30 June: Natalie Zemon Davis

30 June 08: Prof Natalie Zemon Davis, ‘Pursuing “Leo Africanus” and other Enigmas: Some Thoughts on Historical Method’, 6.30 pm, room B01, Clore Management Centre.

I am delighted to send you details of our last event for this academic year. Natalie Zemon Davis is an eminent social and cultural historian who has pioneered cross-disciplinary history by using interpretative methods associated with anthropology, art history, ethnography and literary theory. Her books include Society and Culture in Early Modern France (1975), The Return of Martin Guerre (1983) – she was also the historical advisor for the film of the same name – and Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth-Century Lives (1995). Her latest book, Trickster Travels: The Search for Leo Africanus (2006) is a biography of al Hassan al-Wazzan, a North African traveller and diplomat who was captured by Christian pirates and presented to Pope Leo X in 1518. The prisoner impressed the pope with his charisma and intelligence, and he converted to Christianity and was given his freedom and a European life of scholarship, and became known as Leo Africanus.

This event promises to be fascinating and we anticipate that it will be well attended. We have decided to not charge admission because it is the end of term, but in order to be fair to members we have arranged that they can have access to B01 between 5.45-6.15 and so be assured of a seat. Between 6.15-6.30 we are opening the doors to everyone, subject to the availability of seating. Please arrive before 6.15 if you want to be guaranteed a place!

After the event we are holding an end of term party in the foyer outside B01, and will be providing wine and nibbles. I hope to see you on 30 June!