2015: Political History and Life-Writing

Over four weeks between 27 January and 17 February 2015, OCLW hosted its prestigious annual series of Weinrebe Lectures on the subject of ‘Political History and Life-Writing’.

You can listen to podcasts of the lectures by clicking through the links (If there is no link, then the decision was made to not record or podcast the lecture, either because of sound quality or because of permissions).

Tuesday 27 January, 5.30-7pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:
Roy Foster ‘The Making of Saints: Politics, Biography and Hagiography in Modern Irish History.’

Professor Foster is one of Britain’s most eminent historians; he is also a world-renowned biographer and an accomplished and prolific critic, reviewer, and broadcaster. His books include Charles Stewart Parnell: The Man and His Family (1976); Lord Randolph Churchill: A Political Life (1981); Modern Ireland 1600-1972 (1988); The Irish Story:  Telling Tales and Making It Up in Ireland (2001), which won the 2003 Christian Gauss Award for Literary Criticism; W.B. Yeats, A Life. I:  The Apprentice Mage 1865-1914 (1997), which won the 1998 James Tait Black Prize for biography, and Volume II: The Arch-Poet, 1915-1939 (2003); Words Alone: Yeats and his Inheritances, derived from his Clark Lectures at the University of Cambridge; and, most recently, Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1923 (2014).

Tuesday 3 February 2015, 5.30-7pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:
Peter Hennessy, ‘The Importance of Being Personal: Political History and Life’.

Lord Hennessy, Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History at Queen Mary, University of London, is the country’s foremost historian of government, a regular contributor to the press, and the award-winning author of books including Never Again: Britain 1945-51 (1992); The Hidden Wiring: Unearthing the British Constitution (1995); Distilling the Frenzy: Writing the History of One’s Own Times(2012); Cabinets and the Bomb (2007); Having It So Good: Britain in the Fifties(2006); The Secret State: Whitehall and the Cold War (2002); and Establishment and Meritocracy (2014).

Tuesday 10 February 2015, 5.30-7pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:
Anne Deighton, ‘The Value-Added of Political Life-Writing: Ernest Bevin (1881-1951).’

Professor Deighton will speak about her latest research project, a political biography of Ernest Bevin, who was British Foreign Secretary in the 1940s and a central figure in the creation of many of the international institutions which shape our world today. Anne Deighton is a fellow of Wolfson College, and Professor of European International Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford. She is a renowned historian who has published important works on themes ranging from the contemporary history and political integration of Europe, European security institutions, the genesis of human rights issues, and the use, and abuse, of military force in the contemporary world.

Tuesday 17 February 2015, 5.30-7pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:
Margaret MacMillan, ‘Sometimes It Matters Who is in Power.’

Professor MacMillan is a world-renowned historian and an eminent public intellectual. Her books include Women of the Raj: The Mothers, Wives, and Daughters of the British Empire in India (2007) and Peacemakers: The Paris Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to Make Peace (2009). The latter was published in North America as Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World, and won the Duff Cooper Prize, the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction (the first woman to do so), the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History, the Silver Medal for the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award, and the Governor-General’s prize for non-fiction in 2003.

She is also the author of Nixon in China: The Week That Changed the World(entitled Nixon and Mao in the US) (2006), which was nominated in January 2007 for a Gelber Prize, awarded annually to the best book on international affairs published in English, and The Uses and Abuses of History (2008). Her most recent book is The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War (2013). Professor MacMillan comments frequently in the media on historical issues and current affairs.


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