On Tuesday 23 January, the Royal Historical Society and the German Historical Institute, London hosted the first in a new partnership in global history. The RHS / GHIL Lecture is an annual event, held each January, showcasing new research in Global History. This year we were delighted to we welcome Professor Clare Anderson (University of Leicester) to give the inaugural lecture: ‘Convicts, Creolization and Cosmopolitanism: aftermaths of penal transportation in the British Empire’.
Clare’s lecture considered the personal legacies of convict transportation in three sites and societies: Australia, the state of Penang in Malaysia, and the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. For each, Clare is conducting research with citizens who have discovered transported convicts as ancestors through their genealogical research.
The lecture explored historians’ ability to trace the aftermath of penal transportation in the very different environments of Australia, which is archivally rich, and Penang where some 5000 transported convicts have left scant written record and legacies are now dependent on oral and material culture. Clare’s lecture concluded with a study of official and unofficial memorialisation of transported convicts, and the place of governments in shaping official presentations of the past.
Our great thanks to Clare for her lecture and also to the German Historical Institute, London, for partnering with the Society for this series, and for hosting the first in this annual programme on new work in global history.
A recording of Clare’s lecture will be available soon.
The Society’s next lecture takes place at 6pm on Thursday 1 February when we welcome Professor Levi Roach (University of Exeter) to speak on ‘Charting Authority after Empire: Documentary Culture and Political Legitimacy in Post-Carolingian Europe’.
Levi’s lecture offers a new comparative survey of the emergence of Western European states and dynasties in the early medieval period. Far from acting independently, the kingdoms of England, France and Germany drew extensively, and collectively, on the written legacy of the Carolingian Empire in establishing new nation states.