Accessibility statement

You're viewing an archived page from a previous Festival of Ideas. See this year's festival »

A Date with History

This year the French Embassy and the Institut français du Royaume-Uni are launching an exciting new collaboration with York Festival of Ideas - A Date with History. Bringing together leading historians from France and the UK, A Date with History will focus on a specific theme each year. Our first Focus Day is based around ideas about Europe.

The election of Emmanuel Macron as French President and the forthcoming Brexit negotiations have put Franco-British relations firmly in the media spotlight. But issues around Europe’s identities, migrations and Franco-British relations are certainly not new. What does history tell us? Join us for our inaugural event as our expert speakers address these issues from different viewpoints and periods in history, including the circulation of skills between the two countries; Don Quixote’s reception and translations in Spain, France and England; women and social mobility; and the impact of the 1848 revolutions in Europe.

For those planning to attend our Democracy under Threat? Focus Day, A Date with History will help put contemporary discussions on European politics into context, providing a better understanding of how the current issues between Britain and France have emerged. 

Eminent speakers at our first A Date with History event include Roger Chartier of the Collège de France, Chris Clark of the University of Cambridge, Jean-Frédéric Schaub of the the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and Maxine Berg of the University of Warwick.


Friday 9 June

10.30am - 12 noon

Did You Say Europe?

Our Festival Focus Day begins with keynote speeches by two eminent historians, Roger Chartier and Chris Clark.  Roger Chartier will explore the creation of European Literature in Early Modern times, looking at Don Quixote’s reception and translations in Spain, France and England. Chris Clark will discuss 1848 as a European Revolution. Unlike the revolutions of 1789, 1830, 1870, 1917 and 1989, the revolutions of 1848 were a continent-wide phenomenon. He reflects on the unique simultaneity of these revolutions, on their trans-national consequences and on their meaning as a European event.

Speakers include:

  • Roger Chartier, Honorary Professor, Collège de France
  • Chris Clark, University of Cambridge

Book free tickets

3.00pm - 4.30pm

Perspectives on Franco-British Relations

Renaud Morieux of the University of Cambridge and Christina de Bellaigue of the University of Oxford, together with other members of our expert panel, explore France and Britain’s relationship from different standpoints. Renaud will examine migrations from the 17th to 19th centuries, while Christina will discuss women and social mobility.

Speakers include:

  • Christina de Bellaigue, University of Oxford
  • Fabrice Bensimon, Université Paris-Sorbonne – UCL
  • Claire Judde de Larivière, Université de Toulouse – Birkbeck College, University of London (Chair)
  • Renaud Morieux, University of Cambridge

Book free tickets

1.00pm - 2.30pm

What is Europe?

Our speakers, including Jean-Frédéric Schaub of the the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and Peter Mandler of the University of Cambridge, examine issues around Europe’s identities. 

Speakers include:

  • Stuart Carroll, University of York
  • Jean-François Dunyach, Université Paris-Sorbonne. 
  • Peter Mandler, University of Cambridge (Chair)
  • Jean-Frédéric Schaub, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) 
  • Astrid Swenson, Brunel University London

Book free tickets

5.00pm - 6.30pm

Europe: A history of migrations

Join historians, including Maxine Berg of the University of Warwick and Claire Zalc of the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), as they examine the topical issue of European migration. Maxine will explore skills circulation, while Claire will look at nationalities at the beginning of the 20th century.

Speakers include:

  • Claire Alexander, University of Manchester
  • Maxine Berg, University of Warwick
  • Thomas Glesener, Université d'Aix-Marseille
  • Robert Winder, Author of Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain and Trustee of the Migration Museum Project (Chair)

Book free tickets