Lawrence of Arabia (& Beyond)

Editors Note: This is an archived blog post from 21/5/2015

Lawrence of Arabia (& Beyond)

Other Lawrences & the Other Lawrence

This one-day workshop, held at the John Rylands Library on Friday 15 May, brought together scholars to discuss aspects of the life and reputation of one of the most enigmatic Britons of the twentieth century, Thomas Edward Lawrence – scholar, archaeologist, soldier, diplomat, author and celebrity, known forever as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’.

The event included several speakers from Manchester’s history department – Oliver Bast, Georg Christ, Max Jones, Chris Godden and Ed Owens (post-graduate student) – as well as external speakers: Dr Juliette Desplat (Head of Modern Overseas Records, National Archives), Dr Robert Fletcher (Lecturer in Global and Imperial History, University of Exeter), and Dr Paul Knight (First World War project officer, HQ 42nd Infantry Brigade & HQ North West, Preston).

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Themes covered in the presentations and roundtable discussion included: the role of Lawrence and his fellow archaeologists in the shaping of the diplomatic and intelligence policies conducted by Britain in the Middle East during the First World War; the role of ‘other Lawrences’ (Wilhelm Wassmuss and Theodor Wiegand) in the Middle East during the First World War; the significance of Lawrence’s forgotten work in Mesopatamia; Lawrence’s relationship with Lewis Namier, Professor of Modern History at Manchester in the 1930s; and ways in which Lawrence’s image was shaped by the emerging ‘celebrity culture’ of the inter-war period.

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