Research Student Seminar: Professor Patrick Joyce on understanding the tools of impersonal rule


Date: Monday 27 January 2014
Time: 6-8pm (followed be dinner and drinks)
Venue: 2.02 (Dreyfus Room), 28 Russell Square

We are very pleased to invite all Birkbeck PhD students to the first Research Student Seminar of this term, which takes place on Monday 27 January.

We have invited Professor Patrick Joyce, who is Professorial Fellow in History, University of Edinburgh, and Emeritus Professor of History, University of Manchester. He is a leading British historian and has written and edited numerous books of social and political history, including Visions of the People (Cambridge, 1991), The Oxford Reader on Class (1995), The Rule of Freedom (2003) and Material Powers (2010).

His latest book, The State of Freedom, A Social History of the British State since 1800 (2013) explores what the liberal state did and how it worked. Joyce is pioneering a new approach to political history in which social and material factors are centre stage. He argues that it was through ‘sociomaterial’ – ordinary things such as Whitehall filing systems, post offices, public school dormitories – that the British liberal state established and exerted its authority.

The seminar will be a informal discussion of Patrick Joyce’s recent work, examining how ordinary things and procedures shape and scaffold political practices. Professor Joyce has kindly provided this short paper as an introduction to these ideas (click on the link to download: Sociomaterial Analysis and Impersonal Rule-ED.LUX).

The seminar takes place in room 2.02 (the Dreyfus Room) in 28 Russell Square (the history department building) and will be followed by drinks and dinner at a local pub, so please let Barbara ( know if you’re planning on joining us there – we’ll book a table.

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