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.

Kent students explore the complex history of conservation at the Powell-Cotton Museum

On the last day of Welcome Week 2015, a group of students from the School of History visited the Powell-Cotton Museum at Quex Park, to explore its extensive and fascinating collection. Major Percy Powell-Cotton established the Museum in the early twentieth century to house his vast collection of taxidermied animals and ethnographic artefacts, collected over a lifetime exploring Africa and Asia.  The Museum also houses the anthropological collections of his daughters, Dr Diana and Antoinette Powell-Cotton.

The Museum’s Gallery 1, the centrepiece of the Museum’s exhibition spaces

The Museum’s Gallery 1, the centrepiece of the Museum’s exhibition spaces

The School of History has been working with the Powell-Cotton Museum at Quex Park for a number of years, particularly through the School’s Science, Communication and Society MA programme. Most recently, the School has been developing its relationship with the Museum, with a view to expanding the ways in which students can carry out research into the Museum’s collections, and to create opportunities for students to undertake work experience placements at the Museum to develop their employability skills.

This relationship has culminated in the School purchasing a formal membership of the Museum, extending to all students and staff. Students are able to visit the Museum for free, and receive a discount on bench fees when conducting research in the Museum’s archives.

To celebrate the beginning of the School’s membership, and the start of the academic year, a group of students headed to the Museum on 25th October, and were given a tour of the Museum’s collections and a talk about its history and development by Manny Mvula, the Museum’s Conservation and Outreach Officer (who was the subject of some media attention last year after a video of him confronting a charging elephant in Zambia was uploaded to YouTube).

The Museum’s collection of animals offers a fascinating insight into the history and evolution of conservation. It may seem counter-intuitive today, but Major Powell-Cotton considered himself a conservationist, and kept detailed records on the animals he hunted, their environments and behaviours, as well as on the indigenous groups he encountered in Africa and Asia.

Students examining the variety of artefacts in the Museum’s interactive Gallery 6. The Museum is currently looking for volunteers to help support the work in Gallery 6 during school holidays – for more information, see the School’s Employability Portal

Students examining the variety of artefacts in the Museum’s interactive Gallery 6. The Museum is currently looking for volunteers to help support the work in Gallery 6 during school holidays – for more information, see the School’s Employability Portal

The School will continue to work with the Museum in order to bring opportunities for volunteering and work experience to students. Staff from the Museum’s Learning and Outreach team will even be visiting the University to deliver a session on Community Engagement and Learning as part of the University’s Employability Festival (see the Careers and Employability Service’s website for more details).

Quex Park can be reached from Canterbury via car (25 minutes from campus), or on the number 8 bus from Canterbury Bus Station. For more information about the School’s membership and how to engage with the Powell-Cotton Museum, please contact Jon Beer (