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.
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.
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:
- A ‘Common Spectacle’ of the Race: The Visual Politics of Founding in the Age of Garveyism (7 October)
- Black in Rembrandt’s Time (12 October)
- Colonial Countryside: Lessons Learned, Insights Gained (14 October)
- Black Lives Matter in German History (14 October)
- Student Experiences of Black British History in Universities (15 October)
- A Black Jurist in a Slave Society (20 October)
- “Vorrei la pelle nera”: Youth Culture and Anti-racist Sensibilities in 1960s-1970s Italy (28 October)
- Histories of Religion and Anti-Racism (28 October)
- Researching British history online, with an introduction to the IHR Library’s ‘Teaching British histories of race, migration and empire’ (29 October)
- The Politics and Ethics of Black British History (29 October)
- Histories of Religion, Race and the State (11 November)
- Thinking About Black Republicanism: An Introduction (18 November)
- 150 years since the death of William Cuffay black leader of London Chartism in 1848. Has he been ignored by socialist historians? (7 December)
Further seminars and events will be added for later in 2020. A full listing is available here.
3. Past events from the IHR archive
Selected recent activities are also available in the Institute’s events archive:
- ‘Writing histories of 2020: responses and perspectives’, a panel discussion on historians’ recording of and responses to Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement, with an accompanying podcast (July 2020)
- ‘Re-reading the sources and diversifying local history’, part of Virtual VCH: an online mini-conference (June 2020)
- ‘Co-production and collaboration in the archive’, the 2020 Aylmer Conference (March 2020) at which speakers from the Black Cultural Archives and Culture& considered the meaning and value of ‘co-production’ between historians and archivists
- Where do we fit in?’ Black and Asian British History on the Curriculum, an evening of panel debate and performance, with an accompanying blog post (December 2018)
i. Recent articles from the IHR journal, Historical Research
- Rob Waters, ‘“Time come”: Britain’s black futures past’ (the 2019 IHR Historical Research annual lecture)
- Kennetta Hammond Perry, ‘The temporal dimensions of Thinking Black: a comment’
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:
- Black 1919: Riots, Racism and Resistance in Imperial Britain
Jacqueline Jenkinson (Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 2009)
- Bonds of Empire: West Indians and Britishness from Victoria to Decolonization
Anne Spry Rush (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011)
- Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century
Tera W. Hunter (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2017)
- The Captive’s Quest for Freedom: Fugitive Slaves, the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, and the Politics of Slavery
Richard Blackett (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018)
- Children of Uncertain Fortune: Mixed-Race Jamaicans in Britain and the Atlantic Family, 1733-1833
Daniel Livesay (Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 2018)
- Caribbean New Orleans: Empire, Race, and the Making of a Slave Society
Cécile Vidal (Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 2019)
- Edmund Burke and the British Empire in the West Indies: Wealth, Power, and Slavery
P. J. Marshall (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2019)
- Exposing Slavery: Photography, Human Bondage, and the Birth of Modern Visual Politics in America
Matthew Fox-Amato (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2019)
- Legacies of British Slave-Ownership
edited by: Nick Draper, Rachel Lang, Catherine Hall, Keith McClelland, Katie Donington, Kristy Warren (London, University College London, 2017)
- Mixing It: Diversity in World War Two Britain
Wendy Webster (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2018)
- That Most Precious Merchandise: The Mediterranean Trade in Black Sea Slaves, 1260-1500
Hannah Barker (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019)
- The Politics of Reproduction: Race, Medicine and Fertility in the Age of Abolition
Katherine Paugh (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2017)
- Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America
W. Caleb McDaniel (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2019)
- Tropical Freedom: Climate, Settler Colonialism, and Black Exclusion in the Age of Emancipation
Ikuko Asaka (Durham, Duke University Press, 2017)
- Unsettled: Refugee Camps and the Making of Multicultural Britain
Jordanna Bailkin (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2018)
- The Vision of a Nation: Making Multiculturalism on British Television
Gavin Schaffer (London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)