skip to primary navigationskip to content

Voice and Crime in Early Modern France

28th March 2018

Old Combination Room, Trinity College, 9.30am-5.30pm

One of the outstanding achievements of social history has been to read criminal records 'against the grain' and listen to voices from the past that otherwise go unheard. Yet this approach has been challenged by critics who deny that criminal records give access to the accused, since the 'confessing subject' is constituted only through the agency of the judge, who in an inquisitorial process controls the discourse of a trial.

This conference explores new ways to read criminal justice sources for multiple voices and perspectives, including a variety of people – officials as well as migrants, magicians, nobles, and slaves – and places – the city, the country, and the wider world.

Bringing together Anglophone and Francophone historians and literary scholars, this conference moves forward with the debate over voice and crime with reference to the methods and sources with which it began, between the 'history from below' advocated by Natalie Zemon Davis, Arlette Farge, and the new social history associated with the Annales school, and the history of discourse advocated by Michel Foucault and his followers.



Tatiana Debbagi-Baranova (Paris)
Gary Ferguson (Virginia),
Mark Greengrass (Sheffield),
Eva Guillorel (Caen),
Tom Hamilton (Cambridge),
Nicholas Hammond (Cambridge),
Marie Houllemare (Amiens),
Suzannah Lipscomb (Roehampton),
Jan Machielsen (Cardiff).


Contact Tom Hamilton ( for further information and to register visit Registration costs £18 for lunch.

This conference is supported by the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Fund and Trinity College, Cambridge.