Workshop: Comparative and Historical Knowledge in Eighteenth-Century Europe

The History, Nature and Empire in Eighteenth-Century Europe team warmly welcomes you to a one-day workshop on Friday, October 17, 2014  at the University of Helsinki.

Venue: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, Seminar Room 136, Ground Floor, Fabianinkatu 24 A

Programme, Friday 17.10.2014

10.30–10.45 Mikko Tolonen (University of Helsinki), Opening remarks

10.45–11.30 Sophus Reinert (Harvard Business School): “The Way to Wealth Around the World: Benjamin Franklin and the Globalization of American Capitalism”

11.30–12.15 Peter Hallberg (Malmö University): “The Politics of Comparative Constitutionalism: The Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776) in Sweden”

12.15–13.30, Lunch

13.30–14.15 Alison Martin (University of Reading): “Translating Nature and Empire: German editions of Mungo Park’s Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa (1799)”

14.15–15.00 Laura Tarkka (University of Helsinki): “The Reception of East India Company’s Code of Gentoo Laws (1776) in European Review Journals”

15.00–15.30, Coffee and tea

15.30–16.15 Koen Stapelbroek (University of Helsinki, Erasmus University Rotterdam): “Instruments of Economic Integration and the History of Humankind: Eighteenth-Century Outlooks onto Global Trade”

16.15–17.00 Jani Marjanen (University of Helsinki, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin): “Eighteenth-Century Economic Societies and Comparative Models for Economic Improvement”


History, Nature and Empire in Eighteenth-Century Europe is a research project designed to illuminate the consequences of a development, in which civil society came to be understood in increasingly global and increasingly historical terms. The project asks how intersecting debates concerning ‘nature,’ ‘civility’ and ’empire’ related to the cosmopolitan-European perspective of ‘Enlightenment’ and its juxtaposition of history and modernity. As the contention between the concepts of ‘nature’ and ‘civility’ grew simultaneously with suspicions that the world might not be manageable by human agency, the question of conflict gained real significance, especially in relation to the ideas and practicalities of empire. Our project tackles the intricacy of these debates by examining three key themes – ‘history,’ ‘nature’ and ’empire’ – with a scope that extends beyond an individual country, by way of combining the contextualising style of intellectual history with conceptual history, history of philosophy, and transfer studies.