference is an edited volume: please note, however, that not all invited speakers can participate in the volume, and that the volume’s final shape will be contingent upon the course of the conference and the quality of the papers.

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