Professor Margot Finn
This paper examines the daily life of an English spinster who lived in late 18th-century Bloomsbury, an area of London now best known for its bohemian literary and sexual cultures. In contrast to present-day images of radical women and men, it presents an image of Bloomsbury as a hub of British imperialism. Here wealth extracted from the slave societies of the colonial Caribbean and Britain’s growing empire on the Indian subcontinent were interwoven. What role did women and children play in the colonial contact zone in London? A rich archive of letters and diaries written by or to ‘Mrs Chitty’ suggests the key roles played by British family relations—and female family members—in translating imperial ventures into power, status and wealth, decades before historians conventionally view them as active agents of empire on the Indian subcontinent.
Margot Finn holds the chair in modern British history at University College London and the current President of the Royal Historical Society. Professor Finn is one of the leading historians of Britain since the eighteenth century. She edited the Journal of British Studies for a number of years and is the author of two major books, After Chartism and The Character of Credit. After Chartism is a broad-based study in political history; The Character of Credit is an exceptional and original piece of scholarship combining extensive archival research in probate and tax records with literary interpretation to reconstruct the complex relationship between debt, creditworthiness, and character in Britain across two centuries.
About the J.M. Ward Memorial Lecture
The Ward Lecture honors the late John Manning Ward AO. Professor Ward was a distinguished historian, serving as Challis Professor of History from 1948 to 1979. He steered the History Department through a period of scarce resources into an era of expansion. Professor Ward took office as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney in 1981 and retired from that position on 31 January 1990.
Wednesday, 5 April 2017
5:00 p.m. for 6:00 p.m. start
Reception from 5:00 p.m. in the Nicholson Museum followed by the lecture at 6:00 p.m. in the General Lecture Theatre, Quadrangle, University Place, The University of Sydney.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. au and please indicate any dietary or mobility requirements.