Before now there has been no University-based platform for the exchange of information and ideas between scholars who work on Habsburg-related themes in History, Art History, Modern Languages and other departments and faculties. The Cambridge New Studies Network aims to promote Habsburg studies more widely in Cambridge and to enable existing scholars to establish connections that will enable future collaborative projects. It will foster the interdisciplinarity which the manifold histories, languages and cultures of the Habsburg lands require.
The group’s principal objectives include highlighting the need for further comparative research in the history of Central and East Central Europe in fields such as the history of material culture and consumption, in religious studies, in legal history, in literary studies, as well as in translation studies. In the field of the history of material culture and consumption, for example, the group sees the opportunity to draw together research on the Central and East Central European areas, and thus to redress the conventional bias of such work towards Northwest Europe and Italy.
Our interests reflect a shift in Habsburg studies that includes not only imperial, political and intellectual themes, but also social, economic, gender and cultural aspects. Similarly, we take a very broad view of the term ‘Habsburg’: a wide geographical remit covering Central and East Central Europe and a chronological span from the Late Middle Ages to 1918. By retaining the label ‘Habsburg’ we do not mean to limit themes, but rather give a broad structure and cohesion to the diverse interests of those who are currently engaged in research in these areas.
Initiated by a group comprising Dr Janine Maegraith and Suzanna Ivanič from the Faculty of History and Dr Annja Neumann and Professor Joachim Whaley of the Department of German and Dutch, the network held its inaugural meeting in Gonville and Caius College on 17th October 2014. At the end of the first workshop it was resolved to organise a regular biannual interdisciplinary workshop for visiting scholars and Cambridge-based researchers. We also aim to build on the contacts we have already with scholars in all relevant disciplines in Europe and the USA.
We would like to acknowledge the financial support given by the Department of German and Dutch, University of Cambridge. We are also extremely grateful to the Cambridge DAAD German Research Hub, which has offered us funding to support our work over the next three years.