IHR Seminar: Exploring the Relationship between Unpalatable Past and the Contested Present in Modern France


Mother and child walk past French soldiers, Oran, Algeria, 1962


Exploring the Relationship between the Unpalatable Past and the Contested Present in Modern France

Wednesday 9 November, 2016, 5.30 pm Olga Crisp Seminar Room N102, Senate House

Dr Nicola Cooper (University of Northampton): France’s Memory Wars

Prof William Gallois (University of Exeter): The Palatability of the Algerian Past

Chair: Dr Edward Madigan (Royal Holloway, University of London)

All welcome to attend

IHR Seminar Programme for Autumn 2016

We’re delighted to be able to announce our seminar topics and speakers for the autumn term. We hope you’re able to join us.

October 12 The Unpalatable Past (1)
Senate House – Pollard Seminar Room N301
The Rhodes Must Fall Campaign and the Cultural Politics of the British Imperial Past
Bill Schwarz (Queen Mary, UL)
Saul Dubow (Queen Mary, UL)

November 9 The Unpalatable Past (2)
Senate House – Olga Crisp Seminar Room N102
Nicola Cooper (University of Northampton): France’s Memory Wars
William Gallois (University of Exeter): The Palatability of the Algerian Past

November 16 Thomas Cauvin (University of Louisiana, Lafayette)
Senate House – John S. Cohen Room N203
Defining the field: Public History – A Textbook of Practice
Public history continues to elude consensus regarding its parameters and purposes and its complexities and ambiguities have only multiplied as the field has gone global in recent years. Thomas Cauvin’s Textbook of Practice addresses this challenge head-on, aiming to fill a gap in the literature on the pedagogy of public history and bringing theories and practices together. The IHR public history seminar is the ideal place to begin the UK field’s engagement with this important book.

December 7 The Unpalatable Past (3)
Senate House – Olga Crisp Seminar Room N102
Terrorism, Memory and Public History in Western Europe
Jonathan Skinner (University of Roehampton): Northern Ireland
Carrie Hamilton (University of Roehampton): The Basque Country

Seminar Event: The Rhodes Must Fall Campaign and the Cultural Politics of the British Imperial Past


Prof Saul Dubow (Queen Mary, UL) & Prof Bill Schwarz (Queen Mary, UL)
Chair: Prof John Tosh (Roehampton)
Wednesday 12 October, 5.30 pm
Pollard Seminar Room (N301) Senate House

Within just weeks of its initiation by students at the University of Cape Town in March 2015, the Rhodes Must Fall campaign led to the removal of a statue of Cecil John Rhodes from the UCT campus and prompted widespread calls for the ‘decolonisation’ of third level education in South Africa. As the campaign gathered momentum it gave rise to a divisive public debate in Africa, Europe and elsewhere about the willingness of academic institutions to openly confront their imperial roots. The debate opened up a whole series of questions relating to the 21st century relationship with imperial conquest, expansion and exploitation in the 19th and 20th centuries. It also revealed some of the acute challenges historians face when attempting to inform public understandings of highly sensitive – and unpalatable – pasts. Please join us for a discussion of these issues led by Saul Dubow and Bill Schwarz of Queen Mary, University of London.

Connecting History, Policy and the Public

Connecting History, Policy and the Public: Symposium and Book Launch

An IHR Public History Seminar and London Centre for Public History event convened by Alix Green and Edward Madigan.

Friday 24th June, Senate House Room 349, University of London, Malet Street, London.

Symposium: 2-6pm

Launch of History, Policy and Public Purpose, by Alix Green: 6-8pm

Confirmed contributors: Andrew Blick, Justin Champion, Alix Green, Paul Lay, Edward Madigan, Steve Poole, Graham Smith, John Tosh, Anna Whitelock.

Spaces limited, to register please contact ihrpublichistory@gmail.com



Seminar: Jerome de Groot on the use of DNA in Popular Genealogy

Join us next Wednesday 16th March at 5:30 pm in IHR 202 for the next IHR Public History Seminar. We are delighted that Jerome de Groot will be joining us to discuss DNA in popular genealogy. Details below.

Double Helix History: the use of DNA in Popular Genealogy?

Dr Jerome de Groot (University of Manchester)

Genealogy is one of the biggest and most profitable activities on the planet. Generally undertaken via massive gateway websites like Ancestry.com (14 billion family history records; 60 million member trees) it involves investigators around the world formulating their ‘family tree’ and imagining their relationship to the past accordingly.
Increasingly these websites are adding a new tool to the researcher’s armoury: DNA sequencing. The armchair genealogist investigates their past by spitting in a tube. The creation of huge repositories of DNA databases allows for analysis to be undertaken that leads to ‘scientific’ speculation about the ancestry of the individual.
This paper investigates this intersection of genetics and popular narratives of the self/ the past.How is this science represented and understood? How, particularly, is it visualised? What does this mean for privacy, and the projection of the self online? What are the imaginative implications of sharing DNA data? Does DNA render an identity ‘outside of history’? Certainly it seems to allow for entire populations ejected from the archive to find their ancestors – Henry Louis Gates Jr. has claimed ‘we are able, symbolically at least, to reverse the Middle Passage’.

Seminar Event: The personal heritage research environment in the 21st century

Join us for our first seminar of 2016. All welcome, no need to book.

The personal heritage research environment in the 21st century

Dr Nick Barratt (Author, historian and consultant for BBC ‘Who Do You think You Are?’)

Date: 3 February

Time: 17:30

VenuePast & Present Room 202, 2nd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House

Drawing upon case studies and examples, Dr Barratt will explore changing approaches to personal heritage – including genealogy, local and social history – over the last decade and a half, arguing that current practice threatens to undermine the evolving research infrastructure.

_MG_7829Dr Nick Barratt is a medieval historian, author of several books including The Forgotten Spy andGreater London: the Story of the Suburbs, and a broadcaster best known for his work on BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are. Having previously worked at The National Archives, he is now the Associate Director of Collections and Engagement at Senate House Library, University of London, and is working on a major exhibition and events programme to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare.