The conference is being held on the hundredth anniversary of the address in which Joseph Chamberlain challenged the fundamental British commitment to free trade by proposing imperial preference. The conference is intended as a wide-ranging discussion of the Chamberlain family’s impact on the social and cultural as well as political and economic relationships that shaped British history during their long period of primacy. The Chamberlain family formed one of the dominant political dynasties of the late 19th/early 20th centuries influential locally in the West Midlands, and nationally at Westminster as well as in the arena of imperial and international affairs. Themes that will be explored in the conference include Empire, political economy, municipal and civic affairs, social policy and political leadership. The means of delivery will be panels of three speakers on a given theme, in conjunction with plenary addresses to conference. The papers presented will be exploiting the extensive archives of the Chamberlain family deposited at the University of Birmingham.
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