Travelling Notions of Culture in Early Nineteenth-Century Europe - Call for Articles

In the aftermath of the Great Revolution, the borders of Europe were redrawn during the turmoil of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–15). Borders were not only geographical and political, but also social and conceptual. New social ladders appeared, and the Bildungsbürgertum assumed a strong voice in defining cultural borders. Simultaneously, transitions in regional conceptualisations took place, with Northern, Southern, and Eastern parts of Europe positioned onto the margins in relation to such centres as Paris, Berlin and Vienna. On the other hand, those on the margin started to construct their own peripheries and to draw their own maps in their search for a folk culture. In the early nineteenth century the discourses on both space and time were negotiated anew due to the rise of modern geography and historical writing. Simultaneously the increase in travelling and the impact of industrial capitalism contested the national borders drawn in the Congress of Vienna.

The anthropologist and historian James Clifford has argued that every culture is “a travelling culture” by definition; that is, there is no culture without movement. Keeping this idea in mind, it is particularly important to focus on early nineteenth century Europe, where the idea of ‘travelling’ was especially vital, to consider the cultural and conceptual ramifications of the social and political turmoil of the time and to focus on the locational imagination surrounding the concept of culture. This does not only refer to simultaneous regions or entities, both of which exist synchronically. Cultural maps are always transparent and cumulative in the sense that earlier maps, their sites, and itineraries are subsumed under the more recent and visible ones. This book aims at making visible the notions of culture, civilisation, and Bildung with respect to particular cultural maps.

The chapters of the book can focus, for example, on the following themes:

What were the sites of culture, civilisation and Bildung and how were these sites employed in defining these concepts?

What kind of borders did this process of definition and its inherent spatial imagination produce?

What were the connecting routes between the supposed centres and the peripheries in early nineteenth-century Europe, and

What were the strategies of envisioning, negotiating and transforming cultural territories in early nineteenth-century Europe?

The book is based on the research project Travelling Notions of Culture, funded by the Academy of Finland. We have already chapters drawing especially on Nordic, German and Italian examples. Now we welcome proposals for additional chapters on the above themes. We also welcome new ideas and openings related to the book’s rationale. We would be especially pleased to receive submissions on Eastern European, Mediterranean, French and British perspectives.


Deadline for abstracts (250 words): 31 May 2014

Author meeting (optional): September 2014

Deadline for draft articles (c. 8000 words, incl. notes and bibliography): December 2014

Deadline for final manuscripts: May 2015

Publication: Spring 2016

Inquiries and submissions: Hannu Salmi,