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). 

Gregory Claeys : ‘Utopianism for a Dying Planet: Life After Consumerism’ (20 avril)

Jeudi 20 avril à 17h (Serpente, salle D421)

Gregory Claeys (Royal Holloway, University of London) – Utopianism for a Dying Planet: Life After Consumerism


Few can have missed the fact that humanity is facing the greatest crisis in the earth’s history. With global warming currently at 1.25°C, but headed towards 3C or more, the threat of cataclysm is more real than ever. This talk argues that notional targets of 1.5C-2C are inadequate, and that warming must be kept below 1C. In order to achieve this, a variety of measures, commencing with the immediate renunciation of carbon fuels, but extending to a severe dampening of consumer demand and consumerism as such, must be implemented. The utopian tradition fruitfully provides a range of suggestions as to how to achieve this goal.


Gregory Claeys is Professor Emeritus at the University of London. His eleven books, which have been translated into nine languages, include Machinery, Money and the Millennium: From Moral Economy to Socialism (Princeton University Press, 1987); Citizens and Saints: Politics and Anti-Politics in Early British Socialism (Cambridge University Press, 1989); Thomas Paine: Social and Political Thought (Unwin Hyman, 1989), Searching for Utopia: the History of an Idea (Thames & Hudson, 2011), Mill and Paternalism (Cambridge University Press, 2013); Dystopia: A Natural History (Oxford University Press, 2016); Marx and Marxism (Penguin Books, 2018), Utopianism for a Dying Planet: Life After Consumerism (Princeton University Press, 2022); and John Stuart Mill: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2022). He has edited The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2010; Turkish edn., 2017) and over forty volumes of primary sources, including Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man (Hackett, 1992). He is editor-in-chief of a new collection of Paine’s collected writings in six volumes (2026, forthcoming), and Chair of the Utopian Studies Society (Europe

Rémy Duthille, «  Les Britanniques au miroir des révolutions de 1830 »  (16 mars)

Jeudi 16 mars  à 17h : Rémy Duthille (Bordeaux Montaigne), «  Les Britanniques au miroir des révolutions de 1830 » 

Résumé: Des Britanniques, on le sait peu, ont célébré les révolutions européennes de 1830, dans un contexte de troubles sociaux et politiques, et de crise constitutionnelle à la veille de la réforme parlementaire de 1832. L’examen de ces célébrations s’inscrit dans l’historiographie récente dégage le caractère transnational des mouvements révolutionnaires de 1830-1834. Les multiples modalités de célébrer la révolution à l’étranger éclairent la diversité des conceptions de la révolution et de la réforme, suggèrent l’étendue de la participation politique et illustre les perceptions britanniques de la France.

Rémy Duthille est Maître de Conférences HDR à l’Université de Bordeaux-Montaigne et membre du laboratoire CLIMAS. Il a publié Le discours radical en Grande-Bretagne, 1768-1789 (Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment 2017) et récemment coordonné un numéro de Leaves, “Sociability and democratic practices in Britain and Ireland, 1789-1832″  avec Magalie Fleurot et Laurence Machet. 

Muriel Pécastaing-Boissière, « Les biographies de Giordano Bruno par Annie Besant (publiées entre 1876 et 1911) : entre stratégie de justification et autobiographie occulte » (9 mars)

Jeudi 9 mars à 17h: Muriel Pécastaing-Boissière (Sorbonne Université), « Les biographies de Giordano Bruno par Annie Besant (publiées entre 1876 et 1911) : entre stratégie de justification et autobiographie occulte »

Le long parcours d’Annie Besant (1847-1933), libre-penseuse puis théosophe, socialiste, féministe, et anti-impérialiste en Inde, a longtemps décontenancé ses biographes, prompts à y voir fractures et inconsistance (cf. Arthur Nethercot, The First Five Lives of Annie Besant et The Last Four Lives of Annie Besant, 1960-3). Pourtant, si la quête intellectuelle et spirituelle de Besant connut plusieurs étapes, son développement n’en fut pas moins sous-tendu par une continuité de pensée, qu’un travail sur l’ensemble de ses écrits permet de retracer. Ainsi, parmi les textes de Besant négligés jusqu’ici par la recherche, se trouvent quatre biographies du philosophe de la Renaissance Giordano Bruno, mort au bûcher, à Rome, en 1600, publiées par Besant entre 1876 et 1911. Leur étude montre que la fascination de Besant pour Bruno forme une passerelle entre sa libre-pensée et sa théosophie. De plus, ces textes révèlent un fort processus d’identification, au point de pouvoir être lus comme des autobiographies occultes, qui permettent à Besant de prolonger les stratégies de justification de ses choix et de ses luttes, entamées dans ses Autobiographical Sketches (1885), et dans Annie Besant: An Autobiography (1893).

Muriel Pécastaing-Boissière est maîtresse de conférences en civilisation britannique (époque victorienne) à Sorbonne-Université. Son domaine de recherche actuel porte sur les liens entre le féminisme, le socialisme et le renouveau spirituel de la fin de l’époque victorienne. Sa biographie Annie Besant (1847-1933): Struggles and Quest a été publiée chez TPH, à Londres, en 2017.

Frank Rynne, ‘The Queen v. Parnell: A state trial and the  Irish Land War, 1879-82’ (26 jan. 2023)

The Queen v. Parnell: A state trial and the  Irish Land War, 1879-82

In nineteenth century Ireland, the end result of state trials was generally a foregone conclusion with conviction inevitable. State trials were political trials aimed at thwarting sedition or  political movements. Examples include the trial of Daniel O’Connell and others in 1844 and the Fenian Special Commission in 1866.  However, during the Irish Land War 1879-82 much had changed in Ireland. The case, The Queen v. Parnell and others was a more nuanced and complicated affair. From the outset the government had little confidence that they would secure convictions. The Irish Land War, 1879-82, resulted from a compact between the transnational Fenian movement and radical politicians in Ireland led by Charles Stuart Parnell. Central to the agitation, which ostensibly sought to gain peasant proprietorship for tenant farmers, was a national organisation, The Irish National Land League. Through the summer and autumn of 1880 Land League branches were founded throughout Ireland with mass meetings being held even in the remotest districts.

By autumn 1880 government appointees in Ireland were at loggerheads with Gladstone over his refusal to continence a coercion act for Ireland. While Gladstone resisted draconian measures, the Irish administration sought to appease  potentates who demanded habeas corpus suspension. It was clear to the Dublin Castle administration that should the trial fail to result in convictions Gladstone’s hand would be forced and he would have to introduce a coercion in Ireland. Thus, the state invested a vast amount of human and financial capital in pursuing the case.  

The documentation associated with the preparation for the trial and the evidence presented offers unique insights into the Irish National Land League’s rapid growth and also the nature of government in Ireland in the 1880s. The trial itself and its aftermath, which included the introduction of habeas corpus suspension in Ireland, illustrates the complexity of the Irish political situation during the Land War. It is also clear that the  leaders of the Irish Nationalist movement revelled in the prospect of a state trial for conspiracy; confident in acquittal and relishing such a platform for promoting their agenda. This paper will also examine the preparation for the trial and the remarkable throve of evidence the government compiled. It is clear that rather than being a further example of what nationalists might have concluded was the judicial suppression of a political movement, The Queen v. Parnell illustrates a symbiotic propaganda exercise by both the government in Ireland and the Land League.

Frank Rynne is a Senior Lecturer in British Studies and Irish history at CY Cergy Paris Université and a Visiting Research Fellow at The School of Modern History, Trinity College Dublin. He is a member of Agora (EA 7392) CY Cergy Paris Université and an associate member of Prismes (EA 4398) Université Sorbonne Nouvelle.

Jane Humphries, ‘“The best job in the world”: breadwinning and the capture of household labour in 19th and early 20th-century British coal mining’ (8/12)

Jeudi 8 décembre 2022 à 17h (salle D421 à Serpente) :

Jane Humphries (Oxford / LSE ), ‘“The best job in the world”: breadwinning and the capture of household labour in 19th and early 20th-century British coal mining’

This paper, written with Ryah Thomas, explores the effects of gender inequality and women’s disempowerment in the context of historical coalmining. Across the US and Europe, ex-coalmining regions are characterized by significant deprivation. While there are many reasons for persistent problems, this study focuses on the restrictions imposed on women’s involvement in economic life. Families in mining communities exemplified the male breadwinner structure, in which men’s earnings supported wives and children who provided domestic services in return. This article, however, exposes a different reality of household economics and relations of dominance and subordination: All family members were integrated into the coalmining production process and the creation of profit. Women’s unpaid work did not simply provide domestic comfort; it transferred well-being from women and children to men and simultaneously contributed to the colliery companies’ profits. These findings revise accounts of mining families while providing insight into the intransigence of deprivation in ex-coalmining areas.

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.

Emma Griffin, autour de son livre “Bread Winner. An Intimate History of the Victorian Economy” (21/04)

Séminaire franco-britannique d’histoire

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 21 avril 2022 à 17h: Emma Griffin (East Anglia), autour de son livre Bread Winner. An Intimate History of the Victorian Economy (Yale University Press, 2020)


Nineteenth century Britain saw remarkable economic growth and a rise in real wages. But not everyone shared in the nation’s wealth. Unable to earn a sufficient income themselves, working-class women were reliant on the ‘breadwinner wage’ of their husbands. When income failed, or was denied or squandered by errant men, families could be plunged into desperate poverty from which there was no escape.
Emma Griffin unlocks the homes of Victorian England to examine the lives – and finances – of the people who lived there. Drawing on over 600 working-class autobiographies, including more than 200 written by women, Bread Winner changes our understanding of daily life in Victorian Britain.

Emma Griffin is a Professor of Modern British History at the University of East Anglia. She is the author of several books, the editor of the Historical Journal, and the President of the Royal Historical Society.

Chris Manias, ‘The Age of Mammals: Nature, Development and Palaeontology in the long nineteenth century’ (14 avril)

Séminaire franco-britannique d’histoire

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 14 avril 2022 à 17h: Chris Manias (King’s College), ‘The Age of Mammals: Nature, Development and Palaeontology in the long nineteenth century



When people today hear ‘paleontology,’ they immediately think of dinosaurs. However, for much of the history of the discipline, scientists and public audiences seeking dramatic demonstrations of the history of life focused on something else: the developmental history of the mammals. Assumptions that ‘the Age of Mammals’ represented the pinnacle of animal life made mammals crucial for understanding the formation (and possibly the future) of the natural world. Yet this combined with more troubling notions, that seemingly promising creatures had been swept aside in the ‘struggle for life’ or that modern biodiversity was ‘impoverished’ compared to previous eras. Why some prehistoric creatures, such as the sabre-tooth cat and ground sloth, had become extinct, while others seemed to have been the ancestors of familiar animals like elephants and horses, were questions loaded with cultural assumptions, ambiguity and trepidation. And how humans related to deep developmental processes, and whether the ‘Age of Man’ was qualitatively different from the ‘Age of Mammals,’ led to reflections on humanity’s place within the natural world.


This paper will outline Chris Manias’ current book project, which examines how nineteenth-century scholars, writers, artists and publics understood the developmental history of the mammals ­- the animals they regarded as being at the summit of life. Using mammal paleontology as its central focus, the project examines how paleontological theories of development and reconstructions of fossil beasts led to new understandings of the environment and animal world. Taking in examples from Europe, North and South America, and colonial contexts, the project argues that nineteenth-century engagement with animals and the environment were preconditioned on ideas drawn from the deep-time sciences, which promoted a world-wide vision of nature and modern life as inscribed by a deep natural history.




Chris Manias is Senior Lecturer in the History of Science & Technology at King’s College London.  He is a specialist in the history of science in modern Europe and North America, with special interests in the history and wider cultural impacts of the human, evolutionary and deep-time sciences.  His first book, Race, Science and the Nation: Reconstructing the Ancient Past in Britain, France and Germany, 1800-1914, examined the transnational development of understandings of national origins in the nineteenth-century, and interchanges between anthropology, archaeology and comparative linguistics.  He is currently working on a book project entitled The Age of Mammals: Nature, Development and Palaeontology in the Long Nineteenth Century (forthcoming with University of Pittsburgh Press, 2023), which examines how the deep past of the mammals was reconstructed in the nineteenth century, and used to define the present of the natural world. 


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). 


Robert Poole, ‘After Peterloo: the British Risings of 1819-20’ (3 fév.)

Maison de la Recherche, 28 rue Serpente, Paris 6e, de 17h à 18h30

(La séance aura lieu en présentiel uniquement).

Jeudi 3 février à 17h, salle D040 : Robert Poole (University of Central Lancashire), ‘After Peterloo: the British Risings of 1819-20’.



The nine months after the ‘Peterloo massacre’ of 16 August 1819 saw a dramatic series of mass protests and attempted uprisings. The best known are those described in Malcolm Chase’s book 1820:  the Cato Street conspiracy to assassinate the government in London, and the subsequent rebellions in Yorkshire, Ireland, and Scotland. 1819 however saw an extensive series of protests which continued and intensified the ‘mass platform’ movement which led up to Peterloo.  These varied from official town and county meetings sanctioned by local authorities to secretive gatherings in the north intended to set off armed uprisings. This paper will look at the connections between the mass platform movement and the armed conspiracies, asking: how close did Britain come to revolution after Peterloo? 

History of Parliament video: ‘What Happened After Peterloo?’


Matilda Greig, “Napoleonic War Veterans and the Military Memoir Industry, 1808-1914” (27 jan.)

Jeudi 27 janvier à 17h : Matilda Greig (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelone), autour de son  livre, Dear Men Telling Tales: Napoleonic War Veterans and the Military Memoir Industry, 1808-1914 (Oxford, 2021)

As Napoleon’s wars drew to a close in 1815, a series of ripples flowed out into the publishing world. Veterans of the different campaigns had begun releasing memoirs of their experiences, in greater numbers than ever before, and with the help of descendants, publishers and translators, the tide would continue until well into the twentieth century. In this discussion of my book, Dead Men Telling Tales: Napoleonic War Veterans and the Military Memoir Industry, 1808-1914 (Oxford University Press, 2021), I explore the impact these personal stories had upon the history and representation of this period. Taking the Peninsular War as my case study, I show how the ‘soldier’s tale’ evolved differently in Spain versus France and Britain, how national histories of the same war remained starkly opposing over time, and how veterans themselves played an active role in the publication of their work. I conclude by considering the ironic legacy these books and their lasting commercial success left for the First World War generation – a myth of war as a positive, exciting and masculine experience, where quick victory was possible and glory could be won.

Christine Kinealy, ‘Maud Gonne (1866-1953). The Real Famine Queen’ (16 déc.)

Jeudi 16 décembre à 17h : Christine Kinealy (Quinnipiac University), ‘Maud Gonne (1866-1953). The Real Famine Queen’  


 Maud Gonne is frequently remembered as a society beauty who was the unrequited love interest of the poet, W.B. Yeats, while her contributions as a nationalist, artist, actor, lecturer, polemist, feminist, writer and social activist are often marginalized. In particular, Gonne’s engagement with the perennial poverty and intermittent subsistence crises that dogged Ireland in the final decade of the 19th century and into the 20th century has largely been ignored. Yet the visit of Queen Victoria to Dublin in 1900 prompted Gonne to write the polemical article, ‘The Famine Queen’, which first appeared in her journal L’Irlande Libre. The designation has proved to be enduring. 

A celebrity in Ireland, France and North America, this lecture will explore how Gonne used her fame and her connections to help rebuild a transatlantic republican movement following the demise of Charles Stewart Parnell. Moreover, it will show how Gonne’s commitment to social justice remained central to her political activities.  

 Christine Kinealy is professor of History at Quinnipiac University, where she is the founding director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute.

Charles-François Mathis: «Le charbon, un marqueur de civilisation pour l’Angleterre?» (25/11)

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 25 novembre à 17h : Charles-François Mathis (Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne), « Le charbon, un marqueur de civilisation pour l’Angleterre ? »

En Angleterre, du règne de Victoria à la Seconde Guerre mondiale, se met en place ce qu’on peut légitimement appeler une « civilisation du charbon », tant ce combustible modèle le paysage, les esprits, le rapport au monde et au temps. Moteur de l’industrie, certes, il est ici plutôt étudié sous l’angle de ses usages domestiques : comment se le procure-t-on à bas coût ? Comment modèle-t-il les intérieurs ? Quels gestes quotidiens nécessite-t-il et comment sont-ils transmis aux enfants ? Quelles sont les stratégies employées par les producteurs et les distributeurs pour défendre auprès des consommateurs cette civilisation lorsqu’elle est mise à mal dans l’entre-deux-guerres ?

Charles-François Mathis est Professeur d’Histoire Contemporaine à l’Université Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne. Son ouvrage La Civilisation du charbon vient de paraître aux éditions Vendémiaire (2021).