The James Ford Lectures : History and Time

The James Ford Lectures in British History, 2018

Lecture Five: History and Time

This lecture takes its bearings from the observation that in early modern England generation was often understood as a unit of historical chronology. It examines the development of official and alternative histories of the Reformation before considering the processes by which contemporaries came to think of the Reformation as a past event rather than an unfinished and ongoing development. It explores the naming and dating of the Reformation and assesses how senses of religious change, upheaval and rupture contributed to creating enduring models of periodization, as well as to altering how sixteenth- and seventeenth-century society comprehended the passage of time. It will also engage with influential claims about the nature and transformation of both modes of historiography and regimes of temporality in this era.


The Reformation of the Generations: Age, Ancestry, and Memory in England c. 1500-1700

This series of lectures seeks to inject fresh energy into debates about England’s plural and protracted Reformations by adopting the concept of generation as its analytical framework. Its aim is to investigate how the tumultuous religious developments of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries not merely transformed the generations that experienced it, but also reconfigured the nexus between memory, history, and time. The lectures examine how age and ancestry were implicated in the theological and cultural upheavals of the era and explore how the Reformation shaped the horizontal relationships that early modern people formed with their siblings, kin, and peers, as well as the vertical ones that tied them to their dead ancestors and their future heirs. They highlight the important part that the family has played in shaping our knowledge of the Reformation past and in the making of its archive. They contend that religious revolution had both biological and social dimensions.