20105.12.02 Prof Beat Kumin, Drink Culture in Early Modern Europe

Date and time: Wed 2nd Dec 2015, room MB3203, 4.30pm-6pm

Prof Beat Kümin from the University of Warwick delivered a very exciting and thought-provoking paper on ‘Cultural Representations of Drink in Early Modern Europe’ as part of the School of History and Heritage Research Seminar Series.

His paper examined the ways in which drinkers and drinking were perceived and discussed in the early modern period (c. 1400-1800) – a time when public houses served as the unrivalled ‘secular’ hubs of local communities. Extrapolating from different media and various regions, Prof Kumin argued that contemporary reflections struck a delicate balance between the uses and dangers of alcohol for individuals and society as a whole.

Kumin 1

Lots of questions followed Prof Kumin’s paper! Both staff and students – clearly intrigued by the subject and engaged by the presentation – asked questions which explored different ways of thinking about “drink culture” and offered comparative views, mostly based on their own areas of expertise and interests.

The presentation was excellent and we also had some wine … to re-enact the experience of drinking socially for pleasure, commitment and intellectual delight, just like Early Modern “good fellows” used to do…in some occasions, at least!

Speaker’s biography:

Beat Kümin is Professor of Early Modern European History at the University of Warwick, author of Drinking Matters: Public Houses and Social Exchange in Early Modern Central Europe (Palgrave, 2007), co-editor of the source collection Public Drinking in the Early Modern World: Voices from the Tavern (vols 2-3, Pickering & Chatto, 2011) and a research co-ordinator of the ‘Drinking Studies Network’.