SAS Blogs | Supporting world-class research in the humanities

Mandela:Myth and Reality – a chance for considered reflection



South Africa The Good News /

Keith Somerville, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICWS), who was able to observe at first-hand, developments in South Africa, helped to organise the recent Mandela: Myth and Reality conference. Coming a year after the death of the country’s first black president, it brought together a remarkable group of experts to analyse his contribution to the creation of the new, free South Africa.


By Keith Somerville

On 5 December, the anniversary of the death of Nelson Mandela, the Institute of Commonwealth Studies held a conference which examined in detail the complexities of his legacy as a nationalist leader, his relationship with the South African Communist Party, his management of the transition from apartheid, his record as president and the construction of his powerful media image. The well-attended, day-long event was marked by contending views, informed argument but also mature debate with papers presented by leading African and British academics, people who knew and worked with him, and prominent journalists. Continue reading →

Digital history professor hails opportunity for development



Dr Jane Winters, currently head of digital publications at the Institute of Historical Research has just been promoted to a chair in digital history. As such, Professor Winters has agreed to share with us some thoughts of how her work has changed since she first came to the IHR and where she sees her work going in the future.

By Jane Winters

In the summer of 1996 I was interviewed for my first job at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR). I can remember being asked whether I had ever used the web, to which the answer was an unqualified ‘no’. It’s a sign of how little penetration this new technology had that I got the job anyway. Continue reading →

British History Online debuts new website


BHOhomepage (2)

By Sarah Milligan

British History Online (BHO) has relaunched its website following a complete rebuild and redesign, which started at the beginning of this year.

For more than a decade, BHO has been a reliable and accessible resource for primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland. Over the years, the project has evolved and adapted to changing technologies, new user demands and a variety of content, but as an eleven-year old web project, it was starting to look its age. We faced a problem very similar to the one described by the Internet Archive – our project had evolved far beyond the capabilities of our website and it was time for a comprehensive redesign. Continue reading →

Too Much Information? The digital age investigated at the Being Human festival 2014



How are the humanities changing to meet the challenges of the digital age, and why should we care? These were among the questions asked and explored at November’s Being Human festival. In this first post in a short series, we will be revisiting some of the themes investigated during the festival which involved dozens of leading academics, artists, scientists, writers, poets and others across the UK, spending a week celebrating the humanities and exploring the varied subjects that inspire and enrich our everyday lives. Continue reading →

Gangs: the real ‘humanitarian crisis’ driving Central American children to the US


Republished from




From time to time members of the School of Advanced Study publish about their research on other websites. This post republishes that work from the original article.

By David James Cantor, School of Advanced Study (Refugee Law Initiative)

The spectacular arrival of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children at the southern frontier of the US over the last three years has provoked a frenzied response. President Obama calls the situation a ‘humanitarian crisis’ on the US’s borders. News interviews with these vulnerable children appear almost daily in the global news media alongside official pronouncements by the US government on how it intends to stem this flow of migrants.

But what is not yet recognised is that these children represent only the tip of the iceberg of a deeper new humanitarian crisis in the region. Of course, recent figures for unaccompanied children (UAC) arriving in the US from the three countries of the Northern Triangle of Central America: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are alarming. Continue reading →

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