This article pursues a dual agenda: it argues that transnational approaches can shed fresh light on Belgian history, and that Belgium provides a fitting test case for an enquiry into the nature and workings of transnational exchanges. This focus draws particular attention to the sites where activists and academics gathered, and to the organizations which sustained such processes. Thus, the authors consider the factors which facilitated transnational encounters within their Belgian setting. They also point out how transnational history helps to challenge notions of national exceptionalism — in this instance, ideas about Belgian 'peculiarities'. The Belle Époque is well suited to explore these questions: in and beyond Europe, economic interdependence and a dense network of cultural contacts were key features of this period, existing alongside the rise of conflicting nationalisms and great-power rivalry. While 1914 is commonly viewed as the end of this era, the article makes the case that it is worthwhile to trace transformations of social and cultural exchange beyond the Great War.
|Number of pages
|Revue Belge de Philologie et de Histoire
|Published - 2012