As the UK’s national centre for history, the Institute of Historical Research facilitates and helps communicate the research of historians, of all kinds, across a wide range of subject areas and geographies.

This post—published at the start of the UK’s Black History Month—brings together a selection of Institute resources, guides, recent publications and forthcoming events that may be of interest to those working in the field of Black History. The following is a selection of what’s been made available by and for historians via the IHR. This remains of course work in progress.

1. Online guides and collections
i. Teaching histories of race, migration and empire

In August 2020 the IHR Library, working with the Runnymede Trust, published an online guide to resources useful for ‘Teaching histories of race, migration and empire’. Content for the site, which is freely available online, was gathered by crowdsourcing. An accompanying blog post by two of the guide’s creators—Dr Sundeep Lidher and Dr Hannah Elias—is also available.

The guide currently includes links to over 100 external resources suitable for teaching from Key Stage 1 to A-Level and undergraduate degree. The call for content remains open and we welcome proposals for additional resources via this webform.

ii. IHR Library guide to its Black History collection

The IHR Wohl Library’s collection relating to Black History centres around published primary sources and guides, and is supported by reference and some secondary works. The Library’s collection policy has traditionally focused on Western Europe and its colonial history and complemented the collections held by SOAS, the Institute for Commonwealth Studies and Senate House Library.

Our African material mainly covers colonial history, but sources for black histories resulting from the African diasporas can also be found across the national and chronological sections of the Library. We welcome suggestions for acquisition and information about our existing holdings, and recognise that our holdings to date are to a great extent the result of colonial structures of power and the colonial gaze.

iii. Recent publishing in Black History from the ‘Bibliography of British and Irish History’

The Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH) is an online collection of 625,000 books, articles, essays and edited volumes on British and Irish history. The Bibliography defines British and Irish history very broadly, and includes extensive records on histories of race, empire and migration.

It includes listings for many thousands of recent publications, including those published in 2020, and has more than 400 academic titles relating to Black British History, published between 2010 and 2020.

A separate freestanding list of these 412 books, articles and chapters has now been made available and is available here as a browsable list and downloadable pdf. Wherever possible, records link direct to online versions of the article or book, providing quick access to selected recent publications in the field of Black British History.

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The Bibliography of British and Irish History is a subscription service available via most UK universities and many more institutions internationally.

iv. Layers of London: Windrush arrivals 1948

Layers of London is the Institute’s crowdsourced digital mapping site that allows collections to be created and pinned to historical maps of the capital. The ‘Windrush arrivals’ layer, added in 2020, locates the London residential addresses of passengers on the MV Empire Windrush with reference to the information individuals provided on their landing cards.

This map layer has been created as part of a project based at Goldsmiths, University of London. An external searchable database containing details of all 1027 Windrush passengers, and images of all the reimagined and recreated landing cards, may be accessed here.

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2. Events

This autumn a number of IHR seminars and events address themes related to Black History, in Britain and globally. These include (on 1 October) the first 2020-21 seminar from the Black British History Seminar: ‘Black British History in School and Research’.

Other forthcoming online seminars include:

Further seminars and events will be added for later in 2020. A full listing is available here.

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3. Past events from the IHR archive

Selected recent activities are also available in the Institute’s events archive:

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4. Publications
i. Recent articles from the IHR journal, Historical Research

ii. Selected reviews from the IHR’s ‘Reviews in History’

Reviews in History is an online collection of nearly 2500 reviews of major books published between 1996 and 2020. Longer than many review articles, IHR essays also provide an author response — enabling reviewer and author to engage in dialogue. A recent selection of Reviews includes: