Posts Tagged ‘history’

 History DMT project* event, Thursday 12th December, Hull History Centre, 11:00 am-4:00 pm

As part of the History DMT project between the Institute of Historical Research, Department of History at the University of Hull, and the Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield, we will be running a series of workshops on the topic of managing data.  Here are the details for the first workshop.  Attendance is free and bursaries are available for travel costs.

800px-SteacieLibraryThe management of research data is often associated with scientific research: data flowing from technical equipment as the result of experimentation.  Data in a research context, though, covers many different types of raw material that can act as the basis for analysis.  This can include survey data, collections of facts or evidence, images, videos, interviews, statistics, etc.  In this digital age it is also easier to generate and collect this data than it has ever been, with readily available tools and storage options.

Increasingly, attention is being given to data management within the humanities, and history is no exception.  The UK Data Archive houses many historical datasets, and much historical research relies on gathering data together to carry out analysis.  Well-managed research data is being seen as a sign of good research practice, and having increased value as a research hull history centreoutput in its own right.

This event will explore the issues and benefits of research data management for history, highlight recent case studies, and introduce training materials being developed to assist history researchers in embedding data management as part of research practice.

To register for the event, please contact Chris Awre (c.awre@hull.ac.uk), indicating your name, Department and University, plus any dietary or other requirements you may have in attending this event.  Bursaries to assist with travel are available for PhD students and early career researchers – please indicate if you wish to apply for one of these in your registration.

For location details see the Hull History Centre webpage.

* The AHRC-funded History DMT (Data Management Training) project is arranging three workshops to address how research data management relates to, and can benefit, history research.  These will address different aspects of research data management and history, and the training materials being developed to support this.

Subsequent workshops will take place on 13th February in London, and 14th April in Sheffield.  Attendance at all three is recommended where feasible.

For more details about the History DMT project please see our previous blog post describing the project.

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shutterstock_34528765[1]Nick Guyatt’s and Luke Clossey’s recently piece, ‘It’s a Small World After All?  Geographical diversity and history teaching in the UK’, in the American Historical Association’s Perpectives on History (May 2013) has started a lively debate about the breadth and quality of teaching and research in our universities.  Have universities got the right balance between European/North American history, and wider world history?  If not, why not?  How can we account for disparities in the way this balance seems to operate in US/Canadian universities versus British ones?  Is the UK falling behind?  Does that matter?  Is the challenge simply to persuade departments to hire more wider-world historians or do we need to tweak the culture of university research and teaching to ensure that early career historians in wider world topics realise their potential?  What are the connections between this debate in the university setting and the arguments about ‘the history of us’, the National Curriculum and school teaching.  And in any case, why should students/pupils be interested in wider world history in the first place?  Should we emphasise the value of wider world curiosity by embracing instrumental arguments about the (international) career opportunities and the global economy that await school-leavers and university graduates?

Panellists on this Question Time-style event will include Machel Bogues, Professor Sir Richard Evans, Nick Guyatt, Su Lin Lewis, Nicola Sheldon, Jason Todd and Peter D’Sena (chair).

Date: Wednesday 11 September 2013

Time: 17.30-20.00

For more information about this event click on the IHR events page.  To access the live stream go to the History SPOT podcast page and click on the video option.

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Day two of the 82nd Anglo-American conference of Historians continued the wide-ranging discussion of food throughout history.  From the second day we recorded two plenary talks and a lunch time policy forum.  These are now available as podcasts on History SPOT.

Policy Forum: The politics of food: past, present and future
Chair: Frank Trentmann (Birkbeck/Institute of Sustainable consumption, University of Manchester)
David Barling (Centre for Food Policy, City University)
Annabel Allott (Soil Association)
Keir Waddington (University of Cardiff)
Craig Sams (Green & Blacks)
Susanne Friedberg (Dartmouth College): Moral economies and the cold chain
Cormac O’Grada (University College Dublin): Famine is not the problem: an historical perspective

All podcasts from the plenary sessions of the Anglo-American conference are available on History SPOT under the Anglo-American Food in History section.  For more information about the conference see our Anglo-American conference website.

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Michael Gove’s Island Story – why history teachers are up in arms
Andrew Stone
Socialist History seminar
13 May 2013

Michael_Gove_croppedEvery now and then the Institute of Historical Research has a seminar that is not about research into History itself but about present day concerns and policies regarding how History is taught or expressed.  Today’s podcast under the spotlight is a politically charged piece looking at the Secretary of Education’s plans for a revised History curriculum.

Andrew Stone is a member of the Defense of School History campaign and in this presentation given to the Socialist History seminar he outlines why he thinks the new proposed curriculum is a backward step.  He believes that the new curriculum will provide an insular narrative in which History is seen through the prism of Imperial nostalgia.  The presentation is largely a summary of the key points in which Stone believes the new curriculum fails to meet the requirements of modern school education.  These are:

  1. Content overload
  2. Sequential teaching
  3. Pedagogy
  4. Imperial nostalgia

Stone also touches upon dissatisfaction with the level of consultation over these plans and concludes with his assessment of what he believes Michael Gove is doing and the reasons why.  Various surveys (Stone tells us) have shown that teachers and History institutions are not happy with the proposals.  One quote from the Association of School and College Teachers seems to sum this up:

 “The proposed key stage three curriculum is unteachable and will turn students away from History. Adoption could be seriously detrimental to the future take-up of History at key stage four and beyond.”

History SPOT already contains several podcasts related to the subject of History teaching.  Michael Gove himself presented his viewpoints about History education in the 2011 History in Education Conference held at the University of London.  His presentation is available alongside various other papers about the state of History education in the UK.  Then there is the Historians of Education in Scotland conference looking at the recent history of education in Scotland as well as modern day concerns.   

This podcast runs to 21 minutes and is available to listen on History SPOT.

To listen to the podcast click here.

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Public History seminar
Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick
3 April 2013
The Untold History of the United States
Oliver Stone (wikipedia)

Oliver Stone (wikipedia)

Film director Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick discuss their book and forthcoming television series.

The Untold History of the United States re-examines America’s financial, diplomatic and military influence on the long twentieth century to produce a polemical account of the rise and fall of the American Empire.

Oliver Stone begins by talking about how he and Peter Kuznick got together in the 1990s and which has now resulted in this current collaboration on this project to look at the Atomic bomb, the cold war, and United States history to the present day.  A massive hurdle that they had to overcome was to convince the government that the American people were ready to deal with the history of the Atomic bomb seriously and critically.  This book and television series is the result, offering an alternative and controversial look at the United States, and its role in history.

Questions asked and answered:

  1. How have peers in academia have responded to this project?
  2. Is this project a step into a new field for you, away from what you had done before?
  3. How do you balance in these popular formats the need to entertain with the complexity of the past?
  4. Does the panel ascribe to the belief of the new world order?
  5. How did you decide on what would be contained in each segment of the series?
  6. Are you really suggesting that Stalin had no interest in occupying Eastern Europe and Western Europe, and it was only because of the Atomic bomb that he did that?
  7. What evidence do you have the Harry Truman knew the evidence rather than having to make a hard political judgement?
  8. How do you think we should take this awareness of other versions of History to the youth of America?
  9. Were Wallace and Truman both searching for legitimisation of American capitalism?
  10. Production of a rewritten history – is this a new way of bringing the war home?
  11. The Atomic bomb was originally built with the Germans in mind, rather than the Japanese.  What affect does this have on the opinions you have put forward?
  12. What about the Latin American and the eastern aspects of the story.
  13. Is Obama a pivot of history?

To listen to this podcast click here.

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British History in the Long Eighteenth Century
30 January 2013
Giorgio Riello (University of Warwick)
The World is not Enough: Global History, Cotton Textiles and the Industrial Revolution




Although the title of this paper might remind you of a James Bond film, this paper is not about the media or large conglomerates  but about the industrial revolution, and in particular the trade and use of cotton textiles. The Cotton industry formed a major component of the British Industrial Revolution but because of that the story is often formed around the rapid transformation of cotton and textiles in the nineteenth century, and generally focused around the British story.  This is not the approach that Giorgio Riello outlines in today’s paper.  Riello believes that the story of the cotton industry is made more interesting and accurate by looking at a wider picture over a longer period of time and across the world.  Cotton has a long history well before it arrived in Europe and so Riello looks at its use from 1000 AD up until the sixteenth-century as well as mechanisation in later centuries.  Through this prism it is possible to see that the changes evoked in Britain were part of a wider story that crossed from India, to China and the Americas, even a little into Africa.  Riello’s primary questions are why this major industry moved from predominantly India and China to Europe and why and how this because mechanised.  The arguments form the backbone for a forthcoming book on Cotton and the Early Modern World.

To listen to this podcast click here.

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Metropolitan History
30 January 2013
Francis Boorman (IHR)
The stormy latitude of the law: Chancery Lane and spatial politics in late eighteenth-century London




Francis Boorman has discussed Chancery Lane before in a previous podcast on History SPOT called Chancery Lane: politics, space and the built environment, c.1760-1815.  That paper was delivered in 2011 so this gives us an opportunity to catch up on his work.

This paper investigates Chancery Lane as the intersection between the City and Westminster.  It is a local investigation into what Jerry White calls the dynamics of urban renewal in London in terms of a public collective.  For parts of that argument see the podcast City Rivalries and the making of Modern London, 1720-1770 by Jerry White also in 2011.  The paper investigates this model in opposition to that offered by Eric Hobsbawm about the negotiations of individual citizens in the public sphere, but with influence from Peter Clark’s argument concerning the dissociation of parish administrators with the local elite.

The public space of Chancery Lane took a long time to progress and change because of politics between rival local interests, none of which could easily agree on their individual responsibility or ownership.  Francis Boorman examines the models presented by other historians and considers what this might mean for his study of Chancery Lane, which intersected both the City and Westminster.

To listen to this podcast click here.

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Historians don’t often like to think about data management.  Indeed, it is almost considered an ugly word or a taboo.  Data Management gets in the way of the interesting stuff – the research, the learning.  Nevertheless, it is vital to the work that we do.  History is data.  It is the essential essence of the subject.  Yet, it is so easy to leave your folder system in a complete mess or not to consider issues of preservation or back-up until necessary (or until your hard drive dies on you!).  Stuff that you produce now, for current use is understandable, but 6 months down the line, a year?  Perhaps not so much.

It is for this reason that the Institute of Historical Research in partnership with the Department of History at the University of Hull and Sheffield, as well as the Humanities Research Institute (Sheffield), applied to the AHRC Collaborative Skills Development strand late last year, to undertake a project called History DMT.  The bid was successful and work began in February.

History DMT stands for Data Management Training and Guidance.  We seek to integrate best practice, good principles, and skills of research data management within the postgraduate curriculum and among early career historians through a series of specialist workshops at London, Hull, and Sheffield and through the development of a free online training course dedicated to the research data types that historians are most likely to come across in their research.

Various pathways will enable a hands-on approach to research data management that covers the many types of data which historians generate, as well as the means with which to share that data. These will cover:

  • Textual materials
  • Visual sources
  • Oral History
  • Statistical data

Over the coming months the History SPOT blog will contain various posts about this project as it progresses, so please keep an eye out.

Further Information

This is an AHRC-funded project, as part of the Collaborative Skills Development strand. History DMT is led by the Institute of Historical Research in collaboration with the Department of History, University of Hull and the Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield. The principal grant holder is Professor Matthew Davies (IHR), with Dr Matt Phillpott (IHR) acting as project manager. Chris Awre (Head of Information Management within Library and Learning Innovation, University of Hull) and John Nicholls (Hull) will lead at the University of Hull, and Michael Pidd (HRI Manager, University of Sheffield) and Sharon Howard (HRI, University of Sheffield), from the University of Sheffield.

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Digital History seminar
Ben Schmidt (Princeton University)
Unintended consequences: digital reading and the loci of cultural change

Tuesday 12 March 2013, 5.15pm GMT

Live Stream (click here on Tuesday to view the live stream)
digital readingAbstract: Large scale digital reading is, as its critics have noticed, quite poor at telling us about individual intentions. But digital texts do create new fields for investigation of broad cultural trends which—where reasonably good metadata is available—can help historians to describe changes that appear largely driven by disciplinary or geographical structures rather than the choices of an individual author.

I will investigate this in two contexts; in the emergence of a new vocabulary of attention in the 20th century directly contrary to the ambitions of the psychological establishment; and the particular places authors of historical fiction fail to notice changes in language and culture.

Biography: Ben Schmidt is a Ph.D. Candidate in American intellectual history at Princeton and the Graduate Fellow at the Cultural Observatory at Harvard. His dissertation studies the emergence of modern conceptions of attention in psychology, advertising, and mass media in the early 20th century century United States. He co-developed Bookworm, a system for visual and statistical exploration of millions of books, newspaper pages, or journal articles, and writes about text analysis and the digital humanities at sappingattention.blogspot.com.

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British History in the Long 18th Century
Eighteenth-century histories of Norwich and the political vernacular
Daniel Howse (University of East Anglia)
11 January 2012 
This is a guest post by Paul McMenemy, one of IHR Digital’s winter interns from the University of Leicester.

Norwich Market Place” by Robert Dighton

By the eighteenth century Norwich was one of the main trading and manufacturing centres of England, if slightly past its hey-day. Like most provincial cities it was to some extent ignored by the mainstream of national history, as it was then emerging. Daniel Howse argues that a different kind of history – a local history arising out of antiquarian practices – catered for such places, restoring or even creating a civic identity related to, but not dependent on, national political trends.

18 c masthead1

A newspaper masthead (the Norwich Mercury)

The antiquarians’ process of collecting and representing historical papers left them uniquely well-placed to write local histories; and, with their sources’ inevitable bias towards local nobility and local government, these histories tended to have strong sense of civic particularism. Of course, this did not necessarily lead to a host of identical interpretations of local history, but those disagreements which did ensue were based on representations of the city first, and only secondarily on the city’s relation to the national polity. This led to local histories being part of a “vernacular”, a conception of history and politics not only more provincial, but more popular, than the grand national narratives.

To listen to this podcast click here.

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