School of History Newsletter: January 2017

The latest edition of our School newsletter, History Today, is now available to download herehistory-today-jan-17

Released monthly, the newsletter features all the latest news and updates from the School, as well as upcoming events and recent student and staff achievements.

In this issue: 
• Kent’s new Vice-Chancellor is announced
• Student Employability Opportunities
• New publications from our academics
• This term’s Research Seminar Series
• Getting to Know You: Our Student Support Officer

Professor David Welch’s research on WWII propaganda features in The i Newspaper

'Persuading the People: British Propaganda in WWII', Professor David Welch

‘Persuading the People: British Propaganda in WWII’, Professor David Welch

Professor David Welch featured in the i Newspaper on Monday 14th November, in a piece detailing his latest book, ‘Persuading the People: British Propaganda in World War II’.

The book, which was released in September, looks at how the Ministry of Information used propaganda to convince the Empire that the Second World War was worth fighting.

Read the article here.

Professor Welch will also be giving a talk on the topic at the British Library this coming Thursday 17th November.  More details on the event can be found here.

Dr Higgitt presents the Transit of Venus 1874 digital collection

Dr Rebekah Higgitt introduces a digitised collection papers, photographs and drawings transit-of-venus-thumbnailrelating to the history of astronomy, now available at Cambridge Digital Library. Funded by the University of Kent and the British Society for the History of Science, her project has made items from the archive of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and a private collection available to the public. They focus on the British expeditions organised to observe the 1874 transit of Venus, particularly the one made to the Sandwich Islands (Hawai’i). The collection includes photographs of the observing instruments, huts and sites; details of the equipment and provisions taken overseas; official and private journals and a truly unique set of caricature drawings that follow the “Life and Adventures” of the Hawai’i observers.

To see the digitised papers click here.

Leverhulme Lecture Series: Sophie De Schaepdrijver

Sophie De Schaepdrijver (Penn State University, USA) joins the University of Kent’s School of History as Leverhulme Visiting Professor for the academic year 2016-2017. During her visit she will be holding a series of lectures exploring how studying military occupation helps us understand the First World War.

Programme:

© IWM Q87606. German soldiers watching a female lacemaker at work in German occupied Belgium

© IWM Q87606. German soldiers watching a female lacemaker at work in German occupied Belgium

Monday 3rd October Conquered Lands: Occupied Europe in the Great War

Tuesday 8th November Hostile Hinterlands: Occupation and War

Tuesday 6th December To Wait In Heavy Harness: The Occupiers

Tuesday 24th January Dancing with a Bully: Occupied Populations

Tuesday 28th February Social Contracts: Citizenship and Sacrifice under Occupation

Tuesday 28th March Tangled Memories: Remembering and Forgetting the Occupations of the Great War

Lectures will take place in Grimond Lecture Theatre 2 on the Canterbury Campus from 6pm.

Professor De Schaepdrijver is a historian of the First World War with a special interest in gender, social class, and the uses of language; she has published widely on the history of that war’s military occupations. Her most recent books are Military Occupations in the First World War (edited, 2014); Bastion: Occupied Bruges in the First World War (2014); and Gabrielle Petit: The Death and Life of a Female Spy in the First World War (2015). For her work, she was awarded the title of Baroness by H.M. the King of Belgium.

The Leverhulme lecture series is supported by the School of History and the Gateways to the First World War public engagement centre at the University of Kent.

Sophie De Schaepdrijver

Sophie De Schaepdrijver

 

Professor Schmidt to appear on BBC4 documentary

Professor Ulf Schmidt will be appearing on BBC4 documentary ‘Inside Porton Down‘, due to be aired on Tuesday 28th June at 9.00pm.

Professor Schmidt recently released his book 'Secret Science', which focuses on the experiments conducted at Porton Down

Professor Schmidt recently released his book ‘Secret Science’, which focuses on the experiments conducted at Porton Down

The programme will investigate Britain’s most secretive and controversial military research base, Porton Down, on its 100th anniversary, revealing the truth about the chemical and biological weapons tested there.

Professor Schmidt contributes to the programme following his work on recent book ‘Secret Science: A Century of Poison Warfare and Human Experiments’, which provides a comprehensive history of chemical and biological weapons research in Britain and North America. The book, released last year, incorporates previously top secret military, scientific, and government archival material with interviews with servicemen and scientists whilst recognising developments in global debates on medical ethics.

Last summer the School held a launch for the book, which a number of Porton Down veterans attended, along with academics and staff from the School. View pictures from the event here.

‘Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Material Culture’: South East Hub Conference 2016

The University of Kent is again hosting this years’ South East Hub Conference, which will be on ‘Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Material Culture’, and is to be held on Thursday 9th June 2016.

This one-day conference hosted at the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus brings together a range of research on material culture in Britain and the wider world. It will include a Special Collections workshop led by Dr. Emily Guerry, as well as a variety of panels led by postgraduate researchers, with broad themes covering: methodological practice, material and cultural exchange, symbolism, and myth and memory in materiality. Our keynote, Professor Nicholas Saunders, will be delivering a lecture in the afternoon..

The full programme can be viewed below, and has been selected to give consideration to the variable ways of approaching material studies across a range of disciplines.

The Conference is free to attend, and is open to all postgraduate and academic staff interested in, or studying issues within material culture. Lunch and refreshments are provided. Please register your attendance by emailing SEHub2016@gmail.com by Thursday 2nd June, including your name, institution and area of research.

Places are limited for Dr Guerry’s session in Special Collections and, therefore, will be allocated on a first come first served basis. However, those unable to attend the morning session are welcome to register to attend the rest of the conference.

Conference Programme

Time Programme
9.30-10.30 Registration & Refreshments
10.30-12.00 Workshop with Dr Emily Guerry (University of Kent)
12.00-1.30 Panel 1 & 2
1.30-2.30 Lunch
2.30-4.00 Panel 3 & 4
4.00-4.30 Coffee break
4.30-6.00 Keynote Lecture by Professor Nicholas Saunders (Bristol University)

 

Panel One: Methodological practices in material studies

Name Paper
Harriet Dorling ‘Neither flesh nor fleshless’ (Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot):

Methodological considerations for the interdisciplinary use of material object studies and literature

 

Hannah Lilley William Burch’s Artisanal Material Practice and the Making of his Master’s Manuscript

 

Rebecca Smith Rubber stamps, chinagraph, captions and coffee stains: Exploring bureaucracy through materiality in the Daily Herald picture library

 

 

Panel Two: Symbolism and materiality

Name Paper
Nicholas Blower Comfort in the Ephemeral: Environmentalist Effigies and Communal Agency in Southern Utah
Amy Hammett The Clay balls of Ancient Egypt: A Rite of Passage?
Holly Winter Engraving Seringapatam War Trophies and the Construction of British Militaristic Masculinities in Colonial India, 1799-1857

 

Panel Three: Material and cultural exchange

Name Paper
Colin Elder “The staple of the place, are the white fish and maple sugar, and some few, but not many, furs.”: Movement and circulation of material objects in the nineteenth century, and their meanings and status in the Upper Great Lakes
Gumring Hkangda Museum Objects and Indigenous Knowledge: methodological and epistemological perspectives in the case of researching the mainland Southeast Asia ethnographic materials at the British Museum
Rachael Morton Perceptions of Quality Metalware in Eighteenth-Century England

 

 

Panel Four: Myth, memory and materiality

Name Paper
Alina Kozlovski Pillars of time: Fragmenting the past and present in the ancient Roman landscape
Bisma Khan Architecture and Literature in the construction of memory, specifically, the Orient in in eighteenth century England
Melissa Bennett ‘Made of poor fighting material’: The photographic presentation of the martial qualities of the West India Regiment during the Sierra Leone Hut Tax War of 1898

 

 

 

British Human Rights Organizations & Soviet Dissent, 1965-1985

Congratulations to our Research Support Officer and Honorary Research Fellow Dr Mark Hurst, whose book ‘British Human Rights Organizations & Soviet Dissent, 1965-1985‘ was released by Bloomsbury today!9781472522344 (002)

The book explores the British response to Soviet human rights violation, drawing on Dr Hurst’s extensive archival work and interviews with key individuals from the period.

In the latter half of the 20th century, a number of dissidents engaged in a series of campaigns against the Soviet authorities and as a result were subjected to an array of cruel and violent punishments.

A collection of like-minded activists in Britain campaigned on their behalf, and formed a variety of organizations to publicise their plight. British Human Rights Organizations and Soviet Dissent, 1965-1985 examines the efforts of these activists, exploring how influential their activism was in shaping the wider public awareness of Soviet human rights violations in the context of the Cold War.

Find out more here.

History Summer School 2016

Kent's Paris Centre, Reid Hall

Kent’s Paris Centre, Reid Hall

Following the success of the History Summer School at Paris last year, the School of History is happy to announce that we will be running it again in 2016! If you are a current Stage 2 or 3 student in the School, you have the opportunity to spend five days at the end of June staying and studying at the University’s Paris Centre.

You will travel out to Paris on Sunday 26th June, to experience a week of intensive study

and visit world-famous historic sites, before returning on Friday 1st July.

A week of French and European history through the ages

The Summer School offers you the opportunity to examine elements of French and European history while in the heart of Paris itself. Encountering areas of history you might be familiar with, and others that are entirely new to you, you will take part in sessions specifically tailored for the Summer School, which take advantage of the Parisian setting and the opportunity to visit relevant museums and landmarks across the city.

These sessions will be given by members of staff from the School of History, and offer you a special opportunity to be taught by world-class experts in their fields, on subjects and areas at the cutting edge of historical research.

  • Dr Jan Loop: Europe and the Islamic World
  • Dr Rebekah Higgitt: Paris: Capital of Science, 1660-1880
  •   Dr Julie Anderson: Crime, Slime and Grime: The Paris Underground and its Marginalised Members
  • Dr Ambrogio Caiani: Honour into merit? France’s Changing Elites in an Age of Revolution, 1715-1870
  • Dr Timothy Bowman: French Army and Society, 1792-1945
  • Dr Amy Blakeway: Mary, Queen of Scots, France and England
  • Dr Emily Guerry: Gothic Art and Architecture: Invention and Imagination in Medieval Paris 

There will also be a session on Pathways to Postgraduate Study, to give you some advice on how to approach academic study after your undergraduate degree.

Experience the culture and history of Paris

The seminar sessions are only part of the Summer School experience. Each day you will visit a museum or site in Paris related to one of the sessions covered that day. These include:

Of course, staying in the centre of Paris will also give you the opportunity to experience one of the capitals of Europe. You will be free to explore the city after each study day – last year students took in such sites at the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and not to mention many of Paris’ most famous restaurants and bars!

To round out the week, the final day of the Summer School will be taken up entirely with a visit to the Palace of Versailles.

The University of Kent at Paris

The University’s centre at Paris is Reid Hall. Built as a porcelain factory in the 18th century, it has been a place of teaching and research since 1834. Located in the centre of Montparnasse, the historic heart of Paris’ intellectual and artistic life, Reid Hall is just a five-minute walk from the famous Jardin du Luxembourg, and a twenty-minute walk to the Île de la Cité and Notre Dame, both of which you will have the chance to visit and tour on the Sunday after you arrive.

The University offers a number of postgraduate programmes at Reid Hall. The School itself offers an MA in Modern History, wherein your Autumn term is spent in Canterbury, and your Spring term based at Reid Hall. The Summer School will be an excellent opportunity to experience the facilities and social life at Reid Hall and the environs around Montparnasse.

Costs

The Summer School is being funded primarily by the School of History, and so the cost to you will be just £50. This will include travel to and from Ashford International and Paris Gare du Nord on the Eurostar; metro travel around Paris for the week; accommodation in a hotel near Reid Hall; breakfast and lunch each day; and entry into all the historical sites you will visit as part of the study days.

Please note that the accommodation is based on two students to a room.

How to apply

If you would like to apply to attend the Summer School, please submit a 250-word email stating why you would like to attend to history@kent.ac.uk by 12noon, Tuesday 5th April.

Please note places are limited to just 20 students. If you wish to apply, you must be available between Sunday 26th June and Friday 1st July; it is not possible to only attend part of the Summer School.

For more information, or if you have any queries, please contact Jon Beer (J.Beer@kent.ac.uk).

Dr Ben Marsh appears on BBC World Service

Dr Ben Marsh featured on the BBC World Service’s History Hour this week, commenting on a story recalling the journey of a group of pioneers called The Donner Party, who were attempting to reach California by wagon when they were trapped by snow in the winter of 1846. Some were driven to cannibalism to survive, and their gruesome story has become a legend of the American West.

Listen again to the programme here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03bgxzt