Even as many monarchies collapsed or were deposed as systems of governance during the modern era, remaining monarchs retained great symbolic importance, particularly in representing their countries and nations on the international stage as well as focusing identities and loyalties of domestic audiences. Prof. Jaimes’s work focuses on the important case of the Habsburg Empire and explores how this monarchy served as the foundational and focal point for shared loyalties and the hopes of developing a Habsburg society. During Franz Joseph’s reign of nearly seven decades (1848 – 1916) numerous teachers, bureaucrats, and everyday people contributed to the idea of the monarch as representative of the state as a whole. These groups participated in Jubilee Day celebrations, wrote tributes to their ruler, and mourned with him. We can see, therefore, through this contentious and contested reign, the importance of monarchy even in a time of nationalist upheaval, and trace how monarchical ideas reverberate in recent history, as the death of Elizabeth II in 2022 has revived questions about the perseverance of monarchy as the symbol of a multinational community, specifically in the context of the United Kingdom.
Dr Jaimes earned his PhD from UIUC in 2021. His work focuses on the symbolic role of the monarch in the Bohemian Crownlands of the Habsburg Monarchy in the decades before its dissolution. The growing conflict between Czech and German nationalists was all in the shadow of a large bureaucratic state that tried to quell tensions by fostering loyalty to Franz Joseph, the penultimate monarch. At times, this monarchism worked in tandem with nationalist feelings, but the ideas were also frequently at odds. His research examines the relationship between nationalism and monarchism and the state’s efforts to garner popular support through loyalty to the emperor.