Device is incompatible to play the video
Thursday, 14 May 2020, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

A History of the Foot

Professor Joanna Bourke FBA

The science of feet and footprints has a long, yet often forgotten, history. 

In this lecture, I look at what people from the late eighteenth century to the present thought they knew about toes, arches, heels, and ankles. What makes a beautiful foot? How have ideas of foot-beauty changed over time? Size, shape, colour, smell, and even taste have been important markers in the literature, science, and sociology of feet.

Click here for further information on all Gresham lectures during the COVID-19 pandemic

JoannaBourke-(6)BritishAcademy-bw-370x370.jpg

Joanna is Gresham Professor of Rhetoric. 

She is a well-known social and cultural historian. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and outgoing Chair of its Modern History Section. She is the prizewinning author of 14 books, including histories on modern warfare, medicine and science, psychology and psychiatry, the emotions, pain, what it means to be human, and sexual violence. Her books have been translated into many languages. Her book An Intimate History of Killing won the Wolfson Prize and the Fraenkel Prize. She is a prolific public speaker and is College Orator at Birkbeck, as well as a frequent and award-winning contributor to TV and radio programmes. She was a Visiting Professor of History at Gresham College from 2017-19.

Professor Joanna Bourke said: “I am very excited to become Gresham Professor of Rhetoric because Gresham College’s four centuries of service to London, the UK, and the international community are an inspiration.  Like all professors at Gresham College, I strongly believe in the power of education to improve our world. People who attend lectures at Gresham College (or watch them online) are intellectually engaged thinkers: as the next Gresham Professor of Rhetoric, I am thrilled to be able to continue discussing topics of interest with them. 

“I chose the theme of my first series of lectures – the body – for its considerable contemporary importance. In my series, I hope to reveal the historically varied ways that people have understood bodies. These variations are often surprising; always intriguing. The changing medical, scientific, moral, economic, and political meanings given to the material body have radical implications for human culture. Understanding these meanings change tell us a great deal about what it means to be human."

Professor Bourke's lecture series are as follows:

2021/22 Sex: A Modern History

2020/21 Evil Women

2019/20 Exploring the Body

2018/19 Understanding Human Violence cont.

2017/18 Understanding Human Violence

All lectures by the Gresham Professors of Rhetoric can be accessed here.

Read More
Read Less
Related Future Lectures
Related Past Lectures
WATCHED
Part of a series

Women in Science Fiction

Professor Jim Endersby
Monday, 29 November 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Attacks on Knowledge from Ashurbanipal to Trump

Richard Ovenden
Thursday, 2 December 2021 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Pornography

Professor Joanna Bourke FBA
Thursday, 6 January 2022 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Sexually Transmitted and Intravenous Infections

Professor Chris Whitty
Wednesday, 12 January 2022 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Going Global: James I and the Wider World

Professor Anna Whitelock
Tuesday, 25 January 2022 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Infections Which Use the Respiratory Route

Professor Chris Whitty
Wednesday, 9 February 2022 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Food-and-Drink Borne Diseases

Professor Chris Whitty
Wednesday, 24 November 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Holocaust History Under Siege

Professor Jan Grabowski
Wednesday, 17 November 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Perversion

Professor Joanna Bourke FBA
Thursday, 11 November 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Blacks Britannica: Diversity in Medieval and Early Modern England

Dr Onyeka Nubia
Wednesday, 10 November 2021 - 5:30PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Ancient Greek and Roman Libraries

Professor Edith Hall
Wednesday, 10 November 2021 - 12:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Great Depression and ‘Embedded Liberalism’

Professor Martin Daunton FBA
Tuesday, 9 November 2021 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Abstinence

Professor Joanna Bourke FBA
Thursday, 12 May 2022 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Monogamy

Professor Joanna Bourke FBA
Thursday, 17 March 2022 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Sex Work

Professor Joanna Bourke FBA
Thursday, 17 February 2022 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Pornography

Professor Joanna Bourke FBA
Thursday, 6 January 2022 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Perversion

Professor Joanna Bourke FBA
Thursday, 11 November 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Pleasure

Professor Joanna Bourke FBA
Thursday, 7 October 2021 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

A History of the Stomach

Professor Joanna Bourke FBA
Thursday, 19 March 2020 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

A History of the Penis and the Clitoris

Professor Joanna Bourke FBA
Thursday, 13 February 2020 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

A History of the Breast

Professor Joanna Bourke FBA
Thursday, 16 January 2020 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

A History of the Eye

Professor Joanna Bourke FBA
Thursday, 21 November 2019 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

A History of Hair

Professor Joanna Bourke FBA
Thursday, 31 October 2019 - 6:00PM