The Weight of the Past in Franco-British Relations

Elizabeth Thompson’s painting “The 28th Regiment at Quatre Bras” depicts the North Gloucestershire Regiment battling French cavalry two days before the 1815 Battle of Waterloo. Rendered in 1875 it captures the power of Waterloo in British political and historical imagination.

How does one measure the influence that history has on contemporary affairs and issues? Is it possible to fashion some kind of litmus test, through which we can assess the impact that perceptions of the past have had on the conceptualisation of national and transnational policies? It is questions like these that the AHRC research project ‘The Weight of the Past in Franco-British Relations’ will explore over the next three years. Led by Professor Peter Jackson (University of Glasgow) alongside co-investigators Dr Rachel Utley (University of Leeds) and Dr Rogelia Pastor-Castro (Strathclyde University) and post-doctoral research assistant Dr Rachel Chin (University of Glasgow), this project will assess the role that representations of the past have played in Franco-British relations since 1815. More specifically, it will seek to understand how history, or at least subjective constructions of history, has shaped policy debates in general and prospects for Franco-British co-operation in particular. Continue reading “The Weight of the Past in Franco-British Relations”