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Knowledge and Power: The Parliamentary Representation of Universities in Britain and the Empire




Knowledge and Power: The Parliamentary Representation of Universities in Britain and the Empire

Joseph S. Meisel

ISBN: 978-1-444-35020-3 November 2011 Wiley-Blackwell 208 Pages


Knowledge and Power: The Parliamentary Representation of Universities and the Empire presents the first comprehensive account of how universities held seats in Britain's Parliament between the 17th and 20th centuries and how the idea of university representation spread throughout the British Empire.
  • Represents the first systematic study of a significant but largely neglected institution which was part of the British constitution for 350 years
  • Sheds new light on the uneven and paradoxical processes of British political modernization
  • Features a detailed case study of the trans-imperial dissemination and adaptation of British constitutional ideas and practices
  • Supplemented with detailed appendices on the representation of universities in Britain, Ireland, America, and India
Table of Tables


Note on Terminology


1. University Representation in the 17th and 18th Centuries            

2. The Rise and Fall of the University Franchise    

3. Debating University Representation     

4. University Representatives       

5. University Representation in India        

6. Imperial Comparisons               



1. A Timeline of University Representation             

2. Representation of Universities in the English, Irish and United Kingdom Parliaments (by Decade), 1603-1950         

3. University Representatives in the Parliaments of England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, 1603-1950              

4. Burgesses for the University of Dublin (Trinity College) in the Irish House of Commons, 1613-1800                  

5. Members for the College of William and Mary in the Virginia House of Burgesses, 1700-76       

6. Allocation of Seats under the Government of India Act, 1935, for the Lower House in Each Provincial Legislature            

7. University Members in Indian Provincial Legislative Councils, 1893-1955            



“While forms of textual remediation remain beyond the scope of her study, Bernstein offers brilliant new readings that should have a powerful impact on studies of Victorian women’s literary history and prompts us to reconsider old materials and spaces in light of the new archival turn.”  (Knowledge & Power, Autumn 2014)