Tracing mobilities and socio-political activism, 19th & 20th centuries

Read the program here

Organisation: TIC-Belgium (

In the workshop we will explore to what extent the notion of ‘mobility’ in current cultural and social theory (eg. Stephen Greenblatt, John Urry) can be fruitfully applied in historical research. Mobilities can be seen as cross-border movements of persons, objects, texts and ideas. How can we grasp mobility of people and ideas in the spheres of politics, learning and the arts? Within this context, we focus on the involvement of social, legal and educational reformers and other kinds of socio-political activists in (temporary) transnational intellectual networks on the one hand and their activities at home on the other. The conceptualization of intermediary persons as ‘rooted cosmopolitans’ (Sidney Tarrow), ‘mobilizers’ (Greenblatt) and ‘contact zones’ seem promising notions to unravel mobilities. The focus of the workshop is on European reformers and activists, but this does not mean that it is restricted to the European continent, as a lot of European nation states had colonies and cross-border cooperation and mobilities focused on colonial knowledge and governance took place in Europe as well as in the colonies themselves.

In this workshop PhD students will explore the notions of mobility and activism by presenting clear cut case studies. Participants will also reflect on methodological issues, for instance the usage of text mining, social network analysis and data visualization techniques in the humanities and social sciences.


·         Prof. dr. Christian Topalov – Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS)

·         dr. Kenneth Bertrams – Research Unit Modern and Contemporary Worlds (ULB)

·         dr. Wolf Feuerhahn – Centre Alexandre Koyré (EHESS)

·         dr. Damiano Matasci – Université de Genève

·         dr. Sarah Panter – Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte (IEG) Mainz

Keynote by Christian Topalov on Wednesday 29 evening, workshop on Thursday 30 June and the morning of Friday 1 July


The call for papers is already closed. If you would like to attend the workshop please sign up by sending an email to Stéphanie Manfroid of the Mundaneum ( before 23 June.​

Wednesday 29th June at 18.00

All audiences, PhD students
Free entrance