Saturday, 25 March 2017

Levellers Day 2017 and Levellers Night seminar

Friday 19 May 2017 : On the evening before Levellers Day, John Rees author of 'The Levellers Revolution' will be speaking as part of the Levellers seminar at the CWU training centre at Alvescot Lodge for the Levellers Night seminar talking about ‘Scottish Covenanters, English Levellers, and “Popular” Revolutions in mid-17thC Britain’ with Laura Stewart, author of ‘Rethinking the Scottish Revolution’.  Levellers’ Day 2017 will take place in Burford on Saturday 20 May 2017 - see here for more details




Wednesday, 22 March 2017

CfP: Mobilising Militant Pasts



The extent of retrospection in culture and politics is a topic oft-commented upon and lamented. Public engagements with history and heritage are frequently lumpenly categorised as ‘nostalgia’: sanitised, selective, reassuring. Yet this obscures the sheer diversity of militant pasts in the present, and of the contexts and processes that facilitate their re-manifestation. Che Guevara’s face adorns posters and t-shirts worldwide, while Garibaldi gets dunked in tea. Historic campaigns for racial and gender equality have been regularly dramatized, including in the recent films Selma (2014) and Suffragette (2015). Internecine violence is frequently documented, and its martyrs commemorated, in the fabric of the physical environments where it occurred, as the murals of Belfast and Derry testify. Such remembering and half-remembering of histories of divided societies, of protest, unrest and insurrection, is far from inherently safe, nor easily categorised.

This conference seeks to thrust treatments and legacies of the militant past into the academic spotlight. We seek papers on retrospective representations of themes including (but not limited to):
·         Industrial action
·         Campaigns for women’s rights
·         Campaigns for gay rights
·         Campaigns for religious tolerance and freedom
·         Campaigns for racial and ethnic equality
·         Intercommunal violence
·         Protests, riots and revolutions

There exists a vast array of models available for unpicking our individual and social relationships with the past: Freud’s conception of repeating, remembering and working through; Baudrillard’s of collecting and of retro; de Certeau’s of memory and place; Hobsbawm’s of invented tradition; Boym’s of restorative and reflective strains of nostalgia. Following on from these examples, we seek papers that address the role of format-specific and contextual dynamics and accompanying motivations in shaping the way militant pasts are represented and used. When and where are different modes of representation and appropriation – such as the reproduction of imagery and motifs, re-narration, preservation of heritage, adaptation, re-enactment, anniversaries, remembrance and commemoration – employed? How are these shaped by the contexts in which they appear, whether in popular cultural forms, high politics, heritage sectors, social movements, educational institutions, biographies and autobiographies, or the internet? What purposes do they serve: nostalgia; entertainment; commodification; education; calls to action; warning or pacifying gestures? How have these narratives, images and artefacts diffuse across time and space, and across formats and forums? How have their meanings contested, and by whom?


We welcome proposals for twenty-minute presentations from all disciplines and concerned with any time-period, including those with a contemporary focus. Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, along with a short CV, to conference organisers Ruth Adams, Dion Georgiou and Andrew Smith at militantpasts@gmail.com by 31 May 2017.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Commemorating the Leeds Convention of 1917

 


To mark the centenary of the historic Leeds Convention of 3 June 1917, where some 3,500 democrats and socialists pledged solidarity with the Russian Revolution and voted to set up Worker's and Soldiers' Councils in Britain, Leeds Trades Council and the Ford-Maguire Society with the generous support of the Lipman-Miliband Trust are holding a one day event at the Swarthmore Centre in Leeds on Saturday 3 June from 10-4pm. Speakers include Michael Meadowcroft on the Leeds Convention, John Newsinger on the Russian Revolution, Janet Douglas on Arthur Ransome, Leeds and the Russian Revolution, and Jill Liddington on 'Leeds Suffrage Stories: Isabella Ford, Mary Gawthorpe and Leonora Cohen'. There will also be an evening event with American folk singer David Rovics performing - more details tbc.