Friday, 18 July 2014

CfP: What's happening in Black British History? A Conversation

Thirty years after the publication of Peter Fryer’s Staying Power, immigration is still a hotly contested topic, while slavery continues to dominate popular perceptions of Black British History. New research is revealing different stories, but how is this being presented in Britain’s classrooms and museums?  We need a conversation between those actively involved in researching and communicating the history of peoples of African origin and descent in Britain about what it means to us today.
We invite you to join us at the first in what will be a series of workshops held once a term by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies. The aim is to foster a creative dialogue between researchers, educationalists (mainstream and supplementary), archivists and curators, and policy makers. It will seek to identify and promote innovative new research into the history of people of African origin or descent in the UK. Researchers and archivists will provide an introduction to the ever-growing body of resources available.  We will also discuss the latest developments in the dissemination of Black British history in a wide variety of settings including the media, the classroom and lecture hall, and museums and galleries, thus providing an opportunity to share good practice. The workshops will consider a range of issues around Black British history including the way in which scholars have defined the field, debates around how and why it should be taught, especially in the light of the new national curriculum, and the tensions between celebrating the achievements of people of African descent in the UK and applying a critical perspective to the past.
The first workshop will take place at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in Senate House, London, on Thursday 30 October 2014. The day will run from 11am to 6.30pm, followed by a Reception. The event will consist of a keynote address, followed by three consecutive panels and a round table discussion. 
For our first workshop, the panels will be organised around the following themes: new directions in research; archives and records; and new methods of communicating Black British History. Each panel will consist of three presentations lasting for 15-20 minutes. An outline programme is given below. We would be delighted to hear from researchers, educationalists, archivists and curators or others interested in offering a presentation. Please submit a title and a brief description of your presentation either in writing (in which case, of no more than 300 words) or in some other form (for example a clip or podcast) with an indication of which panel you envisage contributing to, to Dr. Miranda Kaufmann at by 31 July 2014.
Draft Programme
The Senate Room, Senate House, London
Thursday 30 October 2014
10.45-11.00                            Registration, tea/coffee
11.00-11.30                            Keynote address (tbc)
11.30-1.00                              Session One: New Directions in Black British History
1.00-2.00                                 Lunch
2.00-3.30                                 Session Two: People of African descent in the archives
3.30-4.00                                 Tea/coffee
4.00-5.30                                 Session Three: Spreading the word: New developments
                                                  in the communication of Black British History
5.30-6.30                                 Round Table Discussion and Conclusions
6.30-7.30                                 Reception

To register for the event (discount for early registration) see here: 

Adebayo Bolaji reads Stokely Carmichael's speech to Dialectics of Liberation Congress, London 1967

Discover London at Bishopsgate Institute

120 Years of Learning: Discover London at Bishopsgate Institute
Travel back to the 1890s to discover what was happening in London and at Bishopsgate Institute 120 years ago or take a look at life for Londoners during the First World War. Discover the art and design of the Tube or examine the portrayal in paintings, photographs and popular culture. Find out more at

Monday, 7 July 2014

Colin Thomas: The Dragon and the Eagle


President: Peter Hennessy

8pm Saturday 12 July

Children's Choir Granville NY. Eisteddfod 1904

The Dragon and the Eagle:
Telling the Story of Welsh Emigration to America in a New Way
Colin Thomas

The Welsh migrated to escape religious and political persecution and in search of work.
America presented a dilemma common to migrants, how to retain language, culture 
and belonging to “home” while adjusting to the demands and pressures of a new situation.
The talk will include extracts from an enhanced ebook to appear this summer.

Colin Thomas was born and brought up in Wales. In 1982.  He co-founded Teliesyn and was chair of the 
co-operative for most of its history.  Award winning programmes include The Dragon has Two Tongues
Hughesovka and the New Russia and Border Crossing – the Journey of Raymond Williams

West St, Leytonstone, E11 4LJ

Enquiries:   0208 555 5248    or

Saturday, 5 July 2014

When Paul Foot interviewed Christopher Hill

I met the historian Christopher Hill once, last summer. I went with BBC producer Fiona Maclean to interview him in his Warwickshire home for a programme about poetry and revolution.
He took us into his garden on a bright summer afternoon and questioned us closely on how much time he had on air. He ascertained that he had a quarter of an hour. He then vanished upstairs and re-emerged staggering under a huge pile of books.
The tape recorder was switched on and he spoke, uninterrupted except by an infernal bee, referring to and quoting freely from his books for an hour. He spoke about Shakespeare, Andrew Marvell and above all John Milton, and their relationship to the English Revolution.
He spoke with such power and persuasive passion that we wondered, as we made our dazed way home, whether we should devote our whole 50 minutes to him alone...Christopher Hill’s great genius as a historian is not just that he can think himself back 300 years, and translate what often seem quaint and absurd religious discussions into the politics of the time...

Paul Foot, How history comes alive, Socialist Worker, 9 September 1993
- Paul Foot is being remembered at a special memorial meeting at this year's Marxism festival from 10-14 July in central London  - for details of the Foot meeting see here 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

CFP: The Resurgence of 'Class' in History?

Postgraduate History Conference

The Resurgence of ‘Class’ in History?

International History Conference for Postgraduates and Early Career Historians
Department of History, University of Essex

12-13 September 2014

Just over fifty years ago E. P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class put the concept of class firmly at the centre of historical debate. Over subsequent decades, however, the academic agenda has shifted considerably. Postmodernists and others have questioned the usefulness of ‘class’ as a key analytical category and historical narratives emphasizing class conflict as a driver of social change have become increasingly unfashionable.
Yet class now appears to be making a comeback. Within the last year, the concept of social class has been resurrected and reimagined by the authors of the ‘Great British Class Survey’. Likewise, the media furore surrounding the release of Channel 4’s ‘Benefits Street’ speaks of our continuing obsession with class in modern Britain. Within the field of history, many authors have lately reasserted the usefulness of class as a tool of historical analysis. This two-day conference therefore wishes to provide an opportunity to critically evaluate this key concept and consider how a sense of class enables a better understanding of past societies and how they change.
Keynote addresses will be given by Jon Lawrence (Cambridge) and Andy Wood (Durham). The conference organizers also wish to welcome postgraduates and early career historians to submit proposals for papers (of about 20-30 minute’s length) by the 1 July 2014. Abstracts (c. 300 words) should include the author’s name, affiliations, email address, and length of paper and should be sent to either Joseph Cozens or Emily Mason (respectively jtcoze and emason @ Those wishing to attend the conference should also register their interest via email.
Possible themes for papers may include but are not limited to:
v languages of class
v representations of class
v class and the ‘cultural turn’
v class and the ‘spatial turn’
v class formation
v class and gender, race or nation
v class before class society
v class as an agent of social change
v E. P. Thompson’s conception of class

Friday, 20 June 2014

Play: A Bright Room Called Day

A Bright Room Called Day
by Tony Kushner

 “This age wanted heroes. It got us instead.”
Berlin. 1932. A group of young communists throw a decadent party to celebrate the coming New Year. But as the country succumbs to the seduction of Nazism the friends are forced to choose between integrity and survival.
Shocking and provocative, the play caused a sensation when it was first performed. From Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Tony Kushner, A Bright Room Called Day examines the darkest reaches of the human heart.

Brash, audacious, intoxicatingly visionary."  - Chicago Tribune

Post-show talk on Tuesday 29th July
Professor Christopher Dillon of Kings College London will be giving a post-show on the historical context of the play. His talk is entitled ‘Perched on the Brink: the Rise and Demise of the Communist part in Weimar Germany.’ The talk will be free to all ticket-holders.

23 July – 16 August

Special offer for LSHG supporters - TICKETS for performances from 26-31 July are just £13 when you quote the code BRIGHT1 when booking online or by phone