Victims, Perpetrators, Bystanders and Collaborators as historical concepts: Redundant labels, useful categorisations or somewhere in between?
19th June 2018, Grimond Building, University of Kent, Canterbury
There’s a big fashion for categorising bystanders, perpetrators and so on, why? Everyone collaborated!
– Interview with a Holocaust survivor, January 2018
The twentieth century saw the concepts ‘victims’, ‘perpetrators’, ‘bystanders’ and ‘collaborators’ entering not only historical study but public discourse surrounding instances of war, atrocity and genocide. However, these terms also have a broader application outside of the twentieth century, in contexts of earlier imperialism, religious iconography and revolution. Despite this near universal application, there has been surprisingly little critical evaluation of the conceptual utility of the aforementioned terms amongst scholars. Problems associated with the dearth of engagement in our understanding and usage of these words include reductionist tendencies that can obscure nuance and disregard the experiences of individuals whose stories are not so easily classified. This conference aims to provide a forum for postgraduate students and early career researchers to begin to facilitate vital discussion as to the future of these often problematic concepts.
Applications are sought from postgraduates and early career scholars, focusing on the following themes relating to the application of these terms within different historical contexts, including, but certainly not limited to:
Public memory, commemoration and the mass media
Imagery and visual culture
Occupations during wartime
Law, courts and society
Revolutionary mentalities and culture
Submissions with an interdisciplinary approach are particularly encouraged.
Please send a 250 word abstract for a 20-30 minute paper and a brief biographical statement to Kate Docking and Ellis Spicer via firstname.lastname@example.org by 16th March 2018.
You are warmly invited to a lecture by our own Dr Emily Guerry on ‘The Wall Paintings of the Sainte-Chapelle’, Thursday 8 February at the Old Library, Kent College
This fascinating talk should interest anyone who is interested in medieval history or art history – as well as lovers of Paris. The Sainte-Chapelle is just a few steps away from Notre Dame, hidden away in the Palace of Justice. It was built for King Louis IX in about 1241 to 1248 to house his collection of religious relics and has been described as one of the most beautiful buildings on earth. Its interior is dominated by 15 huge stained glass windows but, as Dr Guerry will explain, every inch of the remaining wall surface and the vault was also richly painted and decorated with remarkable images, patterns and motifs.
The Festival aims bring together colleagues and students from the School of History to have informal conversations about the collective experiences of ‘doing history’ through a variety of panel debates.
1 – 2pm Challenging source materials and methods (chair: Dr Claire Jones)
Dr Emily Mantelow; Dr Jasmine Kilburn-Toppin; Dr Juliette Pattinson; Professor Ulf Schmidt
2 – 3pm Collaborative Working (chair: Dr Emma Purce)
Dr Rebekah Higgitt; Dr Jan Loop; Professor Kenneth Fincham
3pm – Tea and coffee
3 – 4pm Interdisciplinary Perspectives (chair: Dr Aske Brock)
Dr Ben Marsh; Dr Karen Jones; Dr Emma Hanna; Dr Phil Slavin
4 – 5pm Writing and Publishing (chair: Professor Gaynor Johnson)
Dr Barbara Bombi; Professor Charlotte Sleigh; Professor Grayson Ditchfield
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
Andrew Phipps who wrote about Edward Jenner
2nd prize, £50 Amazon vouchers
Ben Warwick who wrote about Robert J. Oppenheimer
3rd prize, £25 Amazon vouchers
Sam Pruszewicz who wrote about Lt Col Stanislav Petrov
To everyone that entered – you will all receive a small gift in the post to say thank you for entering!
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 Isles, Warlords 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.