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William O’Reilly (Cambridge): Strangers, Subjects, Citizens. Changing Attitudes to Immigrants in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century England

June 20, 2017, 5:30pm BST - 7:00pm
German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A2NJ
United Kingdom

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Migration, Citizenship and Welfare in British History

Seminar Series | Summer Term 2017

Immigration and the entitlement of migrants to citizenship and welfare are among the most contentious political topics in present-day Britain. The GHIL seminar series in the summer term 2017 will put this debate into historical perspective. It consists of four lectures delivered by distinguished British experts in the field, who will analyse public and intellectual discourse, practices, cultures, and frameworks, as well as mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion. By pursuing these themes from medieval to contemporary Britain, the lecture series will examine how the debate surrounding immigration in Britain has evolved over the centuries.

20 June

William O’Reilly (Cambridge)
Strangers, Subjects, Citizens: Changing Attitudes to Immigrants in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century England

This lecture will consider the debates surrounding immigration to England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and reflects on why at that time a discernible change occurred in how migrants were treated. It will examine emerging ideas of a ‘British’ Protestant identity and the ever-changing relationship with continental Europe, and reflect on changing ideas of Englishness and on popular and public attitudes to foreign workers in England. A rhetoric of ‘suitability’ for English society meant that many foreigners were denied charity and employment, and were directed away from England’s shores.

William O’Reilly is Associate Director of the Centre for History and Economics and Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of The Atlantic World, 1450–1800 (2014) and Selling Souls: The Traffic in German Migrants, Habsburg Europe and America, 1648–1780 (forthcoming 2017). He is currently writing a biography of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI (1685–1740).

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