Modern British History Workshop


Image credit: Thomas Malton (1748-1804), King's Parade, Cambridge (detail), 1798-99. Oil on canvas, 95.3 x 127 cm.
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven, CT

The Modern British History Workshop offers a welcoming and encouraging forum for MPhils, PhDs and ECRs from Cambridge or elsewhere to share their research on the history of Britain and Ireland since 1700. Topics covered are historical in substance, but may draw from cognate disciplines such as English, politics, philosophy, sociology, geography, theology, museum studies or art history. So as to accommodate those attending the Modern British History Seminar, the workshop will convene on alternate Thursdays at 5pm unless otherwise stated, and will be held in-person at a central Cambridge location. We are currently exploring hybrid options and will be willing to accept submissions identifying this as a preference when our calls for papers are live. Occasionally we will collaborate with other workshops in the Faculty, sometimes necessitating an alteration to the schedule or venue. The format is flexible, but sessions typically take the form of two 20-30 minute papers, followed by a shared Q&A. Conversations are welcome to continue over drinks afterwards.

Michaelmas Term Card

Inaugural Session and Pub Social
Thursday 19 October, 5PM to 7PM, Gulliver Room, Furness Lodge, Emmanuel College
George Palmer (University of Cambridge), ‘William Cunningham and the Question of Priestly Politics, c. 1885-1910’

Anglo-French Relations
Thursday 2 November, 5PM to 7PM, Gulliver Room, Furness Lodge, Emmanuel College
Mario Realini (Independent Scholar), ‘London, 1860-1879: Consumerism and Other Oddities in the Eyes of a French Traveller’
Matthew Downey (Independent Scholar), ‘Palmerston, Bonapartism, and Public Opinion: How Tension Allowed for Strength in the Anglo-French Relationship, 1851-58’

Eighteenth-century Emotions, a Collaboration with Workshop of Memory and Emotions
Thursday 16 November, 5PM to 7PM, Leslie Stephen Room, Trinity Hall
Lucy Wray (University of Bristol), ‘Race, Religion and Migration: Emotional Responses of Lascars’
Brendan Tam (University of Warwick), ‘Speaking Without “Personality”: “Honourable Friend” and the Parliamentary Rhetoric of Friendship in the Eighteenth-Century House of Commons’

Critical Interdisciplinarity, a Collaboration with Workshop of Memory and Emotions
Wednesday 22 November, 5PM to 7PM, JRP Seminar Room, Emmanuel College
Ivana Dizdar (University of Toronto/Musée d’Orsay), ‘Looking North: Canada at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition, London, 1886’
Ruari Paterson-Achenbach (University of Cambridge), ‘Outsider Music: On Sonic Aesthetics, Bad Affects and Ugly Sounds’
Daniel Johnston (University of Leicester), ‘”Tis His Hand that Hides my Sun”: Emotion, Providence, and Song in the Life and Historiography of Isaac Watts’

Speech and its Limitations
Thursday 30 November, 5PM to 7PM, Gulliver Room, Furness Lodge, Emmanuel College
Daniel Gilman (University of Cambridge), ‘”The Magic of Speech”: Eloquence Against the Slave Trade, 1789-1807’
Tom Parkinson (University of Cambridge), ‘”A Race of Deaf-Mutes”: Speech Disability in British Anthropology, c. 1854-1890’

Contact us

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Follow this link to subscribe to the workshop mailing list. For any other queries, please contact the co-convenors.

2023-2024 Co-conveners

Jake Bransgrove (

George Palmer (