Global History Seminar; Invitation for the session of November 23, 2017
Wybren Verstegen, The Senate and the people in the North Atlantic small power constitutional monarchies, the Low Countries, Scandinavia, Ireland and Canada, from ca. 1800 to the present Karin Lurvink, Consuming Freedom. Unfree labor in the 20th century
11/23/2017 | 3:15 PM
The rise of populism poses new challenges to parliamentary systems. From the late 18th century onwards, senates were introduced as ‘chambres de réflections’ to prevent ‘popular voices’ from becoming overpowering. In the early 19th century, senates were introduced as a ‘bulwarks’ to protect the crown. From the late 19th century onward, universal (male) suffrage made this idea increasingly obsolete. The legitimacy of senates as well as those of monarchs slowly eroded. Senates were abolished, became toothless, but remained still popular and influential. In many cases, these upper chambers proved surprisingly unalterable. Reform proposals for senates followed in the wake of deep political crises within the Atlantic World and reformers constantly looked beyond borders and oceans for inspiration. We examine why and how senates were or should have been reformed to tackle yesterdays’ and tomorrows’ political crises.
Karin Lurvink, Consuming Freedom. Unfree labor in the 20th century
Many people think capitalism and economic development come with freedom. Scholars, however, question this relationship because unfree labor exists in capitalistic societies, even today. This research project proposes to investigate to what extent consumerism and capitalism created unfree labor in the period 1910-1960 by investigating the truck payment system. In this system, laborers were paid via the company store. By 1910, the system had disappeared in most countries, while in other countries it continued to exist and the question is why. I compare three cases: industrialized coal mines in Canada, plantations in pre- and post-colonial Indonesia, and colonial wine plantations in South Africa. This is a presentation of a VENI research proposal that welcomes all comments.