Agriculture and Industry

RHN 29/2013 | Call

Organiser: James Bowen (Lancaster University); Alex Brown (Durham University)

1 July 2013, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London

Deadline: 1 May 2013

Agriculture and Industry:
the Development of Rural England, 1200-1700

This colloquium will explore the role of agriculture and industry in the rural economic development of England from the thirteenth to the eighteenth century. With the aim of celebrating the works of Tawney and Postan, notably The Agrarian Problem in the Sixteenth Century and The Medieval Economy and Society, it will explore the themes of early modernity, political economy and the rise of capitalism.

Postan and Tawney were early pioneers exploring the development of agrarian capitalism; the increasing commercialisation of agriculture; the strength of property rights and the frequency of land transfers; and increasing industrial activities; but did so from two different sides of the medieval and early-modern divide. Their work also differed in the importance they placed on the mechanisms of change in rural society, with the latter arguing that expropriating landowners were the driving force of change in sixteenth-century England, whilst the former argued that demographic changes were the key dynamic in creating change in fifteenth-century England.

Both Postan and Tawney have thus cast long shadows over the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries respectively, but it is through combining their work on demography, the significance of lordship and serfdom, the link between manorial and village organisations and central government, and the nature of customary law, that this colloquium will re-evaluate the dual importance of agriculture and industry in the transformation of rural society in England.

We welcome proposals for papers of 20 minutes (title and short 250-word abstract) on the following themes from any period from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries:

  • Agrarian Capitalism
  • Agriculture and Industry
  • Land and Property
  • Rural Society
  • Tawney / Postan

Further enquires and proposals for papers should be sent to James Bowen or Alex Brown by 1 May 2013.

Confirmed participants include: Dr John Broad (University of Cambridge), Professor Chris Dyer (University of Leicester), Professor Richard Hoyle (University of Reading), Dr Brodie Waddell (Birkbeck, University of London), Professor Jane Whittle (University of Exeter), and Professor Phil Withington (University of Sheffield).