Emma Griffin, ‘Empire and the Origins of Global Capitalism’ (16 mai)

Jeudi 16 mai à 17h : Emma Griffin (Queen Mary University of London), ‘Empire and the Origins of Global Capitalism’

The British industrial revolution has long, and rightly, been regarded as a turning point in world history, and the question of why it all began in Britain has produced a large and lively literature.

In the past twenty years, our understanding has been considerably enhanced by the repositioning of events in eighteenth-century Britain within global history frameworks. Yet this has resulted in some unwieldy comparisons between Britain, a small island, on the one hand; and very large, continental land masses – India, China, and North America – on the other. Not only do these comparisons involve a significant switch in scale, there is the added complication that some of these regions were themselves bound in complex colonial relationships with Britain.  By looking at European nations, similar in size, existing outside Britain’s empire, and indeed in some instances with imperial holdings and ambitions of their own, it is possible to shed new light on the complex and contested relationship between empire and industrialisation, and offer new answers as to why Britain industrialised first.

Emma Griffin  est professor of Modern British History à Queen Mary University of London et présidente de la Royal Historical Society. Elle a publié cinq ouvrages, dont Bread Winner: An Intimate History of the Victorian Economy (Yale University Press, 2020) et elle prépare une histoire globale de l’industrialisation.

James Fisher, autour de son ouvrage _The Enclosure of Knowledge: Books, Power & Agrarian Capitalism in Britain 1660-1800_ (25 avril)

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)

James Fisher viendra présenter son ouvrage, The Enclosure of Knowledge: Books, Power & Agrarian Capitalism in Britain 1660-1800 (Cambridge University Press, 2022) qui s’intéresse à l’essor de la production d’ouvrages d’agriculture et d’agronomie au dix-huitième siècle en Grande Bretagne et dont voici le résumé (en anglais) :


“The rise of agrarian capitalism in Britain is usually told as a story about markets, land and wages. The Enclosure of Knowledge reveals that it was also about books, knowledge and expertise. It argues that during the early modern period, farming books were a key tool in the appropriation of the traditional art of husbandry possessed by farm workers of all kinds. It challenges the dominant narrative of an agricultural ‘enlightenment’, in which books merely spread useful knowledge, by showing how codified knowledge was used to assert greater managerial control over land and labour. The proliferation of printed books helped divide mental and manual labour to facilitate emerging social divisions between labourers, managers and landowners. The cumulative effect was the slow enclosure of customary knowledge. By synthesising diverse theoretical insights, this study opens up a new social history of agricultural knowledge and reinvigorates long-term histories of knowledge under capitalism.”

 James Fisher is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Exeter. He completed his PhD in History at King’s College London in 2018. Befor joining Exeter in 2023, he taught at King’s College London, Royal Holloway, and the University of East London.