Project Leader: Christian Liddy

Professor of Late Medieval History at Durham University, UK

My research explores the relationship between ideas of citizenship and practices of resistance from Magna Carta to the present day.

Resistance to authority has a central place in the history of citizenship: citizenship has always included some people and excluded others, and it has never been a fixed set of ideas or values. Tensions arising from the different meanings of citizenship and from the contested identity of the citizen have generated conflict about the meaning and extent of political participation, freedom of speech, and access to land and public space. A long, historical perspective shows that the active citizen is not necessarily the obedient citizen.

In summer 2015 I was the academic curator of a major exhibition held in Durham on the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta. In remembering Magna Carta as the consequence of rebellion, the exhibition told a story of ‘rebellious citizens’ and of the thin line between the rebel and the citizen.

You can find out more about my research here.

You can watch a short video about the exhibition here: