Mini-conference at the Hotel Jean-Jacques Rousseau, La Neuveville, 7 and 8 December 2019

La Neuveville, 8.12.2019


Over the weekend the members of the research project on the Agrarian Republics had an opportunity to discuss ongoing research in a semi-formal setting together with other researchers from the University of Lausanne: prof. Christian Grosse (Institut d’histoire et anthropologie des religions), and doctoral students Damiano Bardelli (history) Matthieu Clément (history), Aris de la Fontana (history, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa-UNIL), Stefano Torres (IHAR) and Remy Zanardi (IHAR). Both days were full of stimulating discussions not only about individual research projects of each doctoral student, but also about transversal themes in the study of the eighteenth and seventeenth century: cultural transfers between linguistic fault-lines; different facets of education; creation of scholarly networks. Honouring the place of our meeting, we did not omit to discuss the links between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the two important subjects of the research project: the Spirit of Legislation and the educational journeys of the Mniszechs.

Inscription in Rousseau’s room on the Ile Saint Pierre, ms.2787 III in the Czartoryski library, image by

Auguste Bertholet at the 10th Annual London Graduate Conference in the History of Political Thought, UCL, 20-21 June 2019

Auguste Bertholet spoke at the 10th Annual London Graduate Conference in the History of Political Thought, whose theme was ‘Progress and Decline in the History of Political Thought’. The conference was held at the UCL in London

Auguste gave a talk entitled ‘Depopulation as benchmark of progress and decline. The judgement of Vaudois economic reform debates on a European obsession’, where he discussed the theme of depopulation as it was analysed in the Spirit of Legislation.


Bela Kapossy at the International Conference ‘La Liberté des anciens et des modernes’ in honour of Biancamaria Fontana, Lausanne 27 VI 2019

Bela Kapossy spoke at a two-day conference organised in honour of Biancamaria Fontana in Lausanne on the 27th and 28th of June 2019. The conference revolved around Biancamaria Fontana’s wide-ranging research and, more specifically about Benjamin Constant. Bela Kapossy delivered a paper entitled ‘Ancient and modern liberty before Constant’ where he discussed Germanophone near-contemporaries of Constant who theorised the problem of political liberty differently, albeit informed by a similar historical context.

Upcoming: Panel at the ISECS International Congress on the Enlightenment at the University of Edinburgh on 14–19 July 2019 with the theme ‘Enlightenment Identities’

At this year’s ISECS International Congress we will hold a panel entitled Between Town and Country: The Spirit of Legislation and the Eighteenth-Century Swiss Debates on Urbanisation and Manufacturing. The panel will be presided by Graham Clure. Auguste Bertholet and Radek Szymanski will be joined by Aris de la Fontana (Scuola Normale Superiore de Pisa).

The congress will be held at the University of Edinburgh on 14–19 July 2019 with the overarching theme ‘Enlightenment Identities’. Our panel will be convened as one of the first ones, on Monday at 11am.

Farmers working on Hemp- or Flax-spinning, Lafond, Simon Daniel, 1791, Gugelmann Collection at Swiss National Library

The Wealth of Republics, Monarchies and Nations after the Seven Years’ War, our panel at the 2019 Swiss Congress of Historical Sciences in Zurich, 6th June 2019

Our research group presented the most recent advancements in the ongoing Enlightenment Agrarian Republics project at a panel entitled ‘The Wealth of Republics, Monarchies and Nations after the Seven Years’ War’, convened during the Swiss Congress of Historical Sciences held at the University of Zurich. The panel was chaired by Graham Clure and commented by Nadir Weber, from University of Lausanne and University of Berne. Alongside the papers by Auguste Bertholet and Radek Szymanski, we had the pleasure of hearing a presentation by Christoph Oelmann from the University of Jena, whose research on the Saxon retablissement intersects with the research of the group.

Papers delivered at the panel:

Auguste Bertholet (UNIL) ‘The Vaudois Spirit of Legislation’
Radek Szymanski (UNIL) ‘The Economic Grand Tour of the Counts Mniszech’
Christoph Oelmann (Jena) ‘Rétablissement and agricultural policy in Electoral Saxony 1763-1773′

The papers, framed by an introduction by Graham Clure who put emphasis on the broader, geopolitical context of the period after the Seven Years’ War, was followed by a stimulating discussion opened by insightful commentary by Nadir Weber.