058 Huizinga, Culture, and History

Tuesday, June 25, 2013: 2:00 PM-3:45 PM
2.21 (Binnengasthuis)
This panel examines the historiography and contemporary legacy of the eminent Dutch historian Johan Huizinga.  It will consider the persistent value of his analysis of the role of play in culture, Homo Ludens, which has recently been appropriated – among many other places – by Robert Bellah in his major work on Religion in Human Evolution.  The panel will compare Huizinga’s less well-known writings on the United States with the better-known writings of other Europeans on “America,” especially those of Tocqueville and Weber.  The writings on America will also be considered against the background of Huizinga’s famous work on the declining years of the Middle Ages and his comparison of the American war of independence with the Dutch revolt against Spain.  The papers will also explore Huizinga’s analysis of the play element in American politics, a contribution that reflects his long-standing interest in the role of play in human life.  The panel will combine the efforts of historians and sociologists, as well as of American and European scholars.  The Dutch setting of the CES meetings seem a particularly appropriate place to re-consider the scholarly contributions of arguably the most important Dutch humanistic scholar after Erasmus.
John Torpey
Jim Jasper
Huizinga, Tocqueville, and Weber on America
John Torpey, CUNY Graduate Center
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