The role of amateur scholars has been neglected in national historiography and international comparison. Often operating in non-state nations and (former) colonies and on what are perceived to be geographical and social peripheries of Europe, amateurs have escaped the attention of historians, focusing on centres of power and metropolitan and state institutions of higher learning.
History-writing was as important for non-state nations as it was for the central powerhouses of European politics. Since the former were typically late in the process of academic professionalization and institutionalization, amateur research and non-institutional infrastructures of learning and knowledge exchange assumed great importance there. In our workshop eight speakers will explore the work of amateur scholars in England, France, Germany, Italy, Scotland and Wales, assessing knowledge transfer between institutional centres and non-institutional ‘peripheries’ and the role of the amateur scholar before c. 1875. This workshop coincides with the opening of an exhibition on Thomas Stephens, Wales’s most innovative amateur scholar and social reformer of the nineteenth century.