Welcome to 2018/19 at the Centre for Modern and Contemporary History! This academic year we have a rich line up of events and seminars in prospect, many organised jointly with other research centres here at Birmingham. Keep an eye on our seminar calendar page and on our Twitter feed to stay updated! All are welcome and we are especially glad to see our MA, BA and PGR students at seminars!
On Thursday 5 July 2018, the Centre is co-sponsoring a one-day symposium, which considers the formation of modern Czech identity in the arts, politics and the media, focusing on key global events of the 20th century. It responds to various celebrations in the Czech Republic and the UK, including the centenary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia in 1918 and fiftieth anniversary of the Prague Spring and Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
In addressing the relationship between the small nation and its global identity, the programme explores three themes: the mythic portrayal of interwar Czechoslovakia as a Western oriented state and of the Czech people as passive victims of global events; the cyclical gain and loss of state sovereignty, covering the separation of the Czech and Slovak Republics in 1993; the construction of Czechs identity in relation to ‘others’, including German, Slovak and Roma diasporas.
Organised by Dr. Marta Filipová and Prof. Matthew Rampley, University of Birmingham, the symposium includes an exhibition tour with Czech artist Vladimír Kokolia, curator Miroslav Ambroz and Ikon Director Jonathan Watkins. Leading historians and theorists participating at the symposium include
Small Nations and Global Identities: Czech Questionsis supported by Ikon, the Birmingham Centre for Modern and Contemporary History, the Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures and Public Engagement Office, University of Birmingham, Czech Club Birmingham CIC and the Embassy of the Czech Republic in London.
Thursday 5 July 2018
10-6pm – FREE
Ikon Gallery, Brindleyplace, Birmingham, B1 2HS
|Admin||9.30 – 10.10||Registration|
|Tour||10 – 10.45||Exhibition tour with artist Vladimir Kokolia, curator Miroslav Ambroz and Ikon Director Jonathan Watkins|
|Welcome||10.45 – 11.00||HE Libor Sečka, Embassy of the Czech Republic in London, Linzi Stauvers, Ikon Gallery and Marta Filipová, University of Birmingham|
|11.00 – 12.30
Chair: Matthew Rampley
|Jiří Přibáň, The history of Czech statehood and national identity|
|Mary Heimann, The State that Failed|
|Jakub Beneš, Populist nationalism between 1918 and 1948|
|Lunch||12.30 – 13.30||Own arrangements|
|13.30 – 15.30
Chair: Klaus Richter
|Rajendra Chitnis, The Czech Myth of Resistance: Silence as a Response to the German Occupation|
|Peter Zusi, On the Fringes of History: Richard Weiner Observes the Foundation of the Republic|
|Kelly Hignett, Constructing Czech Identity ‘From the Margins’|
|Tom Dickins, The influence of the past, as reflected in the slogans and counter slogans of the socialist era|
|Tea break||15.30 – 16.00||All welcome|
|16.00 – 17.30
|Mark Cornwall, Mapping a Queer Geography of Interwar Czechoslovakia in Europe|
|Celia Donert, The Rights of the Roma: The Struggle for Citizenship in Postwar Czechoslovakia|
|Monika Metyková, Brno 1918-2018: The City of Czechs, Germans and Jews|
On Wednesday 13 June, we are delighted to welcome Professor Priya Satia from Stanford University for the Centre’s 2018 Annual Lecture.
Pacifists Making Guns: The Galtons of Birmingham and Britain’s Industrial Revolution
Muirhead Tower G15
Wednesday 13 June 2018, 17.00-19.00
All welcome! Please join us for a reception afterwards.
Contact: Simon Jackson S.Jackson.firstname.lastname@example.org
The biggest gun-making firm in 18th-century Britain was owned by a Quaker family, the Galtons of Birmingham. They were major suppliers of guns to the slave trade in West Africa, the East India Company, settlers and trading companies in North America, and the British government, which was at war almost constantly from 1688 to 1815. But a core principle of the Quaker faith is belief in the un-Christian nature of war; Quakers do not participate in war or war training. From the seventeenth century, they were a persecuted minority because they refused to swear loyalty to the king or to arm themselves in the defence of his realm. So how do we explain the Galtons?–and other Quakers’ quiet tolerance of their business for nearly a century? For nearly a century, their livelihood attracted no critical notice in the Quaker community. Then, suddenly, in 1795, the Religious Society of Friends threatened to disown Samuel Galton Junior unless he left the arms trade. What changed? Why did the Galtons’ gun-manufacturing suddenly become a scandal? Had guns changed? Had Quakerism changed? And what was the result? Was Galton disowned? These are the questions Prof. Satia’s talk will pose and answer. And the answers reveal how difficult it was in eighteenth-century British industrial society to extricate oneself entirely from participating in warfare, regardless of principles. War was integral to the Industrial Revolution.
Priya Satia is a professor of British History at Stanford University. She is author of Spies of Arabia: The Great War and the Cultural Foundations of Britain’s Covert Empire in the Middle East published by Oxford University Press and her writing appeared in the TLS, Slate, the Financial Times, Washington Post, and Time Magazine, among others. She received an MSc in Development Studies (Economics) at the London School of Economics and a PhD in History at the University of California, Berkeley.
We’re delighted to welcome our own Dr. Michell Chresfield to speak about her research.
Half and Halves and Racially Ambiguous Others: The Prehistory of Multiracial America, 1870-1970
Dr. Michell Chresfield (Birmingham)
Wednesday 21 March 2018, 17.30-19.00
Muirhead Tower, Room 113
University of Birmingham
Contact: Simon Jackson: S.Jackson.email@example.com
Over the next couple of days our MA students in Contemporary History, Global History and Modern British Studies are work-shopping their nascent dissertation projects. Please see the programme below for a flavour of what they are studying.
Tuesday 20 March
Room G 26: Mechanical Engineering Building
2.15: Assemble & Introductions (Simon Jackson)
2.30-3.15: Gender, Masculinity & Clothing
Joe Combs – Masculinity, Femininity and Homosexuality in Small Northern Industrial Towns, 1960-2000’
Katelyn Elder, ‘Boys to men: the role of public schools and the Boy Scouts in shaping masculinity in the late Victorian and early Edwardian period.’
Eleanor Holmes, ‘Dressing for the War: Utility Clothing and Rationing in World War Two Britain’
3.30-4.00: Labour, Nation & Community
Haowen (Sylvie) Liu, ‘The role of Chinese Labor in the Second World War and the subsequent labor movement’
Curt Trudgeon, ‘Immigrant and Ethnic Minority Communities in North- Western Port Cities During Interwar Britain: Racism, Urban Topography and Cultural Impacts’
Sarah Middlemass, How did print media generate and propagate ideas of ‘Britishness’: 1993-2001″.
4.30-5.15: Culture, conformity and contestation
Rachel Littler, ‘The Rational Dress Movement and Women’s Mobility’
Uzmah Mohammed, ‘Material culture, cultural appropriation and colourblindness’ (Only 3-6 Tuesday)
Seb Read, ‘Exploring the social roles and impacts of musical subcultures in 1980s England’.
Wednesday 21 March
10.00 – Assemble and Welcome (Chris Moores)
10.05-11.50 – Bodies and History
Grace France, “The Rigid Right and the Strait-Laced Left? An Exploration of the Response to Page Three from 1970 to 1990”
Beth Parkes, ‘Suntanning in 1960s and 1970s Britain’
Rose Parkinson: Colonial medical care, gender, and urbanism in Bombay, c. 1913-1930
11.10 -11.55: Empires
Ioannis Tzianis, ‘To what extent did the Vietnam war affect the UK-US relations?’ (Wednesday)
Vicky Basra, An Investigation of the Expansionary efforts of Maharajah Ranjit Singh: Accepted hero?
Charlotte McKnight, ‘Our national beverage’: The British School of Malting and Brewing’.
12.00: LUNCH BREAK
1.00-2.30: Activist Selly Oak (Muirhead Tower, 109): This is an optional session with the opportunity to find out about the Activist Selly Oak Event a Heritage Lottery Funded Project being run by Chris Moores with BRIHC – the session will take place in Muirhead Tower, 109 (it is not likely to last until 2.30 for those presenting in the final session)
Emma McMullen, ‘Women’s autonomy and social class in British mass media, 1950-1970’.
Imogen Anderson, ‘The role of news broadcasts and black British cultural production in portraying Handsworth, Birmingham’
The seminar intends to be a discussion on the new lines of historical investigation and new methodologies that are opening with the advent of mass digital technology. Marta Musso from Archives Portal Europe and King’s College London, Jane Stevenson from Archives Hub, and Courtney Campbell from the University of Birmingham will discuss the impact of digitisation and digital-born sources on historical research.
Marta Musso will present Archives Portal Europe, the largest online portal for archival research in European archives, as a tool that introduces new possibilities for historical research on modern and contemporary European history, as well as the challenges for historians to preserve digital-born sources.
Jane Stevenson will present The Archives Hub, an aggregator for descriptions of archives held in over 320 institutions throughout the UK. The talk will introduce attendees to the work of the Archives Hub, summarise some of the benefits that it offers, and discuss the changes brought about by digital content.
Courtney Campbell will present on “Creating a Digital Archive of Brazil’s Most Endangered Historical Documents” on her experience on leading a major digitization projects in the state of Paraíba in Brazil, to ensure that historical study on Afro-Brazilian and indigenous subjects continue in this region by creating digital copies of damaged or neglected documents, and preserving them on multiple servers. In the talk she will present the many challenges we faced along the way and how we either overcame them or adapted to them.
The outcome of the seminar will be a draft of possible guidelines for historical research in the digital era. The seminar is open to graduate students and staff from any field of social sciences and humanities that utilises archival sources.
Marta Musso is a historian and researcher in digital humanities, with a specialisation in energy policies, international trade agreements, and the relations between large companies and governments. She holds a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge, with a thesis on the development of the Algerian and European oil industry. She is currently working on the history of European energy policies and on the usage of digital-born sources for historical research. In 2016/2017 she was Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute, and she is currently Teaching Fellow at King’s College London, Department of Digital Humanities. She is also Chair of EOGAN, the European Oil and Gas Archives Network.
Jane Stevenson is responsible for leading the maintenance and development of the Archives Hub. A trained archivist with over 20 years experience, Jane has expertise in archival discovery, technical interoperability standards for archival descriptions and the use of EAD. Jane has worked as a tutor in Archives and Information Studies at the University of Dundee, and has delivered many training courses for archivists and Hub contributors who wish to learn more about online archival description as well as broader technical issues such as interoperability and 2.0 technologies.
Courtney Campbell is a historian of Latin America. Her research focuses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Brazilian cultural and social history. Courtney’s current research interests are regional identity, race and representation, gender and representation, transnational consumer culture, popular culture movements, movement and migration, language-based movements, and spatial understandings of regional culture.