Professor David Hopkin

Senior Tutor, Fellow and Tutor in History

Professor of European Social History

BA MA PhD (Camb)

David Hopkin studied history at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, from 1985 to 1988.  He returned to Cambridge in 1994 to pursue his doctorate under the supervision of Peter Burke and Bob Scribner.  He was a Junior Research Fellow at Churchill College from 1997 to 1999 and lecturer, then senior lecturer, in the Department of Economic and Social History, University of Glasgow, from 1999.  He joined Hertford as Fellow and Tutor in History in 2005.

Undergraduate teaching 

David Hopkin teaches modern European history.  He provides tutorials for the 1st year (prelims) papers General History 4 Society, Nation and Empire 1815-1914, Foreign Text Tocqueville, and the Optional Subjects The French Revolution and Empire and The Romance of the People.  For finals students (2nd and 3rd years) he provides tutorials for the nineteenth and twentieth century General History papers, and the further subjects Culture and Society in France from Voltaire to Balzac and The Military and Society in Britain and France, c. 1650-1815.  He teaches historiography both at prelims and finals, and supervises undergraduate theses and bridge essays (for the school in History and Modern Languages).

Recent thesis and bridge essay titles include:

  • Eduardo Minichini and the theatre of the Camorra
  • The Music of George Butterworth and the Reception of the English Pastoral, 1910-1939
  • The Female Soldier in Street Literature and Oral Culture in the German Speaking Lands, c. 1600-1950
  • The Charlton Horn Fair and London Plebeian Culture, 1700-1872
  • Auguste Blanqui and Armand Barbès at Belle-Ile and the Formation of a Blanquist Party in French Politics 1850-1871
  • Edwin Sidney Hartland: Matrilinial Kinship and the Patriarchy
  • La Bête est Morte: The Second World War and National Identity in French Bande Dessinée
  • Lieutenant Bilse’s ‘Aus einer Kleinen Garnison’ and the Politics and Culture of the German Officer-Corps
  • Descaves’ Sous-offs: Challenging the arche-sainte of the Third Republic
  • ‘Penny Bloods’ and ‘Penny Dreadfuls’: Morality, Social Control and Class Relations in Victorian Popular Culture
  • ‘Le Petit Paysan de Lussac’: Léon Pineau and the Regionalist Movement
  • Identity, Stereotypes and Self-Representation in English and Welsh Gypsy Oral Culture c.1880 – c.1930

Postgraduate teaching 

David Hopkin teaches on several of the core courses for the Modern British and European History Masters degrees.  He runs an optional paper on Peasant Societies, Economies and Polities in Western Europe, c. 1750-c.1950 for the Masters courses in Economic and Social History.  He is currently supervising three doctoral students and two masters students on topics relating to European social, cultural  and military history, c. 1760-c.1914.  He welcomes graduate applications in the fields of European popular culture, historical anthropology, rural and maritime societies, and military history.

Recent doctoral and masters theses titles include:

  • The Servant Problem in Britain and France, 1900-1940
  • French Regionalists and the First World War
  • The Origins and Implementation of the 1906 French ‘Beauquier’ Law for the Protection of Landscape
  • 'Misery in the Moorlands': Lived Bodies in the Landes de Gascogne, 1870-1914
  • The Language Question in Napoleonic France
  • The People's Risorgimento? Italian National Discourses and Popular Culture in Tuscany, 1846-1860
  • Pacification, Collaboration and Resistance in Napoleonic Valencia 1812-1813


David Hopkin’s research is the field of social and cultural history of modern Europe.  His particular field is oral culture and popular culture (songs, tales, riddles, dance, street theatre...).  He explores historical communities through the stories that they told to themselves about themselves.  His first book, Soldier and Peasant in French Popular Culture, was awarded the Royal Historical Society’s Gladstone prize in 2003.  Since then he has studied other social groups such as fishermen, home-workers and servants.  The oral culture of these groups was the subject of his second monograph, Voices of the People in Nineteenth-Century France (2012), which won the Katharine Briggs Prize.  The geographical focus of his studies is France and neighbouring regions such as Flanders and the Basque Country. 

An interest in oral and popular culture has led to an interest in how these sources are produced and survived, and thus to the history of folklore and anthropology.  With Tim Baycroft (Sheffield) he edited Folklore and Nationalism in Europe during the Long Nineteenth Century (2012).  He has worked with numerous European based colleagues on these projects, especially with the Centre de recherche bretonne et celtique in Brest and the BEROSE team in Paris.

Together with Éva Guillorel (University of Caen-Normandie) and Will Pooley (Bristol) he edited Rhythms of Revolt: European Traditions and Memories of Social Conflict in Oral Culture (2017).  Conceived as part of the Cultures des Révoltes et Révolutions project, this book looks at what histories of early modern rebellions were passed on orally in the form of song and legend.

In 2016-17 he is on research leave as a Leverhulme Fellow working on 'Lacemakers: Poverty, Religion and Gender in a Transnational Work Culture' (see The Leverhulme Trust's Annual Review 2015 p. 38 for details).  Although handmade lace was a luxury, the women who made it were among the most penurious of workers in the nineteenth century.  Nonetheless they participated in a lively work culture, one aspect of which were the songs they sang collectively.  These songs commented on every aspect of their lives and constitute a wonderful source for the exploring an otherwise almost hidden social group: poor, usually illiterate women.  Although that project concentrates on Flanders, France and Italy, he is also engaged on a research project to recreate the lace 'tells' (a specific repertoire of songs and rhymes) that were used in English lace schools in the nineteenth century.  Together with Nicolette Makovicky (Oxford) he runs the website dedicated to the history, culture and practices of lacemakers and lacemaking Lace in Context

From 2007 to 2012 David Hopkin was editor of the journal Cultural and Social History, the journal of the Social History Society.  He is a committee member of the Society for the Study of French History, and serves on the editorial board of its journal French History, as well as the committee of the Folklore Society.  He is one of the editors of the Manchester University Press Series Studies in Modern French History (and would always be interested to hear from researchers with modern French history book projects).




Éva Guillorel, David Hopkin and William G. Pooley (eds).  Rhythms of Revolt: European Traditions and Memories of Social Conflict in Oral Culture.  Routledge, 2017.  ISBN 978-1-138-20504-8.  407 pages.


David Hopkin.  Voices of the People in Nineteenth-Century France.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.  Series: ‘Cambridge Cultural and Social Histories’.  ISBN 978-0521519366.  xii + 296 pages. 

David Hopkin and Tim Baycroft (eds).  Folklore and Nationalism in Europe during the Long Nineteenth Century. Brill, 2012.  ISBN 9789004211582.  412 pages.


Yann Lagadec and Stéphane Perréon, with the collaboration of David Hopkin.  La Bataille de Saint-Cast (Bretagne, 11 septembre 1758).  Entre Histoire et Mémoire.  Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2009.  ISBN 978-2-7535-0948-1.  451 pages. 


Soldier and Peasant in French Popular Culture, 1766-1870. xiii + 394 pages. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press for the Royal Historical Society, December 2002. 0861932587.


Journal Articles


David Hopkin, 'Cinderella of the Breton Polders: Suffering and Escape in the Notebooks of a Young, Female Farm-Servant in the 1880s', Past and Present (2018).

David Hopkin, 'Intimacies and Intimations: Storytelling between Servants and Masters in Nineteenth-Century France', Journal of Social History 51:3 (2018).


David Hopkin, 'British Women Folklorists in Post-Unification Italy: Rachel Busk and Evelyn Martinengo-Cesaresco', Folklore 128:2 (2017): 189-197.


David Hopkin, 'Lacemakers and Old Songs, in Olney and Elsewhere', The Cowper and Newton Journal 5 (2015): 3-18.


David Hopkin, with Yann Lagadec and Stéphane Perréon, ‘The Experience and Culture of War in the Eighteenth-Century: The British Raids on the Breton Coast, 1758’, French Historical Studies 31:2 (2008): 193-227 [Special issue edited by David Bell and Martha Hanna on ‘War, society and culture’].


David Hopkin, with Yann Lagadec and Stéphane Perréon, ‘La bataille de Saint-Cast (1758) et sa mémoire: une mythologie bretonne’, Annales de Bretagne et des pays de l’Ouest 114:4 (2007): 195-215. [Special issue of ABPO edited by Hopkin, Lagadec, Perréon and Christophe Cérino.]

David Hopkin, ‘Sieges, Seduction and Sacrifice in Revolutionary War: The “Virgins of Verdun”, 1792’, European History Quarterly 37:4 (2007): 528-547. [Special edition of EHQ on ‘Women, Nation and Patriotism in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars’ edited by Karen Hagemann and Katherine Aaslestad.]


David Hopkin, ‘Storytelling and Networking in a Breton Fishing Village, 1879-1882’, International Journal of Maritime History 17:2 (2005): 113-139.


David Hopkin, ‘Storytelling, Fairytales and Autobiography: Observations on Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century French Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memoirs’ Social History 29:2 (2004): 186-198.


David Hopkin, ‘Female Soldiers and the Battle of the Sexes in Nineteenth-Century France: The Mobilisation of a Folk Motif’, History Workshop Journal 56:1 (2003): 78-104.

David Hopkin, ‘Love Riddles, Couple Formation, and Local Identity in Eastern France’, Journal of Family History 28:3 (2003): 339-363.


David Hopkin, ‘Military Marauders in Nineteenth-Century French Popular Culture’, War in History 9:3 (2002): 251-78.


David Hopkin, ‘Sons and Lovers: Popular Images of the Conscript, 1798-1870’, Modern & Contemporary France, 9:1 (2001): 19-36. [Subsequently reprinted in Peter H. Wilson (ed.) Warfare in Europe 1815-1914. International Library of Essays on Military History. Ashgate. 2006.]


‘Identity in a Divided Province: the Folklorists of Lorraine, 1860-1960’, French Historical Studies, 23:4 (2000), 639-682.

La Ramée, the Archetypal Soldier, as an Indicator of Popular Attitudes to the French Army’, French History, 14:2 (2000), 115-49.




David Hopkin, 'Legends and the Peasant History of Emancipation in France and Beyond', in Ülo Valk and Daniel Sävborg (eds) Storied and Supernatural Places: Studies in Spatial and Social Dimensions of Folklore and Sagas.  SKS, 2018.


David Hopkin, 'Les religieux et la culture vernaculaire en Europe : un aperçu et un exemple', in Fañch Postic and Pierre Pichette (eds) L'Apport des prêtres et religieux au patrimoine des minorités.  Parcours comparés Bretagne/Canada français.  CRBC, 2013.


David Hopkin, ‘Folklore beyond Nationalism: Identity Politics and Scientific Cultures in a New Discipline’, in David Hopkin and Tim Baycroft (eds) Folklore and Nationalism in Europe during the long Nineteenth Century. Brill, 2012.

David Hopkin, ‘Les ecclésiastiques et la culture vernaculaire en Europe au XIXe siècle: François Cadic dans son contexte’, in Fañch Postic (ed.) François Cadic (1864-1929) : Un collecteur vannetais, ‘recteur’ des Bretons de Paris. CRBC, 2012. pp. 211-230.  ISBN 978-2-901737-91-9.


David Hopkin, ‘Paul Sébillot et les légendes locales : des sources pour une histoire “démocratique”?’ in Fañch Postic (ed.) Paul Sébillot (1843-1918): Un républicain promoteur des traditions populaires. Brest : Centre de recherche bretonne et celtique, 2011.  pp. 53-73.  ISBN 978-2-901737-86-5

David Hopkin with Yann Lagadec and Stéphane Perréon, ‘ “L’Anglois”, un ennemi “héréditaire”?  L’ambiguïté des sentiments envers les Britanniques dans la Bretagne du XVIIIe siècle’, in Jörg Ulbert (ed.) Ennemi juré, ennemi naturel, ennemi héréditaire: Construction et instrumentalisation de la figure de l’ennemi.  La France et ses adversaries (XIVe-XXe siècles).  Hamburg: DOBU Verlag, 2011.  pp. 90-104.  ISBN 3-934632-41-6.


David Hopkin, ‘The Ecotype, or a Modest Proposal to Reconnect Cultural and Social History’, in Melissa Calaresu, Joan Pau Rubiés, Filippo de Vivo (eds), Exploring Cultural History: Essays in Honour of Peter Burke. Ashgate, 2010.  pp. 31-54.  ISBN 978-0754667506.

David Hopkin with Yann Lagadec and Stéphane Perréon, ‘Lendemains de guerre sur les côtes bretonnes.  Descentes britanniques et ‘épuration’ en 1758’, in François Pernot and Valérie Toureille (eds), Lendemains de Guerre.  De l’antiquité au monde contemporain: les hommes, l’espace, et le récit, l’économie et le politiqueBrussels: Peter Lang, 2010.  pp. 65-74.  ISBN 978-90-5201-592-7.


David Hopkin, ‘Legends of the Allied Invasions and Occupations of Eastern France, 1792-1815’, in Alan Forrest and Peter Wilson (eds), The Bee and the Eagle: Napoleonic France and the End of the Holy Roman Empire, 1806. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2009.  pp. 214-233.  ISBN 978-0-230-00893-9.


David Hopkin, ‘The World Turned-Upside-Down: Female Soldiers in the French Armies of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars’, in Alan Forrest, Karen Hagemann and Jane Rendall (eds), Soldiers, Citizens and Civilians: Experiences and Perceptions of the French Wars, 1790-1820. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2008.  pp.  77-98. ISBN 978-0230545342.


David Hopkin, ‘Fishermen, Tourists and Artists in the Nineteenth Century: The View from the Beach’, in Impressionists by the Sea (exhibition catalogue, curated and introduced by John House). London: Royal Academy, 2007.  ISBN 978-1903973882.


David Hopkin, ‘Storytelling and Networking in a Breton Fishing Village, 1879-1882’ in David Bates, Véronique Gazeau, et al (eds), Liens personnels, réseaux, solidarities en France et dans les îles britanniques (XIe -XXe siècle). Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 2006.  ISBN 978-2859445348.


David Hopkin, ‘Legendary Places: Oral History and Folk Geography in Nineteenth-Century Brittany’, in Frances Fowle and Richard Thomson (eds), Soil and Stone: Impressionism, Urbanism, Environment. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003.  pp. 65-84.  ISBN 978-0754636854.


Other Publications


David Hopkin with Cédric Boissière, Yann Lagadec and Stéphane Perréon, ‘La bataille de Saint-Cast, un événement ‘médiatique’ européen’, Société d’émulation des Côtes-d’Armor, 137 (2009). pp. 93-120.  .  [Special issue edited by Hopkin, Lagadec, Perréon on ‘Dossier Saint-Cast (1758-2008)’.]

David Hopkin with Yann Lagadec and Stéphane Perréon), ‘La bataille de Saint-Cast (11 septembre 1758): quelques nouvelles perspectives’, Mémoires de la société d’histoire et d’archéologie de Bretagne 87 (2009).  pp. 153-183.


David Hopkin with Yann Lagadec and Stéphane Perréon, ‘William Todd et Walter Thomas: deux regards britanniques sur la bataille de Saint-Cast (11 septembre 1758)’, Société d’émulation des Côtes-d’Armor, 136 (2008). pp. 3-31.

David Hopkin with Yann Lagadec and Stéphane Perréon, ‘“A pleasant country”: visions britanniques sur les descentes de 1758 de Cancale à Saint-Cast’, Mémoires de la société historique et archéologique d’Ille-et-Vilaine (2008). pp. 31-70.


Guest editor for special issue of the Annales de Bretagne et des pays de l’Ouest 114:4 (2007) on Des descentes britanniques sur les côtes de l’ouest aux rapports trans-manche.


David Hopkin, ‘Cameron, William [nicknamed Hawkie], beggar, pedlar and wit’, in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, electronic version, 2006.


David Hopkin, ‘The French Army, 1624-1914: From the King’s to the People’s’, Historical Journal 48:4 (2005): 1125-1137 [Review article].


Guest editor for special issue of the journal Folklore 115:2 (2004) dedicated to Folklore and the Historian.

‘Glasgow Broadside Ballads’ website, based on the Murray Collection, Glasgow University Library Special Collections. Prepared with Valentina Bold and David Morrison (Scottish Studies, Glasgow University).