RHS Lecture, Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, UCL, 2 July 2014
The (partial) unification of Germany as ‘The German Empire’ in 1871 was the great political event of Wagner’s life (1813-83). In August 1876 the new German Emperor William 1 went to Bayreuth to attend the first complete performance of The Ring of the Nibelung in the Festival Theatre Wagner had built for the purpose. The relationship between these two events, however, was much more problematic than the chronology suggests. In this illustrated lecture, Tim Blanning will argue that Wagner’s attitude to the new German state was highly critical, despite an initial burst of enthusiasm for Prussia during the war of 1870-1. He will pay particular attention to the influence of Friedrich Schiller and Constantin Franz, concluding with an examination of the much-misinterpreted final scene of The Mastersingers of Nuremberg.
Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, UCL, 7 February 2014
RHS – Katy Cubitt Lecture
Presidential Address, Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, UCL, 22 November 2013.
This is the first in a series of lectures that consider the impact of mass education (at secondary and university levels) on postwar Britain. Their emphasis is on the ‘democratic political theory’ of education – what do voters and their elected representatives want from an educational system in conditions of universal suffrage? The first lecture focuses on the instability of the allegedly ‘meritocratic’ system established by the Butler Act in 1944, which brought universal secondary education to Britain for the first time. It assesses how a democracy (in which everyone is politically equal) co-exists with a meritocracy (which is designed to accept and nurture inequality).
RHS Peter Mandler Lecture I
RHS Lecture, Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, UCL, 27 September 2013
Ann Hughes has been Professor of Early Modern History at Keele University since 1995. She served as Head of the School of History and Classics, 2000 -2003, and currently acts as Director of Research in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. She won the Alexander Prize of the Royal Historical Society in 1980 and her major publications include Politics, Society and Civil War in Warwickshire 1620-1660 (1987), The Causes of the English Civil War ( 2nd edition, 1998), Gangraena and the Struggle for the English Revolution (2004), Gender and the English Revolution (2011). She has edited (with Richard Cust) Conflict in Early Stuart England (1989), and (with Tom Corns and David Loewenstein) The Complete Works of Gerrard Winstanley (2009). She is now working principally on a reassessment of the impact of parliamentarian preaching during the English.
RHS Ann Hughes Lecture
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