Early Modern Material Cultures

A new six week seminar series jointly run by the IHR and V & A/RCA.

First seminar 5th May.

Programme below.

Early Modern Material Cultures


The Politics of Gesture: The Leaders’ Debate

‘the hand being the substitute and vicegerent of the tongue, in a full, and majestic way of expression, presents the signifying faculties of the soul, and the inward discourse of reason; and as another tongue, which we may justly call the spokesman of the body, it speaks for all the members thereof, denoting their suffrages, and including their votes.’ J[ohn] B[ulwer], Chirologia or the Natural Language of the Hand (1644)

“Because body language is unintentional it is much more honest and revealing than speech,” Dr Peter Collett, Sky News, April 15 2010.

‘… he is observ’d, when he speaks, to move his right Hand partly open’d, and his Fingers bending downwards in a Posture of one that is striving to grasp at a Heap of Money, which extraordinary Gesture of this famous Orator, shews how far his Principles, whatever they be, are influenc’d by that Beloved Mamon.’

The Censor, 10 August 1726, on John ‘Orator’ Henly.

Uh-oh those summer nights

I’m doing some talks in June and July.  On Sat 5 June it is Republic’s annual conference and I will be discussing Britain’s republican heritage alongside Geoffrey Robertson QC of Tyrannicide Brief and Putney Debates fame. On June 17 I will be taking part in the Firestation Bookswap. On 22 June I will be speaking as part of the St. Alban’s Literary Festival and on 12 July I will be talking to the Liberal Democrat History Group about Thomas Paine’s impact on subsequent radicals and liberals while Professor Ted Royle will be talking about Paine himself.

Tour t-shirts to follow.

In other news, there was a nice review of the paperback of A Radical History of Britain by Ian Pindar in the Guardian a few weekends ago.