In early April 2017, Dr Emily Guerry took fourteen of her third-year students from her special subject module, ‘Saints, Relics, and Churches in Medieval Europe’ (HI 6058), on a four-day fieldtrip to explore the material culture of medieval Rome. The School of History generously subsidized the cost of travel and accommodation.
“When we arrived in the early evening, the students checked into their hostel near Termini and we all headed straight to the Forum to get a sense of the city of Rome– that still-smoking hearth of culture. Our itinerary was designed to proceed both chronologically and geographically through the development of the Christian capital so our first morning was packed with time spent in the Palatine Hill and the Capitoline Museo, followed by an afternoon in the Pantheon (which was converted into a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the sixth century). Next, we examined the first major Rome house-church female cults located Santa Pudenziana, Santa Prassede, and ended our day with a special private tour of the loggia (with captivating city views) atop Santa Maria Maggiore on the Esquiline. On our second morning, we began by spending two hours inside the stunning church of San Clemente and descended into its many layers of archeological history. Then we ventured to the Lateran for private visit of SS Quattro Coronati thanks to the Augustinian nuns (and performed our very own re-staging of the Donation of Constantine), followed by a pilgrimage to the Sancta Sanctorum, wherein four enterprising students actually acquired an indulgence! We spent that in Trastevere to make a private visit– with generous thanks to the Clarissa nuns– to Pietro Cavallini’s monumental Last Judgment fresco in Santa Cecilia, which is said to embody the ‘turning point’ between the transformation of Gothic painting into the ‘Renaissance.’ We ended this special day by looking at the amazing spolia in Santa Maria in Trastevere– purportedly the earliest location for the Roman cult of the Virgin– and marveling at its resplendent medieval mosaics. We spent out last day wandering through the Vatican museums, where we came face to face with dozens of sacred and sublime objects from our course, including early Christian sarcophagi, cult statues, and even Michelangelo’s wall paintings in the Sistine Chapel. In the end, our trip was an awe-inspiring intellectual adventure. The students encountered and examined some of the most transformative examples of church architecture, painting, and sculpture in the history of art and architecture in Rome. We are all so grateful to the School of History, especially Jenny Humphrey, for providing us with this once in a lifetime opportunity.Grazie mille!”
Students at the Foro Romano
Students examine Cavallini`s fresco
Students in the nave of Santa Pudenziana discuss the apse mosaic
Students reenact the ‘Donation of Constantine’ in SS Quattro Coronati
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
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.
Dr Emily Guerry took twenty students to Paris back in December, where they visited five museums and six churches as part of their studies into gothic art and architecture. The students, who were from Dr Guerry’s third year special subject … Continue reading →
The latest edition of our School newsletter, History Today, is now available to download here.
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
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.
Dr Rebekah Higgitt introduces a digitised collection papers, photographs and drawings relating 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.
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.
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.
Antony Copley, a loyal member of the School of History, died on 18 July 2016.
Antony saw active service during the Suez Crisis, then studied at Oxford and taught at Bangor before joining the University of Kent in 1967. He specialised in 19th century French and Indian history and retired in 2002 as a Reader.
He remained an active member of the School and University, attending events and continuing to research and write books, including Music and the Spiritual: Composers and Politics in the 20th Century (2012). He also generously sponsored the Copley Prize for the best final year history dissertation, and enjoyed judging them and presenting the prize itself.
In 2014 Antony became an honorary Professor of Modern European and Indian History, which gave him much pleasure. Last year he published his autobiography, A Memoir: Historian and Homosexual: Search for a Postwar Identity. He will be much missed by those who knew him.
Kenneth Fincham, School of History
Antony’s funeral will take place at St Clement’s Church, Sandwich, at 15.30 on Tuesday 2 August. A memorial service will be arranged in Canterbury in the autumn.
Update: 3rd August 2016
An obituary written by Lavinia and Dan Cohn-Sherbok appeared in The Guardian on Monday 1st August 2016 – Antony Copley obituary.
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
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.