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History After Hobsbawm

A major international conference will consider the legacy of the great historian

A major international history conference, organised by Birkbeck and the journal Past & Present, is being held from Tuesday 29 April – Thursday 1 May. The event will bring together the world’s leading historians to consider the legacy of the great historian Professor Eric Hobsbawm, and the future of their academic discipline.

Professor Hobsbawm worked at Birkbeck for over 60 years, joining the College as a lecturer in 1947 and remaining as President until his death in 2012. His work, including the trilogy The Age of Revolution, The Age of Capital and The Age of Empire, was instrumental in changing the way in which history is being studied.

Dr Jan Rüger, a Reader in Modern History at Birkbeck and one of the convenors of the History After Hobsbawm conference, said: “Eric Hobsbawm was an expert at weaving together the different levels of historical narrative, connecting what was happening to an individual or family with the bigger national or international picture in a way that illustrated how events at European or world level affected people’s everyday lives. Hobsbawm left us with an incredible legacy. His impact on the study of history can hardly be overestimated.

“As socially-engaged historians, and Eric’s former colleagues, it felt like the right time to hold this conference which will enable us to engage with the question of where the discipline is headed and what it means to be a historian in the 21st century.”

The conference will begin with the inaugural Eric Hobsbawm Memorial Lecture, delivered by Professor Mark Mazower, Ira D. Wallach Professor of History at Columbia University. Sessions will have no specialised geographical or chronological focus, but will instead examine the broad themes which Hobsbawm’s work was engaged with, including class, capitalism, global environmental history, empire, protest and Latin America. Many of the leading names within the discipline will give papers, including Catherine Hall (UCL), Peter Burke (Cambridge), Maya Jasanoff (Harvard), Rana Mitter (Oxford), Emma Rothschild (Harvard/Cambridge) and Geoff Eley (Michigan), among many others.

History After Hobsbawm online

Many of the conference sessions will be covered on the History After Hobsbawm blog over the coming week.  You can also follow events on Twitter, using the hashtag #AfterHobsbawm.

The conference has already attracted media attention, with articles in History Today and History Matters, a feature in Brazil’s O Globo newspaper (in Portuguese).

[Image: Eric Hobsbawm by Marc Boxer.]

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