Dear PhD students,

I would like to draw your attention to this roundtable discussion on Friday next week — it should be of interest not only to those amongst you who study 19th-century history, but also those who specialise in adjoining epochs, as this has important raminfications for the academic environments in which we operate, and for how the future job market in History (and related disciplines!) will shape up.

best wishes, Maiken (Umbach)

Roundtable: Still embarrassed by the nineteenth century? The marginalisation of nineteenth-century History.

Friday, 11 February Samuel Alexander Building, A.116 16.00

Almost a decade ago, the US-based intellectual historian of Europe, Suzanne Marchand, gave a key note address to the Consortium on Revolutionary Europe entitled ‘Embarrassed by the nineteenth century’. She asked why, in the United States at least, historians seemed to be deserting the nineteenth century, both to work on the early modern period and on the twentieth. Marchand identified many possible explanations: these ranged from the impact of new theory and methodologies to altered perceptions of political relevance; from the nineteenth-century’s tendency to draw the fire of those inspired by an ‘anti-Eurocentric animus’ to exasperation at the distorting primacy of Britain, France and Germany in nineteenth-century studies; from a growing recognition of the lines of continuity between the 1800s and earlier centuries, thus challenging its place as a turning point in modernisation, to an equally strong recognition that many of the changes long associated with the period actually only really took effect after the fin de siècle. While appealing to historians to continue working on the nineteenth century, Marchand recognised that for had for many it had ‘become the era of the not yet, or the already done’ while ‘the things that it did invent have become more embarrassing than ever.’ This CultMEP roundtable draws together four historians with interests in the nineteenth century to discuss whether the nineteenth century really has lost its significance and popularity for academic historians, and, if so, why.

Prof. Andreas Fahrmeir

University of Manchester Visiting Hallsworth Professor /Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt-am-Main Publications include: Revolutionen und Reformen: Europa 1789-1850 (2010), Citizenship: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Concept (2007), and Citizens and Aliens: Foreigners and the Law in Britain and the German States, 1789-1870 (2000)

Prof. Martin Hewitt

Manchester Metropolitan University

Publications include: The Emergence of Stability in the Industrial City: Manchester 1832-67 (1996), and ‘Why the notion of Victorian Britain does make sense’, Victorian Studies (2006)

Prof. Bertand Taithe

University of Manchester

Publications include: The Killer Trail: A Colonial Scandal in the Heart of Africa (2009), Citizenship and Wars: France in Turmoil 1870-1871 (2001), and Defeated Flesh: Welfare, Warfare and the Making of Modern France (1999)

Prof. Stuart Jones

University of Manchester

Publications include: Intellect and Character in Victorian England: Mark Pattison and the Invention of the Don (2007), Victorian Political Thought (2000), and The French State in Question: Public Law and Political Argument in the Third Republic (1993).

Looking forward to seeing you there!