Monthly Archives: February 2019

In the footsteps of Ernest Renan, French national thinker and thinker of the French nation

François Hartog (Professor of History at EHESS)

20 February 2019, 16:00-18:00, Theatre, Badia Fiesolana

An undoubted scholar, Ernest Renan (1823-1892) was also a controversial man. After the publication of his Life of Jesus, the former seminarian became for Catholics “the great blasphemer”. Although he rallied late to the Republican camp, he was going to be one of the tutelary figures whom the Third Republic honored. Three questions guide François Hartog’s journey in the footsteps of Renan: the future, religion, the nation. A convinced evolutionist, Renan strongly believes in the future, but what will become of the very idea of ​​the future? He thinks that Christianity has had its day, but what will be the religion of the future, since a future without religion is inconceivable? Political form of the time, the nation does not escape the work of time: what will be the future of the nation and that of Europe? Because in the world then dominated by Germany, the question of the nation and that of Europe are linked. Are these three questions still ours? In the distance that separates us from Renan and by using his work as a prism, what do they give us to see of our contemporary? Until recently, Renan’s future could still be ours; religion until recently appeared to be behind us; the nation, too, appeared to be a political form exhausted and in the process of being outmoded. And here all these themes come back and lead us to reconsider what we thought we knew of our situation.

The three pillars of Liberalism: Freedom, Markets, and Morals from the Enlightment to the present

in the frame of the Intellectual History Working Group

Alan Kahan (Professor at Université de Versailles/Saint Quentin))

20 February 2019, 10:30-13:00, Sala del Torrino, Villa Salviati

Today there are no good histories of liberalism available. At best there are either excellent collections of essays, like Alan Ryan’s The Making of Modern Liberalism, or good stories without an argument, like Edmund Fawcett’s Liberalism. The purpose of my project is to reorient historical debate about liberalism through an analytical history of its intellectual development, extending from the proto-liberalisms of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to the libertarianism and procedural liberalisms of the late twentieth. Elaborating on Judith Shklar’s argument that liberalism is about fear, The Three Pillars of Liberalism: Freedom, Markets, and Morals from the Enlightenment to the Present will put the changing nature of liberal fears into historical and national contexts, discussing liberalism in the United States, Britain, France, and Germany on a comparative basis. Methodologically, it will alternate close readings of particular liberal thinkers with discussions of liberal politicians’ encounters with movements and issues such as nationalism, suffrage, imperialism, and feminism. It will argue that most liberals have constructed their liberalism on the three pillars of freedom (politics), markets (economics) and morals (religion/morality), rather than on markets or politics alone. Most liberals, through the nineteenth century, saw political institutions, a commercial market economy, and strong morals/religion as complementary and necessary bases for a liberal society. Only gradually did a growing number of liberals succeed in separating politics and markets from morals, culminating in the divorce embodied in the rise of libertarian and the revival of contractarian thought after WWII, as seen in the work of Hayek, Friedman, Habermas, etc. From the late 20th century, there has been a return to arguments that freedom requires a moral basis. By providing a coherent revisionist account of the history of liberalism, Three Pillars will rebut Isaiah Berlin’s still-influential contention that liberalism is about negative freedom, and argue that liberalism has been most successful when it embodies both a vision of negative freedom and a vision of positive freedom. My talk will lay out the historical approach taken in Three Pillars and discuss its rationale, as well as the way in which such work straddles the boundaries between political theory and historical inquiry.

Presentation of the ANR Research Programme AsileuropeXIX

Hugo Vermeren (École Française de Rome)

15 February 2019, 18:00-19:00, Sala degli Stemmi, Villa Salviati

Nineteenth-century Europe saw the emergence of political exile as a form of truly mass migration. The increasing number of dissidents expelled from their home countries for political reasons led to major shifts in the migration policies of Great Britain, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Piedmont-Sardinia and Spain, the main countries providing asylum to such refugees between the Congress of Vienna and the 1870s. This project will reconstruct the vocabularies used to describe and thus categorize these exiles. The research undertaken by AsilEuropeXIX will also explore, through official and personal records, the reception afforded to the exiles, not least through the changing border policies that affected them. Analyzing these policies, both from ‘above’ and from ‘below’, will allow valuable points of comparison to be made between the different European countries of asylum. Finally, the project will tackle a posteriori migratory controls, such as deportation measures and incentives given to refugees encouraging them to immigrate to European colonies.


Who Should Belong? The Genuine Link Doctrine and the European Citizenship

Jules Lepoutre (Research associate, Global Citizenship Governance, RSCAS, at the EUI)

6 February 2019, 17:00-19:00, Sala del Capitolo, Badia Fiesolana

According to the famous words of the International Court of Justice in the Nottebohm case in 1955, “the legal bond of nationality” shall express a “genuine connection” between a state and an individual. The Court’s judges expressed in this case that nationality is altogether “a social fact of attachment, a genuine connection of existence, interests and sentiments, together with the existence of reciprocal rights and duties”. This legal doctrine emphasises a material approach of nationality, which had long been regarded as alien to the European Union. Back in 1992, the EU advocate general Guiseppe Tesauro stated in his conclusions on the Micheletti case that Nottebohm is nothing but the expression of a “romantic period of international relations”, and that EU Member States should enjoy the highest degree of liberty to determine their own citizens, without any requirement of a genuine connection.

However, at the present stage of the European construction, would it not be worthwhile considering a “romantic” turn in the EU legal approach of nationality? The current law relating to the access and loss of European citizenship is fragmented because it consists of 28 national and sovereign legislations. Then, several Member States are able to distribute their nationality – for instances through kin-state policies, or investment/cash for passports programs – amongst individuals who fail to show a genuine connection with them. Such types of behaviour of states not only weaken European citizenship but also constitute risk factors for borders and territorial security. In this regard, the implementation of the genuine link doctrine within the EU (e.g. the obligation for the Member States to show a genuine connection between them and the individuals they intend to naturalise) could be one of the best options to address these concerns. Accordingly, the goals of this paper are [1] to establish the added-value that the genuine link doctrine could create in the relations between the Member States and in the development of the European construction, and [2] to explore ways to make the genuine link move from legal doctrine to EU positive law.