Canterbury in Domesday Book: A lecture in memory of Professor Alf Smyth

On Friday 27 October 2017 friends and colleagues from the School of History, the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, and Canterbury Christ Church University gathered together in Grimond Lecture Theatre 1 on the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus to celebrate the life of Professor Alf Smyth.

Professor Smyth, who passed away in October 2016, was an Emeritus Professor of Medieval History, specialising in the British Isles. His publications included Scandinavian Kings in the British IslesWarlords and Holy Men: Scotland AD 80-1000. and a highly influential study of King Alfred the Great.

His distinguished career also saw him take on the roles of Warden of St. George’s House, Windsor Castle; Director of Research; and Dean of Arts & Humanities (both Canterbury Christ Church University). He was also an early supporter of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust.

Tim Tatton-Brown, former Director of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, treated the packed theatre to a lively lecture on the features and landmarks of Canterbury and the surrounding area as mentioned in the Domesday Book.

Tim, along with Richard Eales and Professor Paul Bennett, also shared anecdotes about Professor Smyth in what was a fitting tribute to a much respected and missed figure.

Autumn 2017 School of History Research Seminar series

This year, our research seminars will take place on alternating Wednesdays (weeks 1,3,5,7,9, & 11) in term time at 4PM in Eliot Lecture Theatre 2 (ELT2). We also have an excellent line-up of post-graduate seminars that will take place at 5:15PM in Rutherford Seminar Room 7 (RS7) on the other Wednesdays (weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, & 12). Please see the attached schedule for a full list of speakers.

In week 1 (at 4PM on Wednesday 27 September), we are delighted to welcome Dr Suzanna Ivanič, a new lecturer in Early Modern History here at the University of Kent.

The title of her paper is Locating Religion in the Homes of Seventeenth-Century Prague Burghers.

A recent focus on religion in the home has provided fertile new evidence about lived religion – the beliefs, practices and identities of the faithful in an everyday context – but, what if we interrogate the relationship between the home and religion more thoroughly? How does religion change as it crosses the threshold? Is ‘domestic devotion’ really more unorthodox and individualistic? What do we mean by ‘domesticating’ religion? It is now well-established that not only Protestants, but also Catholics, practised religion in their homes in early modern Europe. By analysing inventories and objects from the multiconfessional setting of Prague across the seventeenth century, this paper explores the differences in domestic religious practice between confessions, how domestic space enabled unique aspects of devotion (‘private’ forms or particular rituals focusing on doors and beds, for example), and how objects that came into the home could either subvert or reinforce orthodoxy and orthopraxy within this extra-ecclesiastical space.

As ever, a drinks reception will follow this seminar. Please see the attached poster for more information.

School of History Away Day

Such a lovely and productive day on Wednesday! The School of History Away Day was held on Wednesday 13 September at Brogdale, Faversham, with thirty-seven members of staff in attendance. The event focused on key aspects such as recruitment and education, as well as offering attendees the opportunity to raise issues and share their own views. The event was very well received, with a great of positive feedback highlighting areas of improvement and future development. The day concluded with a tour of Brogdale – The home of the National Fruit Collection, and some members of staff went on a tour of the Gothic paintings in St Mary’s Church, Faversham.

Thomas Becket and the Medieval Cult of Personality

On Tuesday 6 June, both the School of History and Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS) of the University of Kent are delighted to welcome Professor Paul Binski (Cambridge) for a free public lecture in the Clagett Auditorium of the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge from 6.30–7.30PM.

The title of his paper is Thomas Becket and the Medieval Cult of Personality

This lecture will examine the art provoked by the drama of Thomas Becket’s Life, Death and Sanctity. It will look at Becket’s place amongst the other saints of England and Europe, and particularly at the idea of personality cult and charisma. How did such things impact on the way saints were represented in the Gothic age and what difference did Becket make?

Please visit the lecture event page for more details.

The ‘British’ churches 1603-1707: from dynastic union to Anglo-Scottish union

On 22 June 2017 the University of Kent’s School of History and Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies will be hosting an international conference ‘The ‘British’ churches 1603-1707: from dynastic union to Anglo-Scottish union‘.

The two-day conference, timed to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the launching of the Five Articles of Perth by James VI & I in Scotland in 1617, is held in collaboration with Canterbury Christ Church University and its Centre for Kent History and Heritage.

All conference sessions will take place in Keynes College on the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus and aim to bring together scholars with an interest in religion across the British Isles during the 17th century.

The Conference will also include the official launch party for Dr Leonie James’s new book – ‘This Great Firebrand’: William Laud and Scotland 1617-45 (Boydell Press, 2017).

Further information about the Conference including a programme and registration details can be found on its dedicated webpage.

The Dutch in the Medway, 1667 – Anglo-Dutch rivalry in its global context

An International Conference in the Royal Dockyard Church, Historic Dockyard Chatham

Friday 30 June & Saturday 1 July 2017

The 350th anniversary of the Dutch attack on the Chatham and The English Fleet lying in the Medway, which saw Dutch raiders capture the Royal Charles, flagship of King Charles II’s Navy, will be commemorated at an international conference in the Historic Dockyard’s Royal Dockyard Church on Saturday 1 July.  The programme will include talks by naval historians from the UK and The Netherlands and a private viewing of ‘Breaking the Chain’, the Historic Dockyard’s summer exhibition which explores the events of 1667 with material from a wide range of British & Dutch organisations.

Battle of Chatham - van der Stoop

Battle of Chatham – van der Stoop

The conference will explore the rethinking of foreign policy and national naval strategy and the importance of the Medway, reflecting the shift of maritime supremacy from the Dutch to the British during the eighteenth century.  Colonial trading rivalries throughout the world were the outer ripples of this dynamic and an integral part of the whole story, with the international repercussions of the Dutch wars in the seventeenth century leading to the beginnings of an identifiably modern European structure which has many resonances today.

The conference will begin at 6pm on Friday 30 June with an open lecture in the Royal Dockyard Church by Jeroen van der Vliet of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, followed by a reception.

Bookings can be made for the entire event (lecture and reception on Friday evening and conference on Saturday), just the conference on Saturday or just the Friday evening lecture and reception. For further details and to register, please visit https://www.kent.ac.uk/history/events/conferences/dutchmedway1667.html

The Historic Dockyard Chatham is the world’s most complete dockyard of the age of sail and is easily accessible by road and rail – including High Speed services from London.

History Repeated: 2016 in Historical Context – A Roundtable Discussion

The events of 2016 will no doubt go down in history.

On Wednesday 16 November the School of History will be hosting a roundtable discussion putting the events of 2016 into a broader historical context. Academics from the School will discuss the legacies of European revolutions, the impact of the Great Depression, and the rise of Nazism and Stalinism,  through to the constitutional crises of the twenty-first century. What do these events tell us about the strength and weaknesses of democratic politics and moral values? Why do ideologies of hate and division seem to thrive in times of economic crises? Can a historical approach help us to develop a response to contemporary events?

All are welcome to explore these ideas in this discussion, and to join academics in the School to consider these issues over a glass of wine and snacks.

For more information, please contact either Dr Mark Hurst (M.R.L.Hurst@kent.ac.uk) or Professor Ulf Schmidt (U.I.Schmidt@kent.ac.uk).

A truck loaded with a 'Vote for Trump' sign.

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).

50th Anniversary History Projects – Witness Seminar

A group of University of Kent students in the 1970sAs part of the School of History’s 50th Anniversary History Projects, we are holding a Witness Seminar on the evening of Monday 8 June 2015 from 6:30-7:45pm in Grimond Lecture Theatre 1. This will take the form of a roundtable discussion, with past and present staff and students of the University exploring some of their experiences at Kent over the years.

The seminar will be chaired by Juliette Pattinson, Reader of History, and will include the following panellists:

  • Amy Harrison – 2nd year undergraduate student reading for a BA in History
  • Tim Luckhurst – Professor of Journalism and Head of the University’s Centre for Journalism
  • David Nightingale – Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Senior Lecturer in Ancient History
  • Doreen Rosman – A former Lecturer in History at Kent

The panel will be discussing their time at Kent, and audience members will be encouraged to ask questions and share their own experiences. The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception and buffet to launch an exhibition of student volunteers’ work on the University’s history to date in the Aphra Foyer (Grimond Building).

If you cannot make it along on the evening, the exhibition will be running from Monday 8 through to Friday 12 June, and we hope you can enjoy our volunteers work.

For more information about the event or the exhibition, please contact Dr Mark Hurst, M.R.L.Hurst@kent.ac.uk.

More information about the History Projects and celebration events can be found on the special University of Kent 50th anniversary website.

‘Never Complain, Never Explain’: British Foreign Policy in the Twentieth Century

Professor Gaynor Johnson to deliver KIASH Inaugural Professorial Lecture

The Foreign Office Locarno Suite: ‘Drawing room for the Nation’.

The Foreign Office Locarno Suite: ‘Drawing room for the Nation’.

The School of History’s Professor Gaynor Johnson will present the latest lecture in the KIASH Inaugural Professorial Lecture series on Wednesday 20th May at 6pm in Grimond Lecture Theatre 1, located on the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus.

Professor Gaynor JohnsonThe aim of this lecture is to offer an overview of the principal trends in the evolution of international history as a sub-discipline of history. To examine its relation to other areas of history and to place it within the wider context of other subject areas that also examine how states relate to one another, for example, international relations and law.’ The lecture will then explore some of the main historiographical debates on twentieth century British foreign policy and what they reveal about how much we know or otherwise about those subjects. Finally, some thoughts will be offered about the direction in which the study of recent British foreign policy is likely to develop.’

– Professor Gaynor Johnson

Titled ‘Never Complain, Never Explain’: British Foreign Policy in the Twentieth Century, Professor Johnson’s lecture is a free event, open to all and will be followed by a drinks reception in the foyer of the Grimond Building.

For more information about this and other School of History events please visit our events calendar.

For more information about Professor Johnson please visit her profile on the School of History website.

A poster for the event is now available to download (pdf).

Update: Professor Johnson’s inaugural lecture is now available as a podcast (mp3).

An accompanying presentation is also available to download (pdf)