Jeroen Duindam, ‘Dynastic centres in early modern Europe and Asia’

May 2, 2010

Professor Jeroen Duindam (University of Groningen), author of Myths of Power: Norbert Elias and the Early Modern European Court (1994) and Vienna and Versailles. The Courts of Europe’s Dynastic Rivals 1550-1780 (2003), lectured on ‘Dynastic centres in early modern Europe and Asia: an attempt at comparison’ on 29 April. Professor Duindam argued that a focus on the household offered fruitful possibilities for cross-cultural comparisons that would avoid narratives of Western exceptionalism. Ranging across French, Austrian, Ottoman, Moghul and Chinese courts, he analyzed comparable patterns in understandings of the ruler’s role, problems of succession, the administrative role of the court, relations with urban centres, and other areas in which rulers faced common problems; illustrations strikingly brought out these commonalities. A very fruitful discussion explored the situation of religion and the differing models of aristocracy and bureaucracy, and the extent to which the role of the state as opposed to the monarchy in China might have offered a different kind of common ground with European developments now classed as modern.

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