Additional resources

Podcasts of GIS talks

Cycle of talks : Cultural Transfers in European, Colonial and Global Contexts (1650-1850): the Circulation of Models of Sociability.


  • Susanne SCHMID (Lecturer in English Literature and Culture, Berlin Free University) : "'We dined upon the very edge of the crater': British Women Travellers in Italy, Sociability and Cultural Transfer".
    Maison de la Recherche, Paris, 13 April 2019:

Link to podcast:

  • Mrinalini SINHA (Professor in History, University of Michigan, USA) : "Undoing Imperial Sociability: The Indianization of an Imperial Institution and the Limits of Cultural Transfers".
    Maison de la Recherche, Paris7 December 2018:

Link to podcast:

  • Bertrand VAN RUYMBEKE (Professor in American civilization, Université Paris 8 / IUF) : "L'Amérique au concours. Les Académies en France et le Nouveau Monde au XVIIIe siècle".
    Musée Cognacq-Jay, 5 April 2019:
  • Stéphane VAN DAMME (Professor in Modern History, European University Institute, Florence, Italie) : "Globaliser la culture antiquaire française : Paul Lucas, marchand, espion et collectionneur au seuil des Lumières".
    Musée Cognacq-Jay, 17 May 2019:

Link to podcast:


Cycle of talks : Sociabilités et libertinage au siècle des Lumières in parallel with the exhibition "L'Empire des sens: de Boucher à Greuze" - Musée Cognacq-Jay.


  • Jean-Christophe ABRAMOVICI (Sorbonne Université) : "Le libertinage peut-il faire société ? Diderot au Salon", online, 3 June 2021

Link to podcast:

  • Michel DELON (Sorbonne Université) : "Jardins libertins au XVIIIème siècle", online, 17 June 2021

 Link to podcast:





  • Ariane FENNETAUX (Associate Professor in British History, Université de Paris): "Lorgnettes, boîtes à priser et étuis : sociabilité de poche au XVIIIe siècle".
    Musée Cognacq-Jay, 11 octobre 2019:

Link to podcast:

  • Patrick MICHEL (Professor in Art history, Université de Lille) : "Le cabinet du collectionneur au XVIIIe siècle : espace de l’échange, de la circulation des idées, des savoirs et des objets".
    Musée Cognacq-Jay, 22 November 2019:

Link to podcast:

  • Brian COWAN (Professor and Canada Research Chair in Early Modern British History, McGill University): "The Politics of Celebrity in post-revolutionary Britain".
    Musée Cognacq-Jay, 13 December 2019:

Link to podcast:

  • Brian COWAN (McGill University): "Histories of Fame and Celebrity in Early Modern Perspective" // Antoine LILTI (EHESS): "De la sociabilité à la célébrité : l’espace public des Lumières", online, 11 December 2020

Link to podcast:





  • Nina Kushner (Clark University): "Unfaithful Wives, Angry Husbands, and their “Immediate Communities”: The Meaning of Adultery in Eighteenth-Century France." online, 9 November 2021

Link to podcast:

  • Frédéric Ogée (Université de Paris): "Plaisirs des sens, plaisirs de l’imagination dans l’art et la littérature anglaise du 18ème siècle". Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris, 26 November 2021

Link to podcast:

Publications and blog articles

 DIGITENS Network Event: Of Eighteenth-Century Merchants and the Enslaved: Records at The National Archives - Wednesday 25 May, 2-3:30pm (GBT) / 3-4:30pm (Fr.T), online (Teams link below) 

Organiser of the event: Philippa Hellawell (Early Modern Records Specialist (18th century)) -

The workshop organized by Philippa Hellawell (Early Modern Records Specialist (18th century)) and Oliver Finnegan (Prize Papers Record Specialist) from the National Archives aimed to present the content of two collections related to eighteenth-century mercantile history and the history of slavery,  and the potential they hold for researchers working on social connections, reputations or commercial networks. Merchant activity was bound up with various sociable practices with their credit and trustworthiness based on commercial connections forged through networks, reputations, and relationships. Records can build up knowledge of mercantile networks and merchant’s social activity, but, in the context of slavery, they also conceal the experience of those they enslaved and imprisoned.

 The presentation of these collections was followed by two research presentations given by DIGITENS members who have used eighteenth-century records at the National Archives for their research work on networks of merchants and communities of prisoners. See below for link to their powerpoint presentation.

Philippa Hellawell presented the records of the Royal African Company (MSS T70 collection) which span the period 1672-1750. The T70 collection is comprised of 1696 volumes across 44 sub-series including documents such as letter books, minute books, reports and orders, advice books, petitions, reports of the parliamentary, invoice books, debts … She focused specifically on letterbooks (74 volumes from 1678-1818) showing us extracts of letters to and from merchants located in Exeter, Hamburg and Rotterdam written in 1720-1723 (T70/24). These letters give us a glimpse of connexions between merchants within Britain but also at a European level, and their commercial and epistolary practises.

The ‘Lists of the Living and Dead’ (T50/1435-1456) provide a list of the employees of the company, their occupation, whether they were discharged or not and when they had died. This type of record enables researchers to go beyond the position of merchants and examine other occupations and how people related to each other within the company.

The Ship’s Books (T70 1210-1228) gather various types of documents related to a voyage such as accounts, journals or ship’s passes. The journal of the ship James (T70 1225) for instance is a very troubling document: it details slave mortality in the Middle Passage aboard the ship James sailing in 1676 from the Gold Coast to Barbados. If it is challenging to try and extract the voices of the enslaved from accounts, ledgers and other type of commercial documents, the ship’s journals nonetheless give us a glimpse of the horror of the Middle Passage for the enslaved. Out of 413 slaves, 58 died and we are given in this record the account of 51 deaths due to extreme thinness, illness, malnutrition, dropsy, conventions, childbirth and suicide.

Spotlight on TNA Collections

‘Approaching the Records of the Royal African Company’, Philippa Hellawell, Eighteenth Century Records Specialist, The National Archives: link to presentation.

‘The Prize Papers’, Oliver Finnegan, Prize Paper Records Specialist, The National Archives - ‘Two Ships of Nantes: Sources from the Atlantic slave trade in the Prize Papers’.

Using TNA’s Records

‘Portchester’s Black French prisoners of war 1796-1801: Using Kew’s archives to recover their story’, Abigail Coppins, University of Warwick – link to presentation

 ‘The Prize papers and neutral shipping during the Revolutionary Wars (1793-1795)’, Pierrick Pourchasse, Université de Bretagne Occidentale – link to presentation

Video clips

Created by the audiovisual service of the UBO (the DUN), these video clips contrast eighteenth-century objects and practices of sociability with today’s practices. Reflecting on eighteenth-century sociable practices should also make us think of how and why we use these forms of sociability today and what values we attached to these objects and practices.