‘New Approaches to Writing History’

6.30pm, Thursday 9 May 2019, followed by a reception. Clore Lecture Theatre, Torrington Place, Birkbeck, University of London

Organised in partnership with the Raphael Samuel History Centre Places are free but booking is essential

Join Costa Book winner Professor Bart Van Es (Oxford) and the historians Professor Sarah Knott (Indiana) and Professor Barbara Taylor (QMUL) to discuss recent innovations in historical writing.

How do we explain a new readiness to experiment; what does a fusing of genres mean for historical values; can form shape method and understanding of the past; and where next for experimental history writing?

Bart Van Es is professor of English Literature at Oxford University. His latest book, The Cut Out Girl: A Story of War and Family, Lost and Found (Penguin), won the 2018 Costa Book award earlier this year. 

Sarah Knott is associate professor in history at Indiana University and the author of Mother. An Unconventional History, published by Penguin in March 2019. 

Barbara Taylor is professor of humanities at Queen Mary, University of London, and the author of The Last Asylum. A Memoir of Madness in our Times (Penguin, 2014). 


How did feudalism work? The 2019 Eric Hobsbawm Memorial Lecture

Professor Chris Wickham (University of Oxford)

6.00pm, Tuesday 14 May 2019. Clore Lecture Theatre, Torrington Place, Birkbeck, University of London

The Eric Hobsbawm Memorial Lecture is organised by Birkbeck’s Department of History, Classics and Archaeology in collaboration with the Institute of Historical Research. Places are free but booking is essential.

Eric Hobsbawm was not very interested in medieval history, but he did edit and comment on Marx’s own thoughts on how ‘feudal’ economies worked. How do these stand up today? Do we have now to assume that medieval economies simply worked like capitalist ones in their basic rhythms, only less well? This lecture looks at alternative ways of understanding the economic logic which prevailed in the medieval period, and how its dynamic may have worked as well, on the basis of recent work on the Mediterranean, north-west Europe, and further afield.

Chris Wickham was Chichele Professor of Medieval History at the University of Oxford from 2005 to 2016. He is the author of 15 books, including Sleepwalking into a New World: The Emergence of Italian City Communes in the Twelfth Century (Princeton University Press, 2015) and Medieval Europe (Yale University Press, 2016).


Public History Now!

5-7pm, Friday 31 May 2019,London Metropolitan Archives

The IHR’s digital mapping project, Layers of London, hosts ‘Public History Now!’—an evening of inspiring projects and individuals working in the field of public history. Practitioners will give short talks showcasing the breadth of activity currently taking place in the field, follow by a guest discussion and responses from participants. 

Booking available from late April via www.history.ac.uk. For more information contact: karina.flynn@sas.ac.uk