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Dr Linda Briggs

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a cultural and social historian of early modern France, with further expertise in festival culture across early modern Europe. Prior to joining the Open University in 2021, I was a Lecturer in Early Modern History at Queen Mary University of London and the University of Manchester. I have held visiting fellowships at academic institutions in Ireland and the Netherlands. I received my PhD in History from the University of Warwick, and my MLitt in Reformation Studies and MA in History from the University of St Andrews.

Research interests

My research focuses on festivals and rituals in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century France. I access these occasions using visual and material cultures (notably ephemeral art and emblems), as well as print and manuscripts. My current work examines ceremonial entries held for Charles IX in provincial cities between the first and second French wars of religion (1564-1566). Through analysis of the iconographical contents of these entries, and the national and local contexts in which they were created, I reveal how different urban communities responded to the prospect of religious co-existence, and the power of this ritual as a method of government and a means for negotiating peace. I am now preparing this research for publication as a monograph. I have written on monarchs’ performances of Catholic ritual in the French wars of religion, and ceremonial entries and spectacles at court (from Francis I to Louis XIV) as crucibles for testing and remaking the boundaries of authority. My next projects consider new and recycled materials used in court and public entertainments, and connections between Brazil and France in relation to Henry II’s 1550 entry into Rouen.

I am a member of the Medieval and Early Modern History Research Group and the Medieval and Early Modern Research Group at the Open University.

Teaching interests

I am a module team member and contributing author on A223: Early Modern Europe: Society and Culture c.1500-1780. Outside of the OU, I have created and convened modules on violence in early modern Europe, urban lives in Reformation Europe, material culture and daily life in Europe 1450-1800, and the French wars of religion. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I welcome PhD proposals from prospective students on any aspect of early modern France, festival culture in early modern Europe, and the areas of interest outlined above.

Impact and engagement

I have been interviewed on national radio and television on subjects related to my research, notably Louis XIV’s court festivities on Inside Versailles (BBC2).