Prof Eric Hobsbawm: Enlightenment and Achievement: The Emancipation of Jewish Talent Since 1800

Tuesday, 10 May 2005, Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, University College London

Fiftieth Anniversary Lecture

This event was co-sponsored by the Institute of Jewish Studies at University College London.

Chair:  Prof Peter Pulzer

Eric Hobsbawm, Professor Emeritus at Birkbeck College, University of London, Britain’s most cosmopolitan and internationally renowned historian, has been both influential and controversial. His trilogy charting the rise of capitalism (The Age of Revolution, 1962; The Age of Capital, 1975; and The Age of Empire, 1987) became a defining work of his chosen period, the «long 19th century» from 1789 to 1914. The Age of Extremes (1994), which was translated into 37 languages, extended Hobsbawm’s range into the «short 20th century» from the First World War to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. His most recent publication is the autobiography Interesting Times: a Twentieth-Century Life (2002). In 2003, Prof Hobsbawm was awarded the Balzan Prize for European History since 1900.

Born in Alexandria in 1917, Hobsbawm grew up in Vienna and Berlin and moved to London in 1933. He was educated at St Marylebone Grammar School and King’s College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a PhD in history. He joined the Communist Party in 1936. In 1947, he became a lecturer in history at Birkbeck College. In 1970, he was appointed professor and was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 1978. During the course of his career, Hobsbawm has written extensively on a broad and diverse selection of subjects.