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Sheffield Hallam University
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Telephone: 0114 225 4526
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Professorial Lecture - Professor Paul Pickering
Telling the people's story: writing, representing and selling the past
Friday 28 June2013
5.45 for 6pm
Room 9130, Cantor Building, Sheffield Hallam University City Campus
Pondering ancient history, George Orwell once pointed out that among the 'hundreds of millions of slaves on whose backs civilization rested, generation after generation have left behind them no record whatever. We do not even know their names.' In the whole of Greek and Roman history, he confessed, he could think of only 'two or possibly three'. Ancient historians might disagree with this number but Orwell's point is a reminder that it is only relatively recently that we have become interested in the people's story and that we have begun to learn the names of those women and men who transformed Britain into the proverbial 'workshop of the world', who built an empire upon which the sun never set. This lecture will consider the uses and abuses of the past that have arisen when telling the people's story. It will suggest that silences in the historical record have been filled by many voices as well as the sound of the cash register.
Professor Paul Pickering is Deputy Director of the Research School of Humanities at Australia's leading university, the Australian National University in Canberra. He has published extensively on 19th-century British, Irish and anglophone political and social history, looking principally at social movements and the repertoire of political and cultural action they employed. He is regarded as one of the leading historians of the Chartist movement. He has also published on commemoration and public memory, historical re-enactment and contemporary politics. His most recent monograph is Feargus O'Connor: A Political Life (Merlin, 2008), a biography of the Anglo-Irish political leader. His current project, Sounds of Liberty, is a study of the role of music in radical politics 1790-1914 that will be published by Manchester University Press in 2013.
Places are free and include refreshments but must be booked in advance.
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