Tilly Panel Series at 2009 SSHA

Charles Tilly’s and Louise Tilly’s Work and Legacy

November 13-14, 2009 (Friday and Saturday)

34th Annual Social Science History Association Meeting, Long Beach, CA, 12-15 November 2009, on the Queen Mary. Conference Theme: “Agency and Action”

The 2009 SSHA conference features a presidential panel series of 4 panels and over 20 speakers devoted to Charles Tilly’s and Louise Tilly’s work and legacy. The conference also features the Tilly Fund’s inaugural presentation of the Charles and Louise Tilly Prize for the Best Graduate Paper in Social Science History.

Friday, November 13

Panel 1: Charles Tilly’s Contributions to the Study of European History

Time: Friday, November 13: 02:15 PM-04:15 PM

Organizer: Andreas Koller, Social Science Research Council. Chair: Ron Aminzade, University of Minnesota

  • Mark Traugott, University of California, Santa Cruz. We Never Forget Our First Loves: Charles Tilly and French History

  • Marc Steinberg, Smith College. The Political History that Chuck Built

  • Daniel Nexon, Georgetown University. Charles Tilly and the Study of State (Trans-) Formation

  • Wayne Te Brake, SUNY-Purchase. European Revolutions

Discussant: Eric Hobsbawm, President of Birkbeck, University of London (via video link)

Abstract: This panel investigates Charles Tilly’s contributions to the study of European history in major areas of his historical work, including French history, British history, state (trans-) formation, European revolutions and democratization in Europe. Each of his historical contributions will be put in the temporal context of his intellectual and theoretical trajectory. Together, the papers shed light on a lifetime of research at the frontiers of history and social science and on Tilly’s quest for superior explanations of social processes by straddling the boundary between them.

Panel 2: Understanding Mechanisms, Empowering Agency: Charles Tilly and the Social Process

Time: Friday, November 13: 04:30 PM-06:30 PM

Organizer and Chair: Andreas Koller, Social Science Research Council

  • Neil Gross, University of British Columbia. Charles Tilly and American Pragmatism
  • Jack Goldstone, George Mason University. Contentious Politics: From Structure to Agency
  • Kim Voss, UC-Berkeley. Categorical Inequality
  • Rogers Brubaker, UCLA. Charles Tilly as a Theorist of Nationalism and Ethnicity
  • George Steinmetz, University of Michigan. Charles Tilly, Historical Sociology, and the Legacy of the German émigré Historicist Sociologists.

Discussant: Harrison White, Columbia University

Abstract: In response to the SSHA conference theme “Agency and Action“, this panel investigates the work and legacy of Charles Tilly by focusing on his shift from structure to action. While his close attention to action and interaction reaches at least as far back as to 1977 when he first formulated the idea of “repertoires” of contention, he realized the eminently cultural notion of this idea only much later – “after years of denial,” as he put it. In striking resemblance to classic American Pragmatism, Tilly’s later work suggested that if one understands the recurrent causal mechanisms, one can put things right. Social scientists need to provide “superior stories” which capture the actual mechanisms and processes better than everyday stories. This enhances the quality of “public politics” and, consequently, agency in the social process. Understanding the central mechanisms at work enables agency. The panel papers all shed light on these core questions from their respective area, investigating Tilly’s work on methodology and explanation; contentious politics; social inequality/stratification; nationalism and ethnicity, including social boundaries, stories and identities; and Tilly’s role in the history of (historical) social science.

7:00 - 8:00pm: Social Event: Reception for SSHA graduate students and friends

Saturday November 14

Panel 3 (Roundtable Discussion): The Intergenerational Legacies of Louise Tilly’s Work

Time: Saturday, November 14: 01:00 PM-03:00 PM

Organizer: Miriam Cohen, Vassar College Chair: Mary Jo Maynes, University of Minnesota


  • Miriam Cohen, Vassar College
  • Emily Bruce, University of Minnesota
  • Leslie Page Moch, Michigan State University
  • Elizabeth Pleck, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Maddalena Marinari, University of Kansas

Abstract: Louise Tilly’s historical studies of women, work and family, social protest, immigration and transnational social systems influenced the work of many social scientists in the last few decades of the twentieth century; they continue to have relevance for scholars in the new millennium. This roundtable on the legacy of Louise Tilly features some of the current work of Louise’s colleagues and students as well as the work of a younger generation of scholars now studying with her former students. We look forward to a lively discussion with audience and panel members on the current studies and the significance of Louise Tilly’s scholarship for our times.

Panel 4: Cities, States, Trust and Rule: New Departures from the Work of Charles Tilly

Time: Saturday, November 14: 03:15 PM-05:15 PM

Organizer: Chris Tilly, University of California, Los Angeles, and Mike Hanagan, Vassar College

Chair: William Roy, University of California, Los Angeles

  • Chris Tilly, University of California, Los Angeles, and Mike Hanagan, Vassar College. Cities, States and Trust Networks
  • Ariel Salzmann, Queen’s University, Kingston. Is there a Moral Economy of State Formation? Religious Regimes and Secular Political Change within Euro-Asia 1250-1750
  • Hwa-ji Shin, University of San Francisco. Colonial Legacy of Ethno-racial Inequality in Japan
  • Peter Evans, University of California, Berkeley, and Patrick Heller, Brown University. Cities and Citizens: Challenges of Urban Governance and Democracy in the 21st Century

Discussant: Peter C. Perdue, Yale University

Abstract: At the time of his death, Charles Tilly was working on a monograph entitled Cities and States in World History. In this panel, we combine his thoughts from that uncompleted work with other current work on cities and states from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Some of the current papers are historical; others are contemporary. Some apply Tilly’s “trust and rule” framework; others are critical of that framework or strike out in new directions. The goal is to generate a vibrant discussion on cities and states in historical and contemporary perspective.

5:30 - 6:00pm: SSHA Business Meeting, including the announcement of the winner of the Charles and Louise Tilly Prize for the Best Graduate Paper in Social Science History

6:00 - 6:30pm: SSHA Presidential Address by Julia Adams, Yale University

6:30 - 8:00pm: Social Event: President’s Reception

Further Information

General conference information can be found here.

Budget accommodation for students: Vagabond Inn Long Beach or Rodeway Inn Long Beach

Conference hotel: The Queen Mary

Conference registration online: For students who are otherwise non-program participants, the conference registration is only 10 USD.

Questions about conference registration? contact: Melissa Kocias: iuconfs@indiana.edu 812.855-4224 * 800.933.9330 (US only) * 812-855-8077 (fax)

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