The Birkbeck Early Modern Society’s Final Event: A Message from Our President

Our next meeting takes place on Friday 7th July when Dr Stephen Brogan will be speaking on ‘From he to she and back again: a close look at the extraordinary Chevalier d’Eon, cross-dresser and spy’.The meeting will take place at 6.30 in room 101, 30 Russell Square. All are welcome.

I’m sad to inform you that this is likely to be the last meeting of the Birkbeck Early Modern Society in our current form. Over the last year we have been unable to overcome decreasing attendance of current students and increasing bureaucratic demands.

These factors resulted in us being no longer able to offer refreshments at meetings, buy speakers a gift or pay their travel expenses in a timely fashion.

As a consequence, the committee as a whole feels unable to operate further as a Birkbeck Student Society under the auspices of the Student Union. We continue to explore other options and hope at least to maintain a contact group by which we can arrange informal meetings to attend exhibitions, public lectures, etc.

We can be very proud of our achievements in the 10 years since our formation.

We have attracted eminent speakers such as Natalie Zemon Davis, Antonia Fraser, Diane Purkiss, David Starkey, Keith Thomas, Quentin Skinner, Brian Vickers, and Marina Warner, as well as a number of early career researchers.

We have also held a number of highly successful student conferences which provided an enthusiastic and welcoming environment in which students from Birkbeck and elsewhere could test out their ideas. Most importantly, we have formed a strong and convivial community of scholars.

It’s fitting that Stephen Brogan, one of the founder members of the EMS, should give our final meeting and although we can no longer provide refreshments please feel free to bring refreshments to share so that we can send the EMS off in style.

I hope to see as many of you as possible there.

Sue Jones
President, Birkbeck Early Modern Society

Caricature of d'Éon dressed half in women's clothes, half in men's clothes
Title: Mademoiselle de Beaumont or The Chevalier D’Eon (British Cartoon Prints Collection – Library of Congress Catalog: Image download: Original url:

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