WRITING RACE

“…identities are the names we give to the different ways we are positioned by, and position ourselves within, the narratives of the past.”

- Stuart Hall

Welcome to the Royal Historical Society’s ‘Writing Race’ blog series.

 

Series One ran between March and October 2021. Series Two is now in progress, beginning in February 2022.

  • Do you work on race and its relationship to history, broadly defined?
  • Have you tackled issues related to race within the classroom, at university, in the museum?
  • And are you looking for a way to reflect upon your experiences, and analyse and share your thoughts?

‘Writing Race’ is keen to amplify your voice. We recognise that more formal means of publishing and disseminating race-related work takes time, and is not for everyone.

We are looking for posts that are about 1000 words in length, and can offer you advice on how to sharpen your writing for our blog series.  And we will promote your posts through our social media channels, ensuring your thoughts get the reach they deserve.

Contact Us

If you’d like to write for ‘Writing Race’, contact the editor, Dr Diya Gupta, with a pitch for your blog.
Email: diya.gupta@royalhistsoc.org

 

Posts from Series Two of ‘Writing Race’ (from February 2022)

What is History For? 2: activism and historical imagination

What is History For? 2: activism and historical imagination

What is History For? is a short series of articles in which historians explore the purpose and value of their research and craft. In this second post, Tionne Parris considers the example set by mid-20th-century Black radical women in their struggle for change. What might historical study of their approach to, and framing of, activism teach us about engaging with present-day challenges, of which the climate emergency looms largest? A version of Tionne’s article was first presented at the ‘What is History For?’ conference held at the University of Birmingham, in May 2022.

read more
Engaging with the ‘Un-Commemorated’ Past

Engaging with the ‘Un-Commemorated’ Past

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.

read more
‘Quando Era Jovem…’ – Towards an Intergenerational, Oral History of Youth in Maputo, Mozambique

‘Quando Era Jovem…’ – Towards an Intergenerational, Oral History of Youth in Maputo, Mozambique

How does an oral historian, working in Mozambique, respond to the lockdowns and travel restrictions of recent years? Johanna Wetzel researches the history of youth — ‘ser jovem’ or ‘juventude’ — in Maputo, with particular reference to the importance attached to youth and the young by first-generation leaders of post-independence Mozambique. Unable to travel, Johanna turned to online programmes and training funded by a research grant from the Royal Historical Society.

read more
On ‘PASSING’: Shifting histories OF THE ANGLO-INDIAN COMMUNITY

On ‘PASSING’: Shifting histories OF THE ANGLO-INDIAN COMMUNITY

In the next in our ‘Writing Race’ series, Vishwajeet Deshmukh considers the history of racial ‘passing’ within India’s Anglo-Indian community. Mixed-race descendants of European fathers and Indian mothers, members of the Anglo-Indian community are often studied in the context of their historical assimilation within European societies. However, ‘passing’ was also a feature of colonial Indian society, as Anglo-Indians sought the higher status of ‘Europeans’.

read more
Objects of Sovereignty: Thinking through Restitution

Objects of Sovereignty: Thinking through Restitution

There are currently many thousands of artefacts held in UK museums and other public collections. ‘Devolving Restitution’ is a series of workshops to study the histories of African artefacts in museums and heritage institutions. In this post Stanley Jachike Onyemechalu and Sarah Scheyerle explore the presentation and value of Objects of Sovereignty at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge.

read more
Charting Time and Visualising Race in Europe’s Enlightenment

Charting Time and Visualising Race in Europe’s Enlightenment

In this, the first in a new series of posts in the ‘Writing Race’ series, Professor Bruce Buchan considers the prominence of race in Enlightenment thought, and the legacies of eighteenth-century moral philosophy for modern racism: questions considered here with reference to the teaching of Adam Ferguson (1723-1816) and the ‘Historical Chart’, attributed to Ferguson on its publication in 1780.

read more
Introducing ‘Writing Race’, Series Two

Introducing ‘Writing Race’, Series Two

In this post Dr Diya Gupta, commissioning editor for ‘Writing Race’, introduces the start of a new series of posts and reflects on Series One which ran on the RHS blog, ‘Historical Transactions’, in 2021. Here Diya reflects on Series One, looks ahead to forthcoming posts – starting in early February – and invites you to get involved.

read more

Posts from Series One of ‘Writing Race’ (March to October 2021)

Can we unlearn imperialism in photographic research?

Can we unlearn imperialism in photographic research?

How should historians engage with the source materials that record and communicate empire from the perspective of imperial rule? Are there ways of working with sources that enable researchers to free themselves from the intellectual constraints imposed by historical imagery and its categorisation? Maria Creech explores her methodological approach to ‘unlearning’ imperialism.

read more
‘Positive Action’ workshop for early-career historians of colour

‘Positive Action’ workshop for early-career historians of colour

In August of this year, the Society organised its first ‘positive action’ workshop for early-career historians of colour. The initiative was led by the RHS’s Race, Ethnicity and Equality Working Group which was responsible for the RHS’s Race Report (2018). Here, Dr Diya Gupta and Dr Jonathan Saha explain the motivations for the workshop, and reflect on the outcomes of what’s hoped will be the first in a programme of focused training events.

read more
‘I open up my mouth and I just sing’: Studying Black health and the humanities

‘I open up my mouth and I just sing’: Studying Black health and the humanities

In the eleventh post for our ‘Writing Race’ series, Dr Amber Lascelles introduces the Black Health and the Humanities project at the University of Bristol. The project sits at the intersection of Black humanities and medical humanities, and brings together scholars whose research intervenes in Black health across a range of disciplines, including history, art, sociology, law, literature, media and theatre.

read more
Why Historically-white Sororities and Fraternities are racially problematic in US universities

Why Historically-white Sororities and Fraternities are racially problematic in US universities

‘Greek Life’ is a distinctive part of the social and cultural experience of universities in the United States, and has faced recent scrutiny for acts of racism, sexism and homophobia. Yet, as Dr Taulby Edmondson argues here — in the latest article in the ‘Writing Race’ series — the existence of longstanding Black sororities and fraternities complicate calls for an end to this culture. Studying how minorities use and transform predominantly white institutions raises questions about how we go about deconstructing the white supremacy within them.

read more
Cannabis, Race, and Mental Illness in Britain, 1980-1993

Cannabis, Race, and Mental Illness in Britain, 1980-1993

For the ninth post in the RHS ‘Writing Race’ blog series, Jamie Banks investigates ‘cannabis psychosis’ and its disproportionate diagnosis amongst Britain’s Afro-Caribbean communities. Studying this intersection of medicine, culture, and policing brings to light the methodological difficulties around motivation and responsibility which racism poses for historians. 

read more
‘The women had saved the situation’: Indian women’s work in war and famine

‘The women had saved the situation’: Indian women’s work in war and famine

The work undertaken by lower caste Indian women during Second World War is both surprising and shocking. In the fourth post in the ‘Writing Race’ series, Urvi Khaitan reveals how many thousands of women worked above and below ground in mines or for the Labour Corps to support the allied war effort. Today their contributions and hardships remain little known.

read more