The Congress of Vienna and its Global Dimension, 18-22 September 2014, University of Vienna, Austria







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The Congress of Vienna and its global dimension


On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, the Association of Latin American and Caribbean Historians (ADHILAC) is delighted to celebrate its 11th international meeting in Vienna, Austria. It is the second international ADHILAC conference taking place outside of Latin America and the first ADHILAC meeting in a non-Spanish- and non-Portuguese-speaking country. Entitled “The Congress of Vienna and its Global Dimension”, the conference is kindly hosted by the Institute of History and the Historical Studies Library at the University of Vienna, and takes place from Thursday 18th to Monday 22nd September 2014. The conference languages are English and Spanish.


This conference features a stimulating programme of individual papers and roundtable discussions as well as keynote lectures and plenary panels by scholars and researchers from all over the world. It will provide a forum for multi- and interdisciplinary, national, international, transnational, local, regional, inter-regional, inter-hemispherical, and global research and wide ranging cultural perspectives. Graduate students are invited to apply to participate in the >> doctoral seminar “The Global Dimension in History and Historiography” taking place from 17-18 September 2014. All delegates are encouraged to bring their families and friends.


This gathering of scholars, students, and other interested persons is designed to further stimulate mobility and intellectual exchange between the continents, promote the building of academic networks and contribute to the production of global scientific capital. While the historic Congress of Vienna 1814-15 would have excluded the world “beyond” its contemporary European borders and frontiers, the present “Congress of Vienna” emphatically wants to include scholars from the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Oceanic World. 200 years after the historic congress we are eager to acquire knowledge about what transpire in the different parts of the world at that time and how the wider global community has been affected and even the way they impacted the congress. We want to learn about new sources and consider new insights into the history of the Congress of Vienna and its epoch. The intention is to broaden both European and Austrian history and that of the Non-European world with the new understandings and analysis our age has to offer.


This is of urgent importance as traditional conceptualization - Eurocentric to the core - led to the neglect of the global dimension of the Congress of Vienna, and produced an (historical) picture significantly divergent from reality at many levels. If one looks back at the political and territorial situation at the time of the Congress, it becomes clear that the principal European empires of the time defined themselves considerably in terms of the possession of colonies in the Americas, Africa and Asia. In other words: without colonies these great powers or empires may not have existed. Colonies were and in some instances still are elemental to the continued existence of some of these empires. Beginning in 1808, the Portuguese crown governed its empire from its extra-European colony Brazil, making the latter the only non-European country to participate in this mega-event. Last but not least, the beginning of “New Age Imperialism” in 1815 was not a coincidence.


The importance of colonies becomes evident even when one examines Austria, a great power that was not linked traditionally with the possession of overseas colonies. Possessing trading posts in Asia and Africa only temporarily, Austria was always eager to establish a colonial empire. Its last remarkable stab in this direction was made when the Austrian statesman Metternich sought to extend Austria’s politically motivated intermarriage policy to Brazil. This policy was effected two years after the end of the Congress of Vienna with the marriage between Archduchess Leopoldine and Pedro, the Portuguese heir and later first Emperor of Brazil. When Archduke Maximilian (a cousin of Leopoldine’s and Pedro’s son Emperor Pedro II) became Emperor of Mexico in 1864, he sought unsuccessfully to pursuit a similar agenda with a view to annexing for the houses of Habsburg and Bragança all the countries between the Empires of Mexico and Brazil.


This year’s ADHILAC meeting is dedicated to the German historian Manfred Kossok (1930-1993), who was the first to address significantly the Latin American dimension of the Congress of Vienna. Kossok´s former students such as the current ADHILAC president Sergio Guerra Vilaboy (Havana University), the president of this conference Michael Zeuske (University of Cologne), as well as the keynote speakers Mathias Middell (Leipzig University) and Ulrike Schmieder (Hanover University), will perpetuate the heritage of Kossok’s comparative research on revolutions through this conference and beyond.



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