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Citizenship in Premodern Europe and Asia

Thursday, September 30, 2021, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

This event is part of the Urban Governance and Civic Participation in Words and Stone Lecture Series.

This lecture proposes to undermine three common assumptions about citizenship. The first is that citizenship is first and foremost a legal status. Maarten Prak will demonstrate that it was as much, and possibly even more, a set of practices. The second assumption he will address is that citizenship is connected to the nation-state. This may be true since the French Revolution, but it was not during the medieval and early modern eras, when citizenship was primarily an urban institution. His third correction of the common scholarly assumption will take issue with the theory that citizenship was ‘invented’ in Europe. Finally, he will show that while outside Europe the idea of citizenship was perhaps missing, citizenship practices were widespread in pre-modern Asian cities.

Please note that registration is required to attend this online lecture. Please register here.

About the speaker

Maarten Prak Maarten Prak is a Professor of Social and Economic History at Utrecht University. He published extensively on the social history of early modern Europe, including two edited volumes (with S.R. Epstein and Patrick Wallis respectively) on guilds and apprenticeship, a history of the Dutch Republic during its Golden Age, and most recently Citizens Without Nations: Urban Citizenship in Europe and the World, c. 1000-1789. All were published by Cambridge University Press.


Cover image: Jan van Diepenbeeck, Het Schermersoproer in ’s-Hertogenbosch in 1579, made in 1600. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Speaker's photo: Wieke Eefting