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‘Home: New Histories of Living’: announcing the IHR’s Winter Conference


The IHR’s forthcoming Winter Conference, to be held on 8-9 February 2018, takes as its theme Home: New Histories of Living.

The title reflects the event’s two main aims: to bring together those working on past domesticities (and above all on the experiences of home life); and to focus especially on new and innovative research which explores how the home has been thought about, utilized and lived in. This focus on research and methodological enquiry will, we hope, become an important strand in future IHR events and conferences—in line with the Institute’s standing as a national centre for training in established and emerging forms of historical research.

Over two days in February 2018, ‘New Histories of Living’ will address four interrelated subject areas currently of particular interest to historians of domestic life. Each panel will comprise three papers relating to the principal theme, interconnected and set in context by a specialist convenor. Panels will bring together scholars whose work provides insights both into historical domestic experiences and historians’ approaches to these pasts.

Day One will offer two sessions, beginning with ‘Reconstructions: imagining domestic experience’—a survey of new ways to recreate medieval and early modern interiors, convened by Professor Catherine Richardson from the University of Kent. This will be followed by ‘Rooms’, which—under the guidance of Sonia Solicari, director The Geffrye Museum, London—considers how historians tackle the changing forms and uses of spaces to accommodate family life, from birth to death, and for cooking, cleaning, resting and entertaining.  Given our interest in recreating the uses and experience of household artefacts and furnishings, museum designers and curators are an important constituency—as speakers and delegates—at this Winter Conference.

Day Two will begin with the ‘Home-work: reimagining gendered domesticity’ panel (Dr Lynne Walker, IHR), a survey of male and female domestic environments. The fourth panel, ‘Dream homes: alternative futures for residential experience’, is convened by Dr Elizabeth Darling of Oxford Brookes University. This session will consider the history of lives lived in the ‘homes of tomorrow’.

Alongside the themed sessions we have four plenary lectures. These will be delivered by Professor Jane Hamlett of Royal Holloway, University of London, a specialist in nineteenth-century domestic and institutional living; the art historian and BBC presenter Dan Cruickshank; the historian of early modern London, Professor Vanessa Harding (Birkbeck); and the architectural historian Owen Hatherley, whose latest book, Landscapes of Communism, is a history of a political ideal told through its buildings.

In addition to lectures and panels, the Winter Conference will offer ancillary events on the subject of research practice and methods. We also expect to make available new technologies for visualizing the historical home. Digital research tools are an interest shared by several of our panellists, and by IHR staff who’ll demonstrate how to make, and use, 3D images and printed models of household artefacts—as well as virtual reality (VR) recreations of complete interior spaces or structures.

Tickets for ‘Home: New Histories of Living’, the 2018 IHR Winter Conference, are now on sale. A small number of bursaries are available for Masters Students, PhD researchers and ECRs to help with conference fees and travel expenses. For more information on how to apply for this please visit the conference website.

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Discover vampires and more at History Day: Vampires at the UCL SSEES Library


This blog post was written by Dr Wojciech Janik, Assistant Librarian at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies Library. It is cross-posted from the Council for Slavonic and East European Library and Information Services blog. It is one of a series of blog posts on the theme of Magic and the Supernatural, as part of the History Day 2017 event on 31st October.

UCL SSEES Library is very happy to participate in History Day 2017. We will be contributing to the Day alongside number of libraries which hold collections that are particularly strong in the field of History. The History Day will take place on the 31st of October at Senate House, University of London. As the date coincides with Halloween, the organisers of the Day propose to use this opportunity and to “celebrate all that is scary, eerie and magical in libraries and archives”.

[Trans-sylvania.Hondius,Jodocus, 1563-1612. Probably from an English ed. of Hondius’ Atlas minor (1635, 1637 or 1639). Map 189. From the collections of UCL SSEES Library. Copyright UCL Library Services, 2010, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England and Wales Licence. For further information on this Licence please refer to:]

At UCL SSEES Library we decided to take this opportunity to focus on vampires! Although it may sound a bit unusual, we actually do have quite strong collection on vampires. In fact UCL SSEES runs a course for our students entitled: Vampires, society and culture: Transylvania and beyond. If you would like to tuck into the subject, you can find the complete reading list here.

But what actually are vampires? According to Encyclopedia of Russian and Slavic myth and legend by Mike Dixon-Kennedy (the book is kept at SSEES: Gen.Slav.REF 3-e DIX) “the name itself is borrowed from the Serbian vampir, which is in turn related to the Turkish word ubir, “undead”, though some sources assert an association with the Slavic upir. In certain cases, the vampire had the ability to shift shape at will, its favourite animal manifestation being the wolf, although bats were also common. These vampires were known as vukodlak, which literally translates as “wolf’s hair”, a word that is still in common usage. Common superstition still holds that when a werewolf dies it becomes a vampire”[1].

The most well-known vampire character is of course Bram Stoker’s Dracula, whose archetype was Prince Vlad Tepes, better known as Dracula or Vlad the Impaler. In SSEES Library we have everything you may want to know about Dracula starting with Bram Stoker’s book Dracula (Misc.XXIV.7 STO). If you would like to know more about the origins of the book, please check The origins of Dracula : the background to Bram Stoker’s Gothic masterpiece, edited by Clive Leatherdale (Misc.XXIV.7 STO ORI). Want to know more about Vlad Tapes the historical figure? Check Vlad the Impaler : in search of the real Dracula by M.J. Trow (Rou.IX.c TRO), or perhaps you are looking for a straight forward answer? Then maybe Dracula : sense & nonsense by Elizabeth Miller (Misc.XXIV.7 STO MIL) can help.

Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Báthory (born in 1560) may be a lesser known vampiric figure. However it is enough to say that she has been described as “the most vicious female serial killer in all recorded history”[2] . If you would like to know more please check for example the following books: The bloody countess by Valentine Penrose (H.IX.c PEN) or Dracula was a woman: in search of the blood countess of Transylvania by Raymond T. McNally (Rou.IX.c MAC).

Of course there is much more in Eastern European folklore and mythology than vampires. If you are interested, please check for example A bibliography of Slavic mythology by Mark Kulikowski (Gen.Slav.II KUL), Russian myths by Elizabeth Warner (R.VIII WAR), The gods of the ancient Slavs : Tatishchev and The beginnings of Slavic mythology by Myroslava T. Znayenk (Gen.Slav.XVII ZNA), Mother Russia: the feminine myth in Russian culture by Joanna Hubbsand (R.XVIII HUB) and many others.

Finally if you would like to read about the Eastern Europe as seen by various travellers in XVI – XIX centuries, why not check out our digital collection of travel books? It contains a selection of printed accounts, dating from 1557 to 1860, focusing on journeys in Central Europe, South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia. You can find more than three hundreds books here.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the History Day on 31st October!


[1] Mike Dixon-Kennedy, Encyclopedia of Russian and Slavic Myth and Legend / Mike Dixon-Kennedy. (Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 1998), 298.

[2] Richard Cavendish: A vicious killer died on August 21st, 1614. In: History Today. Volume 64. Issue 8 August 2014 ( accessed on 02/09/2017)

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The Deana & Jack Eisenberg Lecture in Public History 2017


The Second Founding:  How the Civil War and Reconstruction Changed the American Constitution

Speaker: Professor Eric Foner (Columbia University)

The preservation of the American nation and the destruction of slavery, the two most profound consequences of the Civil War, raised questions about the definition of American citizenship, the rights of the former slaves, and relations between the states and federal government. Three constitutional amendments were adopted during the Reconstruction period following the war which fundamentally changed the rights of citizens and the powers of the federal government. This lecture will consider the legal, political, and social consequences of amending the Constitution in the 1860s.

The lecture is free and open to all but advance registration is required

Date: 19 June 2017
Location: Beveridge Hall, Senate House
Lecture: 6.00-7.30pm
Reception: 7.30-8.30pm

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What is Microhistory Now?


2 June 2017, Wolfson Conference Suie, IHR

Microhistory rose to prominence more than three decades ago after the publication of Carlo Ginzburg’s Cheese and the Worms (1976) and Natalie Davis’s Return of Martin Guerre (1983).  It highlighted the agency as well as experiences of common people and challenged major narratives of historical change. By the 1990s its success in teaching history sparked anxiety that students might know more about Martin Guerre than about Martin Luther. This workshop brings together leaders in the field to chart current microhistorical practices. It explores how such approaches can inform a new global history, the history of emotions and intellectual history, the writing and teaching of history as much as creative collaborations with artists.

Speakers include:

  • Prof Maxine Berg (University of Warwick)
  • Prof Benjamin Kaplan (UCL)
  • Prof Tom Robisheaux (Duke University)
  • Prof Emma Rothschild (Harvard University)
  • Prof Ulinka Rublack (University of Cambridge)
  • Prof Francesca Trivellato (Yale University)

For a provisional programme, please click here

Fees apply

  • Full rate: £35
  • Concession rate: £25 (Student/retired/IHR Friend)
Fees include refreshments and lunch

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The book in the Low Countries: New perspectives, hidden collections


21-22 June 2017, Wolfson Conference Suite, IHR

Great Britain and the Low Countries share a large part of their histories. There are countless stories of political and economic rivalries and wars, stories of religious and political exile in both directions, but also of cultural exchange and influence. Also the book business of the early modern era was characterised by an influx of printers, materials and books from the Low Countries to England. Rare books and manuscripts were eagerly collected by English bibliophiles and most of these collections are nowadays found in libraries all over the country.

This two-day symposium has a double goal. In a combination of papers and collection visits, it wants to bring these often overlooked collections to the surface, and it also offers an overview of the latest research on Low Countries books.

Speakers include: 

  • Arthur der Weduwen (University of St. Andrews)
  • Erik Geleijns (Museum Meermanno)
  • Jaap Geraerts(University College London)
  • Goran Proot (University of Udine)
  • Reinier Salverda (UCL and Fryske Akademy)
  • Marja Smolenaars(Koninklijke Bibliotheek)
  • Patrick Storme (Universiteit Antwerpen)
  • Steven Van Impe (Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience)
  • Catherine Wright (University of Oxford)
  • Heleen Wyffels (KU Leuven)

Delegates will also visit the following locations as part of the conference:

  • Lambeth Palace Library
  • British Library
  • Dutch Church
  • Senate House Library

For the preliminary conference programme, please click here

Fees apply ( includes all refreshments and lunches on both days)

  • Full fee: £60
  • Concession Rate: (Student/retired/ IHR Friend)​: £40
Conference organised by:  Stijn van Rossem (Institute of Historical Research)
With support from the Government of Flanders and Scaliger Institute

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Thomas Frederick Tout: Refashioning History in the 20th Century


9-10 June 2017, IHR, Wolfson Conference Suite

Thomas Frederick Tout was a remarkable medieval historian who forged the distinctive and distinguished history school at Manchester University in the early years of the twentieth century. His own research made extensive use of the national archives (as opposed to the customary use of chronicle sources) and his major contributions were in the field of administrative history. He was, himself, a tireless administrator of many historical enterprises (including the Dictionary of National Biography) and his historical output was extraordinary. He spent the last four years of his life in London and is buried in Hampstead Parish churchyard. The time is ripe to reconsider his historical legacy.


Speakers include:

  • Ralph A. Griffiths (Swansea University)
  • William Gibson (Oxford Brookes University)
  • Stuart Jones (University of Manchester)
  • Peter Slee (Leeds Becket University)
  • Christopher Godden (University of Manchester)
  • Henry Summerson (ODNB)
  • Ian d’Alton (Trinity College Dublin)
  • Seymour Phillips (University College, Dublin)
  • Paul Dryburgh (The National Archives)
  • Matthew Raven (University of Hull)
  • Jeff Hamilton (Baylor University)
  • Vance Smith (Princeton University)
  • DeLloyd  Guth (University of Manitoba)
  • John McEwan (St. Louis University)
  • Elizabeth Biggs (University of York)
  • Nick Barratt (University of Nottingham)
  • Mark Ormrod (University of York),
  • Joel Rosenthal (Stony Brook University)
  • Tom Sharp (CBE, grandson of T.F.Tout)


For the preliminary conference programme, please click here

Fees apply ( includes all refreshments and lunches on both days)

  • 2-day Full fee: £60
  • 2-day Student/unwaged/retired/ IHR Friend​: £40
  • 1-day Full fee: £35
  • 1-day Student/unwaged/retired/ IHR Friend: £25
 Conference organised by:
Professor Caroline Barron (RHUL) & Professor Joel Rosenthal (Stony Brook University)

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Eric Hobsbawm Memorial Lecture 2017


Russia’s Revolution and the Destruction of the Past

Speaker: Catherine Merridale

Annual lecture in memory of Professor Eric Hobsbawm. Catherine Merridale is the author of numerous award-winning books on Russian history. Her latest work, Lenin on the Train (Penguin Books), tells the story of Lenin’s famous journey to Russia in April 1917.

Attendance at this lecture is free, but advanced registration is required

Date: 22 May 2017
The Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House
: 18:00-19:30
Followed by a reception

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Future Past: researching archives in the digital age


Thursday 18 May 2017, Wolfson Conference Suite, IHR

The IHR and British Records Association (BRA) invite you to attend this one day conference on Thursday 18 May 2017.

This conference aims to promote the understanding and collaboration between archivists and researchers; explore challenges posed by digital access to collections, and improve methodologies (e.g. education/training for researchers in what information is available from online catalogues, how archivists can improve catalogue descriptions so researchers can find relevant records more easily and how you can understand the context of records showing up in searches).

Speakers include:

  • Nick Barrett (Univ of Nottingham)
  • Geoff Browell (Kings College London)
  • Maria Castrillo (Senate House Library)
  • Kathleen Chater
  • Sophie Clapp (Boots)
  • Clare Cowling (IALS)
  • Jo Pugh (TNA & University of York)
  • Tom Scott ( Wellcome Collection)
  • Tamara Thornhill (TFL)
  • Jane Winters (SAS)

For a workshop provisional programme, please click here.

Fees apply

  • Full rate: £35
  • Concession rate: £25 (Student/retired/IHR Friend/BRA member)

Fees include refreshments and lunch

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Inaugural George Weidenfeld Lecture in Jewish History 2017




Towards a History of Jewish Emancipation Politics

16 March 2017, Beveridge Hall, Senate House

Speaker: Professor David Sorkin (Yale University)

In this lecture, David Sorkin, Professor of Jewish History at Yale University, will examine the involvement of Jewish communal and religious leaders in the processes of Jewish emancipation in Europe from the early modern period onwards. In questioning whether historians have developed effective explanations and categories to explain Jewish political participation he will propose a new analysis of Jewish politics from the 16th to the 20th centuries.

Attendance at this lecture is free, but advanced registration is required

Lecture: 18:00
Reception: 19:30

Book online now


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The Gerald Aylmer Seminar 2017



The Gerald Aylmer Seminar 2017
Strongroom to Seminar: archives and teaching in higher education

24 February 2017, Wolfson Conference Suite, IHR

The Gerald Aylmer Seminar 2017 will consider the role of archives in higher education teaching. It will focus on the critical questions which surround how academics and archivists can build on a strong tradition of collaboration to engage in creative and innovative pedagogical practice. Just as teaching methods have evolved within higher education, so have the expectations of the modern student. In a digital world, the experience of how a new generation of researchers interact with archival resources has changed dramatically. What then is the role of document based teaching in this shifting landscape? How can technology be used to enhance the learning experience? What other insights does teaching with archival material in higher education bring?

Following the keynote by Professor Jo Fox, the seminar will offer three themed sessions in which speakers will address issues from multiple archival and scholarly perspectives. Session one ‘creator as teacher’ focuses on an established collaboration between archivists and academics based on the works of John Ruskin, who left his extensive collection with the specific aim of it being used as a resource for educating future generations. Other speakers will reflect on their innovative teaching practices involving archival material, including the use of digital collections and data sets, and the ways archivists can take an increasingly active role in shaping students’ engagement with archival collections.

A provisional programme is available to view online here

The seminar is free and open to all, but advanced registration is required. Register online now

All lunch and refreshments will be provided.

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