Twenty-Two Years of Cultural History


The Modern Cultural History Seminar celebrated its final meeting at the end of this academic year, marking 22 years of research conversations and conviviality.

Founded by Lawrence Klein, Peter Mandler and Hubertus Jahn, the convenors were also joined over the years by Vic Gatrell, Lucy Delap and David Cowan. The seminar drew on the intellectual energies of prior projects – the Intellectual History Seminar founded by Stefan Collini, Anthony Pagden, Simon Schaffer and Marilyn Butler, as well as the Social History Seminar of Gareth Stedman Jones and Michael Sonenscher. But it also reflected the new prominence and capaciousness of cultural history as its own distinctive subfield in recent decades.

Seminar discussions have played a prominent role in interrogating cultural elements across many areas of modern history, including histories of emotions, sexuality, labour, media, education, collecting, smell, the environment and human-animal interactions.

It has been particularly enjoyable to host so many graduate students, whose work has often been so central to the flourishing and development of the field.

Prof Peter Mandler has been a linchpin presence across this whole period, and the Faculty thanks him and the other convenors for their work, as well as the many speakers who have made the seminar such a fun part of the historical research culture at Cambridge.

Due to leave and retirement, the Modern Cultural History Seminar will be suspended in 2024-5.