Wednesday, 9 January 2013

History Lab Bulletin January 7 2013

 In this issue:

• Next in History Lab
• Call for papers
• Conference
• Job opportunity
• Seminar Series
• Workshop
Next Next in History Lab
Thursday, 10 January 17:30 Seminar - Kimberly Brice (King's College, London) - 'Canine Soldiers: Britain's Messenger Dogs of the First World War, Room STB5, Basement, Stewart House, 32 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DN
During the First World War, the British Army trained several hundred dogs to work as messengers on the front. Described as ‘a product [of the First World War]’, the messenger dog was relied on by the British Army to relay vital messages across relatively unknown ground, and at times served as the only means of communication between frontline troops and headquarters.  The dogs, initially recruited from dogs’ homes throughout the country and later gifted by the British public, were trained at the War Dog Training School in Shoeburyness before being dispatched to France for message-carrying duties.

Able to traverse difficult terrain amid shellfire and other obstacles, messenger dogs relied on their acute sense of smell and comparatively small size to carry out their work.  These ‘canine soldiers’ possessed advantages over both human runners and carrier pigeons and became particularly valuable when telephone and telegraph wires proved unreliable. Yet despite support from soldiers in the field, the messenger dog service was not without its problems.  The War Office had been reluctant to establish a war dog training centre in the early years of the war, and as a result, the training of messenger dogs in an official capacity did not commence until 1917.  Unfavourable reports of the dogs’ work noted the propensity of soldiers to treat the dogs as pets, as well as the distraction caused by the high number of strays in an area. 

My paper explores the history of the British war dog programme, paying particular attention to the establishment of the War Dog Training School and the training and employment of messenger dogs in the First World War.  I will argue that, despite its limitations, the British messenger dog scheme effectively supplemented, and at times, replaced other methods of army communication.  Although the messenger dog programme was only in existence for nine months, the dogs proved to be a valuable asset to the British Army and helped to encourage interest in the use of dogs for war purposes in the Second World War.

Monday, 14 January 17:30, Methods Workshop -Managing the Bibliography, Montague Room (G26)
Three phd students will discuss their Bibliography and Reference Management strategies
Saturday, 19 January 09:30, Speakeasy Workshop for History Postgraduates, Woburn Room G22 and Montague Room G26 Senate House 
Do you get the jitters every time you give a seminar paper? Do you find that you are unable to project your voice, speak too fast and don’t connect with the audience? Or worse, are people falling asleep in your lectures? Clear, effective and professional communication skills are absolutely essential to any aspiring academic. While students are taught the essentials of research, less emphasis is placed on presenting their work either in the lecture hall or in the seminar room. The History Lab in collaboration with Speakeasy (a public speaking training organisation) will be hosting a one-day workshop focused on practising and learning how to be a good public speaker.

Organised by a historian and a professional actor, the Speakeasy workshop is specifically geared towards PhD students at the start of their academic career. Drawing on professional acting skills and training, our one-day course addresses the following issues:

How to be an effective communicator in the lecture hall, the seminar room or at the conference.
·      How to get your message across, keep your audience engaged and actually enjoy the experience
·      Voice projection, posture and body language
·      Different modes of communication: how to lead seminars, chair conferences and conduct a Q&A. 
·      Techniques for presenting, how to deliver complex ideas and style of delivery
·      Tools of communication: how to use PowerPoint, cite-reading and ‘thinking on your academic feet’
Students will be expected to bring with them 150 words on their research which they will be used throughout the day. This course is available to all registered PhD and early career research students. It  would also be relevant to students studying humanities subjects.  The cost of this course is £40 for the day which includes lunch and refreshments.

Please note those sponsored by research councils or their dept can apply to their funders to cover the cost.

Due to the interactive nature of the workshop, numbers must be limited to 30.

Note on the workshop leaders:
Liza Filby is a historian based at King’s College, London. She was formerly Chair of the History Lab, the Institute of Historical Research’s national postgraduate network and editor of Vitae’s GradBritain. She has four years experience in running peer-based training workshops for PhD students.  Steven Clarke is a professional actor who trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Steven has led training sessions on public speaking for both private and public sector organisations.

Registration for the workshop can be completed here:

Monday, 21 January 18:00, Room S264, Meet the Transnational Historians
Dr Sarah Snyder and Dr Axel Korner (UCL) discuss their career paths and research in transnational history.

Call for papers & Conferences

The Oxford Travel Cultures Seminar Series would like to invite
proposals for its upcoming interdisciplinary conference to be held in
October 2013.  The theme this year will be "Navigating Networks: Women, Travel, and Female Communities."  We invite papers that address the topic of women’s travel networks in any historical period.  We welcome discussion on any of the following: nonfictional or literary accounts; diaries; letters; articles; films; documentaries; photographs and paintings.  Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words (for papers of 20 minutes) to Hannah Sikstrom and Kimberly Marsh at
The National Gallery and The Getty Research Institute, London and the Emergence of a European Art Market (c. 1780-1820) Conference
The National Gallery, London (21-22 June 2013).  Call for Papers: abstract deadline & word-limit: 15 February 2013 (250 words).  Topics for consideration include, but are not limited to:
-  ARTWORKS Cross-border traffic of objects (cultural transfers, customs regulations, arbitrage, etc.) and its effect on the formation of private and public collections.
-  AGENTS Market integration throughout Europe (national/transnational dealer networks, centre and periphery, impact of revolution and war, etc.)
-  INFORMATION Auction catalogues as economic tool and literary genre (classification systems, lot sequence, transparency, connoisseurship, etc.)
-  VALUES Idea of art as an investment (different national canons and currencies, growth of investment-minded collectors, ascendancy of the banker as a key player, price manipulation, etc.)
INSTITUTIONS: History Lab Annual Conference 2013
Institute of Historical Research, London, 12-13 June 2013
Institutions have always been an integral part of human society and were traditionally understood as instruments of bureaucratic and social control and administration. However, recent events such as the Eurozone crisis have seen a collapse of trust in politics and the rise of activist movements such as Avaaz. These global changes have called into question the traditional definitions of institutions. ‘Institution’ also has a metaphorical meaning, from the ‘institution’ of marriage to a set of behaviours with very specific rules.
What is an ‘institution’? Who makes ‘institutions’? How do they operate? What does the process of ‘institutionalisation’ entail? With these questions in mind, the History Lab Conference 2013 aims to investigate the relationships between institutions, societies and individuals through the analysis of historical example.
Postgraduate students and early-career researchers are invited to submit proposals for papers (twenty minutes), or panels of three speakers, on specific topics exploring institutions or on wider relevant methodological and philosophical issues.
Papers may cover any historical region or period, exploring institutions in topics including, but not limited to, the following areas.
• Religion and morality
• Social and community activism, protest and resistance.
• Governmental, non-governmental and charitable
• Medicine, medical institutions and treatment.
• Administration, bureaucracy and accountability.
• Industry, trade and commerce..
• The family, education and welfare.
• Cultural production and practices.
• Labour, business and industrial relations.
• Policing, law and order, and incarceration.

Some travel bursaries will be available for research students travelling from the United States. Please for further details.  
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 the deadline of Thursday 28th February, 2013.
The Relevance of History – North East History Lab, Northumbria University, 15 February 2013 
We are pleased to invite speakers for the first event of the new North East History Lab. As part of a fantastic networking opportunity for postgraduate history students based in the North East, we are looking for several short presentations (10-15 mins) to form the basis of an afternoon workshop about the relevance of history.  The workshop is intended to create an informal and non-threatening atmosphere in which postgraduate researchers can share ideas, develop their skills and create links with historians from different institutions and backgrounds. The afternoon’s events are set to include:

·      Presentations on the relevance of historical research.
·      An open discussion group on issues with ascribing value to historical research.
·      A training session for researchers on outreach and impact issues.
·      Networking and socialising opportunities.

The presentations should ideally give a brief overview of on-going research projects within the context of evaluating the relevance of history. Different approaches may highlight variable concepts of value, encompassing the possible social, political, cultural or economic relevance of historical research. The emphasis of the day in general will be to generate debate, discussion and introspective analysis of the relevance of our own work as historians.

Those interested in giving a presentation please send a 100-200 word abstract via email with ‘Relevance of History’ as the subject by 15 January 2013.

Job Opportunity

Lectureship in European History c.1650 - c.1900
University of Stirling -School of Arts and Humanities
Grade 8 £37,012 - £44,166 p.a.

Interviews: Friday 22 Feb 2013 (with presentations Thursday 21 Feb), Closing date: Thursday 31 Jan 2013
 We seek to appoint to an open-ended Lectureship in Stirling’s long-established specialism in continental European History c.1650-c.1900 (supported by substantial teaching and research library resources), with a particular focus upon the political, ideological, socio-economic or cultural history of a region or regions of western/central Europe. The successful candidate may have an interest in such historical themes as the revolutionary and nationalist movements of ‘the long-nineteenth century’, the rivalries of the Great Powers, the enlightenment or urbanisation; but we would also welcome applications from candidates with a versatile and inter-disciplinary range of research interests who might collaborate with colleagues in Trans-Atlantic, British and Environmental history, as well as in cognate disciplines within and beyond the School of Arts and Humanities.
The appointee would be expected to contribute to the History undergraduate provision, to pursue a programme of research, including research outputs and funding applications, to contribute to the development of new taught Masters initiatives, to undertake postgraduate research supervision relevant to their expertise and to undertake administrative duties as prescribed by the Head of Division. 

We seek to appoint to an open-ended Lectureship in European History c.1650-c.1900 from 1 June.

Informal enquiries about the post can be made to the Head of the Division of History and Politics, Dr. Andrea Baumeister, e-mail , tel.: (+44) (0) 1786 467572.

Seminar Series

V&A/RCA MA in Design History and Material Culture.  All seminars are held at 5.00 pm in Seminar Room A of the Research Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Access to Seminar Room A is via the entrance to the Research Department. To get there, go the top of the staircase decorated with ceramic tiles that leads from the Asian Sculpture Galleries (Rooms 17-20) on the ground floor, up past the Silver Gallery (Room 70a). Please allow at least five minutes to get to the seminar room from the Museum entrances. All those with a research interest in the field are welcome. Admission to the Museum is free and the event itself is free of charge. Please contact Katrina Royall on 020 7942 2574 ( or Helen Woodfield on 0207 942 2576 ( with any questions. 


The Institute of Historical Research is holding a free workshop for history postgraduates and early career researchers on 'Developing an effective social media presence'. The event, which will be held on Tuesday 29 January 2013, has been organised as part of the AHRC-funded Social Media Knowledge Exchange
To register for the event, email Jane Winters Places are limited, so book soon.

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