Gepubliceerd op 11-11-2016

Call for Papers: “New perspectives on popular educational and reformist social initiatives and movements in Belgium and the Netherlands during the long 19th century”

The long nineteenth century saw the organization and development of a series of initiatives that tried to improve and elevate the material and mental state of the working classes throughout many countries in Western Europe,
particularly in the Low Countries. Social reformers and an array of social-cultural initiatives tried to find answers to the ‘social question(s)’ through ‘Volksbildung’/’Volksontwikkeling’. One hereby thinks of popular education institutions with popular libraries and lectures, co-operative and mutual societies, initiatives to improve the school and housing system and to promote saving among the working classes and so on. These associations and organisations could differ in ideology and objectives. In the past decades, historians have begun to devote serious attention to these movements and initiatives on both a national and transnational scale.

In this conference we want to invite both young and established scholars working on the history of initiatives, societies and organisations that tried to improve the material and mental well-being of the working classes in Belgium and the Netherlands during the long 19th century. The scientific committee welcomes papers that critically engage in new innovative ways with various dimensions of the history of popular education and social and moral reform in the Low Countries from a European perspective. We strongly encourage the submission of papers that explore new methods and sources, papers that focus on cross cultural connections as well as papers with a comparative and interdisciplinary approach.

Topics might include – the list is not exhaustive:
– Adoption of foreign models in Belgium and the Netherlands
– Inspirational transnational influence of Belgian and Dutch initiatives
– The role of printed media
– Contextualization of the notion of the ‘civilizing offensive’ of bourgeois societies
– The role of freemasonry
– Discourse, rhetoric
– The importance of the principle of self-help against traditional charity/philanthropy
– Popular education and social reform during the United Kingdom of the Netherlands
– The impact of Flemish nationalism and anticlericalism on popular education in Belgium
– Literary role models
– The importance of artistic education, representations of the national past and architectural artefacts

The colloquium takes place on 10 February 2017 in the Liberaal Archief in Ghent. The colloquium is organized by the Liberaal Archief, in collaboration with the Universiteit Gent, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. We invite submissions of short abstracts, in English (maximum 200 words) for papers of 20 minutes, including title and the author’s name, institutional affiliation and contact information, by 30 November 2016 (to be sent to walter.ysebaert@vub.ac.be and christoph.despiegeleer@liberaalarchief.be). Acceptances will be notified by half of December. Full papers have to be submitted by 31st of January 2017. The conference proceedings will be submitted as a collected peer-reviewed volume, to be published in 2017.


Het KNHG is de grootste organisatie van professionele historici in Nederland. Het biedt een platform aan de ruim 1100 leden en aan de historische gemeenschap als geheel. Word lid van het KNHG.
Het Huygens Instituut beoogt de Nederlandse geschiedenis en cultuur inclusiever maken. Het ontsluit historische bronnen en literaire teksten en ontwikkelt innovatieve methoden, tools en duurzame digitale infrastructuur.