Prof. Patrick Wright’s ‘The English Fix’ Second Series on BBC Radio 4

On Monday, 11 September Professor Patrick Wright’s ‘The English Fix’ is back for a second installment on BBC Radio 4.

The first episode will focus on George Orwell. Patrick visits the writer’s former Hertfordshire home (just down the road from Manor Farm of Animal Farm fame) to launch his second series of programmes exploring the way English identity is so often defined and clarified when under threat.

He talks to Orwell scholar Robert Colls, as well as people who find Orwell’s argument about a thread linking disparate groupings of English people to be a potent symbol for what might have been and what might yet be again in spite of a fracturing of vision as expressed in the Brexit vote last year.

Postman and writer CJ Stone, screen-writer Lissa Evans and former MP Michael Wills also share their thoughts on Orwell’s “characteristic fragments” and his famous lines about returning to England from any foreign country and having “immediately the sensation of breathing a different air”.

Is that air still there to be inhaled or are Orwell’s visions and arguments no longer valuable contributions to the debate about what it is to be English?

Dr Aimée Fox-Godden’s ‘Learning to Fight Military: Innovation and Change in the British Army, 1914–1918’ Available for Pre-Order

KCBH member Dr Aimée Fox-Godden’s new book, Learning to Fight Military: Innovation and Change in the British Army, 1914–1918, is now available for pre-order.

You can see Dr Fox-Godden give a paper on this subject here.

Congrats to Dr Fox-Godden for this great success! You can pre-order Learning to Fight here.

London’s Women Historians Website

On 13 March 2017, KCBH historians Dr Alana Harris and Laura Carter organised the ‘London’s women historians: a celebration and a conversation’ conference at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London (IHR). The event brought together 14 leading historians, and a 90-strong audience, to evaluate and celebrate the contribution of women historians working at the University of London and its colleges—from the early 1900s to the 2010s. As well as a celebration, the day was also a conversation. In 2017, gender equality remains one of the most pressing issues in the historical profession. This is evident from research published by the Royal Historical Society in 2015, longstanding efforts by the Economic History Society to elevate women in their discipline, and an initiative at the University of Oxford to launch a ‘manifesto’ for Women in the Humanities.

Their conference was also therefore a continuation and deepening of this conversation. Panellists and audience members were asked to think about how twentieth-century London institutions have both enabled and constrained female achievements in history.

A website is now live which includes audio and video links to the conference as well as images of twenty London women historians. This is an incredibly valuable resource and we are very proud of our KCBH members’ success.

‘Remobilising Militant Pasts: Histories of Protest, Unrest and Insurrection in Politics and Culture’ Conference

‘Remobilising Militant Pasts: Histories of Protest, Unrest and Insurrection in Politics and Culture’ Conference

King’s College London, 31 August – 1 September 2017


Time Programme
9:30 – 10:00                Registration
10:00 – 12:00 Radical Histories in Fictional Texts
Speakers: Matthew Ingleby (Queen Mary University of London)

Fantasising 1887: Harkness, Nesbit and the Literary Afterimage of ‘Bloody Sunday’

Ruth Adams (King’s College London)

Popular Cultural Representations of the Suffragettes [Title TBC]

Rebecca Hillman (University of Exeter)

Resistance, Representation and Repetition: The Return of Socialist Imagery and Praxis

Elena Caoduro (University of Bedfordshire)

Epic Memories: Left-Wing Terrorism in Contemporary World Cinema

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 14:30 The Place of the Past in Industrial Communities
Speakers: Daryl Leeworthy (Swansea University)

‘Dic Penderyn, Wyt Ti’n Fwy (Who Is He)?’: Class and Nation in (Re)Presentations of the Merthyr Rising, 1831

Andy Clark (University of Stirling)

‘We Don’t Only Build Ships, We Build Men’: Masculinity, Industrial Work, and the Forgotten Militancy of Scottish Women Resisting Industrial Closure

Liam Ó Discín (Historical Archives of the European Union)

‘It Almost Took Us Out … Almost!’: Reliving a Militant Past? The United Steelworkers of America

14:30 – 15:00 Break
15:00 – 16:30 Radical Mobilisations of Sonic Pasts
Speakers: Matt Clement (University of Winchester)

The Sound of the Crowd

Ananya Mishra (University of Cambridge)

Historicizing Early Adivasi Protest in the Song Cultures of Colonial Orissa

Dion Georgiou (King’s College London/University of Kent)

Rage against the X-Factor: Moral Economies, Temporalities and Intermedialities in the Christmas 2009 UK Singles Charts Contest

Time Programme
9:30 – 10:00                Registration
10:00 – 12:00 Religion, Radicalism and the Contestation of the Past
Speakers: Jurriaan van Santvoort (Institute of Historical Research)

A Faction Full of Falsehood and Malice: Thomas Carte, the Puritans and the Origins of the English Civil War

Radu Nedici (University of Bucharest)

Refashioning Early Modern Dissent: Inter- and Intra-Confessional Rivalries and the Making of Martyrs in Post-Socialist Romania

Ned Richardson-Little (University of Exeter)

We Are the People and You Are Not: The German Far-Right and the Appropriation of Democratic Historical Symbolism

Omar Al-Ghazi (London School of Economics)

The Past and Future as Spectacle: The Islamic State Group’s Performance of Temporality

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 14:30 Using Militant Pasts in Urban Contexts
Speakers: Miranda Bembem Mutuwa (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

‘Protest and the City’ in Northeast India: Commemoration and Re-presentation of ‘People Protest’ in Imphal City

Geoff Brown (Independent Scholar)

Mobilising Militant Pasts, Verdrängung, Anti-Racism and Manchester

Andrés Brink Pinto (Lund University) and Johan Pries (Lund University)

The Risks of Remembering: Remembering and Forgetting Antifascist Struggles around the 2008 Riots in Lund

14:30 – 15:00 Break
15:00 – 16:30 Digital Media and Memorbry in Movements
Speakers: Red Chidgey (King’s College London)

Curating Live Protest Memory: Institutional Archive Activism following the 2017 Women’s March

Samuel Merrill (Umeå University)

The Woman with the Handbag: Tracing the Transductive Mobilisation of a Historical Photograph

Pawas Bisht (Keele University)

In Between Old and New, Local and Transnational: Social Movements, Media and the Challenges of Making Memories Move

16:30 – 17:00 Concluding Roundtable Discussion


Registration Details

Delegates’ Fees:

  • Speakers: Free
  • Students and Untenured: One Day: £10
  • Students and Untenured: Both Days: £20
  • Tenured Staff: One Day: £20
  • Tenured Staff: Both Day: £40

Click here to register

Deadline for Registration is Thursday, 24 August.

For any queries, contact Dr Dion Georgiou at


Dr David Morgan-Owen ‘The Fear of Invasion’ Book Launch

On 27 September, the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War will launch KCBH member Dr David Morgan-Owen’s The Fear of Invasion: Strategy, Politics, and British War Planning, 1880-1914.

Britain’s entry into the First World War and the subsequent decision to send her Army to fight on the continent remains one of the most controversial topics of her modern history. How and why the Army was committed to the battlefields of Europe—where it would suffer such terrible losses over the next four years— and whether Britain might have fought the War in a different way are questions that continue to provoke debate over a century later. The Fear of Invasion tells the story of how Britain entered the First World War with the strategy it did, and reveals how this approach came about. It charts how the British government’s capacity to co-ordinate the activities of the Army and Navy into a coherent ‘grand’ strategy fluctuated between 1880 and 1914, with insidious effects for the nation’s preparedness during the July Crisis. It does so by focusing on the key issue which acted as a nexus between the activities of the two services and which, in the absence of a willingness to consider how to fight a major war, came to act as the de-facto determinant of British strategy. That issue was the defence of the British Isles against invasion: the area of policy where the roles of the two services overlapped most directly and most obviously, and the one aspect of strategy which politicians were prepared to pronounce meaningfully upon prior to 1914.

David G. Morgan-Owen is an historian of war and lecturer in Defence Studies at King’s College London. He was previously a Visiting Research Fellow at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth, and an Associate of the Centre for Maritime Historical Studies at the University of Exeter, where he gained his PhD in 2013. Dr. Morgan-Owen has published on British strategy before and during the First World War in the English Historical Review, War in History, Journal of Strategic Studies, and the International History Review.

This event is free to attend but registration is required here.

New collaborations advance Sir Michael Howard Centre

Two well-established research centres within the School of Security Studies have joined forces, bringing together the largest community of historians of war in the world.

Leading scholars from the Research Centre for the History of Conflict (RCHC) and the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War (SMHC) will collaborate on multi-disciplinary research projects, publications and offer a wide remit of expertise for doctoral supervision. The joining of these research groups will foster multiple perspectives and exposure, generating new ideas research projects that will impact the wider research community.

The Centre is headed up by David Edgerton, Joe Maiolo, Christina Goulter and Jonathan Fennell and will be launched at an upcoming conference ‘War in Historical and Contemporary Perspective’, on the Strand on 5 June.

This event will comprise three main themes: the study of war within the broader discipline of history, the place of historical study within War Studies, and how the people who study the history of war shape the discipline. By investigating case studies from the Eighteenth to the Twenty-first century using a diverse range of methodological approaches, the event aims to foster an open dialogue about:

  • How scholars have studied and written about the history of conflict in the past
  • Current developments in the field
  • How we might promote innovative approaches and methodologies
  • Inter and intra disciplinary collaboration in the study of war

The event aims to take a first step towards a new way of thinking about the history of conflict, and the role its study can play in the modern world. Sign up here.

Launching a new partnership with the Black Cultural Archives

King’s History department has launched a partnership with the Black Cultural Archives that will develop a new jointly-taught module.

The relationship was inaugurated with a public lecture by Paul Reid, the archives’ director, introduced by King’s Principal and President Professor Ed Byrne. The partnership will include a second year undergraduate module jointly by Dr Alana Harris and BCA staff.

25 years of the Black Cultural Archives

The Black Cultural Archives was founded in 1981 with a mission to collect, preserve and celebrate the heritage and history of Black people in Britain. It opened the UK’s first dedicated Black Heritage Centre in Brixton, London in July 2014. BCA’s collection includes personal papers, the records of political and cultural organisations, photographs, and a small collection of objects. Since 2014 it has hosted a series of exhibitions on subjects which range from Black Georgians to Black sound from the early twentieth century to now.

At the opening lecture ‘The Black Cultural Archives: Towards a National Institution’, Paul Reid spoke about the moment in the early 1980s when the BCA was founded, and argued for the importance of long-term institution-building in the struggle to have Black history – and Black people – recognised as part of the national history of Britain. Professor Byrne linked the partnership to the aims expressed in King’s new strategic vision, particularly the aspiration for King’s to become London’s civic university with deep connections to the life of the city beyond academia.

Black in the Union Jack, a new undergraduate module

The joint King’s-BCA module, ‘Black in the Union Jack’, will begin in September 2017, and will be partially be taught at the BCA in Brixton. Students will explore the experience of African and African-Caribbean communities in the UK, and will develop research projects with hands-on access to the resources in the BCA’s collections.

In addition, the BCA and King’s historians are working together on a school syllabus on African history, and will develop a series of events on the place of Black history in Britain’s national narratives over the coming year.

Click here to watch Paul Reid’s lecture.

Three PhD studentships in Contemporary British History at King’s

We are delighted to announce three Rick Trainor PhD studentships in Contemporary British History beginning in the 2017/18 academic year.

Dr Jon Wilson is offering a studentship on ‘Languages of left politics: a digital study of the Fabian Society’s
publications, 1940-2016′.

Professor Abigail Woods is partnering with the National Horseracing Museum for a studentship on ‘Making the modern racehorse in Britain, c1920-2020’.

Finally, there is a studentship to work with Dr Michael Kandiah on ‘British public opinion and attitudes towards European integration’.

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