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.

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.


© 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 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




Applications for EduStaff teaching placement scheme now open

The University has formed an exciting partnership with EduStaff ( for students interested in teaching in the UK. EduStaff work across the country, placing teachers and teaching assistants in schools. The University has an exclusive agreement with EduStaff, and will consider placing current students into paid teaching assistant roles. These placements are undertaken as a Professional Placement Year, between Stage 2 and Stage 3. This is a competitive scheme, and applications are now open.

To apply, submit a CV and a covering letter to by 5pm on Monday 1st February. Please see the School’s Employability Portal for more information. You are strongly advised to discuss your application with Jon Beer ( before you submit it.

History at Kent Day: Essay Competition

Thanks to everyone that entered our essay competition following our recent History at Kent Day. Entrants were required to write 200 words on ‘Who do you think is the most influential figure in history?’, and we received some fantastic entries!

We very much enjoyed reading all the essays, and found it very difficult to select our winners, who are listed below:

1st prize, £100 Amazon vouchers-
Sophie Taylor who wrote her essay on Thomas Cromwell

2nd prize, £50 Amazon vouchers –
Lucy McMullan who wrote about Sir William Beveridge

3rd prize, £25 Amazon vouchers –
Eleanor Barrell who wrote about Louis Pasteur

To everyone that entered – you should have all received a small gift in the post to say thank you for entering!

Start of Year Lecture 2015

The School of History was delighted to host the 2015 Start of Year Lecture on Monday 28 September.

The lecture, Oral History: Eye Witnesses or Composed Subjects?, was given by Professor Penny Summerfield, Professor of Modern History at the University of Manchester, and the author of several books including Reconstructing Women’s Wartime Lives: discourse and subjectivity in oral histories of the Second World War (Manchester 1998) and Contesting Home Defence: Men, Women and the Home Guard in the Second World War (Manchester 2007). The lecture was attended by staff and students of the school, and was followed by a drinks reception.

Head of School, Dr Juliette Pattinson also awarded a number of prizes to students:

Roger Anstey Commemoration Prize for Best Stage 2 Performance
(This prize is generously supported by Professor Grayson Ditchfield and the Anstey family)

Christopher Sturges

Stage 2 Achievement Award
Awarded to the students with the highest Stage 2 performance in the School.

Charlotte Daynton
Tarryn Gourley
Lucy Ingamells
Jacob Spargo-Mabbs

Best Stage 2 Dissertation

Daniel Avery – The ‘Palpable Line’: The Cause of the West Virginia Secession Movement, 1740-1863

Leland Lyons Prize for Best Stage 1 Performance
(The prize is generously supported by Emeritus Professor Donald Read)

Hannah Williams

Stage 1 Achievement Award

Annaliza Battiston
George Bates
William Mann
Jennifer Turner

Outstanding Contribution to the 50th Anniversary Celebrations

Amy Harrison
Kate Morgan
Katie Slane

Outstanding Contribution to the Student Experience

Francina Escudero
Fiona Mitchell

Update 21/10/2015: A recording of the lecture can now be viewed on the School of History website.


Antony Copley: Honorary Professorship

The University of Kent has conferred on Antony Copley the title of Honorary Professor of Modern European and Indian History.

Antony was appointed to the Faculty of Humanities in January 1967. This was the rewarding time of inter-disciplinary teaching and he was heavily involved in the teaching of Part 1 Topics. Out of Colonialism and the Emergent Nations was to come future publications, The Political Career of C Rajagopalachari 1937-54 (Macmillan 1978) and Gandhi: Against the Tide (Blackwell 1987 and OUP 1993). Gandhi was to be a lifetime interest and Antony has been an active member of the Gandhi Foundation UK since the 1980’s. The other topic was Sex, Literature and Morality, and that in time led to Sexual Moralities in France 1780-1980 (Routledge 1989) and much later in retirement A Spiritual Bloomsbury (Lexington Books 2006).

Another off-shoot of teaching these two topics was the highly ambitious part 11 course, Moral Codes and their Critics. Subsequent publications included Religions in Conflict (OUP 1997), a study of Evangelical missionaries in 19th century India and several editions on the Hindu Religious Reform Movements, Gurus and their Followers (OUP 2000) and Hinduism in Public and Private (OUP 2003). He retired as Honorary Reader in 2001, and The School of History appointed him an Honorary Senior Research Fellow. He was to publish two monographs in retirement, A Spiritual Bloomsbury and by way of new departure, a book on music, Music and the Spiritual: Composers and Politics in the 20th Century (Ziggurat 2012). Both books were republished by Indian published. He has just completed a personal memoir, Marginalised: A Post-War Adolescence.