Thirty years after the publication of Peter Fryer’s Staying Power, immigration is still a hotly contested topic, while slavery continues to dominate popular perceptions of Black British History. New research is revealing different stories, but how is this being presented in Britain’s classrooms and museums? We need a conversation between those actively involved in researching and communicating the history of peoples of African origin and descent in Britain about what it means to us today.
We invite you to join us at the first in what will be a series of workshops held once a term by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies. The aim is to foster a creative dialogue between researchers, educationalists (mainstream and supplementary), archivists and curators, and policy makers. It will seek to identify and promote innovative new research into the history of people of African origin or descent in the UK. Researchers and archivists will provide an introduction to the ever-growing body of resources available. We will also discuss the latest developments in the dissemination of Black British history in a wide variety of settings including the media, the classroom and lecture hall, and museums and galleries, thus providing an opportunity to share good practice. The workshops will consider a range of issues around Black British history including the way in which scholars have defined the field, debates around how and why it should be taught, especially in the light of the new national curriculum, and the tensions between celebrating the achievements of people of African descent in the UK and applying a critical perspective to the past.
For our first workshop, the panels will be organised around the following themes: new directions in research; archives and records; and new methods of communicating Black British History.
Venue: The Chancellor’s Hall (Senate House, first floor), Malet Street, London, WC1E 7H
A 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.
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 →
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 →
Dickens Day, now in its 28th year, is looking at how conviviality features in Dickens’s life and work.
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 →