Core seminar in economic and social history

Seminar or event series

The Core Seminar in Economic & Social History Cambridge brings together the nine specialist research seminar series in the field, which the run their separate programmes in the Lent and Easter terms:

  • African Economic History
  • Medieval economic and social history;
  • Early modern economic and social history;
  • Modern economic and social history;
  • Quantitative history;
  • Global Economic History
  • The Centre for Financial History;
  • The Centre for History and Economics;
  • The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure;

Talks in this series are aimed at those interested in a broad range of periods and places, with a shared focus on economic and social issues.

This term's seminars will run weekly from 5th October until 30th November.

5th October

Jeremy Adelman (Cambridge)

Earth hunger: Global integration and the need for strangers


12th October

Maria Bach (Lausanne) jointly authored with François Allison (Lausanne)

A comparison of national accounting in India and USA in the 1860s and 70s


19th October

Leigh Gardner (London School of Economics)

How was power shared in colonial Africa? Taxation and representation in the British empire


26th October

Jordan Claridge (London School of Economics)

Wages and labour relations in late Medieval England: It’s not (all) about the money


2nd November

Béatrice Robic (The Sorbonne)

New estimates on child labour and education in England and Wales (1870-1914)


9th November

Paul Warde (Cambridge)

Tamlaght 1840: Work, gender and production in a proto-industrial community

This paper examines a simple question: what did people actually do in the pre-industrial economy? Many of the indicators used in assessing economic development, and understanding the economic choices available to households and individuals, rely on information about working days, types of labour, and earning opportunities. This information is often scarce, or must be inferred from outside commentators, or simply assumed. The paper uses a (possibly) unique survey taking in the northern Irish parish of Tamlaght in 1840, which gives an almost complete record of the economic resources available to hundreds of households, and highly unusually, detailed information on work by season. This allows a detailed breakdown of the labour input from men and women into specific tasks, and an understanding of productivity and returns. In turn, the information provides insight into the state of Irish rural society on the eve of the Great Famine, arguing that the circumstances of many surviving from small potato plots was a rational response to the pressures on the proto-industrial economy caused by mechanization.


16th November

Alessandro Nuvolari (Pisa)

 Railroads and inventive activities: new evidence from Italy, 1855-1914


23rd November

Bruno Blonde (Antwerp)

The sweatshops of the consumer revolution. Economic growth, social inequality

and material culture in Flanders and Brabant (c.18) 


30th November

Martin Daunton (Cambridge)

The economic government of the world 1933-2023


We run hybrid: on zoom and in the room (Faculty Room 6). Those present in person are welcome to join us afterwards for drinks in the Faculty's Senior Common Room and dinner with the speaker at a local restaurant.

Please sign up to the list at for details.

Seminar convenors: Amy Erickson and Leigh Shaw-Taylor

The core seminar is grateful for the support of the Trevelyan Fund.

Page credits & information

Image: detail from Four African American women seated on steps of building at Atlanta University, Georgia from Library of Congress collection. The image was part of the W.E.B. Du Bois collection exhibited at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900.

At a glance

Michaelmas Term
Thursdays at 5.15pm
Faculty of History, Room 6
Mailing list
Open to
Everybody welcome