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#PotW: IHR 2015 Winter Conference: Utopian Universities


UntitledA conference devoted to the new universities of the 1960s.

Rather than duplicate the various individual jubilees which have and are taking place in the seven universities (Essex, Lancaster, Sussex, UEA, UKC, Warwick and York) themselves, our aim is to look back at this moment in the history of higher education.

The conference will examine comparatively the aspirations and achievements around curricular development, campus design, philanthropy, the student experience, and local participation.

Additionally, the conference will look back to the pioneers, such as Keele; to the successors, such as Stirling and Ulster; and also consider the legacy of the utopian universities in the modern world today.


Venue: Institute of Historical Research, University of London.
Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7H

Date and time: 23–24 October 2014

Register here

‘German in the World’. A One-day Symposium


By James Hodkinson

So where in the world is German? This deliberately wide-ranging question is not merely a geographical one: recognizing the undisputed political and economic importance of the German speaking nations, it also asks about the status of the language itself. To what extent are school children learning it and students studying it? And as educational politics seems to step back time and again from any real commitment to modern foreign languages, despite so much rhetoric to the contrary, is German in some sort of crisis within educational systems? Or is it more the case that, within the MFL field, German is ebbing away as other languages rise in prominence? Continue reading →

#PotW: Democracy or empire? Reflections on the British imperial experience of the First World War – 16 Oct


Event posterThe New Zealand-United Kingdom Link Foundation in association with The Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the Imperial War Museum warmly invites you to the  NZ-UK Link Foundation Inaugural Annual Lecture.

Speaker: Professor Sir Hew Strachan, Chichele Professor of the History of War (All Souls College, University of Oxford)

When George V addressed the British empire shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, he spoke to his ‘subjects’.  Today the countries of the former empire have come to see themselves as having been forced into a war in whose onset they had little or no say.  That is largely true, and the fact that the king did not address his people as citizens reinforces the point.  However, the ‘white’ Dominions had more choice than this narrative suggests.  Their contributions to the imperial war effort were freely made and democratically decided.  And those without their privileges saw the war as an opportunity to earn them by rallying to the defence of the empire. Continue reading →

#PotW: Dickens Day 2014: Dickens and Conviviality – 11 October


Dickens Day, now in its 28th year, is looking at how conviviality features in Dickens’s life and work.

Christmas Eve at Mr Wardle's by Phiz (Hablot K. Browne) Dickens's Pickwick Papers: steel engraving, January 1837.  Found onThe Victorian Web

Dickens’s works are famously convivial, depicting sociability in myriad forms: from the famously boozy Pickwick Papers, through the Crachits’ sentimental festive celebrations in A Christmas Carol, to the miserable family gatherings of Martin Chuzzlewit and Great Expectations, and the skewering of upper-class social pretentions and false conviviality in Bleak House, Little Dorrit and Our Mutual Friend. Dickens’s works were famous from the outset for their emphasis on humour, celebrations, family gatherings, theatrics, eating and drinking, and good cheer. Dickens was also himself famously convivial and sociable, accruing a wide circle of friends across the social spectrum and notorious for his love of parties, jamborees, practical jokes, theatrics, and other forms of high-spirited sociability. Yet Dickens was also a chronicler of the flipside of bonhomie, exploring loneliness, isolation, poverty and want, social aping and pretension, and the feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and exclusion that may fuel conviviality.

How do conviviality, sociality, and humour operate in Dickens’s work, and how and why do such depictions continue to amuse and entertain? What critical, biographical and psychological frameworks can we apply to analyse Dickensian good feeling? These are some of the questions the day seeks to address. Continue reading →

#PotW: National Poetry Day – 2 October



T.S. Eliot Burnt Norton

National Poetry Day is the nation’s biggest celebration of poetry.  Everyone seems to be joining in, releasing poetry into the streets, squares, supermarkets, parks, train stations, bus-stops and post-boxes. We know of poetry police, poetry funeral directors, poetry ambulances. Add yourselves to the ever-growing list by tying verse on trees, to make a poet-tree. (They do in Japan.) Or stick it in your window for the world to see. This year’s theme is Remember, so if you remember a poem, however short, pass it on with hashtag #thinkofapoem

The Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London Senate House, and Senate House Libraries will be hosting an ‘open mic’ session between 11am and 3pm in the Crush Hall at Senate House. Anyone wishing to read a poem of their choice is very welcome to do so. The event is free, and all voices and languages are cordially invited.

Find out all the details here.

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