Sir Douglas Robb Lectures 2015 Event as iCalendar

27 July 2015 - 03 August 2015

Venue: Fisher and Paykel Appliances Auditorium (260-115)

Location: Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland.

Cost: Free. All welcome.

Contact info: Teri (09) 923 6669

The series is scheduled for:

  • Monday 27 July
  • Wednesday 29 July
  • Friday 31 July
  • Monday 3 August 2015


Lecture 1 – Winston Churchill and the Anglo-American ‘special relationship’ revisited

Monday, 27 July – 7.30pm

Professor Sir David Cannadine

Himself appropriately the product of an Anglo-American marriage, Churchill's belief in the 'English-Speaking Peoples' is often regarded as the central idea of his life.  But his relations with the United States before 1940 were much more complex and critical than that, so was his wartime partnership with Roosevelt, and the same remained true during the last twenty years of his life.  This lecture will trace the ups and downs of Churchill's ardent but ambiguous Anglo-Americanism, and will offer some more general reflections on Anglo-American relations since then.

Lecture 2 – Constitutions, warfare, and the design of the modern world

Wednesday 29 July – 7.30pm

Professor Linda Colley

Since the 1750s, new written constitutions have progressively spread across continents. Yet establishing the significance of this striking development in global history remains challenging, not least because constitutions are usually examined only in the context of individual states. In this lecture, Linda Colley examines how a more wide-angled approach to these texts and their circulation illumines issues to do with war, empire, race, gender and print.

Lecture 3 – Funding universities: American and British alternatives

Friday 31 July – 7.30pm

Professor Sir David Cannadine

Across the long twentieth century, the trend in Anglo-American higher education has been away from a restricted elite entry and towards a mass and increasingly diverse student body. Yet despite these undoubted similarities, which are also replicated elsewhere in the western world, the financing of higher education in the United States and the United Kingdom has operated on very different models. Most high-ranking US universities are private institutions; virtually all UK universities are public institutions.  This lecture will explore the causes and consequences of these differences and divergences.

Lecture 4 - A changing Magna Carta: past, present and futures

Monday 03 August – 7.30pm

Professor Linda Colley

In this lecture, Linda Colley explores why and when Magna Carta - which has never attracted a wide, lay readership - nonetheless became an iconic text internationally as well as in British history. She also investigates how Magna Carta's significance and uses have changed and been sharply contested over time.


2015 Robb Lecturers

Professor Sir David Cannadine
Professor Sir David Cannadine

Professor Sir David Cannadine FBA is Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University.  He is the author of fourteen books, including The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy, Class in Britain, Ornamentalism, Mellon, and The Undivided Past, and, most recently, a biography of King George V. Sir David is a Trustee of the Wolfson Foundation, the Royal Academy, the Library of Birmingham, the Rothschild Archive, the Gladstone Library and the Gordon Brown Archive.  He is also the Editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Vice Chair of the Westminster Abbey Fabric Commission and the Editorial Board of Past & Present, a Vice President of the Victorian Society, a member of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee and the Editorial Board of the History of Parliament. Sir David makes frequent appearances on radio and television in the UK.

Professor Linda Colley
Professor Linda Colley

Professor Linda Colley has served on the Boards of the British Library and the Tate Gallery of British Art and is currently on the Research Board of the British Museum. Last year, she delivered 15 talks on BBC Radio 4 discussing the making of and possible breaking of the United Kingdom in advance of the referendum on Scottish independence. She recently contributed to a report on the reform of the British constitution. She is interested in global history, and is part of a group exploring this which brings together Indian, Japanese, American and European research centres.