What is Contemporary British History Now? Conference

13 September 2017, King’s College London

This conference is free to attend but you must register.

Keynote speaker: Professor Patrick Wright, FBA, Professor of Literature and Visual & Material Culture, Department of English, King’s College London

This conference launches King’s Contemporary British History (KCBH), a cross-departmental interdisciplinary research initiative at King’s College London, which will seek to set new agendas in the field. As the inaugural KCBH event, this day will break the traditional conference format by revisiting major debates and ‘big books’, and asking where they stand now. These conversations will be grounded in the current cultural and political moment, looking to the future as much as to the past.

Our approach is based on a sense that historical debate about key issues in the history of the United Kingdom in the twentieth century has become rare, as a look at historical journals will testify. We contend that such retrospection is essential to revitalize discussion and refashion new research agendas. As Susan Pedersen has observed, ‘we could really use (and our students still more would benefit from) a set of competing, strong, partial, integrative frameworks’.

Debate has too often been projected back onto earlier historical periods, or left to those who are not professional historians with more presentist agendas. By debate we do not mean areas of new interest which have emerged, or new methods (of which there are many), but rather sites of sustained contention between positions. As part of this exercise we must also revisit path-breaking books, which engaged debates when immediately published or subsequently, and which have had high explanatory ambitions and sought to make large claims about the history of twentieth-century Britain.

Provisional Programme:

Registration: 9am (Anatomy Museum)

Opening Remarks: 9:30am (Anatomy Lecture Theatre)

Sir Anthony Seldon, University of Buckingham

First Panel: 9:45-11am

Room 1: Alan Milward, The Rise and Fall of the National Strategy (War Studies Meeting Room, K6.07)

Chair: Professor Joe Maiolo (King’s College London)

  • Dr James Ellison (Queen Mary)
  • Dr Piers Ludlow (London School of Economics)
  • Dr Helen Parr (University of Keele)

Room 2: Permissiveness (Anatomy Museum)

Chair: Dr Alana Harris (King’s College London)

  • Hannah Carnock (University of Exeter)
  • Dr Jodi Burkett (University of Portsmouth)
  • Dr Ben Clements (University of Leicester)
  • Dr Marcus Collins (Loughborough University)

Room 3: Empire Strikes Back (Anatomy Lecture Theatre)

Chair: Dr Sarah Stockwell (King’s College London)

  • Claude Frederick Scott (Independent Scholar)
  • Dr Jean Smith (King’s College London)
  • Dr Raf Nicholson (Queen Mary)
  • Dr George Giannakopoulos (Queen Mary)

Coffee Break: 11-11:30am (Anatomy Museum)

Second Panel: 11:30am-12:45pm

Room 1: Sally Alexander, Becoming A Woman: And Other Essays in 19th and 20th Century Feminist History (War Studies Meeting Room, K6.07)

Chair: Professor Sally Alexander (Goldsmiths)

  • Professor June Purvis (University of Portsmouth)
  • Debbie Parker Kinch (University of Portsmouth)
  • Dr Michael Lambert (University of Liverpool)
  • Dr Lucy Delap (University of Cambridge)

Room 2: Jose Harris, William Beveridge (Anatomy Museum)

Chair: Professor Jose Harris (British Academy)

  • Andrew Seaton (New York University)
  • Matthew Grant (Exeter University)
  • Chris Renwick (University of York)

Room 3: Race and Britain (Anatomy Lecture Theatre)

Chair: Dr Toby Green (King’s College London)

  • Iqbal Husain (The National Archives, U.K.)
  • Dr Anna Maguire (King’s College London)
  • Munira Mohamad (Black Cultural Archives)
  • Dr Ruvani Ranasinha (King’s College London)

Lunch: 12:45-1:30pm (Anatomy Museum)

Third Panel: 1:30-2:45pm

Room 1: Callum Brown, The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding secularisation 1800-2000 (War Studies Meeting Room, K6.07)

Chair: Professor Callum Brown (University of Glasgow)

  • Dr David Geiringer (University of Sussex)
  • Rev Dr David Goodhew (Durham University)
  • Ruth Lindley (University of Birmingham)
  • Professor David Nash (Oxford Brookes University)

Room 2: ‘The antique state and gentlemanly capitalism, revisiting the Nairn-Anderson and Cain and Hopkins theses’ (Anatomy Museum)

Chair: Laura Carter (King’s College London)

  • Tom Kelsey (King’s College London)
  • Dr Aled Davies (University of Cambridge)

Room 3: ‘Has there been a British way in warfare?’ (Anatomy Lecture Theatre)

Chair: Professor David Edgerton (King’s College London)

  • Dr Tim Benbow (King’s College London)
  • George Evans (King’s College London)
  • Michelle Gordon (Royal Holloway)
  • John Alexander (Royal Air Force)

Coffee Break: 2:45-3:15pm (Anatomy Museum)

Fourth Panel: 3:15-4:30pm

Room 1: Consensus (War Studies Meeting Room, K6.07)

Chair: Dr Helen McCarthy (Queen Mary)

  • Dr Catherine Flinn (Oxford Brookes University)
  • Dr Chris Smith (Coventry University)
  • Kate Terkanian (Bournemouth University)
  • Dr Kristopher Lovell (Aberystwyth University)

Room 2: Thatcherism (Anatomy Museum)

Chair: Professor Richard Vinen (King’s College London)

  • Dr Amy Edwards (University of Bristol)
  • Dr James Freeman (University of Bristol)
  • Dr Edmund Neill (New College of the Humanities)
  • Dr Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite (University College London)

Room 3: Declinism (Anatomy Lecture Theatre)

Chair: Dr Andrew Blick (King’s College London)

  • George Morris (University of Cambridge)
  • Professor Jim Tomlinson (Glasgow)
  • Dr Charlotte Riley (University of Southampton)

Keynote: 4:30-5:30pm (Anatomy Lecture Theatre)

Professor Patrick Wright (King’s College London), ‘The English Fix: some historical perspectives on Brexit’

Chair: Professor Abigail Woods, (King’s College London)

Opening remarks from Professor Russell Goulbourne, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Wine reception: 5:30-6:30pm (Anatomy Museum)

The Study of Contemporary British History at King's College London