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School of History

Research Culture and Events

The School sees historical research as an endeavour inspired by individual interest, skills, and commitment, but which always flourishes thanks to intellectual collegiality and the dynamic exchange of ideas. Hence, we aim to place the research of members of the School at all levels - from PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, to early career and advanced scholars - within frameworks of exchange that enhance and challenge their work. To this end, we organise a continuous array of activities - seminars and workshops, reading groups and conferences - and help members of the School realise ideas for such events. Most members of staff are also co-convenors of research seminars at the Institute of Historical Research, seminars which our PhD students frequent and where they can also deliver sections of their advanced research. Our Research Centres are also active venues for research events.
All these activities have drawn to the School cohorts of excellent doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, holders of competitive studentships and fellowships. They are the lifeblood of the School, a source of constant innovation and intellectual challenge, which we relish. We mentor them all with care and are delighted to see so many of them go on to successful academic careers.

7 December 2021: 'We talked about solitude’: Modernist Female Authors, Solitude, and Affective Bonding (presented by Melissa Alexander, University of Oxford, as part of the Solitudes Past and Present seminar series)

Comparing the biographical and literary writing of these three key modernists, this paper suggests that – paradoxically – solitude is the hallmark of a widespread community of feeling. Diaries and epistolary exchanges indicate that solitude was both the ground and the limit of these uneasy but mutually enrichening sisterhoods, so often complicated by rivalry, misunderstandings, and absences. It played a part in how they staged their identities, how they perceived one another, and how they were portrayed in posterity. It serves as the emotional centre of much of their fictions, illuminating a shared imagistic vocabulary. It raises questions about performativity, language, and genre. Most importantly, the feeling of solitude stimulated poignant conversations about how we might connect with others and with the world. This event is free to attend, but advance booking is essential.

8 December 2021: Commemorating 50 Years of 'Outcast London' (hosted by the Mile End Institute, the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the Modern British History Seminar)

This webinar will commemorate fifty years since the publication of Gareth Stedman Jones’s 'Outcast London'. It will celebrate the book and will feature a panel of experts whose research interests speak to the book’s themes, methods and politics. This event is free to attend, but advance booking is essential.

9 December 2021: Contemporary Processes of Racialisation Workshop Series: Launch Event (hosted by the Raphael Samuel History Centre)

Join us for the launching panel of the Contemporary Processes of Racialisation (CPR) Workshop series, where Dr Robert Knox (University of Liverpool), Dalia Gebrial (London School of Economics) and O.D. Enobabor (CUNY Graduate Center) will discuss contemporary and historic processes of racialisation from their diverse research contexts. Convened by scholars from the Law and Psychosocial Studies departments at Birkbeck in collaboration with the Raphael Samuel History Centre, the upcoming interdisciplinary CPR series will run from January to June 2022. It aims to provide space for the growing community of scholars working on questions relevant to ‘race’, racism and contemporary and historical processes of racialisation. Topics of particular interest to the series are: accounts of contemporary processes of racialisation, contributions to questions around race, capital and class, and papers that consider the power of movements against racism and imperialism. This event is free to attend, but advance booking is essential.

Our Annual and Biennial Lectures are hubs for interaction and exchange and are open to all members of the School as well as to broader audiences. These are:

The distinguished colleagues who deliver these lectures are usually the School's guests for several days, during which time they deliver seminars, advise PhD students and spend quality time with members of the School.

Our research is embedded within the various forums of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Faculty and the opportunities it offers. The Institute of HSS is a hub for inter-disciplinary events, ranging from workshops to lectures by visiting scholars.
The international dimension is central to our research culture, in a School whose members are diverse in terms of their educational and disciplinary formation. Alongside the regular flow of international visitors to our School and Faculty, we maintain regular contacts through annual exchanges with the universities of Basel, Delaware, Freiburg, and Northwestern. We regularly also receive researchers funded by the European Research Council, who execute their research in our School and among us.

Global Health Security and Pandemics

This digital series is organised by the Mile End Institute and available to view online.

Mile End Institute podcast - Debating politics, policy and public life

Listen in to the Mile End Institute podcast series in which we bring together politicians, commentators, academics, students, and members of the public to discuss and debate the major challenges facing the country in a fast-moving and ever-changing world.

Hidden Histories podcast series

Hidden Histories sees QMUL PhD student Helen Carr exploring some of the country's hidden treasures, as she and some of our finest historians scramble through the actual spaces where history happened. Whether she's visiting the whorehouses of Covent Garden, or retracing the steps of the Peasants Revolt, Helen and her guests are a delightful guide to the hidden histories that lie just off the beaten track. Listen to her conversations with AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinkers here.

Snapshots of German-Jewish History and Culture

This digital series, hosted by the Leo Baeck Institute, gives you an insight into the Institute's collection of rare books, historical pamphlets and documents. 

Global Health Security and Pandemics

A Mile End Institute YouTube series on global health security and pandemics, presented by Professor Sophie Harman (QMUL). Watch here.

The Future of British Democracy

The Mile End Institute's series on the 'Future of British Democracy' explores reform of the civil service, the role of the judiciary and judicial review, corruption, and the role of the House of Lords. Join here.