Programme 2023-2024

Les séances ont lieu, sauf indication contraire, le jeudi de 17h à 18h30 à la Maison de la Recherche de Sorbonne Université (28 rue Serpente, Paris 6e), salle D421

Jeudi 5 octobre 2023 : Séance pédagogique sur les ressources en ligne en histoire britannique (Fabrice Bensimon, Stéphane Jettot et Frédérique Lachaud)

Jeudi 19 octobre : Louise Jackson (Edimbourg), ‘Gender equalities at work: writing an interdisciplinary history of feminist campaigning in the UK c. 1970-2020’

Jeudi 9 novembre : John Tolan (Nantes), ‘England’s Jews in the 13th century’

Jeudi 23 novembre : William Ashworth (Liverpool) : ‘The Early Chemical Industry in North West England and Its Legacy’

Jeudi 7 décembre : Emily Ward (Edimbourg), ‘”I witness this myself”: adolescent rulers and political “belonging” in Britain and France, c. 1150 –c. 1260’

Jeudi 21 décembre : Myriam-Isabelle Ducrocq (Nanterre), sur son livre La République de Harrington dans la France des Lumières et de la Révolution (Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2023)

Jeudi 1er février 2024 : Béatrice Robic (Nanterre) : « Le travail des enfants en Angleterre et au pays de Galles entre 1870 et 1914 »

Jeudi 8 février : Luke Blaxill (Oxford), ‘Text Mining and Political History: challenges and opportunities in the age of Big Data’

Jeudi 15 février : Thomas Stammers (Durham): ‘Philippe, comte de Paris and the Orleans family in Exile after 1848: Liberalism, Collecting and Empire’

Jeudi 29 février: Alison Cathcart (Stirling) : ‘James VI & I and his empire of islands’

Jeudi 14 mars : Perry Gauci (Oxford) : ‘London Private Bankers in Eighteenth-Century Society’

Jeudi 28 mars : Lauriane Simony (Cergy) : « Diplomatie culturelle, stratégies d’influence et propagande : le British Council en Birmanie après l’indépendance »

Jeudi 4 avril : Sophie Scott-Brown (East Anglia), ‘The Impolitics of Internationalism: Claude Bourdet, G. D. H. Cole, and the International Society for Socialist Studies’

Jeudi 25 avril : James Fisher (Exeter), autour de son ouvrage The Enclosure of Knowledge. Books, Power and Agrarian Capitalism in Britain, 1660–1800 (Cambridge, 2022)

Jeudi 16 maiOphélie Siméon (Sorbonne Nouvelle), « Anna Doyle Wheeler (1785-1848): itinéraire politique et militant d’une pionnière du féminisme »


Le séminaire est ouvert aux étudiants de master et doctorat, ainsi qu’à toutes les personnes intéressées. Les enregistrements de la plupart des communications sont ensuite disponibles sur la chaine YouTube du séminaire :

Sally Holloway, ‘Food, Family & Feeling: Edible Gifts and the Making of Marriage in Georgian England’ (11 mai)

Jeudi 11 mai à 17h (Serpente, salle D421)

Sally Holloway, ‘Food, Family & Feeling: Edible Gifts and the Making of Marriage in Georgian England’

It is well established that the navigation of courtship in Georgian England was shaped by a range of romantic gifts including ribbons, rings, garters, gloves, and portrait miniatures, which helped to generate feelings of love and shepherd courting couples toward the altar. Yet these were not the only items which couples had at their disposal: in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815), it is the humble walnut which enables the farmer Robert Martin to express his admiration for the heroine’s protégée Harriet Smith, while in Pride & Prejudice (1813) it is the beautiful pyramids of hothouse fruits and hospitality at Pemberley which first lead Elizabeth Bennet to realise her love for Mr Darcy. Such edible offerings are largely absent from scholarship on courtship in Georgian England, though they were likely among the most common material objects routinely exchanged by and shared between couples.

This paper sets out how courting couples orchestrated their relationships using a breath of edible gifts from cakes and sweetmeats to apricots, peaches, pineapples, melons, duck, pork, venison, turbot, oysters, and sturgeon. These sweet treats, fruits, meats, and fish could variously be deployed as a means of flirtation, to gauge early romantic interest, underscore the status and generosity of the giver, show investment in the bodily health of the recipient as a future spouse, and bind two families together before matrimony. Together, they add a crucial dimension to our understanding of the widely recognised ‘gift mode’ during courtship, illuminate the mechanics of courtship as rooted in family homes and gardens, and the new spaces of the metropolitan public sphere, and demonstrate how natural or perishable items such as food could operate as powerful vehicles for emotional meaning.

Dr Sally Holloway is a Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in History and History of Art at Oxford Brookes University. She specialises in histories of emotions, gender, and visual and material culture in Britain over the long eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is the co-editor of Feeling Things: Objects and Emotions through History (Oxford, 2018), and the author of The Game of Love in Georgian England: Courtship, Emotions and Material Culture (Oxford, 2019) which has recently been released in paperback (2022). 

Florence Petroff : « La question américaine en Écosse : penser la britannicité à l’échelle de l’empire dans les années 1770 » (30 mars)

Jeudi 30 mars à 17h :

Florence Petroff (La Rochelle) : « La question américaine en Écosse : penser la britannicité à l’échelle de l’empire dans les années 1770 »

La guerre qui oppose la Grande-Bretagne à ses treize colonies d’Amérique du Nord à partir d’avril 1775 déclenche une « guerre de papier » entre pamphlétaires britanniques qui s’opposent sur la légitimité de la révolte des colons et les mesures à adopter vis-à-vis des colonies rebelles. En Écosse, les élites condamnent presqu’à l’unanimité les prétentions des colons américains à l’autonomie au sein de l’empire, puis à l’indépendance. 

Il s’agit ici d’explorer le discours écossais sur la question américaine, d’en définir les contours et de le replacer dans le débat sur la crise impériale en Grande-Bretagne ainsi qu’à l’échelle atlantique. Nous nous interrogerons sur les conceptions de l’empire et de l’identité britannique qui s’affirment dans ce discours, afin d’en évaluer la spécificité écossaise. Nous poserons ainsi la question de la place de la Révolution américaine dans le processus de fabrication de leur identité britannique par les Écossais, et plus largement de ce que l’Amérique a représenté pour ces Britanniques du Nord qui, à l’inverse des Américains, font le choix de l’intégration au prix de leur souveraineté en tant que nation. Cette intervention propose ainsi une approche atlantique de la révolution américaine, étudiée au prisme de sa réception et de son interprétation en Écosse. 


Florence Petroff est maîtresse de conférences en histoire moderne à l’université de La Rochelle. Sa thèse de doctorat sera prochainement publiée aux éditions Honoré Champion, sous le titre « La Révolution américaine et l’Écosse : regards croisés (1765-1783) ». Ses travaux portent sur la circulation des idées et des représentations au sein du monde britannique ainsi que sur les usages de l’histoire au XVIIIe siècle.

Frédérique Lachaud, Stéphane Jettot et Fabrice Bensimon : « Les ressources numériques en histoire britannique » 

Jeudi 24 novembre 2022 à 17h (salle D421 à Serpente) :

Frédérique Lachaud, Stéphane Jettot et Fabrice Bensimon (Sorbonne Université) : « Les ressources numériques en histoire britannique » 

Cette séance, à l’intention des étudiants de master et de doctorat, évoquera les principales ressources numériques en ligne en histoire britannique. Après une présentation générale, certaines collections en histoire médiévale, moderne et contemporaine seront plus particulièrement présentées.

Bénédicte Miyamoto, “Satire & art market practices: the auction as visual trope in the eighteenth-century” (13 oct.)

Jeudi 13 octobre 2022 à 17h (salle D421 à Serpente) :

Bénédicte Miyamoto, “Satire & art market practices: the auction as visual trope in the eighteenth-century”

As auctions burst on the London scene, they became convenient shortcuts for satirists. Increasingly familiar with these urban spectacles, their actors and ‘props’, the public perceived auctions as highly volatile events rooted in consumer manipulation. Prints reverting to the tropes of the auction tended to satirize contracts between unequal parties and with power or information imbalance – from scandalous marriages to corrupt political representation. In turn, this reinforced the distrust towards connoisseurship, the collecting impulse, and the burgeoning art market.

Drawing from the collection of the British Museum and the Lewis Walpole Library, episodes of intense satire production (1730s, 1760s, and 1790s) can be identified, revealing the anxieties of the early modern to modern market transition, the intersections of the modern state and the marketplace, and the public disquiet at shifting valuations of taste and arbitration.

However, by confronting reputation to praxis, and investigating itemized bills and annotated catalogues, we gain insight into the art world’s business practices, explaining the increasing commercial success of auctions in the face of their enduring public disrepute.

Bénédicte MIYAMOTO (PhD, Université Paris Diderot) is an Associate Professor in British History at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, and a scholar of the eighteenth-century British art market and artistic professions. She has published her research in Moving Pictures: Intra-European Trade in Images De Marchi and Raux, Brepols, 2014; Marketing Art in the British Isles, Gould and Mesplède, Ashgate, 2016; Art Crossing Borders: The International Art Market in the Age of Nation States, Baetens and Lyna, Brill, 2019, and London and the Emergence of a European Art Market, Huemer and Avery-Quash, Getty 2019, Art Markets, Agents and Collectors, Turpin and Bracken, 2021. She has co-edited Forms, Formats and the Circulation of Knowledge (LWW, Brill 2020) and Art & Migration (MUP, 2021).

Barbara Crosbie, ‘The Rising Generations: Age Relations and Cultural Change in Eighteenth-Century England’ (7 avril)

Jeudi 7 avril de 17h à 18h30 – Salle D040 à Serpente

De façon exceptionnelle, l’intervenante sera à distance. Lien de connexion disponible auprès de Stéphane Jettot jettot(at)


BARBARA CROSBIE (DURHAM), “The Rising Generations: Age Relations and Cultural Change in Eighteenth-Century England”

The eighteenth century is not generally associated with the formation of social generations, and yet contemporaries were clearly aware of their place within distinct generational cohorts. The interactions between these age groups were an important driver of cultural change as the experience of older adults inexorably gave way to the expectations of each rising generation. It is this process of intergenerational transition that is placed under the spotlight in this paper, with age providing both the subject of study and the framework for a discussion about the process of historical change.   


Attention is centred on the generational divisions that spilled into the political arena in Newcastle upon Tyne during the general election of 1774, as youthful demands for autonomy became conflated with political demands for reform. Seeking to understand how and why this age-based tension arose leads back to the nurseries and schoolrooms in which formative years were spent, and traverses the volatile terrain of adolescence, before arriving in the adult world of fashion and politics. This exposes the roots of the political faction that emerged as the mid-century children reached adulthood, making it possible to map the often circuitous links between child’s play and a contested election. But more than this, it provides an analytical structure that obliges us to recognise that people lived through not in the past. 


Nigel Leask, ‘Globalizing the Highland Tour: Ossian, Earth History, and ‘Fingal’s Cave” (24 mars)

Jeudi 24 mars 2022, 17h-18h30
Maison de la recherche
28 rue Serpente, Paris 6e, salle D421

Nigel Leask (University of Glasgow)

Globalizing the Highland Tour: Ossian, Earth History, and ‘Fingal’s Cave’.

In this paper I reflect on themes connected with the 18th century Highland Tour, notably Ossianic enthusiasm, global networks, geology, and the dawn of the carbon age. I will discuss two illustrated travel accounts, both the work of naturalists and Ossian enthusiasts, that established ‘Fingal’s Cave’ as the ultimate destination of the romantic tour. The first is English naturalist Joseph Bank’s journal account of his ‘discovery’ of Staffa on the course of his voyage to Iceland in 1772, published in Thomas Pennant’s Voyage to the Hebrides (1774). The second is French vulcanologist Barthelemy Faujas de Saint-Fond’s Voyage en Angleterre, en Ecosse, et aux Iles Hebrides (1797) narrating his tour to Staffa a decade after Banks in 1784, and exploring some of the transformations wrought on his narrative by geological and political revolutions.


Nigel Leask occupe la Regius Chair of English Language and Literature à l’université de Glasgow.  Il travaille sur de nombreux thèmes comme la figure de Robert Burns, l’orientalisme romantique, les récits de voyage et l’empire ou encore la littérature anglo-indienne de la période romantique. On lui doit notamment Old Ways, New Roads, Travels in Scotland 1720-1832 (Birlinn, 2020), Philosophical Vagabonds: Pedestrianism, Politics, and Improvement on the Scottish Tour (University of South Carolina Press, 2019), Robert Burns and Pastoral: Poetry and Improvement in Late-18th Century Scotland (Oxford University Press, 2010), Curiosity and the aesthetics of travel writing, 1770-1840: from an antique land (Oxford University Press, 2002).


Andrew Mackillop, ‘Making Britain? The London-Scots in the long 18th century, c.1690-c.1820’ (10 mars)

Séminaire franco-britannique d’histoire
Jeudi 10 mars 2022, 17h-18h30
Maison de la recherche
28 rue Serpente, Paris 6e, Attention : salle D040

Andrew Mackillop (University of Glasgow) : Making Britain? The London-Scots in the long 18th century, c.1690-c.1820

While early modern Scotland’s history of heavy out migration to Ireland, Western and Northern Europe, and increasingly Britain’s global empire is now a well understood phenomenon, the London dimension remains tellingly neglected.  This paper considers what a greater focus on burgeoning Scottish human mobility to the metropole of the British and Irish Isles tells us about the country’s trajectory within the British Union and Empire. The paper will reflect on why the topic has suffered such historiographic neglect, outline some of the key sociological features of the London-Scots, before considering questions of associational trends and identities.

Andrew Mackillop est Senior Lecturer in Scottish History à l’université de Glasgow, ses recherches portent sur l’intégration des Écossais dans l’ensemble britannique, particulièrement l’empire, au cours du long dix-huitième siècle. Il a notamment publié Human Capital and Empire: Scotland, Ireland, Wales and British imperialism in Asia, c.1690-c.1820, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2021.


Niall O’Flaherty : “Malthus and the Discovery of Poverty” (24 fév.)

Maison de la Recherche, 28 rue Serpente, Paris 6e, Salle D421, de 17h à 18h30 (La séance aura lieu en présentiel uniquement. Un enregistrement sera diffusé ultérieurement sur la chaine youtube du séminaire).


Jeudi 24 février à 17h : Niall O’Flaherty (King’s College London) : ‘Malthus and the Discovery of Poverty’

Few books have cast such a long shadow as the second edition of T. R. Malthus’ Essay on the Principle of Population (1803). Yet it remains one of the most poorly understood books published during the last two hundred years. I argue that the ‘Great Quarto’ should no longer be read primarily as a work of demography or economics, but as a seminal work in the science of poverty – the first book to try to explain the structural causes and social effects of hardship, and to offer a root-and-branch solution to the problem. In the paper, I will also show that both Malthus’s political and religious ideas were subservient to this social programme and not vice versa as has long been argued. 

Niall O’Flaherty est Senior Lecturer in the History of European Political Thought à King’s College London. Il a publié Utilitarianism in the Age of Enlightenment: the moral and political thought of William Paley (CUP, 2019). Il participé à l’ouvrage New Perspectives on Malthus dirigé par R. J. Mayhew (CUP, 2016). 


John-Erik Hansson, « Former et réformer la jeunesse : William Godwin et les enjeux de l’écriture de livres pour enfants » (7 oct. 2021)

Jeudi 7 octobre à 17h : John-Erik Hansson (Université de Paris / LARCA), « Former et réformer la jeunesse : William Godwin et les enjeux de l’écriture de livres pour enfants ».

William Godwin (1756-1836) est connu d’abord et avant tout comme un « jacobin anglais », auteur de l’anarchisante Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) et du roman jacobin Caleb Williams (1794). Il est toutefois également l’auteur d’essais sur l’éducation et la pédagogie – publiés dans The Enquirer (1797) – et de livres pour enfants (entre 1802 et 1822). De 1805 à 1825, il est même propriétaire d’une librairie et maison d’édition, la Juvenile Library, pour laquelle il rédige 9 ouvrages allant du recueil de fables à l’histoire de la Grèce antique. Je propose dans cette communication de revenir sur ces textes trop souvent vus comme mineurs, l’œuvre d’un auteur dans le besoin, détachés de l’action d’un Godwin qui disparaît graduellement du paysage politique à partir de la fin des années 1790. En remettant ces ouvrages dans le contexte de sa pensée politique, de l’offre de livres pour enfants de l’époque et des débats de la fin du XVIIIè et du début du XIXè siècle concernant notamment l’éducation, la moralité, la religion et l’histoire, je montre qu’au contraire, Godwin cherche à poursuivre ses efforts de réforme politique à travers ces livres. Il s’attaque aux fondements de l’éducation des classes moyennes britanniques, afin de contribuer à la formation d’une nouvelle génération qui engagerait la marche vers le progrès social et politique.


Reforming the youth: William Godwin as a writer of children’s books

William Godwin (1756-1836) is mostly known as an “English Jacobin” and as the author of the anarchistic Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) and the Jacobin novel Caleb Williams (1794). However, he was also the author of essays on education – collected in The Enquirer (1797) – and children’s books (between 1802 and 1822). From 1805 to 1825, he even owned a bookselling business, the Juvenile Library, for which he wrote 9 works, from a collection of fables to a history of Classical Greece. In this paper, I want to examine these works which have too often been treated as minor, the hackwork of a penniless out-of-fashion radical, detached from the political activity that had made him famous in the 1790s. Against this view, I show that these children’s books were Godwin’s way of pursuing radical reform. To do so, I replace them works in the contexts of Godwin’s own thought, the range of similar writing for children at the time, and broader late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century intellectual debates, particularly those concerning education, morality, religion, and history. I show how Godwin challenged the foundations of middle-class education in Britain, to contribute to the growth of a new generation, better equipped to bring about social and political progress.

John-Erik Hansson est Maître de Conférences en histoire britannique à l’Université de Paris et membre du LARCA. 

Maison de la Recherche, 28 rue Serpente, Paris 6e, Salle D421, de 17h à 18h30 (La séance aura lieu en présentiel uniquement. Un enregistrement sera diffusé ultérieurement sur la chaine youtube du séminaire).

Anna Marie Roos, “The First Egyptian Society (1741-43): The Royal Society, natural philosophy, and antiquarianism” (1er avr.)

Jeudi 1er avril à 17h : Anna Marie Roos (University of Lincoln), “The First Egyptian Society (1741-43): The Royal Society, natural philosophy, and antiquarianism”


The Egyptian Society (1741-43), the first of its kind, was created in Georgian England for the purpose of ‘promoting and preserving Egyptian and other antient learning’. Its antiquarian members either travelled to the Land of the Pharaohs as part of their Grand Tour, or were simply interested in Egypt’s material culture. As Mark Thomas Young (Centaurus, 2017) has indicated, fellows of the early Royal Society attended experimental demonstrations sometimes to produce effects for themselves, but more often to access ‘empirical material from which causal and axiomatic principles could be derived through discursive practice’. At society meetings, members could access this material in a variety of ways; experimental demonstrations existed alongside the reading of experimental reports, accounts of lay empirical practices and travellers’ reports’. The Egyptian Society fellows followed the same methodology, to discover principles of sociocultural and religious practices in Egypt, as well as to provide ‘object biographies’ of artefacts that belonged to members that they examined with speculations on manufacture and use.  I will show that the Egyptian Society approach to textual sources and artefacts was informed by the empiricism of the Royal Society, a form of what I term ‘scientific antiquarianism’. 


Anna Marie Roos is a Professor of the history of science and medicine at the University of Lincoln. She studies the early Royal Society, as well as natural history, chemistry, and medicine in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. She is Editor of Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science. She has published The Salt of the Earth: Natural Philosophy, Medicine and Chymistry in England, 1650-1750 (Brill, 2007), Web of Nature: Martin Lister (1639-1712), the First Arachnologist (Brill, 2011), Martin Lister and His Remarkable Daughters. The Art of Science in the Seventeenth Century (Bodleian Library, 2018), and Goldfish (Reaktion Books, 2019). Her latest book, Martin Folkes (1690-1754). Newtonian, Antiquary, Connoisseur, is due in April 2021 with Oxford University Press.


Participer à la réunion Zoom : lien habituel, disponible auprès de Sandrine Parageau


Julian Pooley, “Printing the Past: Discovering the Archive of the Nichols family of printers, antiquaries and editors of the Gentleman’s Magazine,1777-1873” (25 mars)

Thursday March 25, 2021 at 5 p.m. : Julian Pooley (University of Leicester) “Printing the Past: Discovering the Archive of the Nichols family of printers, antiquaries and editors of the Gentleman’s Magazine,1777-1873”.


This paper tells the story of how the purchase of an anonymous pocket diary in a London bookshop, led me to discover extensive and previously unknown archives of John Nichols (1745-1826) and his family of printers, antiquaries and editors of the Gentleman’s Magazine.  Nichols was one of Georgian London’s most prominent printers, contracted to print for Parliament, the Royal Society and Society of Antiquaries.  He was also a literary biographer, chronicling the book trade and its customers over the long-eighteenth century; a pioneer of Renaissance culture through his Progresses of Queen Elizabeth and a leading antiquary whose History and Antiquities of the Town and County of Leicester 4 vols (1795-1815) transformed the way that English local history was written and illustrated.  The vast archive of family and business papers which he and his successors accumulated inspired his granddaughter to form her own collection of autograph letters, augmented by exchange with other collectors and by purchases in the London and Paris salerooms.  This internationally significant collection is now part of the 20,000 Nichols papers calendared and accessible via the Nichols Archive Database.  This paper will explore the value of the archive for studying the career of John Nichols, his editorship of the Gentleman’s Magazine and his achievements as a literary biographer and antiquary. It will also highlight some of the many French historical documents preserved in this archive.


Julian Pooley F.S.A. is Hon. Visiting Fellow of the Centre for English Local History at the University of Leicester and Public Services and Engagement Manager at Surrey History Centre, Woking.


Nichols Archive Project


Séance sur Zoom, lien habituel, disponible auprès de Stéphane Jettot


Jeudi 4 mars 2021 à 17 h : Stephen Mullen (Glasgow), “The rise of James Watt: Enlightenment, Commerce & Industry in a British Atlantic Merchant City, 1736-1774”

Jeudi 4 mars 2021 à  17 h :  Stephen Mullen (Glasgow), The rise of James Watt: Enlightenment, Commerce & Industry in a British Atlantic Merchant City, 1736-1774

On 13 June 2020, during the global conversation about Black Lives Matter, a newspaper article in The Times revealed James Watt – inventor and ‘great improver’ of the steam engine – had historic connections with transatlantic slavery. The article ‘Black Lives Matter: James Watt, father of the age of steam, sold slaves’ came as a shock to many. My research, which underpinned this revelation, went back almost three years. As part of my research for the report ‘Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgow’ in 2017-18, I identified that Watt was involved, alongside his father, in colonial commerce in Greenock and Glasgow in Scotland. Later archival work revealed James Watt was not just a beneficiary of his father but had a more direct role in trafficking an enslaved child, Frederick, in Glasgow in 1762. This paper, therefore, does two things; I trace the story of James Watt’s rise, including connections with Atlantic slavery and its commerce in the west of Scotland, then pose questions in comparative context about commemoration and celebration, especially in light of the Black Lives Matter movement of 2020.


La conférence aura lieu en ligne de 17h à 18h30.

Lien Zoom habituel, disponible auprès de Jean-François Dunyach : <jfdunyach(at)>

Jan-Melissa Schramm : « The Idea of Universal Citizenship and the Rhetoric of Rights in the 1790s: Republican Virtue versus British Reform » (28 jan.)

Jeudi 28 janvier 2021 à  17 h : Jan-Melissa Schramm « The Idea of Universal Citizenship and the Rhetoric of Rights in the 1790s: Republican Virtue versus British Reform »

In the trial of Thomas Hardy for the seditious promotion of constitutional reform in London in 1794, the prosecution used all possible means to establish Hardy’s respect for the works of Thomas Paine, and to claim that such respect was inconsistent with British patriotism.  Crucial to this process was Paine’s adoption of French citizenship:
“A letter was then read [to the jury] from Thomas Paine to the People of France, dated Sept. 25, 1792; in this letter he returns them thanks for having elected him a French Citizen, and a Member of the Convention, and on having broken the line which limited patriotism, like vegetation, to the soil.  Theirs, he said, was not the paltry cause of Kings, but the great cause of mankind.”
Historians have long seen the French Revolution as a critical episode in the story of modern citizenship, encouraging, as counsel for the Crown noted above, the crucial separation of patriotism from ‘the soil’ on which a man was born.  But the idea of citizenship was also deeply problematic, promising much and often delivering little to those who most needed its protection.  In this paper, I will look at the relationship between emergent definitions of citizenship and the language of human rights which rose to prominence in this period, probing both their utopian aims and their conceptual incoherence.  I will pay particular attention to the works of Bentham, Godwin and Paine.

Jan-Melissa Schramm est professeure de Droit et Littérature à l’université de Cambridge.  Elle a récemment publié Censorship and the Representation of the Sacred in Nineteenth-Century England (OUP 2019) et co-édité Sacrifice and the Modern Literature of War (OUP 2018).
La réunion se déroulera sur Zoom. Le lien est disponible auprès de fabrice.bensimon(at) 

Jane Humphries, “History from Underneath: Girls and the Industrial Revolution” (10 déc.)

Jeudi 10 décembre à 17h : Jane Humphries (Oxford), “History from Underneath: Girls and the Industrial Revolution”

Investigations of the effects of industrialisation on young people usually (reflecting the sources available) focus on boys and young men.  Yet historians are suspicious that girls, while relatively disadvantaged in working-class households, still contributed to  ‘the story of Europe’s path to industrial development’ (Maynes et al, 2005, 5) . This paper investigates the position of girls in working-class families using working-class life writing, comparing women’s stories with those of men (Humphries, 2010).  It asks how the expectations and stresses of family life impacted on girls, and whether this left them disadvantaged relative to their brothers in seizing the opportunities and fending off the threats to wellbeing occasioned by economic change.  My comparative review reveals many similarities between boy and girls’ experiences but some important differences.  Girls shared in the dip in age at starting work that earlier work has shown boys experienced in the early nineteenth century, but throughout the period studied, they had less education and narrower job opportunities.  One startling finding concerns the unsettling evidence of girls’ greater vulnerability to sexual predation, which in turn provided constraints on how women lived their lives. Moreover, the gendering of life chances spilled over from the economic to the demographic, for maternity looms over the women’s accounts, a destiny shared with mothers who had faced the same horrors of childbirth without effective medical assistance or analgesics. Girls anticipated the gendered trials and tribulations which their mothers endured and this united them. 


Jane Humphries est professeure retraitée d’histoire économique à l’université d’Oxford. Elle est notamment l’auteure de Childhood and Child Labour in the British Industrial Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2011). Sur le même sujet, elle a  co-écrit et présenté le documentaire de BBC4, The Children Who Built Victorian Britain (disponible sur YouTube).

Lien Zoom habituel, disponible auprès de fbensimon(at)