Research Seminars and Events: 2016/2017


Centre for Modern and Contemporary History

Research Seminar Series 2016/17

 Place/Time: Muirhead Tower Room 112, 4-6 pm, except where specified.

 ALL are welcome and there are always drinks afterwards in Bratby Bar, Staff House.

Please contact the organizer if you’d like to join the speaker for dinner afterwards.


Spring Term 2017

Week 1: Wed 11/1, 4pm: *Room: Strathcona LT2*

Dr. Saurabh Mishra (Sheffield)

‘Violence, Resilience and the ‘Coolie’ Identity: Life on the Ships to the Caribbean, 1834-1920’

Thursday 12 January, 4.15 pm: Lecture by Wm Roger Louis, University of Texas at Austin, Britain and the Creation of the State of Israel in 1948
(Danford Room, Arts Building, 2nd floor, room 224, Organised jointly by the Departments of Modern Languages and History in partnership with The End of Empire Conference, with support from the Institute of Advanced Studies)

Week 2: Wed 18/1, 4pm: *Room: Aston Webb Building, Room G33*

Prof. Robert Gerwarth (UCD)

‘The Vanquished: Europe & the Aftermath of the Great War’

*Please note, Prof. Gerwarth’s talk at 4pm will be preceded at 13-15h (Arts Building Lecture Room 4) by a talk in association with the Institute for German Studies*:

Dr. Frank Uekotter (Birmingham) ‘How Fascist is Trump? (Re)Writing Nazi History in an Age of Populism’

Discussant: Prof. Robert Gerwarth.

Week 3: Wed 25/1:

No seminar

Week 4: Wed 1/2:

Dr. Tom Stammers (Durham)

‘Collecting, Politics and Exile: the Fate of Royal Heritage in Nineteenth-Century France’

Week 5: Wed 8/2:

Dr. Steffen Rimner (Leiden)

‘Beyond Empire’s Ambit: Narcotic Drugs between Science and State Crime’

Week 6: Reading Week

No seminar

Week 7: Wed 22/2:

Birmingham Teaching Fellows Research Roundtable:

Reconstructing the Historical Subject

  • Dr. Adam Dighton: Military History at the British Army’s Staff College, 1885-1914.
  • Dr. Marta Filipová: The people or the proletariat? Class appropriation in interwar Czechoslovak culture.
  • Dr. Ben Mechen: ‘A positive advance of our standard of civilisation’ – consuming and defending pornography in postwar Britain.
  • Dr. Zoë Thomas: Historical pageants, citizenship, and the performance of women’s history before second-wave feminism.

Discussant: Prof. Matt Houlbrook

Week 8: Wed 1/3 & Thu 2/3:

Wed 1/3, 4pm Muirhead Tower, Room 112:

Dr. Mo Moulton (Birmingham)

‘Co-operatives and Decolonisation: A Beautiful Friendship?’


Thu 2/3, (note change of day) Whitting Room/436 in Arts Building, 5:15pm:

Dr. Daniel Knight (St. Andrews)

‘History, Time, and Economic Crisis in Central Greece’

(Joint seminar with BOMGS)

Week 9: Wed 8/3:

Forum for Early Career Researchers

Wed 8 March 2017, 4-6pm

University of Birmingham, Muirhead Tower, Room 112

This is a space for free and open discussion among early career researchers in the humanities and social sciences from around the West Midlands region. From post-grads finishing up, to those just starting in permanent jobs, we want to share experiences, build solidarity, and develop strategies for individual and collective action.

For the post-2008 cohort, academia is more precarious than ever. It is a high-stress, and often low-support environment, which can be isolating and alienating. We want to find ways to combat that—starting with bringing folks together. This session will feature participants who have recently achieved success, whether in landing a permanent job, or in using collective action to win concessions from their university administration. But we want to hear your stories and your ideas too.

Let us know if you plan to come along by emailing and get links to recommended reading. See you there!

Week 10: Mon. 13/3: Centre for Modern & Contemporary History Annual Lecture. (Starts at 17H, Muirhead Tower G15 – i.e. main lecture hall).

Prof. Tara Zahra (University of Chicago)

‘The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World’


Summer Term 2017

Week 1: Wed 26/4: (16:30-18h, Arts Lecture Room 3)

Prof. Sheila Fitzpatrick (Sydney)

‘The Tramp’s Tale: A Story of Soviet Border-Crossings, 1945-50’

25-26 May 2017: (room TBC)

Centre for Modern & Contemporary History Summer Conference

‘Everyday Empires’

(Joint Event with Brihc, generously supported by Past & Present. Organised by Dr. Nathan Cardon, Dr. Simon Jackson)


Previous Seminars:

Autumn Term 2016

Week 1: Wed 28/9: (Arts Lecture Room 2)

Dr. Tom Cutterham (Birmingham)

‘Amiable Angelica: An American Aristocrat in Revolutionary London’

(Joint seminar with CREMS)

 Week 2: Wed 5/10:

Dr. Courtney J. Campbell (Birmingham)

‘Making the Brazilian Northeast: A Region within the Nation and the World (1924-1968)’

Week 3: Wed 12/10:

No seminar. (CREMS seminar)

Week 4: Wed 19/10:

Prof. Diana Paton (Edinburgh)

‘Objects, Rituals and Money: Everyday material cultures and the Prosecution of Spiritual Healing in the Anglo-Creole Caribbean’

Week 5: Wed 26/10:

No seminar. (CREMS Annual Lecture, in conjunction with the BRIHC materiality series, 17h: Dr Catherine Richardson (University of Kent): ‘Things, People, Stories – a cultural history of a Cathedral yard’)

Week 6: Reading Week

No seminar

Week 7: Wed 9/11: (16:30h, Danford Room, Arts Building)

Dr. Simon M. Stevens (Cambridge)

‘The United Nations and Sanctions against South Africa, 1946-1965’

(Joint seminar with DASA)

Week 8: Wed 16/11: (starts at 17:15H)

Dr. Jakub Beneš (Oxford).

‘Forests, Fields, and Peasant Revolution: The ‘Green Cadres’ and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire’

(Joint with BRIHC Materiality Seminar)

Week 9: Wed 23/11:

Dr. Tehila Sasson (Emory)

‘We Are the World: Ordinary Lives and the Moral Economy of Global Humanitarianism’

(Joint Seminar with MBS)

Week 10:

Mon 28/11, 5pm, Ashley Building Room 322:

Dr. Jean-Baptiste Manchon (Paris-Sorbonne)

‘Air Power in the French Empire: The Armée de l’Air in the Levant (1918-1940)’

(Joint Event with Dept. of Modern Languages and Postcolonial Birmingham Network)

Wed 30/11:

Visibly Hidden: Power and Historical Practice in Modern Britain

  • Shahmima Akhtar,‘Whiteness’ as an invisible category of analysis?
  • Ruth Lindley, ‘Goddess Rising’: Re-Imagining Gender and Secularism in Modern Britain
  • Chelsea-Anne Saxby, Finding the ‘Sensible, Ordinary Briton’: The Regulation of Television Content, 1954-1981
  • Laura Sefton, Becoming Citizens? Children’s Writing and Agency in Post-war Britain

Week 11:

Wed 7/12, 4-6pm, Muirhead 122

Dr. Tamson Pietsch (Sydney)

‘Great Gatsby Gap Year: The Floating University and the Politics of Knowing in America and the Interwar World’

(Joint Event with Modern British Studies)

Thurs 8/12: Winter Roundtable (14-17h/Watson Building Room B09)

(Joint with Birmingham Seminar in Environmental Humanities):

Critical Histories of Energy and Extraction: from World War One to Decolonisation and Beyond.


Spring Term 2016

Week   Date Speaker (Affiliation)Title’
W1      13 Jan
W2      20 Jan
Robert Gerwarth (Trinity College Dublin): ‘The Vanquished: Europe and the Aftermath of the Great War’
W3     27 Jan
CREMS event:

CESMA Annual Lecture: Hugh N. Kennedy (SOAS) ‘ISIS and the Use and Abuse of Early Islamic History’ Arts LR2, 5-7 PM.

W4     3 Feb
Nivi Manchanda (Leiden): ‘The emergency episteme of the ‘tribe’ in Afghanistan, 1850-2015’*

*This talk is part of seminar mini-series on “Nationalism, Identity and Community from Medieval Times to the Present”  jointly presented by The Birmingham Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages and the Centre for Modern and Contemporary History.

Tuesday 9 Feb, 17h, Arts LR2 (Room TBC): Charles Ramble (EPHE, Paris): ‘Tibetan identity, Buddhism and the Bonpos’* Discussant: Arezou Azad


W7    24 Feb
Robert Brier (LSE),”Contested Icons: Poland, Chile, and the Global Politics of Human Rights in the mid-1980s”, Arts LR4 17:15h. PLEASE NOTE LATER START TIME.
 Tue 1 March, Arts LR 2, 17h: Ilya Afanasyev & Marie Favereau (University of Oxford): “Deconstructing ‘Dynasty’: Lineage and Ethnicity in the Golden Horde and Central Europe.” Discussant: Naomi Standen (Birmingham)*

Wed 2 March: CREMS EVENT

Thursday 3 March,17h: Modern & Contemporary History Centre Joint Event with BOMGS: Sir Michael Llewellyn-Smith (Oxford): ‘From Mudros to Lausanne: British Policy in the Near East, Greece and Turkey, 1918-1923’

Week 9

Modern & Contemporary History Centre Annual Lecture 2015-16, Monday 7 March, 17.15h, Arts LR6:

Prof. Alison Bashford (Cambridge)

“Malthus and China”

 Tue 15 March, Edmund Herzig (Oxford), “Religion, Conversion and Identity among the Armenians of Safavid Iran”. Discussants: Simon Jackson and Simon Yarrow*

Wed 16 March: CREMS EVENT

W11    23 March MCH Roundtable: Photography and History: Entangled Destinies Coordinated by Dr. Lucie Ryzova (History, Birmingham).


Elizabeth Edwards (Leicester) & Jenifer Tucker (Wesleyan)

Timings: TBC

Summer Week 1, Wed. 27 April MCH Workshop with Brian Linn (Texas)Broken Armies? The British and American Postwar Experience‘.
Timings TBC


Autumn 2015

Wk. 1   30 Sept
CREMS Event: Róisín Watson (St. Andrews): ‘Defining church space after the Reformation: the Freudenstadt Stadtkirche‘. Arts LR8.
W2      07 Oct
Joint Event with DASA/Africa Talks: ‘Hiding the Past, Shaping the Future: the Politics of Archives, Citizenship and Belonging in the “Postcolonial” Present’. Danford Room. Arts, 2nd Floor. 16:30.

W3      14 Oct
W4     21 Oct
Joint Event with BOMGS: Vanessa Ogle (University of Pennsylvania): ‘The Global Transformation of Time 1870 – 1950
W5     28 Oct
W6     6 Nov
CREMS ANNUAL LECTURE: Phil Withington (Sheffield): ‘The Invention of Happiness’

Research Workshop: (Auto)-Mobility in the Global Middle East: Defining the Field

Muirhead Tower, 9-18h.

W7   11 Nov
Konrad Lawson (St Andrews): ‘An Old Warlord’s Guide to World Peace and Love: Yan Xishan’s Confucian Cosmopolitan International’
W8    18 Nov
Stefanie Schüler-Springorum (Berlin): ‘War as Adventure. The Experience of the Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War’. NOTE 16:30 START TIME
W9    25 Nov
W10    2 Dec
W10    4 Dec
MCH Roundtable: Disentangling the World: The Politics of Autarky after the First World War. 12:30-17h. Room E104, 52 Pritchatts Rd.
Session 1: 12:30-14:30h

  • Jamie Martin (Harvard), “The Internationalization of Colonial Economic Administration: Strategizing Postwar Stabilization and Financial Reconstruction at the League of Nations, 1920-1923”.
  • Gabriela Frei (Oxford), “International Law and the World Economy after 1918: A Jurist’s Perspective”.
  • Discussant: Simon Jackson

Session 2: 15-17h

  • Patricia Chiantera-Stutte (Università degli Studi di Bari), “Lebensraum and Autarky in German Geopolitical Discourse at the Beginning of the 20th Century”.
  • Klaus Richter (Birmingham), “Self-Sufficiency and the Assessment of Emerging States: East Central Europe in the Postwar Order, 1916-1923”.
  • Discussant: Corey Ross


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