ESSE 2021

From 08/30/2021 to 09/03/2021

Lyon - France

Plenary Speaker Linda Colley

Linda Colley is Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History at Princeton University and a Fellow in History at the Swedish Collegium of Advanced Study. Born in the UK, she earned her BA from Bristol University, and her MA and Ph.D. at Cambridge. Teaching at the latter institution until 1981, she then moved to Yale where she became a University Professor. From 1997-2003, she was a Research Professor at the London School of Economics, and moved to her present position in 2003. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and was made a C.B.E. in the UK for services to history. She holds seven Honorary Degrees. Her books have been translated into 15 languages and include In Defiance of Oligarchy: The Tory Party 1714-1760 (1982), Namier (1988), Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837 (1992), which won the Wolfson Prize, Captives: Britain, Empire and World 1600-1850 (2002), The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History (2006), named one of the ten best non-fiction books of the year by the New York Times, and Acts of Union and Disunion (2014), based on fifteen lectures she delivered on BBC Radio 4 in advance of the referenda on Scottish independence and BREXIT. Her most recent book The Gun, the Ship and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions and the Making of the Modern World was published this March. Linda Colley has also organized exhibitions at the British Library in London and the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, and she writes occasionally for the London Review of Books, the New York Review of Books, and the Financial Times.

Plenary lecture: Written Constitutions as Writing: The Paradoxes of the British Case

Constitutions are usually approached only in a compartmentalized fashion: as texts to do with law and politics, divorced from literature in general. Yet the exponential spread of written constitutions after 1750 drew heavily on forces that also shaped the evolution and consumption of other modes of writing. In this lecture, Linda Colley develops these points with special reference to Britain, a locus of literary creativity that seemingly however rejected – and still precariously rejects – the pull of the written and codified constitution.