History never sleeps or dies but held one moment burns the hand.

Aileen I’ve been meaning to share this with my co-conspirators for some time. It is a video of a seminar on social change held in 1977 in which some historians, anthropologist and perhaps the odd sociologists came together to unpick their contrasting approaches to social change. It’s interesting on a couple of levels. On the most superficial it is a lovingly illustrates the various types of academic fashions that could be found in the 1970s – we have the historian in the woolly jumper and jacket, the Marxist in the black leather jacket and the anthropologist dressed as a hippy. There is one woman in the room (look! A woman!). It was also interesting to me as it features E.P. Thompson, one of my favourite academic writers. His beautiful turn of phrase is evident his contributions to the discussion; at around 8.31 minutes he criticizes static conceptions of class with the following

“Class in itself is a historical category derived from this observation over time of process and logic of process, and like all history never sleeps or dies but held one moment burns the hand. I think Althusser's hands are absolutely charred.”

Speaking of charred, he also smokes throughout the session – you wouldn’t see that these days.