Peter Lyth on the History of Transport and National Identity
On Wednesday October 22, and Friday October 24, historian Petr Lyth (University of Nottingham) will give two talks on the historiography of transport and its role in nation-building. They will be accompanied by a screening of the last Alfred Hitchcock´s British film The Lady Vanishes (1938) on Thursday October 23.
Wednesday | October 22 | 3PM | film hall - Konvikt
A Line Runs Through It: Railways, Nationalism and the Historiography of Transport | lecture – Peter Lyth
An illustrated look at how transport history has broadened its focus in the last 30 years beyond narrow empirical studies of railway companies and technological evolution to encompass a wide range of historical issues around ‘the cultural turn’, the new mobility paradigm, the heritage industry and post-modern multiculturalism. With a focus on the Austro-Hungarian Empire and its successor states, Peter Lyth traces the role of railways since 1830 in the process of nation-building and their continuing importance as a visible and concrete manifestation of national identity.
Thursday | October 23 | 6.30pm | film hall - Konvikt
The Lady Vanishes | 1938 | Alfred Hitchcock | screening with the introduction of Peter Lyth
Hitchcock´s last British film before his departure to the US, and one of the peaks of his early work. A young English tourist travelling through Europe by train, is looking for her elderly fellow traveller who mysteriously disappeared. The film´s box office success convinced David O. Selznick, a Hollywood producer, that Hitchcock might actually deserve a chance in the industry…
Friday | October 24 | 10AM | film hall - Konvikt
Trains, Heritage and British National Identity | lecture – Peter Lyth
The second session will focus on some of the themes introduced in the first lecture, in particular the meaning of heritage in the context of national identity creation. Taking the example of Britain and drawing on the some of images and stereotypes presented in the 1938 Alfred Hitchcock film, The Lady Vanishes, it hopes to offer an explanation for why the Brits love old trains (but not new ones) and why heritage railways have become such an important part of the British heritage tourism industry.
Peter Lyth studied economic and social history at the University of East Anglia, where he finished his PhD. as well. He became interested in the history of transport only later in his career, starting with British aviation and airline industry in the 1980s and moving on towards cultural history, economic and social history of tourism and heritage industry. He was the editor of the Journal of Transport History, until 2014 he´s taught at the Nottingham University. Among his publications are Transport In Britain 1750-2000: From Canal Lock to Gridlock (2002, co-authored with Philip Bagwell), Wiring Prometheus: Globalisation, History and Technology (2004, co-authored with Helmuth Trischler) and Business in Britain in the Twentieth Century: Decline and Renaissance? (2009, co-edited by Richard Coopey).