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Inaugural Lecture - Professor Axel Körner (UCL History)

UCL Joint Faculty

Tuesday, 3 December 2013 from 18:30 to 19:30 (GMT)

Inaugural Lecture - Professor Axel Körner (UCL History)

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Unveiling Modernity. Verdi’s America and the Unification of Italy

Verdi’s hugely popular American opera Un ballo in maschera (1859) was completed during the final stages of the Unification of Italy. Why did Italy’s compositore nazionale celebrate Unification with an opera set in Boston? Verdi depicts an altogether rather dark and disconcerting image of life in the New World. When president elect Abraham Lincoln attended one of the opera’s first performances in New York, he left the theatre shortly before the final act, allegedly fearing an assassination attempt. Did anybody remember this scene when Lincoln was shot in a theatre four years later? The lecture explores ideas about social and political change in transnational perspective, demonstrating how cultural developments inform our understanding of political events.

Professor Axel Körner
UCL History

Axel Körner is Professor of Modern History and Director of the UCL Centre for Transnational History. He has been teaching at UCL since 1996. His publications include Politics of Culture in Liberal Italy (2009); America Imagined (with N.Miller and A.I.P.Smith, 2012); 1848 – A European Revolution? (ed., 2000); and Das Lied von einer anderen Welt (1997). He has held visiting positions at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; the École Normale Supérieure, Paris; and the Remarque Centre of New York University.

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research) will preside.


Professor Stephen Conway, Head of Department, UCL History

Vote of Thanks:

Professor Roger Parker, FBA, Thurston Dart Professor of Music, King’s College London.

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When & Where

Wilkins Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, 2nd Floor, South Junction, Wilkins Building, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT
Gower Street


United Kingdom

Tuesday, 3 December 2013 from 18:30 to 19:30 (GMT)

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