Bridgerton, Romance, and History in Regency England (Online)

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Event Details


Travel back to Regency England (1811-1820) as we use the popular Netflix series, Bridgerton, to discuss everything from fashion and monarchy to issues of race, class, and gender in the early nineteenth century. 

Based on the  historical romance novels by Julia Quinn, the TV series Bridgerton has been viewed by over 100 million households and has been hailed as "the perfect cup of tea for this moment." This genre of fiction has long been subjected to intense scrutiny: directed primarily to a female audience, historical romance novels and their TV/film adaptations are often accused of being "fluff" or inaccurate representations of history. This talk will counter those criticisms and suggest how a popular series like Bridgerton can "do history" and reflect our twenty-first-century interests and values. Starting with an overview of the politics of the early nineteenth century, we will discuss the social mores and practices of the elite, the role of women across the classes, and masculinity and sport. We will also look at London as a major character in the series. The color-conscious casting will help us examine the racial politics of the era, sugar boycotts and abolition, and the much talked about sex scenes will help us understand the pleasures and perils of life in Regency England. Bridgerton lives on through social media and mass marketing, allowing us to "consume" a bit of romance and history in our lives.

Dr. Julie Taddeo is  Research Professor of History at University of Maryland, College Park. She has published books and articles on British cultural history, including such topics as Steampunk; period drama television; the Bloomsbury Group; and Reality TV. She frequently lectures on the British Royals, Victorian culture, and popular period drama television (Downton Abbey, Poldark, Outlander, and other series) to explore the history represented by these programs and how they connect to our lives today.


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