HYBRID EVENT: The 4th SCAS Wittrock Lecture: Linda Colley "Constitutions in Times of Crisis"

  • Date: –12:00
  • Location: SCAS Linnéanum, Thunbergssalen, Thunbergsvägen 2, Uppsala
  • Lecturer: Linda Colley, Non-resident Long-term Fellow for Programmes in Early Modern and Modern History, SCAS. Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History, Princeton University
  • Website
  • Organiser: Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
  • Contact person: Klas Holm
  • Föreläsning

Linda Colley, SCAS and Princeton University, gives a talk on "Constitutions in Times of Crisis". The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.


Just two years ago, in 2020, the constitution of Russia was revised so as to proclaim that country’s commitment to ”the peaceful co-existence of states and peoples”, and its support for ”international peace and security”. These Russian amendments touch on the vital relations that have always existed between written political constitutions on the one hand, and order and conflict on the other. Manifestly, however, these same amendments also raise the question of how these sorts of political documents and initiatives are usefully to be approached and understood. Increasingly spreading across continents from the mid-18th century onwards, constitutions have rarely ever been pure legal and intellectual statements, and they have frequently been bound up in some way with violence. In this lecture, Linda Colley traces the close links that have existed over time between constitution-making and crises of different sorts, and explores some of the newer pressures confronting constitutions now.

About Linda Colley

Linda Colley is Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History at Princeton University, a Long-term Fellow in history at scas, and a current Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. A Fellow of the British Academy, she is also a former member of the Board of the British Library, where, in 2008, she organized an exhibition of historical texts to do with rights entitled “Taking Liberties”, opened by the then UK Prime Minister. She has also served on the Research Committees of the British Museum and Tate Britain. She holds seven honorary degrees, of which the last was awarded by the University of Oxford in 2021. The author of seven books, including Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837, a winner of the Wolfson History Prize, she also writes regularly on history and politics for the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, and the Guardian and Financial Times newspapers. Her latest work, The Gun, the Ship and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions and the Making of the Modern World, will come out in paperback this spring, and has just been awarded the 2021 Book of the Year Prize by the International Forum on the Future of Constitutionalism.

The lecture will also be available via Zoom Webinar.

Registration is required by 3 June 2022 at the latest.

For more information and registration to the physical event as well as the webinar, please see http://www.swedishcollegium.se/subfolders/Events.html.