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Word Power: written constitutions and the definition of British borders since 1787

Ralph Miliband Programme ‘Nations and Borders’ lecture series

Date: Thursday 13 March 2014 
Time: 6.30-8pm 
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building
Speaker: Professor Linda Colley

The onset and proliferation of new written constitutions after 1787 presented successive governments in the UK with both opportunities and challenges. Through its empire and international heft, the UK came to draft and influence more constitutions in more parts of the world in the 19th and 20th centuries than any other power. Yet governments have always resisted the introduction of a written constitution in the UK itself. Other states need their political systems, identity and liberties confirmed in writing but the British do not. Their historic uncodified constitution is thus itself a demonstration and proof of their distinct identity. In this lecture, Linda Colley examines these trends and tensions over time, and discusses how far writing a constitution might work to reinforce rights in these islands and reconfigure connections.

Linda Colley is the Shelby M.C Davies 1958 Professor of History at Princeton University, and an expert on Britain since 1700. She was the first female fellow of Christ College, Cambridge, was a professor of history at Yale and was awarded a Senior Leverhulme Research Professorship in History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her book, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 won the Wolfson Prize for History. She is a fellow of the British Academy and in 2009 was awarded a CBE.

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSEword

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For any queries email events@lse.ac.uk or call 020 7955 6043. 


A podcast of this event is available to download from Word Power: written constitutions and the definition of British borders since 1787

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This event has been certified for CPD purposes by the CPD Certification Service. Self-Assessment Record forms will be made available for delegates wishing to record further learning and knowledge enhancement for Continuing Personal and Professional Development (CPD) purposes. For delegates who wish to obtain a CPD Certificate of Attendance, it is the responsibility of delegates to register their details with a LSE steward at the end of the event and as of 1 September 2014 a certificate will be sent within 28 days of the date of the event attended by the CPD Certification Service.  If a delegate fails to register their details at the event, it will not prove possible to issue a certificate. (For queries relating to CPD Certificates of attendance after a request please phone 0208 840 4383 or email info@cpduk.co.uk).