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
Back in May, the Centre for Modern & Contemporary History co-sponsored a conference on the theme Everyday Empires. A post reporting on the conference is now online and we reblog it here.