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England in the mid-seventeenth century was politically turbulent. Civil War, regicide & republic all disrupted the normal institutions and practices of politics. While this must have been hard for those living at the time, it nonetheless generated a wealth of new political ideas. These included: the proto-democratic radicalism of the Levellers; the innovative constitutional proposals of James Harrington; the experiment in communal living enacted by the Diggers and the theories of political obligation, representation and church-state relations of Thomas Hobbes. Many of these ideas remain of interest and relevance today. And, while it would be wrong to suggest that seventeenth-century ideas can simply be applied to solve current problems, it is undoubtedly useful to look to the past to understand how we came to be where we are, and the other paths that could have been taken. At this workshop, experts on the seventeenth century will explore what early-modern thinkers had to say on the themes of popular mobilisation, toleration, environmentalism and exile and what their insights might add to contemporary political discussions.
John Rees (author of
The Leveller Revolution)
Ann Hughes (Keele University)
Ariel Hessayon (Goldsmiths)
Gaby Mahlberg (author of Henry Neville
& English Republican Culture in the Seventeenth Century)
For more information contact Rachel.Hammersley@ncl.ac.uk
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