Welcome to BECC

The Birmingham Eighteenth Century Centre connects researchers across the University of Birmingham who study the literature, art, and history of the eighteenth century. We nurture a community that includes students, graduate researchers, and scholars from inside and outside formal academia. We hold all sorts of events, from scholarly seminars and workshops to public-facing panels and … Continue reading “Welcome to BECC”

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Unhomely Empire: A Forum, Part 3

By Onni Gust (University of Nottingham) I am writing this response in the uncomfortable and over-lit departure gate of Chicago O’Hare’s international airport, heading back to the UK from the NACBS conference, and from a state, Illinois, that I once fleetingly and ambivalently called ‘home’. This seems like an apt place to be reflecting on … Continue reading “Unhomely Empire: A Forum, Part 3”

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Unhomely Empire: A Forum, Part 2

By Liz Egan (University of Warwick) With just four letters, “home” carries a diverse set of connotations ranging from comfort and belonging, to resistance and violence. In framing their book around the ‘unhomely’ nature of empire for the eighteenth-century British elite, Gust carefully interrogates the centrality of home and belonging to ideas about human difference … Continue reading “Unhomely Empire: A Forum, Part 2”

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Unhomely Empire: A Forum, Part 1

By Ellen Smith (University of Leicester) In Unhomely Empire, Dr Onni Gust considers eighteenth and early-nineteenth-century conceptions of ‘home’ beyond the physical and material space of the house. Gust offers a complex understanding of the ideological and discursive work that home has performed as an emotional concept throughout history. They take the reader through the … Continue reading “Unhomely Empire: A Forum, Part 1”

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Unhomely Empire: A Forum, Introduction

A year ago, BECC held a reading group and online discussion for our midlands colleague Onni Gust’s new book, Unhomely Empire: Whiteness and Belonging, c.1760-1830. Across two sessions of discussion, we explored the book’s analysis of how empire and whiteness made each other, its uses of intellectual and literary evidence across genres, and its relation … Continue reading “Unhomely Empire: A Forum, Introduction”

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Magical Source: A Quaker Forgery?

This post was contributed by Naomi Pullen, at the University of Warwick. It is part of our Magical Source series, in which historians from Birmingham and Warwick discuss the sources that reshaped their thinking on a topic. The first entry, by Karen Harvey, was about Mary Toft’s Confessions. The second, by Charles Walton, was about … Continue reading “Magical Source: A Quaker Forgery?”

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Magical Source: Paine’s Letter to Danton

This post was contributed by Charles Walton, from the University of Warwick. It is part of our Magical Source series, in which historians from Birmingham and Warwick discuss the sources that reshaped their thinking on a topic. The first entry, by Karen Harvey, was about Mary Toft’s Confessions. Charles Walton on Thomas Paine’s Letter to … Continue reading “Magical Source: Paine’s Letter to Danton”

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Magical Source: Mary Toft’s Confessions

Back in May, BECC and our colleagues at Warwick’s Early Modern and Eighteenth-Century Centre held a workshop for graduate students under the title, “The Magical Source: Light-bulb Moments in Historical Research.” Four historians each presented a source that had reshaped their thinking, and explained how that process took place. This week, we’ll share the written … Continue reading “Magical Source: Mary Toft’s Confessions”

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Giving Birth in Eighteenth-Century England: Cathy McClive’s Review

Reading Giving Birth in Eighteenth-Century England is a rich immersive, sensory, and visceral experience. Sarah Fox’s rigorously-researched exploration of the physicality, materiality, and communities involved in the processes and emotions surrounding late pregnancy, childbirth, and lying-in is a model of how to approach the history of embodiment and the work of birthing.

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Giving Birth in Eighteenth-Century England: Amber Vella’s Review

In Giving Birth in Eighteenth-Century England, Sarah Fox shrewdly and eloquently argues that in the eighteenth century ‘birthing was a process – a series of linked and flexible stages – rather than an event’ (p.7). This statement directly challenges much of the historiography that has come before it: histories of birth and birthing have traditionally … Continue reading “Giving Birth in Eighteenth-Century England: Amber Vella’s Review”

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