‘What is History For?’ is a new series of posts in which historians reflect on the value, purpose and potential of their craft. Each of the contributors took part in a day-conference — What is History For?’ — held at the University of Birmingham in May. The series begins with presentations from two of the day’s speakers. Tom Cutterham points to tensions in the purposes of historical study, making the case for vision over fragmentation. We begin with conference organiser, Professor Karen Harvey, on why ‘What is History For?’, and why now.
Each year the Royal Historical Society holds elections to appoint three current Fellows as new members to its Council. The Council is the Society’s governing body, with responsibility for the objectives and work of the RHS. If you’re a Fellows, and interested in standing for election, this brief commentary offers an insight into the Council, and the activities and experiences of current Councillors.
The Society’s annual Alexander Prize is awarded for a journal article or book chapter written by an early career historian, and published in 2021. The 2022 Alexander Shortlist of ten articles is published on Tuesday 7 June. The shortlists for the Society’s two annual book awards – the Gladstone and Whitfield Prizes – are also now available. The winners of all three prizes will be announced on Friday 22 July.
In the latest post in our ‘Writing Race, 2’ series, Warren A. Stanislaus considers the potentiality of Black British History: one more porous and expansive than is currently imagined. In doing so, Warren engages with extra-territorial zones that don’t comfortably fit with an establish framework of the Empire Windrush and its Atlantic voyage.
The Society’s annual Gladstone Book Prize is awarded for a first monograph in the field of European or World History. The 2022 Gladstone Shortlist of six titles is published on Wednesday 1 June. The shortlist for the Society’s second book award, the Whitfield Prize, is also now available. The winners of both prizes will be announced on Friday 22 July.
The Society’s annual Whitfield Book Prize is awarded for a first monograph in the field of British and Irish history. The 2022 Whitfield Shortlist of six titles is published on Monday 30 May. The shortlist for the Society’s second book award, the Gladstone Prize, will be released on Wednesday 1 June. The winners of both prizes will be announced on Friday 22 July.
A number of UK History departments have recently been faced with, or are experiencing, cuts to programmes and staff. As part of its advocacy role, the Royal Historical Society works with historians who face significant change to their professional lives. This includes the provision of resources to support teachers and researchers, as best we can. This post brings together these resources and contacts. It is a ‘work in progress’ and we welcome proposals from colleagues for additional information.
How do we undertake a major historical research project for the first time? In their new book, ‘Becoming a Historian’, Penelope J. Corfield and Tim Hitchcock consider the steps and skills required, and how to manage the challenges of research. Supportive, pragmatic and ‘informal’, this is a guide shaped by its authors’ long-standing commitment to scholarly community and to training the next generation of historians.
The results of the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) were published on 12 May 2022. Professors Mark Jackson and Margot Finn — respectively chair and deputy chair of the History sub-panel for REF2021 — offer an overview of this latest review, its headline findings for History, and their reflections on disciplinary developments since REF2014.
In her new article for ‘Transactions of the Royal Historical Society’, Professor Rebekah Clements explores the complexities of political sovereignty in early modern Japan through the practice of ‘alternate attendance’. Long understood as statements of a shogun central power, parades also served regional lords and their communities as opportunities to confirm mutual dependence in maintaining local hierarchies of political authority.
The Society is very pleased to have recently received generous support, from the Marc Fitch Fund, for the second phase of its archive development programme. Over the coming months we will research and catalogue three further areas of the Society’s collection: papers relating to the running, membership and management of the Society, from its foundation in 1868; papers of the Camden Society, founded in 1838 to its merger with the RHS in 1897; and correspondence of the Tudor historian, Professor Sir Geoffrey Elton. Here we preview some early finds, charting the activities of the Society from the 1870s to 1950s.
What does it mean to engage audiences with complex and traumatic histories of empire and war? And how might we engage with the ‘un-commemorated’, whose names have not appeared on the memorial landscape? Dr Diya Gupta (Royal Historical Society) and Dr Anna Maguire (QMUL) recently posed these questions in workshops for school-age students and their teachers studying the British Empire and the First and Second World Wars.