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School of English and Drama

Research Seminar


QMCECS offers a programme of early evening seminars with speakers from a range of disciplines. We have six seminars a year, and recent speakers have included Sophie Gee (Princeton), Chloe Wigston-Smith (York), Karen Harvey (Birmingham), and Suvir Kaul (Penn). For a list of speakers in the last five years see the seminar archive.




Seminars 2020–2021

*For Autumn-Winter 2020/2021 we will be presenting our seminars digitally.*


28 October, Lisa Cody (Claremont McKenna College), ‘Whose Body Is It?: Coverture and Consent in Eighteenth-Century English Marriage’. Co-organized with the IHR British History in the Long 18th Century Seminar. 

18 November, Stephanie O'Rourke (St Andrews) Forest Histories. Co-organised with Visual and Material Forum, QMUL. sign up coming soon. sign up here.

Abstract: The forest has its own time—one that does not necessarily align with the timescales that govern the social and political lives of humans.  In late eighteenth-century France, this fact was difficult to ignore. Mounting anxieties about timber shortages were coming in conflict with traditional woodlands management and access rights. Politicians and writers were increasingly aware of the distinct historicity of France’s forest. Yet this was also a period during which, it is often observed, the events of the French Revolution were reframing how human history itself was understood.

This paper considers how late eighteenth-century landscape paintings accommodated and responded to these developments: the recognition of the forest’s non-human histories, on the one hand, and new ways of framing human history, on the other. I proposes that by picturing the human and the natural alongside one another, certain landscape paintings were uniquely equipped to explore how these histories could be rendered mutually comprehensible.