18th Century Study Day: Exploring Identities - The enslaved poet, the transsexual spy and the mixed race colonel

This event is for undergraduates, Year 12 and 13 students and teachers.

Join academics from Britain’s top universities for this 18th century study day.

- The day will comprise 3 rotating seminars lead by one or a pair of speakers and a keynote session lead by Joanna De Groot, Senior Lecturer in History at the University of York.

Keynote: The enslaved poet, the transsexual spy and the mixed race colonel: stories of eighteenth century selves lead by Joanna De Groot.

The three seminars will be on topics which form the basis of current academic research by the speaker(s).

Sample talks from the previous study day:

Writing Letters, Writing Lives: The Uses of Personal Documents

This session will explore what different forms of personal documents – letters, diaries, memorandum books – can tell us about the lives and identities of people in the past. Although these sources seem to give us a unique insight into the inner worlds of their writers, they can be tricky documents that misdirect, confuse, or simply ignore the things we might wish they told us. We will examine different sources, both from real people and fictional characters, to explore how the lives and experiences of their authors are represented and obscured by the private documents they have left behind.

Medicine and Mothers: Providing Healthcare in the Eighteenth Century

Premodern medicine is often viewed as primitive and risky, and many treatments for common ailments seem to us now to be cruel and deeply unpleasant. What this narrative overlooks is both the human need that drove people to these treatments, and the care which was taken to make them work. This session will explore how eighteenth-century carers, whether medical professionals or non-professionals like servants or mothers, attempted to help the sick, “reading” their bodies and responding with the best medicines they had. It will also examine the politics underlying the fight over who should care for patients, particularly pregnant women, as male midwives attempted to displace traditional female attendants.

Travel and Collecting on the Grand Tour

The Grand Tour in the eighteenth century was an extensive trip to Europe commonly made by wealthy English travellers as a culmination of their studies. Using extracts from travel journals, diaries, and letters, this session will first provide a broad overview of what going on the Grand Tour was like, discussing different itineraries, modes of travel, and popular sights and activities. The session will continue with a case study on the relationship between collecting and travel, focusing on how ancient ‘Etruscan’ vases brought back from Italy by British travellers became a fashionable and rich source of inspiration for eighteenth-century designers.

- There will be a round table discussion in each seminar.

- There will be a short plenary session at the end of the study day.

Lunch is included in the price and dietary requirements will be catered for.

This event is for undergraduates, Year 12 and 13 students and teachers.