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Johan Heilbron delivers Uhlenbeck Lecture: What about the European Union of Scholars?

Posted on by Stephen Mennell

Johan Heilbron was invited to give the 29th Uhlenbeck Lecture at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS), Wassennaar. The prestigious annual lecture was delivered before an audience of past and present NIAS Fellows on 9 June 2011.

Among the existing analyses of European integration, Heilbron noted, there is a noticeable dearth of research by scholars into their own modes of association. That is not because the subject is unworthy of attention. Aside from a single market and a political union, European institution building has unmistakably extended into the domain of scholarship and science as well. This emerging field of transnational research is often depicted as the continuation of a European tradition of higher learning, exemplified by medieval universities and early modern academies. But the time-honoured European heritage also includes the counter-force of rival nation states and distinctly national academic systems. How, asked Heilbron, against this ambiguous historical background, has the current process of European integration affected the world of scholars? What patterns of exchange and collaboration have emerged? And how do these relate to developments in other parts of the world?

Johan Heilbron holds posts as the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris and at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, where he formerly held the Norbert Elias Professorship.