Wednesday, 15 February 2012


History Lab Bulletin 12 February 2012
Dear all,
See below for projects and events that may be of interest to History Lab members.
In this issue:
  • Next in History Lab
  • Panel Debate
  • Museum Studies Day
  • Call for papers
  • Talks, tours, events
  • Colloquium
Next in History Lab:
  • Seminar: Elena Zanoni (Verona/Birkbeck) - Antonio Stoppani and the Popularisation of Science in Risorgimental Italy, Thursday 16 February, 17:30 – 19:30, Holden Room (Room 103), Senate House
  • Meet the historian: Sally Alexander, Wednesday 22 February, 18:00 – 20:00, Torrington Room (Room 104), South Block, Senate House
    'Meet the Historian’ events are an opportunity to hear at first hand from noted historians how and why they became historians in the first place, their thoughts on research and the discipline generally, and about their latest work. There will be the chance to ask questions and enter into discussion, and to join the speaker for drinks after the talk.
    Sally Alexander is Professor of Modern History at Goldsmiths, University of London. She has been an editor of History Workshop Journal since its foundation in 1976 and her research interests lie in the history of social movements, feminism in particular, London history, the history of psychoanalysis, oral history and subjectivity. Co-convenor of the Modern British History seminar and Psychoanalysis and History at the IHR, she is currently editing, with Professor Barbara Taylor, a volume on Psychoanalysis and History for Palgrave, 2012.
  • Methods Workshop: Facing the blank page, starting to write, Tuesday 28 February, 18:00 – 20:00, Room S261, Senate House
    For more information, see:

  • Calls for papers: Agency: History Lab Annual Conference 13-14 June 2012.
    The Conference will open with a plenary panel on Agency and history. Professor David d’Avray FBA and Professor Catherine Hall of UCL, and Professor Christian List of the LSE will each give a short paper, followed by a round-table discussion. To submit a proposal for the conference, please send your title along with a 250-word abstract, your institutional affiliation, and full contact details to: by Monday 27 February.
    For more information see:

Panel Debate

  • Hosted by the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the British Library: 'The past in today’s politics: a debate on the state of history-writing as a political act', 5 March 2012, 6pm to 8pm, Eliot Room, British Library Conference Centre, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
    Booking essential as seating is limited: to book please email Katy Pettit -
    Panel members: Professor Virginia Berridge (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and co-founder of ‘History & Policy’), Maurice Glasman, Dr Maurice Glasman (Reader in Political Theory at London Metropolitan University and Labour Peer), Dr Mark Levene (University of Southampton), Professor Lynne Segal (Birkbeck College, University of London)
    Chair: Gareth Stedman Jones (Director of the Centre for History and Economics, Cambridge, Fellow of King's College, Cambridge University and Professor of the History of Ideas at Queen Mary, University of London)
    Is there a place for politics in academic historical research?
    A generation ago historians were at the forefront of political debates on hot topics such as gender, class, sexuality, race, health and peace campaigning. Radical historians such as Raphael Samuel and the History Workshop movement not only informed public discussion through historical research, but questioned current norms and structures and contributed to the reshaping of behaviours, ways of life and beliefs through their grass-roots activism. Moving away from top-down historical subject matter, they excavated hidden histories, driven by observation or experience of inequality to reveal and question power relations in the past and present, and to suggest how things could be in the future.
    Are historians politically-minded nowadays? How many activist-academics are there today highlighting urgent contemporary political concerns through the focus of an historical lens? Is it that historians are engaging differently in political lobbying? What are the dangers and implications of historical research being applied wrongly for political campaigning? Is there a generational divide in which younger scholars are no longer radicalised or motivated by contemporary politics to incorporate it into polemical history-writing? Have all the social and political 'battles' been fought and won? Does the way historians are funded today constrict the type of history that is written? Are today’s historians interrogating their own investment in the histories they are telling? And if so, what questions are being asked and what methods are being used?
    This panel debate will focus on these questions and more as we ask what sort of role the historian can play in contemporary political debate.

Museum Studies Day

  • British Museum, Museum studies day, Monday 12 March 2012, 11.00–15.30,BP Lecture Theatre,£10
    A day of talks by British Museum staff gives a behind-the-scenes insight into the running and organisation of the British Museum. Students wishing to broaden their knowledge of museums and the culture and heritage sector are welcome.
    Emma Poulter, Community Programmes Coordinator
    Emma manages the Museum’s Talking Objects programme, connecting curators with young people from the local community, encouraging dialogue and debate around a single Museum object. Since 2009 the programme has worked with young people from across London to discover, question and creatively respond to the stories behind British Museum objects. Emma will provide an overview of the programme and will also discuss the importance of bringing together object-focused research with an audience-led approach within the Museum.
    Katherine Hudson, Head of Membership
    Membership both provides a sustainable source of income for the Museum and engages a community of supporters. Katherine will speak about the strategic aims behind Membership, its relationship to other parts of the Museum’s work and the diversity of areas involved in delivering and growing a Membership scheme, from programming events and producing the Members’ magazine to creating the new Members’ Room.
    Stuart Frost, Head of Interpretation
    Stuart provides an overview of the work of the Museum’s Interpretation Team. This presentation will focus on the team’s role in the development of temporary exhibitions, particularly its use of audience research to better understand and improve the visitor experience.
    Panel Q&A and short introduction to Future Curators Programme
    Lunch, please make your own arrangements
    Evan York, Senior Museum Assistant, Ancient Egypt and Sudan
    The Museum Assistant teams have a vital role within the departmental collections, in all aspects of their everyday work. They are responsible for looking after the collections to ensure their preservation and accessibility, within the Museum and on loan.
    Catherine Eagleton, Curator of Modern Money, Coins and Medals
    Catherine is the lead curator on the project to redisplay the permanent Money Gallery (Room 68). The new Citi Money Gallery opens in June 2012, and will be linked to a five-year educational and communities programme. Catherine will talk about what it’s like leading a permanent gallery redisplay project, and what she wishes she had known at the start.
    Matthew Cock, Head of Web
    Matthew will talk about the Museum’s website, and some of the initiatives and projects that the web and marketing teams have undertaken to engage audiences on the website and across the web in recent years, including the Wikipedian-in-Residence project, A History of the World and Hajj Stories.
    Panel Q&A
    Tickets may be booked through the British Museum Ticket Desk, Tel: 020 7323 8181 Fax: 020 7323 8616 or online at

Calls for papers

  • The 6th Annual International Conference of the Taiwan Association of
    Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, October 26-27, 2012
    Infinite riches in a little room”: Collecting as a Cultural Practice and Literary Theme in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Renaissance
    Collecting is a topic which has attracted much attention in recent years. William Gibson, the pioneer of cyberpunk fiction, observed that “the idea of the Collectible is everywhere today.” Yet, if we are to believe one critical study of the subject, the cultural practice of collecting goes back to the mythical beginnings of humanity: “Noah was the first collector. Adam had given names to the animals, but it fell to Noah to collect them … And Noah, perhaps alone of all collectors, achieved the complete set.” (John Elsner and Roger Cardinal) A more recent collector, the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (669-626 BCE) may not have had a complete set, but he did maintain a great library that held thousands of clay tablets. The Hellenistic Greeks and Romans collected books, statues, gems, etc. and created the first musea, those of Alexandria and Pergamon being the most prominent examples. They also wrote about collecting and were avid encyclopedists. Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia is the model for many later writings in the genre which includes Isidore of Seville’s Etymologiae (ca. 630), the 10th Century Byzantine Suda, and Vincent of Beauvais’ high medieval Speculum majus (13th Century). The monastic libraries of the Middle Ages and their scriptoria copied and collected books and in doing so preserved the European heritage. Yet, it was the global commerce in knowledge, people, and objects during the age of discovery and exploration which aroused a passion for collecting as never before as princes, scientists, merchants, and artists all over Europe from Ferrante Imperato in Naples to Peter the Great in Russia competed in creating increasingly spectacular and luxurious studiolos, cabinets of curiosities, Wunderkammer, and Kunstkamers. Yet, the habit could be costly. King Charles I of England, a lavish spender and great collector of art, first lost his kingdom and then his life. Less than a decade later, the Dutch painter Rembrandt ran into debts and had to sell his house and his collections.
    TACMRS provides an interdisciplinary forum for discussions and debates on collecting as a cultural practice and literary theme from Antiquity to the Renaissance and seeks to create dialogue between and across disciplines and periods. We encourage submissions with cross- cultural approaches, and on this premise welcome papers that reach beyond the traditional chronological and disciplinary borders of classical, medieval and Renaissance studies. Thus, in addition to the historical categories and thematic questions raised above, topics such as collecting practices East and West; the representation of ancient libraries, collectible objects or cultural treasures in modern literature and film; the cabinet of curiosities in modern art; and other topics that engage critically with the conference theme will be considered.
    TACMRS welcomes papers on any other subjects that fall within the historical periods and disciplinary areas covered by the Association.
    This conference is under the auspices of the Taiwan Association of Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies and the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature of Tunghai University in Taichung, Taiwan.
    Conference Location: Tunghai University; Taichung 40704, Taiwan
    Conference Language: All papers are required to be written and presented in English.
    Guidelines for Abstract Submission: The length of the abstract should be maximum 350 words. Abstracts should be typed in fonts of size 12 and spacing of 1.5 and saved in MS Word format. Do not include the name or other identifying information of the author(s) in the abstract; there will be a blind review of the submissions. Send the abstract by e-mail to with a subject line stating “Submission for the 6th TACMRS Conference.” Include information regarding academic affiliation of presenter(s) in email. Send abstracts/proposals for papers to:
    Henk Vynckier, Chair
    Department of Foreign Languages and Literature
    Tunghai University; Taichung 407; Taiwan
    Tel.: 04/2359-0121 Ext.: 31200
    Fax: 04/2359-4002
    Due date for abstract submission: March 15, 2012. Notification of abstract acceptance: May 1, 2012. Deadline for registration: Oct. 1, 2012
    Due date for full paper submission: Oct. 5, 2012
    Contact Information:
    Phone Number: 04-2359-0121 Ext. 31200: Ms. Sherry Jan (Assistant)
    Email: (Assistant Sherry Jan) or (Dr. Henk Vynckier, Chair)
  • God and the Enlightenment: 4-6 October 2012
    The George Washington Forum on American Ideas, Politics, and Institutions, which has its home at Ohio University, invites paper proposals for a conference and subsequent edited volume on religion and the Enlightenment. The conference will be held at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio (4–6 October 2012) and is co-organized by William J. Bulman and Robert G. Ingram. John Milbank (Nottingham) will deliver the keynote lecture, while Justin Champion (London), Jonathan Clark (Kansas), Brad Gregory (Notre Dame), Maria-Cristina Pitassi (Geneva), Joan Pau Rubies (LSE), Jonathan Sheehan (UC–Berkeley) and Dale Van Kley (Ohio State) will deliver plenary lectures.
    This conference aims to promote academic discussion and to explore new research trends on the origins, character and consequences of the Enlightenment, especially regarding religion. The conference organizers welcome the work of advanced doctoral students and both young and established scholars in the fields of history, religion, philosophy and literature.
    Proposals — which should include a 500-word abstract, a brief curriculum vitae, and complete current contact information — should be sent by 9 March 2012, to the conference organizers: William J. Bulman, Department of History, Lehigh University ( G. Ingram, Department of History, Ohio University (
    Notifications of a paper’s acceptance will be sent out in early April.
    The conference is supported primarily by a grant from the Thomas W. Smith Foundation

Talks, tours, events

  • Towner Contemporary Art Museum

    On Saturday, 10th March, Jem Southam, one of the UK's leading

    photographers, will give a rare insight into his work and career. Towner

    holds a significant number of works by Jem Southam in the collection, two

    of which are on show in New Eyes, our current collection exhibition.

    The Towner Collection will also be the focus of Dr. Julian Freeman's study

    morning on Saturday, 14th April. During the later twentieth century the

    Towner Art Gallery gained something of a cult status, as successive

    curators cannily exploited the re-emergence of what was known as 'Modern

    British' British art of the approximate period 1880-1960. Dr. Julian

    Freeman will examine the reappearance of some of the most formidable art

    ever produced in Britain, its public rejection, and the intriguing story of

    the development of Towner's remarkable art collection.

    For further information and to book online please go to . You will
    also find details of our store and gallery tours which can be tailored to

    the needs of individual groups, if you would like to bring along your

    students to focus on a particular artist or area of interest.


  • The Legacies of British Slave-ownership project at University College London cordially invite you to the next Neale Lecture and Colloquium in British History, entitled “Emancipation, Slave Ownership and the Remaking of the British Imperial World.”
    The colloquium will take place at UCL from March 29th - 31st 2012, and will be opened by a public lecture from Professor Robin Blackburn on “Slavery and Finance in Britain’s Empire of Free Trade.” This lecture will take place at 5:30pm in the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Main Building, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT.
    Over the next two days, the colloquium will debate current work, including that of the LBS project, on the centrality of slavery and slave ownership to the remaking of the British imperial world after abolition in 1833, and consider the implications of these legacies for history writing.
    Speakers and respondents include Catherine Hall, Nick Draper, Keith McClelland, Zoe Laidlaw, Richard Huzzey, Miles Taylor, Pat Hudson, Chris Evans, Julian Hoppit, Heather Cateau, Anita Rupprecht, Clare Anderson, Alison Light, Andrea Stuart, Cora Kaplan, Sir Hilary Beckles, Vijaya Teelock, Francoise Verges and Andrea Levy.
    A programme and registration form are available on our website at We have a reduced rate for postgraduates – please see the registration form for details.


The History Lab team.

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