EUI Max Weber Programme - Spring 2022
Spring 2022
EUI MWP Newsletter 22

Welcome to the Spring 2022 Issue of the
Max Weber Programme Newsletter

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Feature Articles

Violet SoenThis contribution shifts the debate on ‘applied history’ from the archetypal question about terminology and definition (‘what’s in a name’) to its current context and potential (‘why it is here again, and why it is most probably here to stay’). Those advocating ‘applied history’ in the Netherlands and Flanders by and large agree on a shared endeavour to apply both historical skills and insights to contemporary societal debates. They thereby tend to promote long-term, comparative and out-of-the-box thinking to confront today’s (wicked) problems. In these endeavours they offer an alternative to writing commissioned histories and commercial joint ventures, as well as to the 'public history' initiatives co-created by heritage institutions, museums or media outlets. Changing constellations of ideas and incentives in education, science, and society have certainly helped to create an incubation period for the development of applied history. History curricula now allow students to experience their added value in the workplace, research programmes ask us to reflect upon the impact and valorisation of historical research, and most of all, younger generations are eager to merge postmodern approaches with clear societal achievements and are trying to do so on safe ethical and methodological grounds. This contribution argues that applied and fundamental research in the field of history could be mutually beneficial, rather than antithetical or antipathetic, and that both approaches can reinforce each other in future.

If you want to read more: Soen, V., and De Ridder, B., Applied History in the Netherlands and Flanders: Synergising Practices in Education, Research, and Society., BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review, Vol. 136, No. 4, 2021, pp. 27–57.

* Violet Soen is Associate Professor of Early Modern History at KU Leuven.
** Bram De Ridder is a postdoctoral researcher at KU Leuven.


Peter SzigetiThe basic claim of the article is that immigration law, in practice, is a comparative law exercise in at least three instances. Firstly, when an immigrant claims the right to immigrate based on family status, then immigration officers must compare domestic family law with the family law of the immigrant's state of origin, to find out if their family law status under domestic law and foreign law are comparable. Secondly, when an immigrant claims the right to immigrate based on educational qualifications, then immigration officers must compare domestic and foreign educational systems and expectations. Thirdly, if the would-be immigrant has a criminal conviction, the immigration officer must find out whether the foreign criminal law system is similar enough to the domestic one to render the immigrant inadmissible; or in the alternative, the foreign criminal system may be so autocratic or unfair that the foreign conviction should be disregarded.

The necessity of comparison brings with it the question of methods of comparison. It turns out that immigration codes and immigration judges are willing to use methods that comparative lawyers might find strange, impossible, or ridiculously naive, including straight-up translations (‘a marriage is a marriage’) or systemic comparisons (‘a foreign criminal conviction is only similar to a domestic one if the entire criminal justice system is similar enough’).

In the history of immigration law in North America, both of these methods and everything else in between, have been used at some point. The second part of the article is therefore a case study of two comparative situations, marriage-based immigration and criminal inadmissibility, in Canada and the United States, from c. 1850 to today. It turns out that standards have changed quite wildly in the last 180 or so years. Before the 1880s, criminal inadmissibility was not accepted in the U.S., because all continental European states were viewed as lawless autocratic monarchies, without a criminal justice system to speak of, only tyrannical arbitrariness.

By contrast, all marriages were accepted as valid and legal until the 1950s, even if the marriage was contracted purely for immigration reasons and the parties agreed in advance to divorce after having immigrated. Current-day standards of comparison fluctuate in severity and precision regarding criminal inadmissibility, and are getting stricter and stricter, as well as spreading globally, regarding the validity of marriages.

If you want to read more: Szigeti, P., Comparative law at the heart of immigration law: Criminal inadmissibility and conjugal immigration in Canada and the United States, International Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 19, Issue 5, 2021, pp. 1632–1663.

* Peter Szigeti is Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta, Canada


Aris TrantidisWhat sustains a transition from competitive authoritarianism to electoral authoritarianism? Autocratisation describes the process by which a single political force manages to reduce its exposure to political competition and obtains a hegemonic position in a political system, creating what Robert Dahl called an inclusive hegemony, a situation in which citizens have formal political rights, elections are held, but the regime faces no serious challenge from the opposition (Dahl, 1971:8 and 34).

Autocratisation is a highly uncertain process, requiring extraordinary actions from aspiring autocrats. They must pre-empt the emergence of sizeable political protests and of a viable alternative for government on the part of the opposition. Is it possible to marginalise all political opposition if multiple political parties and candidates are allowed to campaign, and knowing that societies host diverse public preferences and ideas, that there will inevitably be public dissatisfaction with government policies and that some people will eventually be seeking an alternative political expression? Social diversity and public dissatisfaction will be manifested in political divisions and, sooner or later, in growing support for the opposition and a series of public protests.

In that environment, aspiring autocrats face a strategic dilemma. How can they escalate the level of repression without triggering a social backlash and fuelling public support for the political opposition? Polarization can strengthen and unite the opposition, making it very difficult for a single political party to hold onto power, particularly if it decides to respond with violent tactics of repression (Howard and Roessler 2006, 371). Moreover, reforming constitutional norms to undermine the rule-of-law checks on authoritarian tactics often requires public referendums (Levitsky and Loxton 2013) whose outcome depends on the incumbent’s popularity. The risk is that large segments of the population may reject these changes. In short, aspiring autocrats must find a way to continuously reduce their exposure to political competition in an environment in which social cleavages, policy divisions and government failures normally generate conditions favourable for political contestation.

This article, published in Communist and Post-Communist Studies, analyses Lukashenka’s successful strategy to build a hegemonic regime in Belarus during the first ten years in power. Belarus is an outlier not only against the wave of democratization in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s but also against later developments in neighbouring Ukraine and Georgia. The Lukashenka regime evaded the wave of colour revolutions of the 2000s (Padhol and Marples 2011, 3) and survived the recent mass protests in 2020/2021.

On closer inspection, President’s Lukashenka’s success in establishing a hegemonic position in Belarus reveals how autocratisation relies on actions synergistically working on three mutually reinforcing dimensions: creating a dominant ideology, exploiting the state-dominated economic structure for clientelist practices and securing the financial viability of this structure. Lukashenka’s message on national identity and economic policy became the dominant ideology in Belarus thanks to the regime’s monopoly on political communication, an advantage derived from the state’s dominant position in the economy and society. Belarus’ economic structure allowed for extensive social co-optation that diminished the opposition’s capacity to recruit supporters, find positive media coverage and communicate its own voice. The marginalisation of the opposition’s voice facilitated the promotion of the regime’s ideology against alternative ideas and helped with its constitutional agenda to concentrate more powers in the hands of the President. The state-dominated economy served as a massive political infrastructure, enabling the regime to pre-empt the emergence of a vocal opposition against its political behaviour and institutional record. Economic support from Russia sustained this economic model and contributed to Belarus’ relatively good economic performance over the past 25 years. The following figure presents graphically how Belarus’ state-dominated economic structure, Russia’s economic support and a crafted national ideology were successfully combined in Lukashenka’s autocratisation strategy.

Figure 1. Synergies in Lukashenka’s Strategy for Autocratisation

  1. Lukashenka propagated a national ideology that matched prevalent conservative views on economic reforms and in this way he justified preserving an economic structure that offered the regime ample capacity for socioeconomic co-optation.
  2. The state-dominated model of economy was sustainable largely thanks to the regime’s special ties with Russia.
  3. Lukashenka’s dominant state ideology justified Belarus’ close ties with Russia.

The paper indicates that successful strategies for autocratization involve three clusters of intervention: political propaganda to promote a dominant ideology, carefully raising levels of repression combined with institutional reforms to undermine democratic checks, and socioeconomic co-optation eliciting public complacency with the regime’s actions. This paper adds empirical support to the argument that using the state as a clientelist mechanism is the key strategy by which a regime succeeds in marginalising the opposition’s voice, achieves an unmatched advantage in electoral mobilisation and erodes democratic institutions and norms with electoral impunity (Trantidis 2015). To understand how autocratisation succeeds in initially competitive political environments, this paper suggests, research must explore synergies rather than independent cause-and-effect relationships between socioeconomic structure, political ideology and political repression.

Dahl R., Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition. New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1971.
Howard, M. and Roessler, P., ‘Liberalizing Electoral Outcomes in Competitive Authoritarian Regimes.’ American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 50, No. 2, 2006, pp. 365-381.
Levitsky S. and Loxton J., ‘Populism and Competitive Authoritarianism in the Andes’. Democratization, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2013, pp. 107–136.
Marples, D. and Padhol, U., ‘The Opposition in Belarus: History, Potential, and Perspectives’, in Independent Belarus: Domestic Determinants, Regional Dynamics, and Implications for the West, edited by Margarita Balmaceda et al., pp. 55-76. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2002.
Trantidis, A. ‘Clientelism and the Classification of Dominant Party systems.’, Democratization, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2015, pp. 113-133.

If you want to read more: Trantidis, A., The Political Economy of Autocratization: The Case of Belarus, 1994–2006Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Vol. 54, No. 4, 2021, pp. 117–136.

* Aris Trantidis is Lecturer at the University of Lincoln, United Kingdom



Aris TrantidisTaking over the Directorship of the Max Weber Programme in September, I was immediately inspired by the very high quality of the work of the Max Weber Fellows as witnessed in one-to-one conversations with them as well as their September presentations. Likewise, I have been impressed by the professionalism of the administrative staff of the Programme, without whom its multiple activities would not be possible. I have been lucky to inherit the Directorship from Doro Bohle, who skillfully steered the Programme through the difficult first waves of COVID-19, which strongly affected the academic and personal lives of all of us. It is remarkable how resilient the Programme, its activities, and not to mention its Fellows and administration have been through these years when face-to-face interactions, which constitute such a central part of the Max Weber Programme experience, were limited at best. This academic year, we have managed to take steps towards normality and we all of course hope that the worst of the pandemic is behind us.

Throughout the years, the Max Weber Programme has solidified its position as the leading postdoctoral programme in the social and historical sciences in Europe, if not the world. This is a foundation I wish to maintain and develop. In September, the Programme moved from Villa Paola to the Badia Fiesolana. This means that the Programme has returned to the heart of the institute, although many look back to the coziness of Villa Paola—and the occasional wildlife that entered from the surrounding gardens—with fond memories.

The Programme will see a couple of interesting developments in the near future. First, the School of Transnational Governance, which has been a major endeavour of the EUI as a whole, will become a part of the Programme and some of the Fellows who enter in September 2023 will be affiliated with the STG as well as the MWP.

While writing this, the Programme has opened a call for applications for a postdoctoral Fellowship for an early stage researcher affected by the war in Ukraine. With this step, we want to do our small share to help those whose lives have been impacted by the horrendous attack.

The EUI is an active member of the CIVICA consortium, which since starting in 2019 has grown into a network of ten European universities that excel in the social sciences. For the future, CIVICA plans to develop its mobility schemes to cover postdocs more actively, with benefits to Max Weber Fellows as well. This network of universities will hopefully in the future also provide increasing access to teaching opportunities as part of the Teaching Programme.

The Max Weber Programme continues to attract a large number of applications every year; an increasing number of Fellowships have been granted for two years. There have also been changes to the conditions of the Fellowships, with the latest being the introduction of parental leave for fathers.

I wish you all a good start for the spring and I look forward to updating you on developments in the Max Weber Programme in the coming Newsletters.


For the Fellowships of 2022-2023, the Max Weber Programme received 780 applications from 87 different countries.

Despite the lower number of applications compared to the previous year (1,089), the global appeal of the Programme continued, and applications came in from around the world (Figure 1).

Applications by world region in 2021 and 2022 (Figure 1):

The European region remains by a long shot the strongest contributor of applications (416), followed by Asia (136) and North America (94).

Italy takes the biggest share of applications (112) (Figure 2), followed by the United States (71), Brazil (51), India and Germany (47 and 39, respectively).

Applications in 2021 by country of origin (top 20 countries) (Figure 2):

The gender ratio among applicants is slightly in favour of males (56%).

The gender distribution by department instead reveals a degree of disparity by discipline (Figure 3).

Applications by women to the department of Economics are one-third (32%). History and Civilisation, Political and Social Sciences and the Robert Schuman Centre also show a gender gap in favour of men, whilst the Department of Law seems to appeal more to women (55%) than men (45%).

Gender ratio of applicants by department (Figure 3):

The department of Political and Social Sciences received the largest share of applications (290), followed by History and Civilisation with 263 applicants, Law (98), Eco (68) and the Robert Schuman Centre (61) (Figure 4).

Applications by department (Figure 4):


Call for applicationsGiven the terrible war in Ukraine, the Max Weber Programme created a postdoctoral Fellowship for an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) affected by the war. The Fellowship is targeted at ESRs who meet the general eligibility criteria for a Max Weber Fellowship and who are directly affected by the war, for example, because they are currently living and working in Ukraine, are displaced, cannot return to Ukraine, or for other reasons.

More information


Max Weber Women Scholar Network

International Women’s Day 2022 was marked by a roundtable organised jointly by the EUI's Office of the Dean of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusiveness and the newly-formed Max Weber Women Scholars Network. Academia is still a career that severely disadvantages women. The discussion focused on both structural challenges and individual behaviour and biases that underlie this urgent problem, and policy ideas that could help rectify the imbalance. The roundtable opened with the Network’s vision, which argued that addressing issues of precarity and lack of diversity were not just ‘women’s issues’, but would improve academia for everyone. This text can be found here. The Network also opened an online list of ‘handy tips for the male academic from your female colleague’, to provide informal and peer-to-peer sensitivity training. We welcome further contributions! Finally, there were numerous policy suggestions for the immediate improvement of women at the EUI. These included, although were by no means limited to: support for mentorship schemes (including reverse mentorship); two-year Fellowships for all Max Weber Fellows in all departments; institutionalised support for partners travelling with spouses; and an EUI-wide requirement for gender-balanced panels and events. Please get in touch, or consider coming to future meetings, if you would like to hear more.

The Max Weber Women Scholars Network, which has been generously supported in its foundation by Professor Klarita Gërxhani and the EUI’s Dean of Diversity, Neha Jain, will continue to meet informally to discuss the problems facing women in academia, as well as plan future events aimed at sparking wider conversation and creating change. We welcome all those who identify as women and non-binary, as well as male allies. You do not have to be a Max Weber Fellow to be involved. Please get in touch with Veronica Anghel and Kathleen McCrudden Illert if you would like to be kept informed of future meetings.


Teaching Practice 2022A new year and a new cohort of MW Fellows will be off on a teaching mission in Spring 2022.

In this academic year, 21 Fellows have chosen to participate in the Max Weber Teaching Module and obtain the Teaching Certificate, so as to further enrich their academic profiles. Like in previous years, the Max Weber Teaching Module will culminate in teaching practice weeks. Six Fellows will be teaching at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) from February to May, followed by four other Fellows at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) from March to May, and two Fellows at the University of Florence. Masaryk University is also offering a teaching-training week to nine Fellows, which will take place from 25 to 29 April 2022. Finally, two Fellows, Martina Ferracane and Farah Ramzy, have also been selected to teach at the College of Europe (Natolin).

Good luck to all the Fellows participating in this teaching experience.

Read more


Dilek Kurban Dilek was interviewed about her book, Limits of Supranational Justice: The European Court of Human Rights and Turkey's Kurdish Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2020) on different occasions:

About her book:
Dilek Kurban: Limits of Supranational JusticeWith its contextualized analysis of the European Court of Human Rights' (ECtHR) engagement in Turkey's Kurdish conflict since the early 1990s, Limits of Supranational Justice makes a much-needed contribution to scholarship on supranational courts and legal mobilization. Based on a socio-legal account of the efforts of Kurdish lawyers in mobilizing the ECtHR on behalf of abducted, executed, tortured and displaced civilians under emergency rule, and a doctrinal legal analysis of the ECtHR's jurisprudence in these cases, this book powerfully demonstrates the Strasbourg court's failure to end gross violations in the Kurdish region. It brings together legal, political, sociological and historical narratives, and highlights the factors enabling the perpetuation of state violence and political repression against the Kurds. The effectiveness of supranational courts can best be assessed in hard cases such as Turkey, and this book demonstrates the need for a reappraisal of current academic and jurisprudential approaches to authoritarian regimes. The book was awarded a Special Mention by the by the 2021 ICON.S (International Society of Public Law) Book Prize Committee.

To read more: Kurban, D. Limits of Supranational Justice: The European Court of Human Rights and Turkey's Kurdish Conflict, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020.


Daniëlle Flonk Daniëlle is working on two databases. The first database, ‘International organizations in global internet governance (IO-GIG),’ collects internet governance policy output across international and regional organizations over time. The second database is part of a CIVICA project on Digital Trade Integration (DTI), which collects data on digital trade restriction policies across countries over time. This will also lead to the construction of an index to identify best practices in this policy field.

As part of the Digital Trade Integration project, she is also co-organising a webinar at the start of 2022 on how content regulation can be measured as a trade restriction. She is organizing two panels at the ISA Annual Convention with Maria Debre (Potsdam University) in March 2022. The first panel is on ‘Authoritarian Regionalism and its Consequences’, the second panel is on ‘Autocracies in World Politics: Norm Entrepreneurs and Institutional Challengers?’. As a follow-up on this panel, she organised an ECPR Joint Session workshop on ‘Authoritarian Regimes in Regional and Global Governance Institutions’ in April 2022. The goal is to continue building a network around this research agenda and propose a Special Issue or Edited Volume. With Matthew Dylag, Christiana Lauri, and Morshed Mannan, she is co-organizing a Max Weber Workshop on ‘The Legitimacy and Trust Challenges of Digital Governance’ on 19 and 20 May 2022 (see upcoming events). Interested presenters can email paper proposals to Daniëlle or co-organizers. This workshop will have a follow-up Roundtable at the Law and Society Conference in July 2022. The aim is to publish an interdisciplinary Special Issue on this topic.


Annual Report 2020-2021The year 2020-2021 was another very testing period for the Max Weber Programme, which had to reinvent itself and adapt to a new world of hybrid encounters and interactions due to the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. Notwithstanding, the enthusiasm of the MW Fellows and the efforts of the MW Team allowed the Max Weber Programme to navigate the unexpected challenges, making the year 2020-2021 yet again a time of growth and success.

Check how it went in the just-published Annual Report 2020-2021.


Upcoming Events

Just a reminder of the line-up of future Max Weber Lecturers this academic year.

06 April 2022
Ruud Koopmans – WZB Berlin; Humboldt University Berlin

About the speaker
Ruud KoopmansRuud Koopmans is Research Director at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and Professor of Sociology and Migration Research at Humboldt University Berlin. His current research focuses on migration and integration, religious fundamentalism and extremism, and majority and minority rights. His most recent books deal with the new political cleavage around globalization (The Struggle over Borders. Cosmopolitanism and Communitarianism, with Pieter de Wilde et al.; Cambridge University Press, 2019); the crisis of the Islamic world (Das verfallene Haus des Islam. Die religiösen Ursachen von Unfreiheit, Stagnation und Gewalt; CH Beck Publishers, 2020; also translated into Dutch and Danish), and the tension between majority and minority rights (Majorities, Minorities, and the Future of Nationhood, with Liav Orgad, forthcoming with Cambridge University Press, 2022).

11 May 2022
Ekaterina Zhuravskava – Paris School of Economics

About the speaker
Ekaterina ZhuravskavaEkaterina Zhuravskaya is Professor of Economics at the Paris School of Economics (EHESS) since 2010. She is also a Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in Public Policy and Development Economics programs. She got her PhD at Harvard University in 1999 and spent the 10 subsequent years working as Professor at the New Economic School in Moscow. Her main academic interests are in political economy. Her ERC project ‘The Economics of Ethnic Prejudice’ studies the factors that make ethnic diversity important for conflict and economic development. The first sub-project uses forced mass movements of ethnic groups in Eastern Europe and from Eastern Europe to Central Asia as a result of WWII to test social psychology theories of ethnic identity. The second sub-project studies how ethnic occupational segregation affects ethnic tensions in the context of historical anti-Jewish violence in 19th and 20th century Eastern Europe. The third sub-project focuses on the effects of political manipulation on ethnic conflict in the context of the historical experiment of nation-building in Central Asia. It studies how political empowerment of a certain ethnic elite in a multi-ethnic traditional society coupled with a set of nation-building policies affects ethnic conflicts depending on the pre-existing ethnic mix and the distribution of political power among ethnic elites.


Multidisciplinary Research Workshop 2022

The ‘Peripheries’ of Gender and Sexuality: Beyond European Borders
Organisers: Anna Dobrowolska (HEC), Gözde Kilic (HEC), Revital Madar (LAW), Zala Pavsic (HEC), Edit Frenyo (LAW)
Date: 16 May 2022

The Legitimacy and Trust Challenges of Digital Governance
Organisers: Matthew Dylag (LAW), Daniëlle Flonk (SPS), Cristiana Lauri (LAW), Morshed Mannan (RSC)
Date: 19-20 May 2022

Building an explanatory science: casuality across the social sciences
Organisers: Victoria Donnaloja (RSC), Eroll Kuhn (SPS), Eva Tene (ECO), Giacomo Vagni (SPS), Francesca Zanasi (SPS) and Peter Fallesen (SPS professor)
Date: 23-24 May 2022

Socialist Futures: Past and Present Debates over Post-Capitalist Governance
Organisers: Catherine Lefevre (HEC), Marius Ostrowski (RSC), Troy Vettese (RSC), Morshed Mannan (RSC), Giacomo Vagni (SPS), Anna Dobrowolska (HEC)
Dates: 25-26 May 2022

Sovereign Debt in an Unsovereign World. Historical and Legal Reflections on Sustainable Sovereign Debt
Organisers: Nikolai Badenhoop (LAW), Catherine Lefevre (HEC), Maria Laura Marceddu (LAW), Andres Vicent (HEC)
Date: 30 May 2022

Europe with Adjectives. Reflections upon the Idea of Periphery
Organisers: Barry Colfer (SPS), Marta Migliorati (RSC), Milos Vojinovic (HEC), Andres Vicent (HEC), Jared Warren (HEC)
Date: 06 June 2022

Law, sovereignty and legitimate violence
Organisers: Dilek Kurban (LAW), Revital Madar (LAW)
Date: 08 June 2022

Voters’ Preferences and Parties’ Performance in Politics
Organisers: Guadalupe Correa Lopera (ECO), Arthur Dolgopolov (ECO), Natalia Garbiras-Diaz (SPS)
Dates: 13-14 June 2022

The Global and the Planetary: Capitalism in Time of Anthropocene
Organisers: Tomas Bartoletti (HEC), Maria Gago (HEC), Troy Vettese (RSC)
Dates: 13-14 October 2022

Politics of Expertise: Past, Present, Future
Organisers: Takuya Onoda (SPS), Maria Gago (HEC), Milos Vojinovic (HEC), Tatyana Bajenova (RSC), Thomas Lepinay (RSC), Gözde Kilic (HEC), Tomas Bartoletti (HEC), Duygu Yildirim (HEC)
Dates: 20 October 2022

Evidence in Policymaking
Organisers: Michele Castiglioni (SPS), Silvia Pianta (RSC), Natalia Garbiras-Diaz (SPS)
Date: to be confirmed

Social Europe for Whom? Transitional Care Networks and Challenges to the National Welfare State
Organisers: Edit Frenyo (LAW), Andreas Jozwiak (SPS), Federica Querin (SPS)
Date: to be confirmed

New Methodologies in the History of Ideas
Organisers: Kathleen McCrudden-Illert (HEC), Benjamin Mueser (SPS), Emma Kluge (HEC), Revital Madar (LAW), Jared Warren (HEC)
Date: to be confirmed

For more details closer to the event, check the MWP website.


Past Events

3 November 2021
Badia, Refettorio and Online, Zoom

Introduction and Chair: Miriam Golden (EUI, SPS Professor)

Watch the lecture online

Watch the interview by MW Fellow Marius Ostrowski (RSC).

The emergence of modern, uncontested national identities was linked to the success of the liberal order and its emancipatory project. In those states where “liberal” or “bourgeois” ideas succeeded, the old world of monarchical courtiers, corporate interests, and social estates disappeared, replaced by an abstract society of politically equal individuals and, as a result, a single national identity within existing political borders. By contrast, in those states where the liberal revolution failed (or happened late in time), the preservation of spatially defined barriers (inequalities) led to a break between the (old) center and one or more national peripheries or communities. I test the hypothesis by looking at the evolution of Jewish political identity employing a regression discontinuity design that exploits the differential political treatment of Polish and Russian Jews under Tsarism, complemented with a broader comparison of Zionism across American and European countries. The results show that the existing canonical explanations of modern national identity, which stress the role of societal modernization, education and/or the imaginary projects of elites, are endogenous to the political (pro-liberal) transformations that marked the birth of the contemporary era.

About the speaker 
He is the Robert Garrett Professor of Politics and Public Affairs in the Department of Politics and the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He teaches and does research on political economy and comparative politics, particularly on empirical democratic theory, the choice of institutions and their consequences for growth and inequality. He is a Faculty Associate at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics, the  Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice, and the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance. He is the Director of the Institutions & Political Economy Research Group at the University of Barcelona.


Anti Corruption1 December 2021
Badia, Refettorio and Online, Zoom

Introduction and Chair: Jared Warren (MW Fellow)

This lecture will discuss the idea of Eastern Europe, as first conceived in the eighteenth century, and how that idea has been recently transformed during the generation since the end of the Cold War.  Because the Cold War gave the idea of Eastern Europe its most concrete geopolitical meaning during the communist period, the post-communist period has witnessed a complex transformation of general ideas about the region, most notably in relation to the fall of communism and the entrance of so many lands of Eastern Europe into NATO and the European Union.  The lecture will make use of images and commentary, principally from the media and recent popular culture, in order to attempt to demonstrate the ways in which the idea and imagery of Eastern Europe has been transformed— and in some ways has remained constant— during the last three decades.  

About the speaker 
Professor Wolff works on the history of Eastern Europe, the Habsburg Monarchy, the Enlightenment, and on the history of childhood. He tends to work as an intellectual and cultural historian. He has been most interested in problems concerning East and West within Europe: whether concerning the Vatican and Poland, Venice and the Slavs, or Vienna and Galicia. In the book Inventing Eastern Europe (1994) he developed the argument that Eastern Europe was "invented" in the eighteenth century, by the philosophes and travelers of the Enlightenment, who attributed meaning to a supposed division of Europe into complementary regions, Western Europe and Eastern Europe. Professor Wolff has analyzed Western perspectives on Eastern Europe as a sort of "demi-Orientalism," negotiating a balance between attributed difference and acknowledged resemblance. In books about Venetian perspectives on Dalmatia (Venice and the Slavs, 2001) and Habsburg perspectives on Galicia (The Idea of Galicia, 2010), he has attempted to explore the meaning of "Eastern Europe" within imperial frameworks and the ideology of empire. Most recently he published Woodrow Wilson and the Reimagining of Eastern Europe (2020). His research on the history of childhood has included books on child abuse in Freud's Vienna (Postcards from the End of the World, 1988) and child abuse in Casanova's Venice (Paolina’s Innocence, 2012). His book, The Singing Turk (2016), concerns Turkish subjects on the European operatic stage during the long eighteenth century, and analyzes musical and dramatic representations in the context of European-Ottoman relations. Professor Wolff also writes music and opera criticism.


12 January 2022
Badia, Refettorio and Online, Zoom

Introduction and Chair: Miloš Vojinović (MW Fellow)

Watch the lecture online

Watch the interview by two MW Fellows, Kathleen McCrudden Illert (HEC) and Miloš Vojinović (HEC)

In German-speaking countries as elsewhere, women, especially from the middle classes, demanded entry into the male-dominated academic world with growing vehemence around 1900. Starting with the case of women’s rights activist Käthe Schirmacher, one of the first German women to earn a doctorate, this paper explores the constellations and dynamics that led to a reorganisation of the social field of knowledge production. Drawing on the concept of the scholarly persona as a mediating instance between individual aspirations and social relations it discusses the concept’s potential for a gender-sensitive history of science and knowledge. It argues that institutional and private arrangements that enable academics, intellectuals, and artists to concentrate on their work play an essential part in their production of knowledge and artistic work. Exploring these arrangements, the paper shows the emergence of gendered hierarchies of collaboration that accompanied the advancement of women into the academic field in the early 20th century. However, it also points to the development of alternative forms of scholarly households, and to female couples particularly. Therefore, this paper argues that questions about gender-specific (as well as class-specific) life plans and careers in academic and creative fields can only be examined in a differentiated way if the various forms of academic and non-academic private support are systematically included in research on the scholarly or creative persona. 

About the speaker
Prof. Johanna Gehmacher teaches history at the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of Vienna. During the academic year 2018/19 she was Gerda Henkel Guest Professor at the Department for International History at the London School of Economics. She has published widely in the fields of gender history and contemporary history as well as on biographical methods. Among her recent publications is a comprehensive biography of Käthe Schirmacher published together with Elisa Heinrich and Corinna Oesch.


Anti Corruption2 March 2022
Badia, Refettorio and Online, Zoom

Introduction and Chair: Andrés Vicent Fanconi (MW Fellow)

This Lecture discusses how the basic ideas of theorists of economics, sociology and organization theory including Avner Greif, Pierre Bourdieu and Herbert Simon et al. can be used as instruments for the analysis of empires, and particularly the Iberian empires of the early modern period. Without entering into a discussion with these authors -which would be a later step-, Prof. Yun-Casalilla will try to show that a use of the categories they coined can lead to a different vision of the history of these empires and away from commonplaces, such as those that refer to their exceptionality or explain their decadence as a consequence of corruption or administrative and political incapacity. The analysis concludes with a comparative vision that, tentatively, demonstrates Iberian empires’ resemblance to other imperial formations of the time.

About the speaker
Bartolomé Yun-Casalilla holds a PhD in History by the Universidad de Valladolid. Currently he is Tenured Associate Professor in the Universidad Pablo de Olavide. He was Visiting Professor and Fellow at L’École Normale Superieur, London School of Economics and annual member of The Institute for Advanced Studies. He was Professor of the European University Institute in Florence (2003-2013) and Head of the Department of History and Civilization (2009-2012). His work focuses on the history of European aristocracies, political economy of the Iberian empires and consumption history in Spain and America.


Anti Corruption14 December 2021
Badia, Emeroteca and Online, Zoom

Since the beginnings of the 2000s, with the goals of promoting opportunity, fairness, and diversity inside organizations, merit has been widely considered a legitimate principle for guiding workplace decisions (in contrast to class, wealth, origins, or demographics, among others). In the United States, for example, the idea that selecting individuals based on talent, ability, and competence is meritocratic and provides opportunity for all is at the core of the American Dream. Across the world, the introduction and implementation of meritocratic processes and ensuring meritocratic outcomes is widely considered a sign of development and progress (and even fairness). In the context of for-profit organizations, for example, employers have adopted merit-based reward systems to encourage and reward the performance of their workers, where performance on the job counts as merit. These formalization efforts regarding the hiring of applicants and the distribution of rewards among employees based entirely on individuals’ merit are portrayed as illustrations of meritocracy.

Given the widely popular goals of promoting meritocracy and creating opportunity inside organizations, for a number of years now, my research has focused on the role that merit and merit-based work practices play in shaping employees’ careers in today’s workplace. In this lecture, I look forward to summarizing some of my key projects on meritocracy in the workplace. In so doing, I will stress the theoretical and practical implications of my research into the areas of employment, organizations, and workplace inequality.

About the speaker
Emilio J. Castilla is the NTU Professor of Management and a Professor of Work and Organization Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is currently the co-director of the Institute for Work and Employment Research, and a member of the Economic Sociology Group at MIT. He joined the MIT Sloan faculty in 2005, after being a faculty member in the Management Department of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his PhD in Sociology from Stanford University.

His research focuses on questions relating to how social and organizational processes (for example, social networks, hiring and recruiting efforts, performance-reward systems, and managerial roles) influence key employment outcomes for individuals and organizations over time. He formulates and answers his research questions in a variety of research settings, making use of field studies and diverse research methodologies. His work has appeared in American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, and ILR Review, among many. He is currently on the editorial board of Work and Occupations, and is associate editor of Management Science (Organizations section) and the ILR Review. Castilla has also taught in various degree programs at MIT Sloan, and at a number of other international universities.


Anti CorruptionOctober 2021
Online, Zoom

Organizers: Michele Castiglioni (MWF SPS), Aline Bertolin (former MWF LAW)

  • Lecture 1 | 14 October 2021
    Cesi Cruz (UCLA) and Julien Labonne (Oxford University, Blavatnik School of Government)
  • Lecture 2 | 28 October 2021
    Martin J. Williams (Oxford University, Blavatnik School of Government)

The Anti-corruption MWP Multidisciplinary Research Workshop aims at discussing cutting edge research on the topics of corruption measurement, prevention, displacement, and reduction. Policy- oriented research is a central focus of the workshop. The workshop format includes one-hour long remote seminars. Where the research methodology employed offers itself a training opportunity, one-hour long practical sessions are also be organized.

Program (pdf)


16 February 2022
Emeroteca (Badia Fiesolana) | Online (Zoom)

Discussants: Maria Laura Marceddu (Max Weber Fellow, LAW) and Takuya Onoda (Max Weber Fellow, SPS)

Watch the Book Roundtable online


15th Max Weber Fellows’ June Conference

16-18 June 2021, Badia Fiesolana and Online

Organizing Committee (MW Fellows): Aline Bertolin, Wanshu Cong, Guadalupe Correa Lopera, Joy Neumeyer, Marius Ostrowski, Shubha Prasad.

The shock and grief of 2020 have prompted a search for healing and renewal. The Covid-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated inequalities, upended common understandings of time and space, raised doubts about the knowledge of experts, and mobilised reactions from opposite ends of the political spectrum. At the same time, it has highlighted the world’s interdependence, inspired collective approaches to shared problems, and aroused creativity and resilience among individuals and societies. Fear and fatigue are coupled with hope for change. The 15th Max Weber Conference welcomes reflections on political, economic, legal, and historical questions that offer insight into varying forms of recovery and regeneration.
Programme (pdf) 


In line with the EUI Open Access Policy, Cadmus also invites you to notify of any academic publication or dataset that you have published during or after your time at the MWP of the EUI. If your research output touches upon the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), Ukraine or the Russian invasion of Ukraine, please specify this in your email, so that it will be included in the related special collections. If the publication is based on research that you carried out at the EUI, it is eligible for inclusion in Cadmus, EUI Research Repository. Having your work in Cadmus increases the visibility of your research because Cadmus is indexed in Google Scholar, harvestable by other international portals (including Worldcat and EBSCO) and interoperable with ORCID.  

  • Saeed Bagheri (LAW 2017-2018) was appointed Lecturer in International Law at the University of Reading, School of Law.
  • Balaraju Battu (SPS 2019-2021), as of October 2021, took up a position as a Postdoctoral Associate at Data Science and AI Lab, New York University, Abu Dhabi.
  • Kim Bouwer (LAW 2018-2019) is Assistant Professor in Law at Durham Law School, University of Durham.
  • Helen Callaghan (SPS 2006-2008), in 2021, became Professor of Political Economy at Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz.
  • Silvia Calò (RSC 2015-2017) is now Senior Economist at the European Stability Mechanism (Luxembourg).
  • Jonathan Chapman (ECO 2015-2016), as of December 2021, works as an Assistant Professor at the University of Bologna.
  • Emmanuel Comte (HEC 2014-2016), on 1 September 2021, started a position as a Senior Research Fellow in the Ariane Condellis European Programme at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) in Athens, Greece.
  • Mathias Delori (SPS 2008-2009) is currently a research professor at the French CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), and now has a new affiliation as co-head of the research group ‘The state, political norms and political conflics’ at the Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin, Germany.
  • Robert Lepenies (LAW 2013-2015) holds the Professorship for Plural and Heterodox Economics at Karlshochschule International University and became a Special Advisor to the International Science Council program on ‘the Public value of science’.
  • Simon Macdonald (HEC 2015-2016) took up an Associate Lectureship in Modern European History at UCL London.
  • Magdalena Malecka (LAW 2013-2015) is now an assistant professor at Aarhus University, Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies.
  • Fran Meissner (SPS 2013-2015), since October 2020, holds the position of Assistant Professor in Critical Geodata Studies and Geodata Ethics at the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, ITC, University of Twente.
  • Moti Michaeli (ECO 2014-2016) has been promoted to Senior Lecturer with tenure at the Economics Department at the University of Haifa.
  • Tommaso Milani (HEC 2020-2021) has been appointed Simone Veil-Fellow at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
  • Belen Olmos Giupponi (LAW 2007-2009), since 1 November 2021, is Professor of Law and Head of Portsmouth Law School.
  • Clara Rauchegger (LAW 2016-2018), in 2021, became head of the Department of Legal Theory and Future of Law at the University of Innsbruck.
  • Wessel Reijers (RSC 2018-2020), as of January 2022, works as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Vienna.
  • Athina Sachoulidou (LAW 2018-2019), since 1 July 2021, has been representing NOVA School of Law as an Assistant Professor in Criminal Law, in the consortium of the EU Horizon 2020 Project TRACE (coordinator: Coventry University UK). More details about the project are available at:
  • Eva Zschirnt (SPS 2018-2019), as of October 2021, works as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam.
  • Miren Azkarate-Askasua (ECO 2020-2021)
    Lukas and Niko were born on 23 September 2021.
  • Simon Macdonald (HEC 2015-2016) and Guillemette Crouzet (HEC 2015-2016)
    Simon MacDonald and Guillemette Crouzet, both MW Fellows in 2015-2016, welcomed a daughter, Alice, born on 30 August 2021 in Paris.
  • Clara Rauchegger (LAW 2016-2018)
    On 1 April 2021, Clara and her husband had a baby daughter, Amalia Louisa.
  • Julija Sardelic (SPS 2014-2016)
    Her son Adrian Sardelić Winikoff was born on 8 August 2021
  • Serkan Yolcu (LAW 2018-2019)
    He and his wife Rabia have had their first baby! His name is Can. Can was born on 8 November 2021 in Izmir (Turkey).
  • Henrietta Zeffert (LAW 2016-2017)
    Henrietta Zeffert and Joseph Spooner (LSE Law School) are delighted to announce the birth of Kitty Jane Spooner in Dublin on 13 December 2020. A little sister for Jenni Ruth.

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