Political history today: exploring new themes

23 do
23 juni 2022

International conference

Political history today: exploring new themes

23-24 June 2022, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Five years after successfully taking stock of the “State of the Art in the History of Politics” (The Hague, 2017), next Summer, the Association for Political History (APH) and the Dutch national Research School Political History (RSPH/OPG)  organize a two-day follow-up conference in Amsterdam to revisit the field and explore new themes in the history of politics.


For one, we urge all historians in the field to join us in a reflection on the concepts, methods, and sources for political history. What is it that we do when we study political history? What is the timeframe and the spatial dimension of histories of the political? What theories, concepts, and examples from the subdisciplines of history, the social and other sciences help us explain continuity and change in political history? How do old and new methods of inquiry and older and newer types of sources affect our work? What changes do we see in the fields of collaboration, funding and publishing our research? How will articles and books relate to newer forms, such as websites, podcasts, blogs, documentaries, and even plays or movies? This reflection will be triggered by three internationally reputed speakers and related roundtables.

Next to that, we aim to highlight new and urgent themes that have been introduced to the field over the last couple of years. These include new perspectives on the histories of decolonization, as well as the rise of the global in Cold War studies. Research projects on global activism, on climate change and the environment, poverty, or migration, and its impact on local, regional, national, and international politics seem to beg for attention too. In addition, as a last example, histories of democracy, freedom, and parliamentarianism have certainly tried to help us understand, and maybe even overcome, the challenges of populism and authoritarian leadership. In other words, what do we have to contribute, not only to the academic debate on things political, but also to the political issues of our time and how can we try to impact today’s, and tomorrow’s, crucial societal debates. The conference will stage these new themes in eight panels.


The conference is organized by the  Association for Political History  and the Dutch national Research School Political History. 

Mode of operation

We aim for a conference with a variety of sessions, not just in terms of content, but also in format.

Internationally reputed speakers give keynote lectures as an introduction to the debate on how to study political history today. The keynote lectures are open to all participants in the conference.

  • Roundtables

During the conference, two plenary roundtables with panels of junior and more senior researchers discuss major developments in the discipline of political history. These sessions are open to all participants in the conference.

  • Panels on new themes in political history

We invite proposals for panels that discuss new and urgent themes in the history of the political. These can be either proposals for a single panel of two hours (3-4 panelists), or a pair of interconnected panels (6-8 panelists). Each panel has a chair and a commentator. There will be room for eight panels in total.

  • Laboratories

The conference organization will invite experts to organize and supervise laboratories to engage in a more practical way with the question how to do political history today. Themes are the digital approach to political history as well as publishing and visualizing research in the field. Finally, we will also explore future formats for conferencing.

  • Posters

As platforms of political historians, RSPH and APH can be unique matchmakers between graduate students, PhDs and postdocs and senior scholars. During the conference, participants are encouraged to take present a poster of their research projects. Moreover, they can take the opportunity to discuss their research projects / work-in-progress with attendees that are more senior (an invitation will follow application). PhD candidates who take part in the RSPH training program can obtain 1 ECTS for presenting a poster.

Social program

During the conference, there will be plenty of opportunities to meet and talk to colleagues and establish new contacts, during coffee/tea breaks, and lunches.

  • All participants are invited to a festive dinner on Thursday, 23 June.
  • Drinks will conclude the conference on Friday, 24 June.


Our conference venue is the Trippenhuis, home of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, in Amsterdam city center.


The conference is organized by the Dutch national Research School Political History. The RSPH/OPG is the national platform for political historians, who are working together to promote high-quality research and strengthen (inter)national cooperation. In additional, the OPG/RSPH provides first-rate training for PhD candidates and Research Master Students.

The OPG/RSPH is one of the founding members of the Association for Political History. The association aims to strengthen international cooperation in the field of education and research and organizes, amongst others, annual conferences.

Organizing committee:

Prof. Dr. Jacco Pekelder (chair), Dr. Marijke van Faassen, Prof. Dr.  Ido de Haan, Dr. Carla Hoetink, Dr. Margit van der Steen, Prof. Dr. Henk te Velde.


Please note that we will organize the conference in line with Dutch corona regulations



Provisional Program

23 June 2022

14.30               APH Board meeting

15.30-16.00      Welcome coffee/tea

16.00-16.30      Keynote by Hedwig Richter (Universität des Bundeswehr München) (confirmed)

How to study political history today? Concepts and contexts

16.30-18.00      Roundtable 1:

The state of the art in political history: legacies, challenges, and opportunities

Participants are Giovanni Orsina,  Irène Herrmann, Anne-Isabelle Richard , Ido de Haan (chair)

18.30               Conference dinner (Trippenhuis)

24 June 2022

9.00-10.45        Panels

  • Panel A1
  • Panel B1
  • Panel C1
  • Panel D1

10.45-11.15      Coffee break

11.15-13.00      Panels

  • Panel A2
  • Panel B2
  • Panel C2
  • Panel D2

13.00-14.00      Lunch break


  • Laboratories of political history: digital, visual, publishing, future conferencing

15.00               Keynote bij Judith Pollmann (Universiteit Leiden)

How to write a long-term history of the political?

15.30              Keynote by Lucy Riall (European University Institute Florence) (confirmed)

How to write a global history of politics?

16.00-17.00      Roundtable 2:

Long-term and global history of politics.

Participants are Marnix Beyen, Hagen Schulz-Forberg, Lucy Riall, Judith Pollmann and

Henk te Velde (chair)

17.00               Drinks

7 January 2022

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