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Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Event Archive

Space, Place & the Protestation: the political ecology of an oath

6th May 2014, 17:30, Pemberton Lecture Room, PG21, Prof. John Walter, University of Essex

to be followed by a drinks reception in the Birley Room at Hatfield College 

This event part of the IMEMS Power of Place seminar series for 2014. It is free and open to all, but attendees are asked to book a place at: https://www.dur.ac.uk/conference.booking/details/?id=261

ABSTRACT: In the crisis of the English Spring of 1641 Parliament introduced the Protestation. In the crisis of the English Winter of 1641-2, and in response to a threatened royal coup, Parliament proceeded to use the Protestation to swear the nation. Intended in its original form to be a revolutionary oath by which to mobilise armed resistance, taking the Protestation nationally had radical consequences. Drawing on the thousands of Protestation subscription lists that survive, this paper reconstructs the pattern of taking in the provinces and down to the parish. It explores the identities that taking the Protestation offered to both men and women and the consequences for a popular political agency in the events of the English revolution.

John Walter is Professor of History in the University of Essex. His central research interest is popular political culture in early modern England. This is research which has focused on crowd actions but which seeks to re-integrate the sources and methodologies of social and cultural history employed in a social history of politics with a re-invigorated political history. It brings together intensive archival research, often with a micro—historical focus, with theoretical interests in the nature of political society, the nature of early modern state and society, and the spaces therein for the exercise of popular political agency. This has resulted in a series of articles, some of which have been collected in Crowds and Popular Politics (2006) and a monograph Understanding Popular Violence (1999), which was awarded the Royal Historical Society Whitfield Prize. He is currently completing a study of the Protestation Oath (1641-2) which is to be published by OUP.

Contact admin.imems@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.