Conference Report: Fifth Congress of the European Network in Universal and Global History, August 31-Sept 3, 2017
Written by Stefan Huebner (National University of Singapore)
Click here for a copy of the programme.
2017 is a European Network in Universal and Global History (ENIUGH) year. The ancient Olympic Games took place every fourth year and lasted for more than a millennium. The triennial ENIUGH congress is younger, but already a very well-established event that has an important impact on the travel schedules of academics interested in global, world, and transnational history. When ENIUGH 5 concluded, about 600-650 scholars had presented their research in more than 150 panels, which was slightly less than the 700-750 participants in Paris (2014), but more than in London (2011). Not a record, but a very substantial demonstration of academic interest in the event.
2017 is also the year that marks the centennial of the Russian Revolution. Considering the long-lasting global implications of that event, it was no surprise that the organizers chose the theme of “Ruptures, Empires and Revolutions” for this year’s ENIUGH. While this theme left panel organizers sufficient space to find their own ways of reflecting on such phenomena, the plenary events corresponded to the organizers’ intention of including more scholars from or working on Central/Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The keynote address, given by Tamás Krausz (Budapest), reflected on Lenin and global history, while the first plenary roundtable, organized by Attila Melegh (Budapest), addressed the connections between socialism and global history. The second plenary roundtable on “Revolution and Religion”, prepared by Nadia Al-Bagdadi (Budapest), was the event that most obviously involved the study of the Middle East. Such thematic and geographical accentuations need to be seen in light of the fact that plenary events at the last Congress (Paris 2014) featured mostly French and African academics. It is without question desirable to use ENIUGH’s venue rotation system and shifting regional foci in plenary events to communicate to academics from Europe and all over the world that they are welcome. Long term impacts are difficult to measure, but in the case of French academia, which can be very skeptical of English language events, paging through the program (admittedly a problematic quantitative method) showed that scholars from a variety of French institutions were again present – not as many as in Paris, but there seems to have been a positive impact.