‘Humans and their Stuff’: Emden Lecture 2017 now online
21 Dec 2017
This year’s Emden History Lecture is now available to watch on the St Edmund Hall YouTube channel. Given by Professor Frank Trentmann (Birkbeck, University of London), the 2017 lecture was a fascinating exploration of the history of consumerism.
The Emden Lecture is the College’s annual history lecture, aimed at a general audience. Professor Trentmann was our guest on 24 November, and spoke on ‘Empire of Things: a New History of Humans and their Stuff’. He explored ideas about why we have so much stuff, and how we have become consumer societies, examining some of the dynamics that have made us so attached to things. In conclusion, he used the historical discussion to reflect on where we are and where we might be going.
Professor Trentmann is the author of several books on related subjects. His most recent was published last year – Empire of Things: how we became a world of consumers, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First (Penguin, 2017) – and has been very well-received, while one of his earlier works Free Trade Nation: Consumption, Civil Society and Commerce in Modern Britain (OUP, 2008) won the Whitfield Prize from the Royal Historical Society.