Workshop “Parliaments and Political Transformations in Europe and Asia: Diversity and Representation in the 20th and 21st Century”

Venue address
Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg (IWH)
Hauptstraße 242

Focusing on the histories of political representation and deliberative decision-making in imperial and post-imperial contexts, the workshop will explore the role of parliaments in major social and political transformations of the twentieth and twenty-first century. Juxtaposing the periods of the 1900s–1920s and the 1980s–2000s, the organizers seek to stimulate the dialogue between historians, political scientists, and other scholars working on the named contexts, as well as to breach the divide between Eastern European and East Asian Studies. The workshop will trace the emergence of so-called “peripheral” parliaments in early twentieth century Eurasia, discuss the eclipse of parliamentary institutions, and examine post-socialist and post-authoritarian parliamentary designs. Special attention will be devoted to the role of parliaments and parliamentary formations (such as congresses and councils) in representation and management of ethnic, religious, regional, and other social and cultural diversity, recruitment of elites, and legitimation of political and economic regimes. One of the workshop’s main goals is to challenge the persistent stereotypes about inclinations towards democracy in particular national or regional contexts by foregrounding relevant transnational practices and interactions and including nuanced political and intellectual histories of parliamentarism into the global discussion.

The workshop is part of the project “Entangled Parliamentarisms: Constitutional Practices in Russia, Ukraine, China, and Mongolia, 1905–2005” (ENTPAR) which has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement No. 755504).



Day 1 (Tue, February 12, 2019)

10:00–10:30 Introduction

10:30–12:00 Session 1. Parliaments for Empire

Chair: Felicitas Fischer von Weikersthal (Heidelberg)

Alexander Semyonov (HSE Saint Petersburg) – Imperial Parliament for a Hybrid Empire: Representative Experiments in Early Twentieth Century Russia

Egas Moniz-Bandeira (Madrid) – Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang and the Late Qing Parliaments, 1909–1911

Nan Nigel Zhou (Ohio State University) – Master, or Servant of Public Opinion? Reformist Literati Newspapers and Parliamentary Politics in China, 1905–1914

12:00–13:00 Lunch break

13:00–14:30 Session 2. Challenging the Transition Paradigm

Chair: Aurel Croissant (Heidelberg)

Ivan Sablin (Heidelberg) – The Soviet Parliamentary Moment: The Russian Federation as a Congress Republic between Socialism and Capitalism, 1990–1993

Julian G. Waller (George Washington University) – Printing Madly and Rubber-Stamping Across the Post-Soviet Space: Authoritarian Legislative Activity in Comparative Perspective

Marissa Smith (Independent Researcher) – The Management of Representation: Centralized, Majority Ethnic, National Government versus Transborder Ethnic Minorities’ Networked Power in Postsocialist Mongolia

14:30–15:00 Coffee break

15:00–16:00 Session 3. Parliamentarisms in the (Post-)Soviet Transformation

Chair: Jargal Badagarov (Heidelberg)

Melissa Chakars (Saint Joseph’s University) – Perestroika, Glasnost, and the All-Buryat Congress for the Spiritual Rebirth and Consolidation of the Nation: Political Organizations in Buryatia in the Last Years of the Soviet Union

Carolina de Stefano (University of Eastern Finland) – Old Habits and a Revolutionary Content: The USSR Congress Commissions and Ethnonational Representation, 1989–1991

16:00–16:30 Coffee break

17:30–19:00 Keynote Speech (at the IWH)

Chair: Tanja Penter (Heidelberg)

Sabine Dullin (Sciences Po, Paris) – Do We Live in a Democracy? Making Sense of Constitutional and Electoral Discussions in the Soviet Union

Day 2 (Wed, February 13, 2019)

10:30–12:00 Keynote Speech (at the IWH)

Chair: Anita Fahrni-Minear (Swiss Program for Language Instruction and Teacher Training)

Manduhai Buyandelger (MIT) – Parliamentarianisms after Authoritarianisms: New Economies of Democratization and the Making of Electoral Subjects since 1990s

12:00–13:00 Lunch break

13:00–14:00 Session 4. Parliaments for Empire II

Chair: Frank Grüner (Bielefeld)

Aysegül Argit (Heidelberg) – Political Thought in the Ottoman Press during the Second Constitutional Period: Between Nationalism, Diversity and Joint Identities

Benoit Vaillot (EHESS Paris / EUI Florence) – The Alsace-Lorraine Landesausschuß in the German Empire, 1874–1918: Integration of a borderland into an empire through provincial parliament?

14:00–14:30 Coffee break

14:30–16:00 Session 5. Parliaments and Nation Building

Chair: Alexander Kaplunovsky (Mainz)

Anton Kotenko (HSE Saint Petersburg) – From Sejm to Central Rada: Ukrainian Intellectuals and the Idea of Parliament in the Long 19th Century

Viktor Krieger (Heidelberg) – The Struggle of a National Minority for Parliamentary Representation: Volga-German Newspapers and the Elections to the First State Duma (1906) and the Constituent Assembly (1917)

Irina Sodnomova and Jargal Badagarov (Heidelberg) – Mongolia’s and Russia’s Khurals as Parliaments and Non-Parliaments

16:00–16:30 Closing Discussion




Ivan Sablin

Universität Heidelberg Historisches Seminar, Grabengasse 3–5 69117, Heidelberg Germany,