Prothero Lecture, Cruciform Lecture Theatre I, UCL, 10 July 2013
The ‘feudal revolution’ debate in the 1990s focussed on the years around 1000 and on France, and was an argument about whether or not that rough date marked a major change in political structures, with more privatised local powers focussed on castles and an effectively total breakdown of the ‘state’. It ended in something of a stand-off, with more extreme versions of both sides largely set aside, but no real consensus. Italy was not a major part of this debate; but the crisis years of the late eleventh century produced a similar breakdown of traditional political structures in the centre-north of Italy around 1100, and the emergence of local powers in much the same way as in parts of France. The most dominant of these local powers were, however, not private lordships, but cities. The question is what difference this makes to our understanding of how a version of the ‘feudal revolution’ might work in Italy; and also whether this ought to make us rethink how we interpret the emergence of the bodies which ran these autonomous cities, the city communes.
RHS – Chris Wickham Lecture
RHS Lecture, Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, UCL 10 May 2013
The concepts of ‘craft’ and ‘artisanship’ carry a particular political potency in colonial and modern India. This lecture follows the cycles of small scale industry and craft production in their early frameworks of colonial and global history and their current context of globalization. It draws on oral histories of craftspeople in Kachchh in Northern Gujurat, and addresses methodologies connecting investigations of present communities with our historical understandings of manufacturing in the past.
Maxine Berg is Professor of History at the University of Warwick. She was founding director of the Eighteenth-Century Centre (1998-2006) and the Global History and Culture Centre (2007- 2010) at Warwick, and now directs the ERC Project ‘Europe’s Asian Centuries: Trading Eurasia 1600-1830’ (2010-2014).
Report from the seminar on Open Access licenses convened by the Wellcome Trust in association with the Society.
Suitability of the CC-BY licence for research publications in the humanities and social sciences
RHS Symposium, University of Leicester, 27 March 2013
Croatia’s entry into the EU on July 1, 2013 makes it timely to consider the place that Croatia has occupied in the history of Europe, and the associated question of how Croatian national identity has been shaped by the country’s crossroads location between Italy, central Europe and the Balkans. This symposium will aim to address these issues across a suitably broad historical spectrum. It will focus on a number of particularly stressful periods in Croatia’s historical development, when the operation of external pressures from powerful neighbours produced a response that encapsulated the views of key Croatian groups about the character and future of their compatriots and country. Differences of religion, ethnicity and political allegiance, their varied expressions and the relationship between them will be central themes of the meeting.
The symposium was held in association with the London embassy of the Republic of Croatia.
Hosted by: The Royal Historical Society, the Institute of Historical Research, The National Archives and the University of Warwick
Theme: Material Culture: why is it so important?
The Chancellors Hall, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, London, Friday 22 February 2013
RHS Lecture, Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, UCL, 8 February 2013
Presidential lecture, Gustave Tuck lecture theatre, UCL, 23 November 2012
This paper examines female libertinism in eighteenth-century France, highlighting the hybrid identity of actress, courtesan and prostitute of female performers at the Paris Opéra. The main focus is on the celebrated singer, Sophie Arnould. She and others like her achieved celebrity by moving seamlessly between these three facets of their identity. Their celebrity also allowed them to circulate within the highest social circles. Feminists of the 1790s such as Olympe de Gouges and Théroigne de Méricourt had pre-Revolutionary careers that were very similar to those of Arnould. It is suggested that understanding this kind of individual in Ancien Régime France can help us to identify a neglected libertine strand within Enlightenment culture, that merged into proto-feminism in the French Revolution. The paper offers a new approach to some of the origins of modern French feminism.
RHS Lecture , Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, 26 September 2012
Folklore experts have shown that for a legend to be remembered it is important that it is historicised. Focusing on three case-studies from early modern Germany and the Netherlands, this article explores how the historicisation of mythical narratives operated in early modern Europe, and argues that memory practices played a crucial role in the interplay between myth and history. The application of new criteria for historical evidence did not result in the decline of myths. By declaring such stories mythical, and by using the existence of memory practices as evidence for this, scholars could continue to take them seriously.
Prothero Lecture 2012, 4 July 2012
What is pain? This article argues that it is useful to think of pain as a ‘kind of event’ or a way of being-in-the-world. Pain-events are unstable; they are historically constituted and reconstituted in relation to language systems, social and environmental interactions and bodily comportment. The historical question becomes: how has pain been done and what ideological work do acts of being-in-pain seek to achieve? By what mechanisms do these types of events change? Who decides the content of any particular, historically specific and geographically situated ontology?