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Making Abolition Brazilian: British Law and Brazilian Abolitionists in Nineteenth-Century Minas Gerais and Pernambuco


Courtney J. Campbell, Past & Present Fellow at the IHR for 2014-15, has had a paper published in the most recent issue of Slavery & Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies.


From the abstract:Campbell

This article compares two cases in which Brazilian abolitionists mobilized around a law passed in 1843 to prohibit British subjects, no matter where they resided, from owning slaves. Placing a case against a large British-owned gold mine in Minas Gerais alongside outcry against a Scottish widow who owned two slaves in Recife, the article argues that this law was used as a rhetorical tool to gain support for abolitionism and create public outrage against British slaveholders in Brazil at a moment of expanding public participation in abolitionism as a form of nationalism.

Access the article here.

Digital development: a commitment to OA


When I joined the IHR in early August, I did so with the challenging assignment of helping to further the Institute’s mission to embrace the opportunities of digital content delivery and enable greater access to knowledge, in line with the School’s Statement on Open Access. As a graduate of the humanities and a professional academic publisher with experience in delivering online products and a preoccupation with open access, it is a task that I am really keen to get my teeth into.

Mandated deposit into institutional repositories, developments in publishing strategies and technology, and the growth of freely accessible content across many disciplines, have been credited as heralding the return of the institutional press. Yet from the perspective of the IHR, when you look at the continued output of this Institute and of SAS, we were certainly never dormant!

IHR books and digital publicationsThe key focus for us as an institutional publisher, but also as champions for the humanities and social sciences, is how we embrace and develop a modern and sustainable approach to digital publication. The humanities retains a strong interest in the long form monograph as a scholarly necessity – but this is somewhat at odds with a growing demand for the rapidly produced, short form, and increasingly ‘born-digital’ research outputs which already hold significant sway across science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In a climate where the monograph is valued, yet the demand upon researchers is tightening, reader habits are shifting and budgets remain acutely stretched, how can publication in this format be encouraged, cost effective and remain impactful?

Led by investigators based in the Department of Information Studies at UCL with funding from the AHRC, the Academic Book of the Future project seeks to explore opinion and provide insights and possible recommendations which could help to answer this question by engaging with a broad range of stakeholders. Indeed, it is a challenge for which researchers, communities, organisations and institutions as the originators of content and curators of humanities resources are keenly placed to take the lead.

Our ambition is to continue to build upon the fantastic academic and educational resources of the IHR, Senate House and the School, to ensure the continued growth in academic research output, digital archiving, preservation, accessibility and the wider dissemination of text, literature, imagery, public and private records, special collections and even datasets. We are firmly committed to enabling the Green route to open access for all authors and originators of research material associated with the School (through SAS-Space) and exploring ethically sound, sustainable methods for delivering valuable content, publications and online platforms (such as British History Online and our other digital resources) which can operate without reliance upon the significant article processing charges which drive the Gold route.

This can only be achieved by our ongoing investment in digital infrastructure, the development of agile processes and publication strategies, and by seeking greater collaborative partnerships with the communities we are comprised of, serve and represent and who share our ideals for open and sustainable access for students, scholars, libraries, societies, institutions and the general public.

I am thrilled to be a part of the IHR and wider School in working towards this continued goal of digital development. I look forward to sharing the occasional slice of information, opinion piece, and updating you on our work towards further engagement with open access and the future of our humanities publications.

New IHR Digital project to be funded by AHRC


IHR Digital is very pleased to announce that we have been awarded funding by the Arts and Humanities Research Council for a new project called the Thesaurus of British and Irish History as SKOS (TOBIAS).

The IHR will publish as a web ontology the Bibliography of British and Irish History’s subject classification of 8,800 terms for British and Irish history. This will provide a comprehensive, standard resource for all British and Irish history projects wishing to expose their data and link it to other projects using the Resource Description Framework. The benefit of linked data is that it is possible to find data in that format which could not be found using conventional search. Web ontologies are linked together to form the framework of the ‘semantic web’, and the TOBIAS project aims to embed a rigorous vocabulary of British and Irish history into that framework.

New Historical Research articles published online



This article attempts a reassessment of Clan Donald’s activities and their relations with the Scottish and English crowns in 1461–3. There are two objectives: first, to review the nature and significance of the MacDonald alliance with Yorkist England and the identities and roles of its leading advocates; and second, to establish how far, if at all, the raids conducted by the MacDonalds in these years can be linked with the development of this entente. The exercise necessitates a review of background themes, at first seemingly distinct from each other, but which coalesce in 1460–1 to create a dynamic out of which the alliance was born and, arguably, MacDonald military activity encouraged.

Tenure and property in medieval England. Susan Reynolds

This article argues that the use of the word ‘tenure’ instead of ‘property’ in discussions of medieval English property law impedes the understanding of that law and makes it harder to compare it either with modern law or with the law of other parts of medieval Europe. Its use derives not from the vocabulary or content of medieval English law, but from the effort of seventeenth-century antiquaries to connect medieval English law with the academic law that French scholars had derived from the twelfth-century Italian Libri Feudorum.

New Historical Research articles published online



The death, funerals and commemoration of George V and George VI have received relatively little attention. The elaborately staged funerals established new democratic spaces where people could affirm their loyalty and live broadcasts generated nationally shared experiences. New mass media were significant but the funerals also incorporated commemorative rituals established after the First World War including the two-minute silence and memorial appeals building on the war memorials movement. National philanthropic schemes or living memorials promoted young people’s welfare inspired by both kings’ belief in the physical, moral and social benefits of outdoor recreation. Drawing extensively on unexplored sources, this article argues that royal death affirmed a shared Britishness, which strengthened the monarchy and enhanced social and national cohesion in the era of total war.

This article analyses Anglo-French relations with regard to Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence (U.D.I.). It highlights how long-standing ideas about co-operation and competition shaped British and French views of each other in the Rhodesian context, as well as French policies towards U.D.I. The article then moves beyond the dichotomy between alliance and acrimony, identifying other themes that informed Anglo-French relations in this rebellious British colony. By exploring interaction between Britain, France and Rhodesia, it challenges the binaries that dominate the study of the end of European colonial rule in the twentieth century, offering instead a connected history of decolonization.

New reviews: African-American history, Civil War Scotland and Ireland, healthcare and medieval databases


mlk1We start this week with Interpreting African American History and Culture at Museum and Historic Sites by Max A. van Balgooy, as Hannah Rose-Murray and the author discuss an engaging account of how African-American history is interpreted today (no. 1823, with response here).

Next up is Barry Robertson’s Royalists at War in Scotland and Ireland, 1638-1650,  as Chris Langley finds this book to be an important milestone in our appreciation of the differences of British and Irish experience (no. 1822).

Then we turn to Healthcare in Ireland and Britain from 1850: Voluntary, Regional and Comparative Perspectives, edited by Donnacha Seán Lucey and Virginia Crossman. Laura Kelly believes this impressive volume will appeal to all those interested in the history of healthcare and welfare (no. 1821).

Finally Justin Colson reviews two websites offering exceptional new insights into the social and economic history of the late medieval period, in Web Databases for Late Medieval Social and Economic History: England’s Immigrants and the Overland Trade Project (no. 1820, with response here).

History Now & Then


shutterstock_263368988A series of six new public seminars on current issues raised by the study of the past.

Wolfson Conference Suite, IHR

Seminar: 6-7.30pm
Refreshments: 7.30-8.30pm

Welcome: Lawrence Goldman
Chair: Daniel Snowman

14 October 2015: History, history, everywhere… The apparent paradox that, alongside the recent growth of popular interest in history, many people also seem to lack a sense of the continuity between past and present.
Panel: Ronald Hutton, Paul Lay, David Reynolds, Pat Thane

11 November 2015: History as Heritage: The preservation, distortion and commercialisation of the past.
Panel: Jonathan Glancey, Robert Hewison, Anna-Maria Misra, Simon Thurley

9 December 2015: Does the ‘Real’ Past Matter?: The history and function of historical myth.
Panel: Peter Burke, David Cesarani, Justin Champion, Roy Foster

13 January 2016: Rewriting the Past: The need felt in each generation to reconfigure the past.
Panel: Penelope Corfield, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Ian Kershaw, Jonathan Steinberg

10 February 2016: Pictures of the Past: How far can artworks provide a pathway – or a stumbling block – towards understanding the past.?
Panel: Vic Gatrell, Simon Goldhill, Marion Kant, Simon Shaw-Miller

9 March 2016: Uses and Abuses of the Past: History as ideology, consolation, nostalgia, vindication, identity, revenge. Where does ‘History’ go from here?
Panel: Anne Curry, Peter Hennessy, Paul Preston, Donald Sassoon

Registration for this seminar series is required.
Tickets are £5 per session of £25 for all 6 sessions.
Free for the Friends of the IHR.

To register for a seminar visit the University of London online store.

For any queries, please contact the IHR Events Office:

Connected Histories: Victoria and Denmark



This post has kindly been written for us by our IHR Digital intern Brandon Fathy

One of the less well known (and more underrated) online resources for historians is Connected Histories. Connected Histories is a comprehensive search engine comprising a variety of digitised documents and images dating from 1500 to 1900, drawing from 25 different resources ranging from British History Online to the Victoria County History. The site also allows you to create ‘connections’, which are essentially topics that you or anyone else can then add and save items to.

To demonstrate how useful Connected Histories is as a resource, I made a general search for ‘Denmark’ which found 189,007 matches across 22 resources. From here I grazed the results and discovered a variety of interesting items, including correspondence from 16th-century Scotland visiting the king of Denmark on BHO, a plan of attack by the British Navy of Copenhagen from the British Museum, and even a timetable of regular steamboats travelling from London to Copenhagen in 1889 from 19th Century British Pamphlets.

My particular personal historic interest in Denmark lies before the date range of the search engine, but I am also generally interested in the relationships between Northern European countries, so I decided to look at the relationship between Denmark and Queen Victoria. I made an advanced search for ‘Queen Victoria’ in the people index, ‘Denmark’ in the place index, and narrowed the search to 1830 – 1900. By doing so I arrived at a mere 4,154 matches across 6 sources. Many of the newspaper and pamphlet results displayed dated from 1864 concerning a “Schleswig-Holstein Crisis”. I had previously heard of a German invasion of Schleswig sometime in the 19th century, but before coming to Connected Histories I knew very little about it, and had not even considered that Britain may have been indirectly involved.

First I found a newspaper from 1864 that referred to King Christian of Denmark as “Pretender to the crown of Schleswig-Holstein”. I then found a 19th Century British Pamphlet that was concerned with “certain anonymous articles designed to render Queen Victoria unpopular” that referenced an article that had accused Victoria of being unwilling to intervene on Denmark’s behalf because she was a German sympathiser who was feeling especially sentimental because her German husband had recently died. These sources gave me a better understanding not only of a corner Anglo-European relations, but also of popular British attitudes towards both Denmark and Victoria. Furthermore, I was able to read ‘Official documents’ from 1864 stating that there were diplomatic reasons that the queen preferred to marry the “lamented late Prince-Consort” than the Danish king, which was a surprise to me. Shortly afterwards, I read an 1862 newspaper article announcing that Victoria had just sent a formal letter to Princess Alexandra of Denmark soliciting marriage to the Queen’s son Prince Edward, which complicated my perception of the relationship between Britain and Denmark.

This was just preliminary research, but it is clear to me that Connected Histories gave me access to historical materials that a Google search simply could not have, while also providing a richer and overall more complex picture of the Schleswig-Holstein Crisis than I would have been able to see using any one resource like 19th Century British Pamphlets or British Newspapers, on their own.

New reviews: English Americans, Hiroshima, French Freemasons and Stalin’s citizens


gaskill2We start off with Between Two Worlds: How the English Became Americans by Malcolm Gaskill. Joan Redmond and the author discuss a work of impressive scope and great depth (no. 1819, with response here).

Next we turn to Ran Zwigenberg’s Hiroshima: The Origins of Global Memory Culture, and Danae Karydaki believes that the greatest strength of this book is an exceptional combination of meticulous and multi-level archival research with a strong critical voice (no. 1818).

Then we turn to Brotherly Love: Freemasonry and Male Friendship in Enlightenment France by Kenneth Loiselle. Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire finds this book to be elegantly written, and steeped in archival research and interdisciplinary reflection (no. 1817).

Finally we have Serhy Yekelchyk’s  Stalin’s Citizens: Everyday Politics in the Wake of Total War, with Kees Boterbloem enjoying a book which provides a sound argument embedded in a solid investigation of the evidence (no. 1816).

Announcing the 2015-16 IHR Junior Research Fellows!


IHR direction signAfter a highly competitive process, the Institute is delighted to have appointed eighteen Junior Research Fellows for the 2015-16 year. We received a record number of applications for Junior Fellowships this year, and panels found it challenging to select the successful candidates from a range of excellent submissions. Thank you to everyone who took the time to apply.

We greatly look forward to welcoming the new cohort in October, and will be sharing more details and news of them in the coming months. In the meantime, you can get a sense of their areas of interest from the list below.

Do remember to check back for the programme of Director’s Seminars. At these seminars the Junior Fellows will present their research. These will be held on Wednesday afternoons, 2-4pm, from 7 October – 2 December (except one on the Thursday, 26 November), in Wolfson II at the IHR.

Economic History Society Fellows

Alice Dolan (UCL) 1 year
Re-Fashioning the Working Class: Mechanisation and Materiality in England 1800-1856

Paul Kreitman (SOAS) 1 year
Economic and Social Dimensions of Sovereignty in the North Pacific, 1861-1965

John Morgan (Exeter) 1 year
Financing flood security in eastern England, 1567-1826 Warwick

Judy Stephenson (Cambridge) 1 year
Occupation and Labour market institutions in London 1600 – 1800 LSE

Jacobite Studies Trust Fellow

Mindaugas Sapoka (Aberdeen) 1 year
Poland-Lithuania and Jacobitism c. 1714 – c. 1750

Past & Present Fellows

Jennifer Keating (UCL) 1 year
Images in crisis: Landscapes of disorder in Russian Central Asia, 1915-1924

Roel Konijnendijk (UCL) 1 year
Courage and Skill: A Hierarchy of Virtue in Greek Thought

Tehila Sasson (UC Berkeley) 1 year
In the Name of Humanity: Britain and the Rise of Global Humanitarianism

Junqing Wu (Exeter) 1 year
Anticlerical erotica in China and France: a cross-cultural analysis Nottingham

Pearsall Fellow

Ben Thomas (Aberdeen) 1 year
The Royal Naval Reserve in rural Scotland and Wales, c. 1900-1939

IHR Doctoral Fellows – Royal Historical Society

Lucy Hennings (Oxford) 1 year P.J. Marshall Fellow
England in Europe during the Reign of Henry III, 1216-1272

Sarah Ward (Oxford) 1 year Centenary Fellow
Royalism, Religion, and Revolution: The Gentry of North-East Wales, 1640-88

IHR Doctoral Fellows – Scouloudi Fellows

Will Eves (St Andrews) 6 months
The Assize of Mort d’Ancestor: From 1176 to 1230

Felicity Hill (UEA) 1 year
Excommunication and Politics in thirteenth-century England

Julia Leikin (UCL) 1 year
Prize law, maritime neutrality, and the law of nations in Imperial Russia, 1768-1856

James Norrie (Oxford) 6 months
Property and Religious Change in the Diocese of Milan, c.990-1140

Joan Redmond (Cambridge) 6 months
Popular religious violence in Ireland, 1641-1660

IHR Doctoral Fellows – Thornley Fellow

Cécile Bushidi (SOAS) 1 year
Dance, socio-cultural change, and politics among the Gĩkũyũ people of Kenya, 1880s-1963

We would also like to announce that Jacob Currie (Cambridge) was awarded a six-month Scouloudi Fellowship, which has been deferred to 2016-17.

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