The IHR History Now & Then Series returns for 2016/17
Wolfson Room I | IHR | Senate House | Malet Street | WC1E 7HU
Discussion: 18:00-19:30 Refreshments: 19:30-20:30
This series of public lectures at the IHR takes off from an extraordinary (and potentially dangerous) paradox. On the one hand, ‘history’ seems to be more popular than ever: in schools and universities, on film, TV and the internet, in sales of historical biographies, visitor numbers to heritage sites, the growth of family history, re-enactment societies and the like.
Yet we also live in an aggressively here-and-now culture in which many people seem to lack any real understanding of how the present is linked to all that has preceded it. Thus, major current issues are frequently discussed with little sense of their longer-term historical roots: migration policy, for example, or continued British membership of the EU or Russian involvement in Ukraine. As Jo Guldi and David Armitage argued in their ‘History Manifesto’(published in 2014), it is vital to understand the past if we are to have any chance of planning sensibly for the future.
Welcome: Professor Lawrence Goldman, Director of the Institute of Historical Research Chair: Daniel Snowman, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Historical Research
5 October 2016: Rhodes statue and Beyond
How far can/should history be re-written in accordance with current values? History and the pros and cons of ‘apology’. Are there things about the past that it is not acceptable to mention (or research)? Panel: Martin Daunton, Margot Finn, Jinty Nelson & David Starkey
2 November 2016: History and Change
Is history necessarily the story of ‘change’? Who/what makes things change? The role of ‘Great men/women’ – and other factors? Panel: Margaret MacMillan, Rana Mitter, Andrew Roberts & Gareth Stedman Jones
7 December 2016: The Focus of History
Much history is national history. But should ‘history’ focus on the nation? Or the locality – or maybe the wider world? Or on ‘things’? And should it have a short, precisely defined temporal focus – or a longer durée? Panel: Maxine Berg, Jerry Brotton, Richard Drayton & Chris Wickham
11 January 2017: Lessons from the Past
Does history ‘repeat itself’? What kind of ‘lessons’ can we learn from history? ‘Counterfactual’ history: could the past have been different? Panel: Jeremy Black, Taylor Downing, Ian Mortimer & Lucy Riall
8 February 2017: History and Religion(s)
What role has religion played in the unfolding of history? Has it provided a fundamental motivating force? Or has religion primarily reflected deeper socioeconomic trends and priorities? Panel: Felicity Heal, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Miri Rubin & Brian Young
8 March 2017: The Future of the Past
How will future historians judge today’s historiography? What do we over-emphasise (or under-emphasise)? ‘Big’ History, ‘big’ data: how is ‘history’ changing in the digital age? Panel: Caroline Barron, Anne Curry, Charlotte Roueché & Jane Winters
Advanced registration for this seminar series is required. Tickets are £5 per session or £25 for all 6 sessions. Free for the Friends of the IHR.
The IHR Library recently hosted a one day workshop examining emerging research and current trends in Library and Information Science. The event, held in the IHR’s conference suite, attracted over twenty participants and was comprised of two panel sessions – the first examining the ‘Changing Face of Libraries‘ and the second ‘Impacts of Technology.’
The day began with a welcome and introductory remarks from the IHR’s Librarian Dr Matthew Shaw. Following this, Anne Welsh (UCL) opened the series of talks with a paper exploring ‘Cataloguer as Distant Research Collaborator: Implications of the Use of Catalogue Data in Humanities Research.’ Joanne McPhie (Brunel) then presented a paper on ‘The Evolution of the Librarian: developments and experiences at Brunel University.’ These engaging presentations examined how differing aspects of librarianship interact with users and researchers and both presentations drew interesting questions from the audience.
After a brief interlude for refreshments, the second panel session on ‘Impacts of Technology’ began with Tom Pink (City) asking ‘Has the Internet Changed the Way We Think? The effect of the network on user behaviour’. Emily Nunn (Sheffield) then addressed ‘Researching Open Access: thoughts from a LIS PhD.’ Following this, David Phillips (City) presented on ‘Robots in the Library: gauging attitudes towards developments in robotics and AI, and the potential implications for library services.’
Upon conclusion of the presentations, time was then devoted to questions, with the panel members engaged in debate ranging from the practicalities of open access, the effects of Brexit on university libraries and the potential benefits and drawbacks of robots acting as security guards within libraries. In this regard, the workshop was an exceptionally varied and diverse arena for emerging research. The event consequently facilitated crossover between disciplines, topics and researchers, as presenters comprised lecturers, library professionals, PhD candidates and Masters students.
The workshop drew to a close with a few final closing remarks and a heartfelt thanks to all of the presenters and attendees for making the workshop so thought-provoking and engaging. The future of the discipline of Libraries and Information Science very much appears to be ever-changing, richly diverse, and multi-faceted.
For further information, the full workshop programme can be consulted here. An account of the event as depicted through tweets containing the workshop’s hashtag #ihrLIS can be viewed via Storify here.
Following the success of the workshop and the stimulating debates that it generated, the IHR Library intend to host a similar workshop in the New Year. Details will be posted on the IHR blog, website and social media platforms in due course. If you would like to receive any further information regarding the event, or contribute topics for discussion at future IHR Library Workshop Series events, please contact Siobhan Morris (firstname.lastname@example.org).
IHR Library Workshop Series: Emerging Research in Libraries & Information Science
Friday 19th August 2016 1pm-4pm Wolfson Room II
The Institute of Historical Research Library will be hosting a half-day workshop examining current and emerging research in Libraries and Information Science on Friday 19th August from 1-4pm.
The workshop will provide an opportunity for current researchers to showcase their research and provide a platform for engaging debate on the future of libraries and the discipline more broadly.
The first set of presentations will focus around the theme of the ‘Changing Face of Libraries‘ with presentations examining cataloguing and the changing role of the librarian in an academic library.
Following this, the second set of presentations will address ‘Impacts of Technology‘ and will include presentations on the effect of the internet on user behaviour, open access, and the development of utilising robotics and artificial intelligence in libraries.
The IHR will be hosting 15 visiting historians from Taiwan who will participate in a joint conference with historians based in the UK over three days at the end of August and beginning of September (Wednesday 31st August-Friday 2nd September).
The conference, on aspects of the history of Britain and Western Europe, will bring together both younger and established historians. Sessions will cover a wide variety of subjects in political, cultural and intellectual history including Women’s History, the British Empire in Asia, Britain and America in the 18th century, Victorian social and political history, twentieth century British cultural history, and sessions on the modern history of Germany and France.
Plenary lectures from Professors Martin Daunton, Pat Thane, Joanna Innes and Richard Drayton will examine recent British economic history, the relationship of history and policy in the UK, the ‘linguistic turn’ in British history, and the rise of Global History respectively. The conference will offer an opportunity for two groups of historians, whose contact has been limited thus far, to come together and compare approaches and ideas.
If you would like to attend the conference or any part of it, please contact Gemma Dormer (IHR Events Officer- email@example.com) to book a place (as spaces are limited). Please confirm the following information:
Name: Day/session you would like to attend:
Please note that the IHR will provide all refreshments at break times, but delegates wishing to attend the conference will need to provide their own lunch.
Beveridge Hall| Senate House | Malet Street | WC1E 7HU
David Cesarani’s death in 2015 deprived the historical profession of a noted and highly respected public historian. Focusing throughout his enormously productive career on the history of modern Europe and of the Jewish experience within that history, Cesarani was not only a scholar in his own right but a notable interpreter of history for a broader audience whose career as a broadcaster and journalist linked past and present in ways that made history relevant and important to non-specialists. Two of his many books have been published posthumously. Final Solution: The Fate of the Jews 1933-49 was acclaimed on its publication in January of this year. It has been followed by Cesarani’s biographical study, Disraeli: The Novel Politician, published in April. This event will launch and assess Cesarani’s last book on Anglo-Jewish history, a biography of the most famous of Anglo-Jews, and offers an opportunity to discuss his overall contribution to public debate and historical studies in Britain.
Our panel will consist of two historians of modern Europe, Professor Sir Richard Evans, Regius Professor of History Emeritus in the University of Cambridge, and Professor Jonathan Steinberg, also of Cambridge and the University of Pennsylvania. They will be joined by the scholar and critic of Anglo-Jewish literature, Professor Bryan Cheyette of the University of Reading, and by Suzanne Bardgett, Head of Research and Academic Partnerships at the Imperial War Museum where David Cesarani was a consultant for the museum’s Holocaust gallery.
Entry to this lecture is free but registration is required. To register for this event please click here.
BGEAH Postgraduate and Early Career Workshop in Early American History
2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of BGEAH, the British Group of Early American Historians.
This day-long workshop for postgraduate researchers and early career academics working on any facet of American or Atlantic history from the seventeenth century through the early national period invites them to discuss their ideas among their peers and, where appropriate, to assess the current state of early American research in Britain.
The first BGEAH Postgraduate and Early Career Workshop is being held at the London-based Institute of Historical Research. London, with its unique colonial archival resources and lively research student population, is one of the leading centres of early American scholarship in Europe, and the IHR is a natural location for this event. The IHR Library recently opened its new North American Room, housing one of the foremost UK collections of published material relating to the early history of the United States, Caribbean, and Canada.
Is Britain part of Europe?
An Anglo-French Historical Perspective
17-18 March 2016
IHR | Wolfson Conference Suite | Senate House | Malet Street | WC1E 7HU
Is British History to be understood in isolation from the history of Europe more generally? Is Britain, as some historical schools have argued ‘exceptional’ in the pattern of its historical development? Or can we see similar characteristics, social formations, ideologies and political institutions on both sides of the Channel?
This conference, bringing together British and French historians at the Institute of Historical Research in London, will examine the so-called ‘peculiarities of British History’.
More than 20 historians from Britain and France will deliver papers over two days at the IHR, examining the course of British history in comparative perspective from the early medieval period to the 1960s. The primary focus will be on the comparative history of Britain and France, but there will be scope for wider discussion of other national histories and of developments on a pan-European scale.
Panels will look at the material culture of Anglo-Saxon England and Northern Gaul; London and Paris in the late-medieval period; the history of British and French families in the 18th century; the British context of the French Revolution; the development of socialism in Britain and France; the effects of the First World War in both nations; and at the history of the French and British counter-cultures in the 1960s and 1970s.
Speakers include: Elisabeth Lorans (University of Tours), Helena Hamerow (University of Oxford), Gabor Thomas (University of Reading), Matthew Davies (Institute of Historical Research), Hannah Skoda (University of Oxford), Pierre-Henri Guittonneau (Université Paris Sorbonne), François-Joseph Ruggiu (Paris IV), Naomi Tadmor (Lancaster University), Henry French (University of Exeter), Charles Walton (Warwick University), Elodie Duché (Warwick University), Michael Broers (University of Oxford), Stéphane Guy (Université de Cergy-Pontoise), James Thompson (Bristol University), Ben Jackson (University College Oxford), Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite (University College London), Pierre Purseigle (Warwick University), William Philpott (King’s College London), Franziska Heimburger (Université Paris Sorbonne), Tess Little (University of Oxford) & John Davies (University of Oxford)
The conference is a collaboration between Lawrence Goldman (Institute of Historical Research), Stéphane Jettot (Université Paris-Sorbonne-Maison française d’Oxford), Emmanuelle de Champs (Université de Cergy-Pontoise) & Frédérique Lachaud(Université de Lorraine).
On 21 November, we held two simultaneous Wikipedia edit-a-thons in London and Leicester as part of the Being Human Festival. We did a lot of promotion of these events beforehand so we thought we should tell you how they went. An edit-a-thon is an event where editors get together to write or improve articles centred on a specific topic. These particular edit-a-thons were centred on local history and you can read about how we connected our theme with the overall Being Human Festival theme of “Hidden and Revealed” here. You can also read the story of the day via social media.
My colleagues Jessica Davies and Rebecca Read from Victoria County History (VCH), Jordan Landes from Senate House Library and I were all at the London event. Our Wikimedia UK accredited trainer was Edward Hands, and fellow trainer Jonathan Cardy was also there to lend a hand. The wonderful thing about Wikimedia trainers is that they are volunteers, so we are very grateful to Edward and Jonathan for coming along and teaching our attendees to edit Wikipedia. Overall, we were twenty-one people at the London event. We had a great mix of experienced Wikipedia editors and complete novices. The experienced editors were able to help the novices throughout the day.
The first half of the day was devoted to learning how to edit Wikipedia, especially how to make edits that will last—the secret is to provide references for all the additions you make to Wikipedia. Once they’d been trained, our attendees tried their hands at making some edits.
After lunch, VCH editor and training co-ordinator Adam Chapman gave attendees a quick introduction to the VCH, explaining the historical context of the project and how the volumes are organised. I followed by showing attendees how they could use British History Online (BHO) to search and read VCH, along with many other sources of local history. Since providing references is such a vital part to creating strong Wikipedia edits, we wanted our attendees to know about the rich resources that they can rely on when writing and improving Wikipedia articles, especially those resources that are freely accessible on BHO.
Here’s a list of the articles worked on just by the London attendees:
As for the Leicester event, they had ten people in total, including Pam Fisher from the Leicestershire VCH Trust, who helped us organise the Leicester branch. From the feedback we’ve received, it sounds like the Leicester event was just as much fun and just as productive as the London event. Their trainers were Doug Taylor and Roger Bamkin, who both did an excellent job. The only negative feedback we received is that the day should have been longer!
Overall, we all had a productive day, learned lots of new things and met some wonderful people. Thanks to everyone who helped with organisation, promotion and training. And thanks to all our attendees for making it such a great day.
We’ve recently produced a detailed guide to the Institute of Historical Research United States collections. Coverage includes early American colonial history, the Revolution and establishment of the United States, and special themes such as slavery. The core of the guide was written by Benjamin Bankhurst during his time as Postdoctoral Fellow of North American History, and it has been completed with contributions from others.
The guide will be useful for people new to the collections but those familiar with the collection may also discover something new. It complements the Guide to Canadian History produced in 2014.
There is still time to sign up for one of our Being Human edit-a-thons in London and Leicester on 21 November.
As part of the Being Human Festival, British History Online (BHO), Senate House Library (SHL) and Victoria County History (VCH) will be leading two simultaneous Wikipedia edit-a-thons in London and Leicester on 21 November. An edit-a-thon is an event where editors get together to write or improve articles centred on a specific topic. We will provide training in editing Wikipedia and no prior experience is necessary. The theme of our edit-a-thons will be local history, which will involve both editing articles about particular places, but also editing articles about the practice of local history in the UK.
The idea to have a local history Wikipedia edit-a-thon first occurred to us when we had a Wikipedia training session at the IHR way back in March. Our trainer was Edwardx (who conveniently will also be the London trainer for this coming edit-a-thon) and during our session we were amazed at how easy the process of editing and improving Wikipedia articles was after a little bit of training. Jessica Davies and Rebecca Read from VCH were thinking of ways they could improve articles about various aspects of local history, and I was thinking about how to encourage more editors to consult BHO since Wikipedia encourages citing online, accessible materials where possible. Following the session, the three of us agreed that the theme of local history would an interesting one for an edit-a-thon. We envisioned local historians, Wikipedia editors, students and academics all coming together and learning from each other. The Being Human Festival, with its focus on the humanities’ ability to inspire and enrich our everyday lives, seemed like a natural fit for the event we were dreaming up. Jordan Landes, the history librarian at SHL, had organised the initial training for us and kindly offered to help facilitate the edit-a-thon. Soon we were partnering with a team in Leicester, and taking the edit-a-thon beyond our immediate vicinity and bringing it to a national scale.
We’ll admit we were slightly stumped about whether our events would relate to this year’s Being Human Festival theme, “Hidden and Revealed.” But we quickly realised that the goal of revealing is already behind the work that we do.
We believe local history should be cared for and preserved in archives, but it should not remain there. It is our communal responsibility to study history, to learn from it and to share it. With the VCH volumes, authors comb local archives and untangle the history of places in order to present those histories to the public in the form of the VCH red books. What is that if not a process of revelation? They take something that might not be hidden per se but rather, difficult to access, and reveal the history of a parish, a hundred, or a county in a clear, encyclopaedic format.
Similarly, by digitising the red books, BHO further reveals these histories by allowing VCH texts to be freely accessible from anywhere in the world. One of my responsibilities at BHO is to manage our email account, and I love receiving emails like the one from the Australian woman who found the history of the small village where her great-grandmother was born, or from the mayor who learned new things about his own town, or from the homeowners who discovered the rich history of the place where they live, or from the elderly man who is brought back to his schooldays. To all those people and many more, uncovering the history of where they come from is nothing short of a revelation.
And finally, Wikipedia—one of the most visited websites in the world—is driven by a desire to make human knowledge accessible to everyone. Wikipedia relies on source material like VCH, and BHO content is already heavily cited across the site. Wikipedia democratises the construction of knowledge by allowing articles to be edited by anyone from anywhere in the world.
So to us, the revelation of the hidden is about understanding the history of where we come from and sharing that with each other. Our goal in these events is for everyone to feel like they can participate in the creation of their own history. One thing I have learned since being at BHO is that British history is never only British; and local history is never only local. We are connected on a global level and we share a global history, which might begin with the local but it never stays there.