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Past events: 2015/16

September 2015: Eighteenth-Century Femininities. A new CHASE network

    Launch of a new CHASE network on the theme of ‘Eighteenth-Century Femininities’.  The purpose of the event was to invite researchers from across departments and schools at CHASE institutions  (the Universities of East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex, the Open University, the Courtauld Institute of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London, Birkbeck, University of London and SOAS, University of London) to get to know each other, to foster research collaborations, and to discuss new projects which could emerge from this interdisciplinary network.  Although the focus is intially eighteenth-century France, we hope to develop a transnational dimension, and bring together scholars from a range of fields: cultural history, literature (e.g. French, English, German, Spanish, comparative), history of art and material cultures.

November 2015: Public lecture by Prof. Tita Chico, ‘Aesthetics, Mediation, and Difference: British Literature and Science’

    Lecture by Tita Chico, Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Maryland.


    Professor Chico is the author of Designing Women: The Dressing Room in Eighteenth-Century English Literature and Culture (2005), and co-editor of Atlantic Worlds in the Long Eighteenth Century: Seduction and Sentiment (2012), with Toni Bowers. She is also editor of The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation. This talk relates to her current book project, Experimentalism: Literary Knowledge and Science in the British Enlightenment.

December 2015: Reading Group, led by Dr. Thom Braun, Department of History of Art, Birkbeck College, ‘A Walk Around Eighteenth-Century Covent Garden’

    The most famous image of someone walking in eighteenth-century Covent Garden is by William Hogarth: his Morning, from The Four Times of the Day.

    In the eighteenth century Covent Garden piazza was the centre of a dynamic ‘round-the-clock’ urban space that encompassed a fruit and vegetable market, a theatre, artists’ studios, print shops, coffee houses, bagnios, and houses of ill repute. It was one of the defining spaces of eighteenth-century London, and, as such, it was represented across a range of media in a variety of ways. As well as being the subject of more than twenty paintings and scores of prints, Covent Garden is mentioned in contemporary novels, poems, continental guidebooks to London, and a range of other texts.

    With its main focus on the visual, and starting with maps and mapping, this interdisciplinary session looked at a sample of topographical prints, all of which mediate the space in different ways. Through discussion of the images - and in relation to other insights that participants bring to the session - we explored some of the ways in which a key metropolitan space was understood and represented through the century.

February 2016: Reading Group - A Life Scribbled in the Margins: The World of Joseph Bufton of Coggeshall, 1650-1718, Brodie Waddell, Lecturer in Early Modern History at Birkbeck

    Joseph Bufton was an inconsequential tradesman who lived a rather ordinary life in later Stuart Essex. However, unlike almost all of his contemporaries, he left a substantial collection of writings to posterity, comprising eleven volumes of notes, memorandum, extracts and even some poetry. He used the blank pages and margins of printed almanacs to chronicle his family, his trade, his community, his religion and his nation. Dr. Brodie Waddell introduced Bufton and showed why we should care about this obscure individual. What is the value of such a microhistory?


    Dr. Waddell researches early modern English history, focusing on social relations, economic life and popular culture. His book is entitled God, Duty and Community in English Economic Life, 1660-1720 (Boydell, 2012), and his most recent article is ‘The Politics of Economic Distress in the Aftermath of the Glorious Revolution, 1689-1702’, English Historical Review (April 2015).