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Lok, Matthijs

Lok, Matthijs

Individual Fellow

The Making of Conservative Cosmopolitanism (1780-1840s and beyond)

To what extent did cosmopolitan forms of conservatism emerge in the period 1780-1840?

Project Description

Cosmopolitanism has usually been regarded by scholars as a progressive phenomenon, while conservatism has been equated with particularism. Most historians argue that the conservative and nationalist responses to the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars marked the end of the cosmopolitanism of the Enlightened eighteenth century. Only after the horrors of the First World War was cosmopolitanism rediscovered in Europe, or so the traditional interpretation of the history of cosmopolitanism goes. The conceptual and historical connection between conservatism and trans- and internationalism has so far been ignored. Yet there are strong indications that alongside progressive forms of cosmopolitanism, in the (post-)Revolutionary era (ca. 1780-1840s) also counter-enlightened, counter-revolutionary and conservative forms of cosmopolitanism emerged that understood national and local events in a larger European, and even global, framework.

Selected Publications

1) (with Ido de Haan), (ed.), The Politics of Moderation in Modern European History (Palgrave Series in Political History, 2020)
2) M.M. Lok, ‘The Congress of Vienna as a missed opportunity. Conservative visions of a new European order after Napoleon’, in: B. de Graaf, I. de Haan, B. Vick (eds.), The Congress of Vienna and the construction of a new Security Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), 56-72
3) M.M. Lok, ‘Un oubli total du passé. The Political and Social Construction of Silence in Restoration Europe (1813-1830), in: History and Memory 26.2 (Fall 2014), 40-75

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