Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Revolutionary Pasts: Representing the Long Nineteenth Century's Radical Heritage

How did activists remember, represent and reassess the revolutionary heritage of the ‘long nineteenth century’? On 4–5 November 2016, our conference on ‘Revolutionary Pasts’ will examine this question. The event is hosted by Northumbria University’s ‘Histories of Activism’ research
group, with support from the Society for the Study of Labour History (SSLH) and Durham University’s Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies. See the programme here.

Attendance of this event is free, but all guests are asked to register by 26 October via this link.

If you have any questions, you can contact the organisers (Daniel Laqua, Charlotte Alston and Laura O’Brien) either directly or via

Monday, 17 October 2016

American Studies Early Career Visiting Scholarship

American Studies at Northumbria University is offering a short Early Career Visiting Scholarship during Semester 2, 2017. This Scholarship forms part of Northumbria’s American Studies program.
Scene from the San Antonio, Texas, Stock Show, 2014.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The successful candidate will have been awarded (within the last 3 years) a PhD in any aspect of American culture, history, or literature, but will not yet hold a permanent full-time academic post. The Visiting Scholar will have a growing research profile and teaching experience and will be able to demonstrate exceptional promise in their chosen field. We welcome applicants with research interests in any aspect of American Studies, but particularly in US politics.

During their 2-day visit, successful applicants will:

 •  Deliver a research presentation to the American Studies Research Seminar.

 •  Lead a workshop on theory or methodology for Northumbria postgraduate students working in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

 •  Participate in at least one formal undergraduate teaching session (lecture or seminar). American-themed modules running in Semester 2 may include: ‘Introduction to American Studies ’, ‘The West in US History and Mythology’, ‘Modernism and Modernity’, and ‘American Gothic’.

 •  Receive a £500 honorarium to cover accommodation and travel expenses.

How To Apply
To apply, please download the online application form and submit to Dr Julie Taylor at

Application Deadline
Deadline for applications is 7 November 2016

General Enquiries 
Informal enquiries are welcome – for further details please contact

Dr Henry Knight Lozano

Dr Julie Taylor

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Humanities/Social Sciences Workshop and Professor Dominique Kalifa as Society for the Study of French History Visiting Scholar

The humanities/social sciences workshop will take place in the Institute of the Humanities next Friday (21 October), to mark the visit of Professor Dominique Kalifa as Society for the Study of French History Visiting Scholar. Professor Kalifa is a leading scholar of nineteenth-century cultural history with wide-ranging and interdisciplinary interests, including crime, the city, the press, and time/periodization.

As the programme shows, the workshop brings together a range of scholars from across the North East to discuss their own work under these four broad thematic headings. This promises to be a very interesting day, with potential for stimulating interdisciplinary discussion and exchange of ideas.

The event takes place in the Institute of the Humanities, First Floor, Lipman Building. All are welcome to attend, and it would be helpful if you could RSVP me just so I can get a sense of numbers for catering. Please share details with anyone else you feel would be interested in attending.

A reminder of two other events taking place in Durham and Newcastle as part of Professor Kalifa’s visit:

Wednesday 19 October – Lecture at the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, Durham University on ‘The True Story of the French Belle Époque’ – details here:

Thursday 20 October – Workshop for PGs (though non-PGs are welcome to attend!) on ‘Time, periodization, and naming time’ in G.09, Percy Building, Newcastle University (3-5pm) – hosted by the Labour and Society Research Group.

If you have any queries about any of these events, please contact

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Postgraduate Training Workshop 'Tracing Lives Beyond Borders'

On Friday 13 May 2016 the Histories of Activism PGR Workshop ‘Tracing Lives Beyond Borders’ took place at Northumbria University. The diverse programme was curated and organised by PhD researchers Jasmine Calver, Lara Green, and Sophie Roberts, kindly assisted by Dr Daniel Laqua. This workshop was the latest in a series of postgraduate-led events hosted by the Histories of Activism group and brought together postgraduate and academics from around the region and beyond to hear examples of exciting new research in the field and reflect on their own research practice. 33 participants and speakers attended (22 postgraduates from four institutions and 11 academic staff from five institutions) and the day offered the opportunity for postgraduates to expand their scholarly networks and to broaden their perspective.

The day began with ‘spotlights’ from Histories of Activism postgraduates Lara Green, Jasmine Calver, and Sophie Roberts based on their own research. The subjects of their short talks were Sergei Stepniak, Gabrielle Duchênne, and Peggy Duff, and the speakers gave interesting insights into how these individuals led lives that crossed borders but their work also had great transnational impact on political, social, and cultural movements.

Next, participants heard from Charlotte Alston (Northumbria University) and Matt Perry (Newcastle University) in conversation on the process of writing and framing a transnational biography for publication. Postgraduates enjoyed the chance to ask questions, particularly about designing a book and pitching it to publishers, using archival material to write biography and responding to gaps in the archive, and

After the first break, participants heard from Niall Whelehan (Edinburgh University) and Brian Ward (Northumbria University) who spoke on their own research showing two fantastic examples of how they combine transnational historical research with new approaches to the study of intellectual history and interdisciplinary research.

Participants then took part in breakout sessions led by André Keil, James Koranyi, and Tom Stammers (all Durham University) who each brought along sources from their own research to prompt discussion in small groups about the process of doing transnational history. Participants discussed a variety of issues, including understanding how archives come to exist in their current form, why they chose a transnational perspective for their own research, and whether or not ‘transnational’ has been overused as a term of reference.

To close the day, keynote speaker Christophe Verbruggen (Universiteit Gent) spoke about the use of digital toools to visualise data and to explore nineteenth century cultural and intellectual connections. One of the most important points Verbruggen made was the importance of transnational collaboration in order to create successful research, challenging postgraduates to think about the wider applications for the findings of their individual research projects.

In all, the day was a great success and the Histories of Activism group looks forward to hosting future postgraduate-led events. Thank you to all of the speakers and participants for their papers and contributions to discussions.

On 7 and 8 June 2016, you are invited to attend the conference ‘Two Centuries of Peacemaking’, to be held at Newcastle University and organised by scholars from Newcastle and Northumbria Universities, including Histories of Activism’s own Sarah Hellawell, Jon Coburn and Daniel Laqua. For more information please see and to sign up please visit:

Monday, 16 May 2016

Funding Success for History PhD Student Jasmine Calver

We have some more good news about PhD research funding success. The Society for the Study of French History has awarded Jasmine Calver £800 for an archival trip to Paris, for her project on the Women's World Committee Against War and Fascism. She is working with Dr. Charlotte Alston. 

A big congrats to Jasmine!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

HOTCUS Annual Postgraduate Conference: ‘Winning minds and hearts: constructing national identity in US history'

Historians of the Twentieth Century US, Friday 9th September 2016, Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Keynote speaker: Dr Simon Hall (Senior Lecturer in American History, Leeds University)

On 1 February 1943, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asserted that ‘Americanism is a matter of the mind and the heart.’ Just a year after he approved the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans, FDR’s statement about the inclusivity of American identity highlights one of the key questions scholars face when writing the history of the United States: what do we actually mean when we talk about US national identity?

The distinction between what is and isn’t American has dominated the history of the twentieth century United States, from the Hollywood Blacklists of the 1950s and protests in the streets of Selma, Alabama in 1965, to clashes between construction workers and anti- Vietnam War protesters in New York City and debates over U.S. military strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. In these instances and many others, the process of defining national identity remains central to our understanding of U.S. history.

This conference will explore the constructions and limitations of American national identity in the twentieth century. Panels and twenty-minute paper proposals are invited from postgraduate students and early career researchers on the constructions and manifestations of Americanism in the last century.
Topics for papers or panels might include:

Political and policy history
Citizenship, identity and immigration
Domesticity, home and national identity
The cultural and intellectual history of Americanism
‘Un- Americanism’ in the 20th Century
Protest history
Gender and Sexuality
Memorialization, commemoration and national identity
Border Cultures in the U.S.
Labour history, workers’ rights in U.S.
Presidential history
National identity in film, media, and journalism
Local and regional history
Foreign, military and diplomatic history

The conference will primarily be formed of traditional academic panels, with a keynote lecture from Dr Simon Hall. An interactive workshop on postgraduate and early career issues and concerns will also feature, with discussions of grant applications, teaching, and publishing.

Abstracts for papers or panels (300 words per paper) and a brief bio (100 words) should be submitted to by Friday July 15th 2016. For more information/queries please contact the HOTCUS postgraduate secretary, Megan Hunt (
Supported by the British Association for American Studies.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Professor Brian McAllister Linn on Elvis's Army, 11 May 2016

Next Wednesday (11 May) we will host Professor Brian McAllister Linn (Texas A&M University) for a paper titled ‘Elvis and the atomic battlefield: military change in the Cold War army’. This paper is based on Professor Linn’s forthcoming book, Elvis’s Army: Cold War GIs and the Atomic Battlefield, which is due to appear this autumn.

Here's how publisher Harvard University Press describes the project:

When the U.S. Army drafted Elvis Presley in 1958, it quickly set about transforming the King of Rock and Roll from a rebellious teen idol into a clean-cut GI. Trading in his gold-trimmed jacket for standard-issue fatigues, Elvis became a model soldier in an army facing the unprecedented challenge of building a fighting force for the Atomic Age.

In an era that threatened Soviet-American thermonuclear annihilation, the army declared it could limit atomic warfare to the battlefield. It not only adopted a radically new way of fighting but also revamped its equipment, organization, concepts, and training practices. From massive garrisons in Germany and Korea to nuclear tests to portable atomic weapons, the army reinvented itself. Its revolution in warfare required an equal revolution in personnel: the new army needed young officers and soldiers who were highly motivated, well trained, and technologically adept. Drafting Elvis demonstrated that even this icon of youth culture was not too cool to wear the army’s uniform.

The army of the 1950s was America’s most racially and economically egalitarian institution, providing millions with education, technical skills, athletics, and other opportunities. With the cooperation of both the army and the media, military service became a common theme in television, music, and movies, and part of this generation’s identity. Brian Linn traces the origins, evolution, and ultimate failure of the army’s attempt to transform itself for atomic warfare, revealing not only the army’s vital role in creating Cold War America but also the experiences of its forgotten soldiers.

Professor Linn is a specialist of US military history since 1898, with interests in counterinsurgency and occupation, Pacific strategy, military intellectuals, and the US Army in the atomic era. He is currently a Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the University of Birmingham, where he is working on the impact of postwar recovery on the British and US Armies from 1900 to the end of the Cold War.

The lecture will be held at 4.30pm in Ellison Building A, Lecture Theatre 001 (on the ground floor).