ERC Securing Europe, Fighting its enemies, 1815-1914


Call for Papers: Cultures of Security in the Nineteenth Century. Transimperial Perspectives

On 9 and 10 May 2019 we will host the closing conference of the ERC-project Securing Europe, Fighting Its Enemies. The Making of a Security Culture in Europe and Beyond, 1815–1914 at Utrecht University. We are delighted to invite proposals for this closing event.

The theme of the event is security cultures in the nineteenth century. We define ‘security culture’ in a broad sense, as the set of norms, beliefs and practices by which security threats are defined and corresponding actions taken. New cultures of security took shape over the course of the nineteenth century through inter-imperial cooperation and troubled encounters in colonial contact zones. In an age of increased mobility of peoples, goods, resources and technologies, and increasing economic, political, religious and strategic global entanglements, security steadily became a matter to be dealt with transimperially, i.e. across, in-between and beyond imperial borders. Agents of empires and their local counterparts enacted security all over the world. Rivers, seas, forests, mountains, port cities, countries, continents and peoples were thus drawn into imperial spaces even when they were not under the constitutional responsibility or within the formal territorial boundaries of imperial states.

‘Cultures of Security in the Nineteenth Century’ will focus on how cooperation and competition took place in-between empires, taking the shape of indigenous reactions to imperial encroachments, contingent projects of treaty-making, expanding river regimes and the fights against anarchists and pirates.  The conference will hence consist of four panels:

  • Preludes and legacies of international treaties of peace and security,
  • River regimes and commissions established for guaranteeing free trade,
  • Collaborative fights against anarchists and piracy,
  • Transimperial (military) interventions and extraterritorial security institutions.

Preference will be given to proposals on empirically-grounded case studies that engage with the panel topics. Paper proposals that cover other subjects linked to the overall theme of the conference are also welcome.  The travel and accommodation expenses of all participants will be covered by the organising committee.

Please send proposals (200-500 words) with a one-page CV by 11 January 2019 to: Ozan Ozavci ( and Susanne Keesman ( Informal enquiries are welcome. Authors of proposals will be informed of the organisers’ decision on their submission by 30 January 2019 and the final programme will be released in early February 2019.