OU PhD Studentship success

Dr. Amanda Goodrich and Dr. Luc-Andre Brunet will be the primary supervisors for two new OU PhD studentships, through the AHRC Open-Oxford-Cambridge doctoral training partnership. The studentships will be held in collaboration with two institutions, the History of Parliament Trust and Cambridge University Library.

France and the Second World War: The Cambridge Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection (1944-1946)

The recent 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings underscored the importance of the Liberation of France in the history of the twentieth century. This PhD project aims to make use of the Cambridge University Library Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection to explore particular aspects of France during the Second World War, the Liberation, and/or in the immediate post-war period (1939-1946). The Collection consists of about 3000 books and pamphlets in French on these subjects, published from the Liberation of Paris in August 1944 to the end of 1946, encompassing a wide range of material, including novels, poetry, illustrated books, photographic albums, literature for children, testimonies from the camps, military works and political publications.

The Black and Mixed Ethnicity Presence in British Politics, 1750-1850

There is today a move to restore Black and mixed ethnicity (BME) people to their rightful place in British history. Historical attention has primarily focused on the narrative of slavery and abolition. Much has been written on the lives of Africans who migrated to Britain after escaping slavery such as Olaudah Equiano, Ignatius Sancho, Quobna Ottobah Cugoano and Mary Prince. The BME offspring of local slaves or indigenous women and British men in colonies such as the West Indies or India, who were brought ‘home’ to Britain, have also received some attention. The engagement of BME men in extra-parliamentary politics has been explored through the writings of Equiano and Cugoano on reform politics and the roles of Robert Wedderburn and William Davidson, and most recently Henry Redhead Yorke in extra parliamentary radical agitation. Yet few BME individuals have been identified in extra-parliamentary or formal British politics.

This doctoral thesis will aim to identify, quantify and analyse the BME presence in British politics and political culture more broadly, employing both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. It will potentially explore both houses of Parliament, constituency elections, local government and extra-parliamentary politics, to identify BME individuals, noting any fluidity between the sectors of engagement. In addition, the term ‘presence’ will include their methods of engagement with politics, ideas, influence and networks. The representations of and about such individuals by others and in the press may also be explored. Slave abolition will need to inform an element of the study, but it will not be the focus. In order to incorporate all relevant ethnicities the term BME will be defined with the doctoral student.

 

Royal Historical Society Symposium at The Open University, 17 May 2019

This Symposium sponsored by the Royal Historical Society reflected on how the war was commemorated in a range of different countries between 2013 and 2019. The centenary of the signing of most of the peace treaties related to the conflict in 2019 is an excellent vantage point to reflect on six years of commemoration and ask a number of important questions. How did different countries seek to commemorate the war? How did such commemoration differ, and why? Why did the origins of the war become a controversial topic once more? How did the centenary play out in countries that entered the war much later than others, and countries that were colonies during the wartime period? How did the war’s different end-points play out for national commemorations? How were the different national memories of the experience of the war reflected in planned and actual commemorative events? And, most importantly, what do we know now that we did not know before the centenary, and how might this affect the future trajectory of First World War studies? The Symposium addressed these questions, in particular examining what is different after six years of commemoration, debate, and publishing on the First World War on the occasion of the centenary. The symposium highlighted that the war was experienced differently, and is therefore remembered differently, by the various combatant nations and empires. Was commemoration perhaps less contentious in nations which had been on the winning side than among the losers of the war? We were treated to an excellent and thought-provoking keynote lecture from Professor Jay Winter, seven excellent papers and a roundtable discussion, as well as great contributions from our audience both in Milton Keynes and online.

Programme

10.00 – 10.15 Tea and Coffee

10.15 – 10.30 Welcome from Professor Annika Mombauer and Professor John Wolffe (The Open University)

10.30 – 11.30 Keynote Lecture

Professor Jay Winter (Yale University): ‘The Centenary of the Great War: Unfinished Business’

11.30 – 13.00 Panel 1: Europe

Dr Helen McCartney (King’s College London): ‘Commemoration of the First World War in Britain 2014-2018’

Dr Alison Carrol (Brunel University): ‘Local and National Commemorations of the First World War in France’

Professor Annika Mombauer (Open University): ‘2014: Germany remembers the First World War’

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch

14.00 – 15.30 Panel 2: Africa and Asia

Dr John Slight (The Open University): ‘Commemorating the war in the Middle East during a time of turbulence’

Professor Santanu Das (Oxford University): ‘Centennial Commemoration in an age of Multiculturalism: The Case of South Asia’

Dr Anne Samson (Independent Scholar): ‘Who in Africa remembered? Who remembered Africa?’

15.30 –16.00 Tea and coffee break

16.00 – 16.30 ‘Commemoration in the Museum Sector’, Laura Clouting (Imperial War Museum)

16.30 – 17.30 Roundtable discussion

Louise Ryland-Epton wins the Bryan Jerrard award and commended for the Parliamentary History Essay Prize

PhD student Louise Ryland-Epton has won the Bryan Jerrard award for 2018 and was commended for the Parliamentary History Essay Prize. The Jerrard award is something given by the Gloucestershire Local History Association (and sponsored by the History Press) for the best published article on an aspect of Gloucestershire’s local history.  Louise’s article was titled ‘Cirencester Workhouse under the Old Poor Law’ and it was published by the Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society in 2018.  The essay commended for the Parliamentary History Essay prize is entitled ‘The Impact of Backbenchers in the Creation of Social Reform: “The Indefatigable and Honourable Exertions of Mr Gilbert.”’ and will be published in Parliamentary History in 2019.

 

Mobilising Global Voices: Perspectives from the Global South

Dr Sandip Hazareesingh and collaborators from the Indian NGO Green Foundation were invited to present the research findings of their GCRF project Changing Farming Lives in South India, Past and Present at a conference on Mobilising Global Voices: Perspectives from the Global South, held at the House of Commons on 27-28 February 2019. Read Dr Hazareesingh’s blog below:

This event was jointly organised by UKRI-AHRC and the International Development Committee (IDC) of UK Parliament. The conference brought together development scholars and NGOs from the Global South, UK-based researchers, and UK Parliamentarians. Its main objective was to share ideas about achieving greater visibility and inclusion of globally diverse voices and perspectives with a view to improving UK Government (DFID) policy-making.

The IDC’s main role is to scrutinise the work of DFID by providing information and perspectives from a wide range of sources so as to ensure that policies are compliant with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As much of the IDC’s current focus is on monitoring and evaluating DFID’s work in the areas of Forced Displacement and Climate Change, its members were given a unique opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of collaborative north-south research projects on these themes using Arts and Humanities approaches. These methodologies included oral history, story-telling, street theatre, participatory video, creative writing, used by projects researching subjects such as Local Community Experiences of Displacement from Syria; Traditional Knowledge and the Revival of Millets for a Changing Climate in South India; Living with Typhoons and Insecurity in the Philippines; Resilient Pastoralism in Mongolia and Kenya.

Members of both IDC and AHRC expressed great delight at the information and insights provided by the presentations and voiced the hope that this event heralds a continuing and inclusive dialogue between researchers in both north and south and their parliaments. However, many of the researchers present expressed scepticism about the effectiveness of such events in changing or improving government policies. Indeed, some invited delegates from the south had been refused visas to travel to the UK. Personally, I made the point, to loud applause from the floor, that unless the Home Office’s ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy is reversed and visa applications from the south approached with a radically different mindset, ‘voices from the south’ will remain marginalised and hopes for a deepening north-south dialogue on development voiced by the conference organisers might well prove unsustainable.

Harvesting water in South India, Bombay Agricultural Department Bulletin 1910. Image credit: British Library

John Slight awarded Rothschild Bursary

The Trustees of the Rothschild Archive have awarded Dr. John Slight, Lecturer in Modern History, a Rothschild Bursary to facilitate his research in the Rothschild Archive in the City of London and the Archives Nationales du Monde du Travail, Roubaix, France, for a journal article on the Rothschilds and the 1882 British occupation of Egypt.

Recovering the 19th Century Penal Landscape launch event

Recovering the 19th Century Penal Landscape, 6 July 2018
National Justice Museum, Nottingham, Smith Cooper Room

Join us on 6 July 2018 at the National Justice Museum in Nottingham for the launch of a new resource developed by the Centre – www.prisonhistory.org – a database of nineteenth-century prisons which contains critical information on the locations, size and archives of nearly 850 penal institutions.

We are delighted to host a number of eminent speakers with expertise on prisons past and present, including: Prof Sean McConville (Queen Mary University of London), Dr Paul Carter (The National Archives), Prof Barry Godfrey (University of Liverpool) Dr Maryse Tennant (Canterbury Christ Church University), Aiofe O’Connor (Find My Past), Nina Champion (Prisoners’ Education Trust) and Anita Dockley (Howard League for Penal Reform).

To download a programme, follow this link.

The event is free to attend, but places are limited. To register attendance, of for further information, please contact: Rosalind.Crone@open.ac.uk, and/or FASS-Collaborations@open.ac.uk. Registration closes 22 June 2018. When registering, please provide full name, affiliation, any special dietary requirements and any other special requirements.

Luc-Andre Brunet wins Michael J. Hellyer Prize

Dr. Luc-André Brunet, Lecturer in Twentieth-Century European History, has been awarded the Michael J. Hellyer Prize by the British Association of Canadian Studies (BACS). The award is presented for the best paper given at the BACS annual conference. This year’s conference, held at Senate House, University of London, featured 61 papers delivered over three days. Luc’s paper, entitled ‘Pierre Trudeau’s 1983 Peace Initiative: An International History’ uses recently declassified archival sources from seven different countries to re-evaluate Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s peace initiative, a major Canadian foreign policy venture that aimed at reducing Cold War tensions in the context of the so-called Euromissile Crisis. The paper is part of a book Luc is currently writing for McGill-Queen’s University Press provisionally entitled Canada, Nuclear Weapons, and the End of the Cold War.

Two-day AHRC-funded workshop on Sustainable Farming Practices Past and Present, Bangalore, India, 21-22 February 2018

The AHRC-funded Changing Farmers’ Lives Past and Present research project held its first event in Bangalore, co-organised by Dr. Sandip Hazareesingh, Director of the Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies, Open University and the Karnataka based NGO Green Foundation. A variety of presentations by academic researchers and development practitioners explored the potential, first, of Arts and Humanities approaches, in particular aspects of oral history, stories, drama, and film, to document and support small farmer creativity in developing resilience to livelihood challenges in relation to food, biodiversity, and climate issues; and second, of participatory methods aimed at local community conservation of agricultural biodiversity and revival and control of indigenous seeds. Each session was followed by lively discussions. A very original feature of the Workshop was a visit to the Janadhanya Women’s Federation in nearby Terubeedi village. At the community seed bank centre, workshop participants met with local women farmers who presented their work on seed conservation and provided delicious tasters of some of the foods produced by the group, including millet-based papadoms and savoury snacks.

Ferguson Centre Director awarded an AHRC Research Networking for International Development (GCRF) grant

Centre Director Dr. Sandip Hazareesingh has been awarded an AHRC Research Networking for International Development (GCRF) grant for a 12-month pilot project on ‘Changing Farming Lives in South India, Past and Present’. The project’s main aim is to explore the potential of various aspects of history, film, and sound, to document and support small farmer creativity and resilience to food, biodiversity and climate issues in south India. It will be carried out in collaboration with a Karnataka-based NGO, Green Foundation, which works with local smallholders to promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable agriculture. The AHRC peer reviewer for the project wrote: ‘This is an ambitious project which has the potential to produce long-term beneficial contributions to knowledge of significant cultural practices, as well as contributing to the sustainability of those practices through a heritage record of them’.