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The group runs a range of seminars.

The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure - seminar series

Research seminar series run by the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure.
The support of the Trevelyan Fund (Faculty of History) is gratefully acknowledged.

Sandwiches and fruit will be available from 12.45pm.

Convenors: Leigh Shaw-Taylor (, Romola Davenport ( and Alice Reid (

View the archive of previous seminars.

# Monday 15th May 2017, 1.00pm - James Boyd
Commodities, Commerce and Risk: Transforming Access to American Settlement after Napoleon
Venue: Seminar Room 5, Faculty of History

Abstract not available

Graduate Workshops in Economic and Social History

All talks take place on Mondays at 12.30 pm in Room 5, Faculty of History, West Road.

Convenors: Alex Wakelam (amfw2) and Jacopo Sartori (js2214).

There are no forthcoming seminars at present. Please check back here later.

You may wish to view the archive of previous seminars.

Quantitative History Seminar

Supported by the Centre for History and Economics and the Trevelyan Fund (Faculty of History).

Sandwiches and fruit will be available from 12.45 for a 1pm start.

Convenor: Leigh Shaw-Taylor (

View the archive of previous seminars.

# Monday 8th May 2017, 1.00pm - Professor Frank Geary (University of Ulster) and Tom Stark
150 years of regional GDP: United Kingdom and Ireland
Venue: Seminar Room 5, Faculty of History

Estimates of regional GDP for the UK for the census years between 1861 and 2011 indicate that regional inequality displays a U shape. Outer Britain and Ireland caught up on London and the South East to 1911. Convergence became divergence after 1911. Between 1931 and 1951, convergence picked up again. Measured dispersion of regional incomes remained at historic lows between 1951 and 1971. This has gone decisively into reverse since 1991. The Republic Ireland has gone from being the poorest region of the UK in the nineteenth century to the second richest in the British Isles in the twenty first.

# Monday 22nd May 2017, 1.00pm - Piotr Koryś (University of Warsaw)
The road from serfdom. The evolution of occupational structure of Polish lands in the long 19th century
Venue: Seminar Room 5, Faculty of History

In the year 1795 Poland ceased to exist. It was partitioned into three parts: Prussian, Russian and Austrian. One of the last “late-feudal” European states disappeared. The foundation of economy of Poland was agricultural sector, and rural, peasant labor force consisted mostly of serfs. I will
show the occupational structure of Polish lands in late 18th/early 19th century and its evolution during 19th century (on regional level). Finally, the occupational structure of Polish lands before the outbreak of WWI was similar to the labor structures of other European industrializing peripheries. The analyzed territory is limited to the territory of Duchy of Warsaw and Austrian Western Galicia (then German province Posen, Russian Congress Kingdom of Poland and Austrian Western Galicia). This is the territory continuously inhabited by Polish ethnic majority, contrary to most of other territories included into interwar and contemporary Polish borders.

# Monday 5th June 2017, 1.00pm - Tobias Lund (University of Edinburgh)
Scotland's first Industrial Revolution: a spatial economic analysis based on the Statistical Accounts
Venue: Seminar Room 5, Faculty of History

Resulting from work initiated by Sir John Sinclair, the Statistical Accounts of Scotland were undertaken during 1791-99 and 1834-45, and covers the whole of Scotland at a parish level. They include a range of quantitative and qualitative information, including demographic and occupation figures, prices, wages and land rents, but have hitherto not been subject to systematic empirical analysis. This seminar will focus on the background of the Accounts and the empirical data that may be extracted from them, before a brief discussion of the spatial economic analysis I have proposed to undertake as part of a PhD in economics.

Additional seminars of interest to Campop members

Additional seminars of interest to Campop members.

View the archive of previous seminars.

# Thursday 4th May 2017, 5.00pm - Poul Holm (Trinity College Dublin)
The North Atlantic Fish Revolution - a Distant Mirror of Climate Change and Globalisation
Venue: History Faculty Room 9

Cabot’s discovery in 1497 of abundant cod populations around Newfoundland had fundamental geopolitical implications. Through the sixteenth century, marine products were among the first foodstuffs to be exposed to globalising processes while climate change (the Little Ice Age) impacted ocean productivity. The fish revolution changed the human landscapes around the North Atlantic. I explore three questions: (1) what were the natural and economic causes of the fish revolution; (2) how did marginal societies adapt to changes in international trade and consumption patterns around the North Atlantic; and (3) how did consumers, investors, and politics in the major European countries perceive and respond to the fish revolution? The answers may help us understand the role of environment and climate change in the past, how markets impacted marginal communities, and how humans perceived long-term change.

# Wednesday 10th May 2017, 5.00pm - Judith Spicksley (University of York)
Revisiting Vinogradoff’s interpretation of Bracton: why was a servus not a slave?
Venue: Walters Room, Selwyn College

Historians interested in mapping the decline of slavery in England have suggested that the institution had disappeared by the twelfth century. It is possible to detect the beginnings of a decline in the late Anglo-Saxon period, but most academics are agreed that the number of the enslaved fell after the Conquest in 1066, when slavery as a system of labour extraction through personal servitude gave way to serfdom, a system of servile labour organised around landholding in which individuals were bound by virtue of their tenure rather than their status. This alternative form of unfreedom expanded during the twelfth century under the pressure of population growth and land shortage but then declined as a result of the Black Death, which undermined the tenurial restrictions that bound peasants to the land; serfdom as a form of unfreedom withered away. As a result the vocabulary of slavery is absent from the history of late medieval England, where the unfree are usually described as serfs or villeins, following Paul Vinogradoff’s interpretation of the legal treatise known as Bracton. This paper draws on a range of published primary materials including the legal treatises of the late medieval and early modern periods, published records of the royal and manorial courts, and medieval and early modern labour statutes. It suggests that the emergence of villeinage and the powerful notion of what Orlando Patterson defined as ‘intrusive’ enslavement have problematized what it meant to be unfree in the late Middle Ages. The number of those enslaved did decline as a result of economic and institutional change, but slavery as a legal status remained visible in law and practice well into the early modern period.

# Thursday 18th May 2017, 5.00pm - Susan Flavin (Anglia University)
Institutional Diets in Sixteenth-Century Ireland
Venue: History Faculty Room 9

The study of diet has been almost entirely neglected in Irish historiography. Recent analysis of the English Exchequer Customs accounts has shed some light on Irish developments this period, but the nature of the data limited analysis to luxury goods and macro-historical trends. This paper approaches diet by integrating the customs data with new evidence from a series of household accounts, along with provisioning accounts for the Elizabethan soldiery in Ireland, to build the first detailed picture of comparative dietary trends in this period.

# Wednesday 24th May 2017, 5.00pm - Marta Gravela (University of Turin)
The value of goods and value of people. Assessing urban fiscal policies in late medieval Italy
Venue: Walters Room, Selwyn College

The financial needs of late medieval Italian cities prompted their governments to impose, alongside indirect charges, direct taxes upon property. Proportional division of tax burdens thus required the registration and evaluation of the citizens’ possessions in appropriate books called ‘estimi’. To what extent did this estimation match actual wealth? By comparing various fiscal systems, I will argue that the evaluation of goods was the result of a complex assessment of the social value of citizens rather than a merely economic appraisal of property.