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.

Myriam-Isabelle Ducrocq, ‘Harrington’s republic in eighteenth-century France’ (21 déc.)

Jeudi 21 décembre 2023 à 17h : Myriam-Isabelle Ducrocq (université Paris Nanterre), ‘Harrington’s republic in eighteenth-century France’

In his major book The Commonwealth of Oceana (1656) and his subsequent writings, James Harrington vindicated democracy in an age when the term was often synonymous with anarchy (Cuttica and Peltonen, 2019). Beyond the act of resistance to tyranny, he exposed the constitutional means of implementing popular sovereignty in a vast country. In doing so, Harrington has incarnated a distinctive form of republicanism in seventeenth-century England, and, as I tried to show, in eighteenth-century France to inspire various constitutional projects.

By reconstructing the history of his reception, La République de Harrington dans la France des Lumières et de la Révolution (Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2022) aims to bridge the gap between the great Pocockian narrative of Machiavellian republicanism in Great-Britain and the American colonies (The Machiavellian Moment, 1975) and the historiography of the French Revolution. The present book is set against the panorama offered by Rachel Hammersley (The English republican tradition in eighteenth-century France, 2010) and aims to go further. On the one hand, it shows the major role played by authors such as Hume, Jaucourt or Rousseau, along with numerous minores, notably translators and commentators, in reviving Harrington’s ideas. On the other hand, it shows the diversity of his intellectual legacy. He did not only stand as the inspirer of specific political institutions: as political economy developed, Harrington also appeared as the theoretician of a distribution of wealth among the people, perceived by many as the true basis of a stable political order.

Myriam-Isabelle Ducrocq is Professor of British civilisation at Paris Nanterre University. Her research has focused on the history of political thought in early modern England and more particularly on English republicanism and its reception in eighteenth century France. She has authored a monograph, Aux Sources de la démocratie anglaise. De Thomas Hobbes à John Locke (Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 2012) and has directed a collective volume with Laïla Ghermani, Le Prince, le despote, le tyran : figures du souverain en Europe de la Renaissance aux Lumières/The Prince, the Despot, the Tyrant : figures of the sovereign in Europe from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment (Honoré Champion, 2019). She has also translated Rachel Hammersley’s book: Entre Anciens et modernes. La Tradition républicaine anglaise dans la France du dix-huitième siècle (Le Bord de l’eau, Nouvelle Bibliothèque républicaine, 2022).



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 : Ophélie Siméon (Sorbonne Nouvelle), « Anna Doyle Wheeler (1785-1848): itinéraire politique et militant d’une pionnière du féminisme » (cette séance remplace celle avec John Tolan, initialement prévue).

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

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’  (la séance est annulée)

Jeudi 29 février: Béatrice Robic (Nanterre) : « Le travail des enfants en Angleterre et au pays de Galles entre 1870 et 1914 »

Jeudi 14 mars : Perry Gauci (Oxford) : ‘Friends and Countrymen: The London Private Banker 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 maiEmma Griffin (Queen Mary University of London), ‘Empire and the Origins of Global Capitalism’


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 :  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCveumFeGDtmJP8GTG3S8DOQ

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

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.

David Armitage : ‘John Locke, Treaties, and the Two Treatises of Government’ (2 fév.)

Maison de la Recherche, 28 rue Serpente, Paris 6e, de 17h à 18h30, Salle D421 (La séance aura lieu en présentiel uniquement. Un enregistrement sera diffusé ultérieurement sur la chaine youtube du séminaire).
Jeudi 2 février 2023 à 17h. David Armitage, Harvard/ Queen Mary University London: ‘John Locke, Treaties, and the Two Treatises of Government’

In the Two Treatises of Government (1690), John Locke offered an account of the separation of powers that was at once novel and almost entirely without influence. In chapter XII of the Second Treatise, he divided the powers of government conventionally between the legislative and the executive; unprecedentedly, the third power he enumerated was the “federative,” “the power of War and Peace, Leagues and Alliances, and all the Transactions, with all Persons and Communities without the Commonwealth”. Just why Locke highlighted the federative in this way—and then almost immediately collapsed it back into the executive power—presents a conundrum. This paper accounts for its prominence by tracing Locke’s engagement with treaties and treaty-making across his career, from his earliest appearance in print (with two poems celebrating a treaty), via his early diplomatic activities, his trafficking in treaties in France and the Netherlands, his notes on treaties in his journals and elsewhere, and his engagement with treaties as a colonial administrator in both the early 1670s and the late 1690s. It shows that Locke was deeply immersed in the burgeoning treaty culture of his time and that this hitherto unremarked interest shaped his peculiar and mostly unparalleled account of the royal prerogative as it stood on the eve of the Glorious Revolution. The paper concludes with reflections on how we might construe the relationship between Locke the diplomatic actor and student of treaties on the one hand and Locke the constitutional analyst and political theorist on the other. 

David Armitage is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard University and currently also an Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of the History of Political Thought, Queen Mary University of London. He is the author or editor of eighteen books, among them The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (2000), The Declaration of Independence: A Global History (2007), Foundations of Modern International Thought (2013) and Civil Wars: A History in Ideas (2017). He is currently completing an edition of John Locke’s colonial writings for the Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke and working on a new global history of Britain through its treaties and on a study of opera and international law.

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). 


Anne Verjus, « James Henry Lawrence (1773-1840), ou quand la pensée aristocratique sert la cause des femmes » (21 oct.)

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  octobre à 17h : Anne Verjus (ENS Lyon, UMR Triangle), « James Henry Lawrence (1773-1840), ou quand la pensée aristocratique sert la cause des femmes »

L’Empire des Nairs, de James H. Lawrence, est une utopie dans laquelle ont été abolis le mariage et la paternité. Elle a l’originalité de prévoir les moyens d’assurer aux femmes une indépendance matérielle à l’égard des hommes. Mais, et c’est son paradoxe principal, elle se veut moins au service de l’émancipation féminine que de la consolidation de l’authenticité des lignées. Utopie avant tout aristocratique, elle présente pourtant le projet féministe le plus radical de son temps. Peu connue aujourd’hui, elle fut à l’époque lue et relayée par Shelley, Godwin, Schiller ou Goethe, ou encore Richard Carlile, Claire Demar ou Flora Tristan.

 Anne Verjus est directrice de recherche au CNRS en science politique et histoire sociale des idées. 



Bernard Lightman et Richard England, “The Metaphysical Society and the End of Metaphysics” (6 mai)

Jeudi 6 mai 2021 à  17 h : Bernard Lightman (York University) et Richard England (Eastern Illinois University), “The Metaphysical Society and the End of Metaphysics”

The Metaphysical Society was a unique London debating club that lasted for eleven years, from 1869 to 1880.  The debaters came from every sphere of intellectual endeavor, from politics and religion, to science and literature. The roster of members included many of the English intellectual superstars of the period, such as the liberal politician William Gladstone, the biologist T. H. Huxley, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster Henry Edward Manning, and the Poet Laureate Alfred Tennyson. During the period when the Metaphysical Society held its meetings there were questions being raised about the future of the study of metaphysics.  So why did members of the Society decide to name their debating club the Metaphysical Society?  This paper will explore how the concept of metaphysics was understood by the members of the society during the 1870’s.  It became an issue of contention within the society, as Christian intellectuals attempted to defend the validity of metaphysics from the criticisms of fellow members who questioned the existence of such a discipline, and ironically, the raison d’être of the society itself.


Bernard Lightman is Distinguished Research Professor in the Humanities Department at York University, and Past President of the History of Science Society.   
Richard England  is Dean of the Pine Honors College and professor of philosophy at Eastern Illinois University. 

– Catherine Marshall, Bernard Lightman & Richard England (eds), The Papers of the Metaphysical Society (1869-1880), Oxford, Oxford, University Press, 2015.
– Catherine Marshall, Bernard Lightman and Richard England (eds), The Metaphysical Society (1869-1880): Intellectual Life in Mid-Victorian England, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2019. 

Participer à la réunion Zoom : lien habituel, disponible auprès d’Emmanuelle de Champs

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)sorbonne-universite.fr 

Marion Leclair : « Quels lecteurs pour le roman radical anglais ? (1780-1850) » (13/02)

Marion Leclair, de l’Université d’Arras, présentera sa communication « Quels lecteurs pour le roman radical anglais ? (1780-1850) » le jeudi 13 février de 17h à 18h30. Maison de la Recherche, 28 rue Serpente, Paris 6e, salle D421.

Résumé : Dans les années 1790 en Angleterre, alors que fait rage la controverse Burke-Paine sur la Révolution française, le roman est perçu par certains « jacobins » anglais (ainsi que par leurs adversaires « anti-jacobins ») comme une arme de diffusion des idées radicales. William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft ou John Thelwall peuvent ainsi l’utiliser, comme l’écrit Godwin dans la préface de Caleb Williams, comme « véhicule » d’instruction politique, auprès d’un lectorat grossi par le développement du marché du roman au cours du dix-huitième siècle. La majorité des études consacrées aux romans radicaux, qui abordent ce corpus sous l’angle de l’histoire intellectuelle, s’intéressent peu au lectorat effectif du roman radical – cantonnant l’étude de leur réception à celle de leurs éminents lecteurs (Coleridge, Byron, Shelley) au sein du cercle Godwin, et oubliant de questionner la possibilité de diffusion élargie revendiquée par leurs auteurs. Le croisement de différentes sources extra-littéraires (catalogues d’éditeurs et de bibliothèques de prêt, presse périodique, mémoires d’artisans) suggère au contraire une diffusion relativement restreinte, à une époque où le prix des romans neufs reste élevé et leur tirage encore modeste. Et si presse et sociétés radicales facilitent l’accès à l’imprimé de l’artisanat urbain politisé par le mouvement radical, la culture du savoir utile qui l’imprègne aiguille ses membres vers de plus saines lectures. C’est cette histoire de la réception des romans radicaux, jusqu’à leur intégration parallèle et parcellaire, au début de la période victorienne, au canon romanesque et au panthéon chartiste, que l’exposé se propose de retracer.

Lina Weber: « Political economy after Enlightenment. The case of Dugald Stewart » (24/10)

Lina Weber, de University of St Andrews, présentera sa communication « Political economy after Enlightenment. The case of Dugald Stewart » le jeudi 24 octobre 2019 de 17h à 18h30. Maison de la Recherche, 28 rue Serpente, Paris 6e, salle D421


Scholars often assigned Dugald Stewart (1753-1828) a crucial role in popularising and disseminating the Scottish Enlightenment. A highly esteemed professor for moral philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, Stewart was the first to dedicate a separate academic course on political economy in Britain. Since he never published these lectures and his manuscripts were burnt posthumously, scholars have relied on the edition made by William Hamilton in the 1850s. Drawing on hitherto-neglected notes of students, this paper will shed new light on Stewart’s political economy and on his position between the Enlightenment and Victorian liberalism.
Biographie : Lina Weber a soutenu en 2019 une thèse à l’université d’Amsterdam intitulée “‘Bound by debt. Political arguments concerning state finance in Great Britain and the Dutch Republic, 1694-1795’. Elle a publié des articles sur la pensée économique de David Hume et d’isaac Iselin. Elle est actuellement postdoctorante à l’université de St Andrews (Ecosse), et participe au projet « Après les Lumières – la vie intellectuelle en Ecosse de 1790 à 1843 » financé par le Leverhulme Trust. Elle travaille notamment sur l’économie politique et la philosophie morale de Dugald Stewart.

David Wootton, “Power, pleasure and profit: insatiable appetites from Hobbes to Smith” (09/05)

David Wootton (Anniversary Professor, University of York) présentera sa communication “Power, pleasure and profit: insatiable appetites from Hobbes to Smith” autour de son livre Power, Pleasure and Profit (Harvard UP, 2018) jeudi 9 mai 2019 de 17h30 à 19h. Maison de la Recherche, 28 rue Serpente, Paris 6e , salle D421

“My argument is that moral, social, and economic life was transformed in line with Hobbes’s claim that pleasure and happiness are purely subjective, and that there is no summum bonum or highest good. I trace the impact of this view through the moral, political and economic thinking of the Enlightenment, particularly the British Enlightenment, from Locke to Bentham. In my talk I will touch briefly on some of the key themes of my book (with particular reference to Hume), and I will look in particular at a topic where much of the pioneering intellectual work was French, but which lie at the heart of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (1776): the question of famine. I will argue that Smith’s inability to think about famine is symptomatic of the intellectual failures of the post-Hobbesian Enlightenment. These intellectual failures continue to be our own.”

David Wootton is Anniversary Professor of History at the University of York. He works on European cultural and intellectual history from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. He has published widely on the history of science and medicine (Bad Medicine: Doctors doing harm since Hippocrates, 2006, Galileo: Watcher of the Skies, 2010 and The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution, 2016). His latest book, Power, Pleasure and Profit: Insatiable Appetites from Machiavelli to Madison was recently published by Harvard University Press (2018). 

Discutante : Catherine Marshall (Cergy-Pontoise)

Contact : Emmanuelle de Champs: emmanuelle.de-champ@u-cergy.fr  

Keith Gildart : “Writing Labour Life Stories: The Dictionary of Labour Biography in the Twenty-First Century” (23/11)

Keith Gildart, professeur à University of Wolverhampton (Labour and Social History) et co-éditeur du Dictionary of Labour Biography, présentera sa communication “Writing Labour Life Stories: The Dictionary of Labour Biography in the Twenty-First Century” le jeudi 23 novembre 2017 de 17h30 à 19h30. Maison de la Recherche, 28 rue Serpente, 75006, salle D421.

Résumé :

“The idea of a Dictionary of Labour Biography (DLB) originated with the socialist activist and theoretician G.D.H. Cole. For many years Cole had been collecting biographical snippets of labour movement figures. Names and details were initially entered into a number of manuscript volumes. In early 1959 after Cole’s death, his widow handed the volumes to Asa Briggs and John Saville. They both agreed that if research funds became available then Saville should take over the work of compiling a Dictionary using the Cole manuscripts as a starting point. It was first intended to produce a single large volume on the lines of Who’s Who but the scope of the Dictionary grew as the work progressed. Once information started to be collected it was clear that the project would have to be multi-volume and open-ended. With the publication of the first edition in 1972 the DLB has now run to 14 volumes. This presentation will explore the origins and development of the DLB, the methodological challenges it faces in the twenty first century, and the ways it can be used to explore the past, present, and future of labour history.


Discutant : Paul Boulland, co-éditeur du Maitron – dictionnaire biographique du mouvement ouvrier français, CNRS, Centre d’Histoire sociale du XXe siècle (UMR8058), Centre Pouchet (59, rue Pouchet, 75017 Paris)