Students visit Ypres

Earlier in the month, 11 students (8 MA and 3 PhDs) and 4 members of staff visited Ypres in an exciting and valuable trip. Students were exposed to different museum interpretations of the First World War, visiting four separate museums, including the In Flanders Fields Museum Ieper.

Dominiek Dendooven, the Deputy Curator, gave an introductory session, which helped annotate the students as to the approaches and underpinning principles of the institution. This was followed by a visit to the Passchendaele Memorial Museum at Zonnebeke, where Projects Co-Ordinator Debbie Manhaeve gave an overview of the museum’s activities and mission, as well as providing an excellent insight into its archives. Finally, the last two institutions were private concerns, being the Hooge Crater Museum and the Hill 62/Sanctuary Wood Museum. These were deliberately chosen, as the Hooge Crater Museum reflects what dedicated local historians can achieve and the Sanctuary Wood Museum is run almost solely for profit and very little has changed from when it first took visitors in the early 1920s.

Professor Sophie de Schaepdrijver

The aim of the trip was to expose students to different commemorative cultures, achieved through exploring a range of different memorial sites. Cemeteries and memorials of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission were explored and subsequently contrasted against the French, Belgian and German counterparts. Professor Sophie de Schaepdrijver, formerly a Leverhulme Visiting Professor in the School, was particularly helpful, as she interpreted the German cemetery at Langemark absolutely brilliantly, proving the students with fascinating insights.

Some students were asked to prepare short introductory talks at certain spots, with Nick Perry, Amy Harrison, Natasha Silk, Julian Daggett, Matt Pearce and Brad Robb providing intriguing and informative accounts, including the stories of relatives from the war, and their graves and sites of commemoration.

 

Matt Pearce as a student guide

Finally, students were trained to act as guides, as part of our AHRC-funded centre, Gateways to the First World War, which is leading a project that provides student guides for the Anglican Church of St George’s. Students took visitors on the trail of the original generation of pilgrim-tourists in the 1920s. This was led by Amy Harrison and Natasha Silk.

This was a great trip, thanks to the Faculty and school funds gained, which were invaluable.

University helps map environmental way forward with Green Heritage film

A major initiative aimed at raising the profile of green spaces in the Canterbury district has received a boost with the release of a new film by a Kent environmental historian.

Dr Karen Jones of the University’s School of History, working with Dr Eirini Saratsi of its School of Anthropology and Conservation, helped launch the Growing Canterbury’s Green Heritage initiative in October 2018.

The film provides a campaigning focus for those working on environmental and green space projects in the district.

Please read the full article here: https://www.kent.ac.uk/news/society/21009/university-helps-map-environmental-way-forward-with-green-heritage-film#.

University historian Dr Emily Guerry uncovers Danny Dyer’s royal ancestry

Senior Lecturer at University of Kent, Dr Emily Guerry, has recently appeared on a BBC One documentary offering her knowledge and expertise on Medieval History.

The documentary, Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family, follows British TV actor and personality, Danny Dyer, as he discovers his royal ancestry. Dr. Guerry reveals to Dyer that he is distantly related to the French King Louis IX, a devout religious leader who died in 1270.

Dr. Guerry explained: “He wasn’t just a king… he was a Saint. Twenty-seven years after his death, the Pope canonised him Saint Louis. There are very few saints that aren’t virgins or martyrs, so to have the blood of a saint in your blood is an extraordinary thing.”

Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family aired on 23 January and is now available to watch on BBC iPlayer, or alternatively read about it here: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/jan/14/danny-dyer-discovers-more-royal-ancestry-with-french-king-saint-louis.

 

Do you want to study history? Top tips from a graduate

Recent history graduate George Evans-Hulme gives his top tips and advice on how to get the most out of your history degree.

George’s article for History Extra includes a day in the life of an undergraduate, information on how much reading is involved and what opportunities a history degree can give you. He also advises how best to progress.

You can read his article here: https://www.historyextra.com/period/history-degree-study-university-tips-advice/ .

 

BOOK LAUNCH OF “YPRES” by Professor Mark Connelly and Dr Stefan Goebel

– A book about the history of Ypres and its first tourists after World War 1 –

INVITATION

Tuesday 22 January 2019 @ 18.00

Flanders House, 1a Cavendish Square, London, W1G 0LD

Professor Mark Connelly and Dr. Stefan Goebel, from the University of Kent’s School of History, have co-authored a new book entitled “Ypres” as part of Oxford University Press’s Great Battles series.

Over the last century, Ypres has become an iconic city for the British Commonwealth, and the Germans during the mid-20th century, as well as its significance for the Belgians and French. In this this new book, the authors take a look at the image of Ypres as it was built up in wartime media coverage, through painting and photography, and in the post-war years to look at the memorial projects undertaken by the British and the Germans. It takes a look at the way in which Ypres was also woven into Second World War public debate, and then the revival of a battlefield tourism industry after 1945.

VISITFLANDERS would cordially like to invite you to an informal book launch to celebrate the publication of this thoroughly informative and engaging insight into the way that Ypres has been viewed, imagined and visited over the years.  Joining us, will be the authors and their publication team with opportunities to interview them.

R.S.V.P to nuria.goethals@visitflanders.com or anita.rampall@visitflanders.com  to confirm your attendance.

Dr Julie Anderson wins teaching award

The School of History’s Dr Julie Anderson, has won the Royal Historical Society’s inaugural Jinty Nelson Award for Inspirational Teaching and Supervision in History.

Judges said the prize was awarded in recognition of Dr Anderson’s ‘outstanding’ teaching of history at undergraduate level and ‘creative and highly effective’ supervision of postgraduate historians in her field.

More information about this story is available on the University’s Kent Life news centre.

Athena SWAN Bronze Award

The School of History is delighted to announce that we have received an Athena SWAN Bronze Award in the April 2018 round!

The logo of the ECU Gender Charter Athena SWAN Bronze Award

Received in recognition of the School of History’s commitment to gender equality, the award represents a significant success for the School as only about half of all UK institutions, departments and research institutes who apply for the Bronze Award are successful.

What is Athena SWAN?

Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

The School of History at the University of Kent is just one of eight History departments to have received the Bronze Award since the charter was expanded in May 2015 to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students.

The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

Please visit our dedicated webpage for more information about the Athena SWAN award and the School of History’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity.

International Women’s Day

In 2018 International Women’s Day (8th March) has arrived in the midst of the Universities and College Union’s industrial action in defence of your lecturers’ pensions. As such, we in the School of History felt it would be a good time to reflect on the role of women in industrial and political action through time. Women have often been active members of such actions, and in this the centenary year of female suffrage (for some) in the UK, it is a good moment to pause and think about the women of the past and their campaigning, suffering and triumphs in the face of oppressive power structures. Women of the past can inspire us all – men, women and trans-persons of the present – to campaign for what we believe in, speak truth to power, and win rights for ourselves and others. To quote from the Mary Poppins song ‘Sister Suffragette’:

 

Cast off the shackles of yesterday!
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Our daughters’ daughters will adore us
And they’ll sign in grateful chorus
“Well done, Sister Suffragette!”

 

 

Dr. Emily Manktelow
(Acting EDI Officer, School of History)

History at Kent Day 2017: 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

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!

University of Kent visit experience

By Prof. Sivachandralingam Sundara Raja, the Head of Department of History at the University of Malaya (Kuala-Lumpur). He visited Kent, with his colleague, Dr. Abu Hanifa, on 19-26 March 2017.

Can you briefly describe your roles at the University of Malaya, and your area of research?

I am currently the Head, Department of History and have been in this position since 1 September 2015. As the head I am assigned with many tasks. I have been given the task of supporting the management’s role to raise the ranking of University Malaya internationally (World University Ranking) to make sure we would soon be one of the best 100 universities in the world. I am also tasked to plan and implement academic programmes at the department level; to plan staff recruitment for the department; to encourage research activities among staffs; to ensure the department meets its annual Key Performance Index (KPI) in terms of academic excellence, teaching and learning, research, publication and innovation, internationalization and networking, recognition and professional services, income generation, award, promotion initiatives and graduate employability. Finally, I am responsible to provide strong academic leadership in ensuring all academic staffs and higher degree students of the Department play their part to help achieve the KPI set by the university. For the academic staffs, their KPIs are decided based on the Standard Academic Performance Target (SAPT), which includes research, publication, supervision, teaching, consultation, administration and contribution to society/ social work. My visit to Kent is in line with the aim of the university to internationalize and to build networks for the progress of the department and the university as a whole.

My main area of specialization is in the field of Malaysian economic history. Nevertheless I am also working on a number of researches, some of which broadly include British imperial history in the late 19th and early 20th century, missionary activities in Malaya and Southeast Asia in the 19th century, contemporary Indians in Malaysia and British policy towards Tamil education in British Malaya.

How do you think the School of History at Kent and the Department of History at Malaya can work together?

I strongly feel both Departments could work in such areas as student exchange especially for the undergraduate level, exchanges of staffs specializing in Malaysia and Southeast Asian History, Research Collaboration/joint research activities, exchange of publications, reports and other academic materials and activities and programmes that are of mutual interest.

I believe for a start student exchange should be a good option because it will definitely benefit both parties. Malaysian students would be exposed to the teaching culture in Europe and the same goes for the students from Kent who will be here. This should be implemented immediately because the department has been offering courses in English and so does the faculty. Student could select a minimum of three courses to ensure it could be implemented soon. Students from Kent would be exposed to a new culture and will get an opportunity to visit the country and exposed to the Malaysia life style that truly reflects what is termed as “Malaysia Truly Asia”. Visiting Malaysia would give them the experience of witnessing three major civilizations mingling around in the country. With a cheaper Malaysian currency Kent students will have a good time in Malaysia.

Staff exchanges would be another area worth exploring. I notice much of the work done by the academics of Kent seems to focus on Europe and other continents and not on Southeast Asia. It is here where University Malaya’s History Department would be able to help. Our strength has been on Malaysian History and History of Southeast Asia. Staffs from both departments could embark on a joint research work in medical history, imperialism, technology transfer, education and etc. I had the chance to meet Mr. John Cocking who is working on Higher Education in Malaya under the supervision of Dr. Cohen. His visit to University Malaya and to the Department of History will give him the chance to interact with scholars who have worked on his research subject and also to explore sources in the Malaysian National Archives. I am sure that my academic staffs too will benefit through such collaboration. I have invited Mr. John Cocking to the department where we could house him in one of our academic rooms for a period of 6 months for him to conduct the research in Kuala Lumpur. Academics from both departments could also explore the possibility of co-authoring books or articles once this relation has been cemented and there is a confidence it would be a great success.

Another area, which the collaboration could be implemented without any hassle, is exchange of publications, reports and other academic materials. We would definitely like to learn from Kent’s experience in successfully implementing its undergraduate and postgraduate programs. For a start we have received the School of History Undergraduate Student handbook, 2015-2016 that informs us on how Kent undergraduates are managed. Such experiences are worth to be shared for enabling further enhancement of our departments. Our exchanges could also be in the form of newsletter, bulletin, department reports, articles and others. We could even create a link in our website highlighting our joint programmes, where it will bring to the attention of both sides on what we have and how we could benefit.

How have you found your trip to Kent?​

The trip was truly satisfying because it was well organised by Kent and what more with Dr. Phil Slavin and Dr. Mark Lawrence were there to welcome us when we arrived. They showed us the beautiful town of Canterbury, which has many major attractions to offer. The field trip was educational and enjoyable. We were accommodated at the House of Agnes, which was a pleasant surprise because it was nearby to all amenities and convenient also.

My colleague, Dr. Abu Hanifah, and I spent a whole day visiting the town and I must say it was a lovely experience. We were able to buy many academic books at a discounted price. Besides that we enjoyed the western and Indian cuisines that Canterbury had plenty to offer. Our breakfast at the House of Agnes was also great and on the whole the university staffs and the people of Kent were very hospitable during our stay there. We treasure our days in Kent and are looking forward for more such visits in the near future.

I must also say that visiting Canterbury also enlightened me on many things. As it turned out a habit for me to buy a book in any country that I visit, I bought a small book that deals about the town. The book, which is authored by Alexander Tulloch titled The Little Book of Kent, contains many interesting and fascinating information. First is the fact that there are more castles in Kent than any county in England. Second, King’s School, Canterbury was founded in AD 597 by St. Augustine and which is almost 1,000 years older than Eton. Finally, Ian Fleming who is from Bakesbourne, a village near Canterbury had allegedly given James Bond the code name 007 after the bus service that ran between Canterbury and London. Bus number 007 is still the one to catch if one were to travel from Canterbury to London.

I also enjoyed meeting many of the academic staffs of the Department. Dr. Juliette Pattinson who is the Head was kind and welcoming. She and her colleagues, Phil Slavin, Mark Lawrence, and Mr. Jon Beer were the first to brief us on the strength of the Department and suggested ways in which both departments could collaborate. Our meeting with Dr. Stefan Goebel and Dr. Andy Cohen was indeed enlightening because he dealt with the postgraduate programmes of the department and how the students were graded.

Meetings with the individual research head of the centres of History of Colonialism, Study of War, Propaganda and Society, Political Economies of International Commerce and History of Medicine, Ethics and Medical Humanities, were very meaningful and educative. I have gotten a clearer picture on the role of these centers and how we could collaborate with them. I believe our visit to the Department of History, University of Kent has helped us to understand our strength and the many ways we could foster a meaningful cooperation in the near future.

Dr. Mark Lawrence, Dr. Abu Hanifa, Dr. Philip Slavin and Prof. Sivachandralingam Sundara Raja

Jon Beer, Dr Juliette Pattinson, Dr Philip Slavin and Prof. Sivachandralingam Sundara Raja