HistFest 2020: Sunday Day Pass

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  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email: boxoffice@bl.uk
  • Full Price: £50.00 Other concessions available

A dynamic history festival that celebrates the brightest and the best in the world of history.

HistFest is an exciting festival that celebrates the brightest and the best in the world of history. Over the course of three days, the festival will entertain and educate, featuring an eclectic mix of talks, panels, live performances and workshops.

Sunday line up:

Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity

10.00 – 10.50
In popular imagination, as in her portraits, Elizabeth I is the image of monarchical power. But this image is as much armour as a reflection of the truth. Dr Helen Castor treats festival goers to an illuminating account of England's iconic queen, revealing a reign shaped - both in terms of practical politics and personal psychology - by a profound and enduring insecurity.

Orientalism: From Napoleon to Game of Thrones

11.30 – 12.20
In 1798 Napoleon invaded Egypt with two armies marching beside him. Alongside his regular army, he also took an army of 167 scholars or 'savants', whose task it was to document this new land, capturing not territory but the knowledge and essence of Egypt itself. To understand and know Egypt, to possess it intellectually, would aid in its military subjugation. The military invasion ultimately failed, but the scholarly invasion was successful beyond anyone’s expectations, giving rise to Western Orientalism - a way of seeing that imagines, emphasizes, exaggerates and distorts differences of other peoples and cultures, allowing the West to dominate and have authority over the East, or ‘Orient’.

In this thought-provoking talk, Dr Akil Awan charts the unsettling history of Orientalism – from 19th century depictions of the East as exotic, uncivilized, and yearning to be enlightened by Western rule; to the Iraq War and contemporary popular culture in films and TV drama such as 300, Game of Thrones and Aladdin.

Insurgent Empire: Dr Priyamvada Gopal in Conversation with Dr Charlotte Riley

13.30 – 14.20
“Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and never will”, so spoke Frederick Douglass in 1857. Over a hundred and fifty years later, the notion that freedom from slavery and imperial rule came about because of the benevolence of the ruling elite still persists in some quarters. In this riveting discussion, Dr Priyamvada Gopal discusses her highly acclaimed new book Insurgent Empire with Dr Charlotte Riley to reveal the fascinating history of the rebellious colonies that fundamentally challenged and changed British attitudes to empire. From the West Indies and East Africa to Egypt and India, we discover how Britain's enslaved and colonial subjects were not merely victims of empire but also agents of change, whose resistance both contributed to their own liberation and shaped British ideas about freedom and who could be free.

This event is kindly supported by PLB Ltd

Shakespeare’s Sisters

15.00 – 15.50
Juliet. Queen Titania. Ophelia. Lady MacBeth. There isn’t a single female character in Shakespeare’s canon that was written to be performed by a woman. Yet women were there from the outset – funding, building and running the theatres.

Beginning with a reading from Richard II by pioneering Shakespearean actor Adjoa Andoh, this timely talk explores the role of and the roles for women in the worlds and works of Shakespeare. From the trailblazing female playhouse owners of the sixteenth century to the evolution of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters – we are taken on a journey into the cultural history of theatre, performance and women. Joining Adjoa Andoh are theatre historian Dr Andy Kesson, intellectual historian Dr Vanessa Lim and event chair and early modern historian Dr Wanda Wyporska.

Voices from the Archives: The Secret Lives of Sixteenth-Century Women

16.30 – 17.20
Most of the women who ever lived left no trace of their existence on the record of history. Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century women of the middling and lower levels of society left no letters or diaries in which they expressed what they felt or thought. In this fascinating talk, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb draws upon her magisterial study of French consistorial courts to reveal the everyday lives of ordinary women: their speech, behaviour, and attitudes relating to love, faith, and marriage, as well as friendship and sex.

Molly Houses and Madams: Unravelling Georgian Subcultures   

18.00 – 18.50
Established in 1691, the Society for the Reformation of Manners aimed to suppress all immoral behaviour in London – from profane plays and prostitution to salacious art and sodomy. Its results were a raft of highly publicised prosecutions and raids on brothels, molly houses and contemporary literature. Yet, an unexpected consequence of this growing surveillance on manners was the interest it fuelled into previously under-acknowledged subcultures. In this fascinating talk, Victoria & Albert Museum LGBTQ tour coordinator Dan Vo speaks to historians Dr Rictor Norton and Professor Kate Williams about the underacknowledged worlds of eighteenth century London – from the growth of Molly Houses to trailblazing writers like Eliza Haywood.

Day and weekend pass holders have access to all Knowledge Centre Theatre talks as well as the live performances, stalls and living history demonstrations throughout the Knowledge Centre. In addition, a number of places for the Eliot Room events will be reserved for day and weekend pass holders on a first come first served basis. Please sign up on the day.


Name: HistFest 2020: Sunday Day Pass
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £50.00
Student: £25.00
Registered Unemployed: £25.00
Senior (60+): £43.00
Young Person (18-25): £25.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
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