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Conferences

In keeping with our two central aims, each year HEIRS invites doctoral or post-doctoral researchers to conceptualise and organise our annual conference. The point of these conferences is to allow for younger researchers to come together in an informal yet professional environment, to disseminate their research, and gain useful feedback from peers and more established academics.

This page contains information on forthcoming and previous conferences.

Future Conferences

Capitalism, Crises, and European Integration: From 1945 to the Present, 1st HEIRS-RICHIE Conference

European University Institute, Florence, Italy, 26-28 May 2016

The severe multidimensional crisis that has been affecting Europe since 2008 calls for a critical rethinking of European integration history. Europe’s present difficulties highlight both the importance of crises in shaping European integration and the role of European governance in asserting a certain form of capitalism. Crises have punctuated and defined European integration history from the start – the mushrooming of integration and cooperation projects sixty years ago were responses to the chaos of post-­‐war Europe. The present crisis also raises questions about the nature of the European ‘project’, which appears today to differ in many ways from what it was at its inception. Arguably, European integration took ot in a moment of exception in the history of capitalism, when inequalities were at a historical low –in sharp contrast with the present era of globalised ‘neoliberal’ capitalism and record inequalities. This conference will explore the interconnections between European integration and the history of capitalism and its crises, in an effort to highlight the shifting nature of the European integration process.

For further information please contact Aurelie Andry

Download conference programme here:

Previous Conferences

Twelfth History of European Integration Research Society (HEIRS) Conference, Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), 21-22 April 2016

National societal actors in a multilevel environment - Call for Papers

Processes of globalization have given birth to new (or renewed) fields of research in the social sciences. Numerous attempts have been made to develop transnational or global studies and history. It has been argued that history has to be written within a new framework that transcends national boundaries and takes into consideration the interconnectedness of human societies (Knudsen and Gram Skoldager; 2014: 146). Some authors have suggested a need to overcome an excessive focus on the state as the “primary unit of historical inquest” (Robin, 2009: 486). While recognizing the necessity to go beyond national histories for social science and historical analysis, however, the state and national actors are not necessarily weakened. We take the epistemological stance that there is no “necessary trade-off in power between national governmental and supranational institutional actors” (Kaiser and Meyer; 2013:1).

Societal actors such as trade unions, employers’ associations, NGOS and political parties (Kaiser and Meyer; 2013: 5) are often constituted within a national context, where they evolve and from which they derive their resources and legitimacy. But while remaining firmly anchored in a particular country, these actors are also confronted with an evolving multilevel environment. Whilst more recent examples have undoubtedly been shaped by forces of globalization, it should be noted that the multilevel environment is not necessarily synonymous with globalization and naturally predates its emergence. This conference focuses on the way in which national societal actors cope with such an environment that offers them several possible tiers of action: the national, European and global as well as transnational forms of cooperation. Papers for this conference can discuss any (preferably European) national societal actor in national, comparative or transnational (cooperation) perspective, and any cause they might have been engaged in from EC legislation to the UN or other multilateral forum, from a contemporary or historical perspective. Papers can discuss many different questions: e.g. women’s rights (including equal pay), the control of multinationals, cooperation between national groups at the supranational level, global trade negotiations, environmental issues, problems arising from the delegation of power from a principal (the national actor) to an agent (the supranational actor), or changing dynamics between labour, capital and the state. We equally welcome papers with an empirical or theoretical focus.

PhD students and early postdoctoral researchers are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 300 words and a short CV by 23 August 2015 to both Quentin Jouan and Andrew Waterman. There will be no conference fee. Depending on funding obtained we may be able to partially cover travel and accommodation costs of participants in need of financial support.

Download the call for papers here:

Awkward Relations? Britain and Germany in Europe since the Second World War - Call for Papers

Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, 23-24 March 2016

Shortly after the Second World War, Britain and Germany became again closely entangled in a set of multilateral alliances, such as the EC/EU and NATO, as well as in an ever-expanding web of transnational contacts, networks, and interactions. By contrast, the Anglo-German relationship to this day remains fraught when it comes to European integration: tensions over German reunification, the Maastricht Treaty, or Black Wednesday are still prominently ingrained in memories on both sides of the Channel. More recently, the Eurozone crisis as well as David Cameron’s attempt to renegotiate Britain’s role inside the EU have again powerfully illustrated competing British and German visions of Europe’s place in the world. How can such continuing tensions over European integration be reconciled with the great extent of bilateral rapprochement that has taken place outside formal EC/EU structures since 1945?

This conference seeks to bring together scholars from a variety of backgrounds and all levels of seniority to shed fresh light on the evolution of the Anglo-German relationship since the Second World War, with particular emphasis on the European integration process in its wider transatlantic and global context. More precisely, the conference hopes to embed studies of Anglo-German relations inside the EC/EU much more firmly in the wider international history of the post-war world, hoping to overcome the narrow analytical confines of an overly EC/EU-centric approach. With the bulk of archival materials now freely accessible for the period up to 1985, the time indeed seems ripe to revisit the evolution of bilateral relations from new perspectives and methodological angles. Though the conference has a distinct historical focus, it also welcomes interdisciplinary proposals and contributions from other academic fields, including International Relations, Political Science, and Cultural or European Studies.

The conference deliberately adopts a broad definition of the Anglo-German relationship. It particularly welcomes contributions that seek to connect the history of bilateral relations over European integration with developments outside EC/EU structures, as well as contributions that utilize recent trends from cultural and social history in what might be termed a ‘New International/Diplomatic History’. Potential topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • The changing global context of the Anglo-German relationship
  • Bilateral cooperation inside NATO and the transatlantic alliance
  • Europeanization, socialization, and transnationalisation processes
  • Comparative approaches to British and German European policies
  • Mutual perceptions, stereotypes, and the media
  • The role of state and non-state actors and organizations

The conference is consciously set up to foster links between British and German scholars by cooperating closely with the recently founded ‘AG Internationale Geschichte’ under the auspices of the German Historikerverband. There will be keynotes by Professor Andreas Rödder (University of Mainz) and Dr Piers Ludlow (London School of Economics and Political Science). Accommodation and reasonable travel costs will be covered for accepted speakers. Conference papers will be pre-circulated, since publication in form of an edited volume with a renowned international publisher is intended. We invite researchers of all stages to submit an abstract of up to 350 words (including name, paper title, institutional affiliation) as well as a short CV to both Mathias Haeussler (mhh29@cam.ac.uk) and Alexander Reinfeldt (alexander.reinfeldt@uni-hamburg.de) by 20 January 2016. Applicants will be notified by the end of January 2016.

First HEIRS-RICHIE Conference, EUI Florence, Deadline: 18th December 2015

Capitalism, Crises and European Integration from 1945 to the present - Call for Papers

The severe multidimensional crisis that has been affecting Europe since 2008 calls for a critical rethinking of European integration history. The crisis has raised questions about the nature of today’s European ‘project’, which appears in many ways different from what it was at its inception in the past century. Arguably, European integration took root in a moment of exception in the history of capitalism, when inequalities were at a historical low – in sharp contrast with the present era of globalised ‘neoliberal’ capital- ism and record inequalities. Europe’s present travails also highlight the importance of crises in shaping European integration. This feature is inherent to European integration history; the post-war mushrooming of integration and cooperation projects was a response to the deep social and economic crises of the continent.

This conference seeks to historicise post-war European integration in its connection to the history of capitalism and its crises in their multiple dimensions: economic, social, politi- cal, intellectual, environmental, among others. The aim will be to highlight different mo- ments of change, rupture or continuity in the ideas and realisations that underlie Euro- pean integration. We invite contributions on themes that include, but are not limited to:

  • Crises and European integration: exploring how crises have constituted mo- ments of economic change, intellectual redefinition, and political and social re- configuration in European integration, as well as analysing how competing nar- ratives of crises have been linked to competing visions of European integration.
  • Ideology, Capitalism and European Integration: the EC/EU and other international organisations have been loci of constant competition between different political and ideological currents. How did ideas and ideologies championed by national and trans- national actors penetrate different European ‘projects’ and policies? How can processes of transfers, learning and competition between and within European organisations be traced? How did European integration impact ideological changes in Europe and beyond?
  • Political Economy of European Integration: investigating how European organisations perceived, adapted, encouraged and responded to shifts in modes of production and or- ganisation in different economic sectors; seeking to read the political economies fostered between the lines of the European treaties, institutions and policies: monetary, industrial, agricultural, social, trade, development, migration, employment, gender equalities, etc.
  • European Integration, regionalism and globalisation: arguably the main develop- ment of capitalism in the past fifty years, globalisation has been intertwined with European integration. How did European institutions and policies seek to shape, mod- erate, or shield European populations from increasing ‘globalisation’? Or how, on the contrary, did it constitute a multiplier effect on globalising forces? Can we identify di- verging roles between different regional and international organisations in this respect?

PhD students and early postdoctoral researchers in history and connected disciplines are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 300 words and a short CV by 18 December 2015 to Aurélie Andry at aurelie.andry@eui.eu. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered. Selection committee: Aurélie Andry, Haakon Ikonomou, Quentin Jouan, Guia Migani, Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol, Federico Romero, Laurent Warlouzet.

The History of European Integration Research Society (HEIRS) and the Réseau Interna- tional des Chercheurs en Histoire de l’Intégration Européenne (RICHIE) are postgraduate student networks that strive to foster collaboration and interaction among postgraduate researchers across Europe with an interest in European integration history. This conference will bring together PhD students and academics from various disciplines to dis- cuss their work in a number of panels. It will be coupled with a workshop on the theme ‘Capitalism, Crises and European Integration in the long 1970s’. In addition, there will be keynote lectures and speakers will be available for in-depth discussions. Some pa- pers will be selected for publication in high-ranked history journal. The conference is part of the Jean Monnet Project ‘Rethinking European Integration History in Times of Crisis’ supported by the European Commission and the Alcide De Gasperi Research Center on the History of European Integration at the European University Institute.

Contact e-mail: Aurélie Andry

Eleventh History of European Integration Research Society (HEIRS) Conference, University of Portsmouth, 15-16 April 2015

Narratives of European Integration

Narratives, or ways of telling stories about history, identity and culture, are powerful tools. They can serve to legitimate or contest regimes, facilitate or undermine social and cultural cohesion, and influence notions of identity and otherness. They are cultural constructs, created by state and societal actors, individuals and groups, sometimes deliberately with a political goal in mind, sometimes unintentionally and implicitly.

A variety of actors have developed such narratives for Europe as a cultural space and for the present-day European Union as an economic and political entity. Analyzing these stories told in the past or in the present, about the past, the present and the future of Europe and the European Union, can provide crucial insights into the actors promoting them, their motivations and objectives, and about the stories themselves, their focus and forms of narration and their dissemination across borders in Europe. Narratives thus are a very fruitful subject for analyzing the history and current state of Europe and the European integration.

This conference will explore the various forms in which Europe and European integration has been and is narrated, be they discourses or exhibitions, speeches or symbolism. There will be no conference fee.

Download the conference programme here:

Download a copy of the conference report here:

Tenth HEIRS Conference, Maastricht University, 5-6 June 2014

The question of how to generate a sense of belonging to a multinational political community has preoccupied intellectuals and politicians since the founding moments of the European Union. Particularly in times of stress and doubt calls for a European identity have become a central topic. Currently, in the wake of the on-going EU crisis discussions about the connection between the construction (or the lack) of a common European identity and legitimacy of EU governance are coming back to the fore. Debates centre on the question if and how the EU can effectively and lawfully operate if its citizens do not sustain the integration project sufficiently enough. Apart from discussions on the possibility of and the need for a political identity we can discern a separate discourse on questions surrounding the development of a cultural identity and common memory of Europe. The concepts of identity, memory and lieux de mémoire are in fact deeply interwoven.

Attempts to generate a European cultural or political identity are almost as old as the European integration project itself. Official identity politics on the other hand are a fairly new phenomenon. Despite the fact that social scientists have invested considerable efforts in trying to analyse the latter, historical approaches are still underrepresented. This conference aimed at understanding the on-going debates on cultural and political identity. It investigated efforts made by different political and social actors since the 1950s to generate a sense of belonging to the European Union. How did early attempts of fostering a European identity look like? Who were the actors and agents? Is a common identity dependent on the actions of classical political actors? Which elements of European history have been harnessed in order to provide a basis for a common identity?

For the conference report of the Tenth HEIRS conference, please see the following document:

Ninth HEIRS Conference, Sandbjerg Gods, Sønderborg, Denmark, 7 – 9 January 2013

Historical research in recent years has begun to study the transformation and reshaping of political representation across the 20th century in context of the establishment and development of international organisations and European integration. The political history of various groups of political representatives interacting at the international and European levels has so far been fairly well researched. By contrast, the social, cultural and transnational history of actors such as diplomats, civil servants and politicians – historically seen as the classical state representatives – is still in its infancy. This conference aimed, first, to bring together doctoral students exploring the social, cultural and transnational histories of core actors and groups in political representation in the context of international organisations and European integration across the 20th century. Secondly, it aimed to facilitate discussion between doctoral students and senior researchers about new findings as well as strategies in research design and methodologies, theoretical and conceptual questions relating to the historical study of change in political representation, and on (inter-) disciplinary inspiration.

A conference report will follow shortly. The original call for papers can be found here:

Eighth HEIRS Conference, Humboldt University, Berlin, on 30 - 31 March 2012

Since the 1990s and in direct connection with the low turnouts of the European elections the so-called “democratic deficit” of the EU became an increasingly discussed topic in both academic and political circles. In this context, the (apparently insufficient) communication of European politics to its citizens and the lack of identification with European institutions have been of especially great importance. Academic research has invested considerable efforts in trying to analyse and explain these problematic relationships. However, because this still growing area of research is still dominated by social scientists, historical approaches seem to be somewhat underrepresented. The Eighth HEIRS conference thus aimed to foster interdisciplinary exchange in historical research on this crucial aspect of the history of European integration.

For the conference programme, please see the following document:

For a full report of the Eighth HEIRS Conference, please see the following document:

Seventh HEIRS Conference, Forli, Italy, on 11-12 March 2011

The goal of the Seventh HEIRS Conference was to promote the study of the international dimension of the EC/EU, the direct and indirect impact of its common policies on a worldwide scale, as well as the link between its international self-representation and the more general discourse of identity.

For the conference programme, please see the following document:

Sixth HEIRS Conference, University of Reading, 15-16 April 2010

The Sixth HEIRS Conference, arranged by Christian Salm and Matthew Broad, took place at the University of Reading, UK. The central aim of the conference was to link the often unconnected research on European integration with that of Cold War studies, and visa versa.

For a full report of the Sixth HEIRS Conference, please see the following document:

Fifth HEIRS Conference, European University Institute (EUI), Florence, 6-7 March 2009

The Fifth HEIRS Conference, arranged by Cristina Blanco Sío-López, took place at the EUI in Florence. This conference discussed European integration through a 'cultural lens'. Its starting point was that, while approaches and methodologies associated with a turn towards 'New Cultural History' have become increasingly prominent in historical research, this has not tended to be utilised through integration research.

For the programme for the Fifth HEIRS Conference, please see the following document:

Fourth HEIRS Conference, Institut d’Etudes européennes, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 11-12 April 2008

The Fourth HEIRS Conference was arranged by Flavia Cumoli, Mazyar Khoojinian and Nicolas Verschueren and took place in Brussels in April 2008. It aimed to discuss problem posed by the apparent lack of the integration of European societies as part of the broader European integration process.

For the conference proceedings of the Fourth HEIRS Conference, please see the following document:

Third HEIRS Conference, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, 16-17 March 2007

The Third HEIRS Conference, which was arranged by Sophie Huber and Katrin Milzow, took place in Geneva in March 2007. The conference discussed the various actors and witnessess to the European integration process.

For the conference report of the Third HEIRS Conference, please see the following document:

Second HEIRS Conference, Centre for European and International Studies Research, University of Portsmouth, 4-5 November 2005

The Second HEIRS Conference took place in late November 2005, organised by two of HEIRS's original committee members, Brigitte Leucht and Katja Seidel. The conference assessed the EU's first fifty years, and specifically examined interdisciplinary and methodological issues relating to European integration history.

The report of the Second HEIRS Conference can be found here:

First HEIRS Conference, University of Cambridge, 6-7 November 2004

The First HEIRS Conference took place at the University of Cambridge in November 2004. It was arranged by a number of the original HEIRS committee and their colleagues, including Linda Risso, George Wilkes, Brigitte Leucht, Lucia Faltin and Marion Gurial.

For the report of the First HEIRS Conference, please see the report: