Max Weber Lecture with Linda Colley – 25 April 2012

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Prof. Linda Colley, Princeton UniversityThe upcoming Max Weber Lecture with Linda Colley, Princeton University, is entitled: “Liberties and Empires: Writing Constitutions in the Atlantic World, 1776-1848”

About the Speaker:

Linda Colley is professor of history at Princeton University and an expert on Britain since 1700. She favours cross-disciplinary history, and in both her writin and her teaching she examines Britain’s past in a borader European, imperial, and global contaect. She is the author of Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837, and the more recent The ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History.


The outbreak of revolution in the Thirteen Colonies in 1776, in France in 1789, and in Haiti in 1791, famously gave rise to the creation of substantially new and highly influential written constitutions. Before 1786, no independent state possessed a single document which it termed a constitution. But in the wake of these and other revolutions, written constitutions proliferated. By 1812, there were 50 new constitutions in Europe alone. Over 60 more had been drafted by 1850, many of them in Latin America.

Yet the degree to which the explosion of new constitutions after 1776 was a transnational and a trans-continental phenomenon can be obscured by exceptionalist and purely national narratives, and by teleology. In this lecture, Linda Colley considers the evidence for a more complex and multi-lateral history of constitutions in the Atlantic world between 1776 and 1848, and discusses their profound connections with empire as well as with nationalism.

The Lecture will take place Wednesday 25 April at 17.00, Villa La Fonte, Conference Room.

All are welcome to attend. For organisational purposes kindly register with Susan Garvin.