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November 2, 2010
» External Collaboration – Working with Businesses and Organisations

If you are already collaborating with external organisations in your research you will know about the benefits aswell as the challenges that come from partnership working. To find out more about the pros and cons of this approach and how it could support your research, CSO are running an event at the Conference Centre on the Treforest Campus on 12th November 9.30-12.30. Julie Lydon will be opening the event and we hope that you will take this opportunity to get involved with this fast growing and exciting area of research. To register attendance or requiest further details please email me at  gkt@glam.ac.uk

June 23, 2010

History Division News
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» Panzers in Pembrokeshire?

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Cold War Wales and the Labour Party

Why did a Labour government send British soldiers to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan?

According to Glamorgan's Norry LaPorte, the Labour Party's development since the 1980s has brought supporters of 'realpolitik' to the fore. Foreign affairs and military strategy shaped Labour's development in the UK - and in Wales. From the spectre of German tanks in Pembrokeshire, through the founding of the Greenham Common Peace Camp, to Michael Foot's disarmament campaign, Wales and Welsh Labour engaged vigorously with Cold War politics. But the British public's response to unilateralist policies finally convinced the party that a pro-American stance was the route to electoral success.

Experts will gather to discuss Cold War Wales: Peace, Politics and Culture at the University of Glamorgan on June 26th 2010. This is a Centre for Modern and Contemporary Wales event, organised by Dr Norry LaPorte, Dr Fiona Reid, and Professor Gareth Williams of Glamorgan's History Division. Download the programme and registration form here, and read more of Dr LaPorte's analysis at the Western Mail.

March 15, 2010

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» History Cinema: "The Search"

Introduction and Screening: Thursday 18th March

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By the end of World War II, Europe faced a refugee crisis involving seven million people. This was a major challenge for the allied victors. Their response can be reconstructed through the memoirs and official records, but what can historians learn from the way their work shown to the wider public?</>

‘The Search’ (1948) is a unique example of a film concerning post-war refugees. Filmed on location in still war-devastated Germany, it depicts relief workers, American soldiers and Displaced Persons. Some of its child actors came from refugee camps, and the film was made with cooperation from the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), one of the subjects of Glamorgan's Outcast Europe research project. But 'The Search' was not just an obscure docudrama; it was a box-office success, a classic Hollywood film which triumphed at the Oscars.

Sharif Gemie invites all students and staff to a screening of "The Search" on Thursday 18th March 2010, 5.00-7.00pm, Room J132.

Contact sgemie@glam.ac.uk for further details.

 

 

 

March 13, 2010

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» Married to the Party?

Labour Women MPs - the 2010 Ursula Masson Memorial Lecture

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In this year’s Ursula Masson Memorial Lecture, Professor June Hannam, associate dean at the University of the West of England, spoke on ‘Writing To History: Autobiographies of The First Labour Women MPs’. Ursula’s introduction to Elizabeth Andrews, A Woman’s Work is Never Done (Honno Press, 2006) placed women’s struggles at the centre of Labour politics. Yet the Labour movement itself frequently marginalised women, and Labour women MPs often described themselves as being in ‘the men’s house’ in the inter-war years.

Feminist historians have noted how nineteenth century women tended to write their life histories as novels rather than as autobiographies. This tradition still endures but the political women of the Labour party adopted a different approach: they were consciously ‘writing to history’, using their autobiographies to highlight both political and personal struggles. The relationship of these Labour MPs to women as a whole was not straightforward. Edith Summerskill entitled her memoirs A Woman’s World but no other memoir has an explicitly feminist or even woman-centred title. This is because women Labour MPs were part of a mixed-sex group, and one which privileged class over gender: their primary loyalty was to the Labour party and the common struggle not to a collective sisterhood. It was therefore difficult for them to portray women as a special category.

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There were also class-based and generational differences within the small group of women Labour MPs, and this diversity is reflected in the range of reasons they gave for becoming politically active in the first place. The rhetoric of the party stressed modernity: the Labour party was going to create a modern, egalitarian Britain. Yet domesticity was still highly valued and Labour women were often inspired by what we think of as traditionally female motivating factors. For many, it was their direct experience of poverty, ill-health, religious commitment or war which had made them turn to the Labour party. For both middle and working class women, the emotional connection to their political work was paramount, often to the extent that there was a strain of anti-intellectualism within the female section of the party.

Were Labour women married to the party as has been often claimed? These autobiographies suggest otherwise as they detail the friendships and the love affairs of these women. Many politically active women did remain unmarried but that did not mean that their emotional lives were barren. Nor did politically-active women have to conform to the stereotype of the dry, mannish spinster. The ‘stiff-collared’ Susan Lawrence cut a rather masculine figure but both Jennie Lee and Ellen Wilkinson were glamorous attractive women. Then, as now, much more attention was paid to the appearance of women than to the appearance of men.

Fiona Reid

Autobiographies of Labour women MPs - Select List

Edith Picton Turbervill (1872-1960): Life is Good, An Autobiography (1939)
Jennie Lee (1904-1988): Tomorrow is a New Day, (1939); This Great Journey, (1963); My Life with Nye, (1980)
Ellen Wilkinson (1891-1947): Myself When Young, ed. Margot Asquith (1938); Clash (1929)
Mary Agnes Hamilton (1882-1966): Remembering My Good Friends, (1944); Uphill All the Way, (1953)
Margaret Bondfield (1873-1953) : A Life’s Work (1948)
Edith Summerskill (1901-1980) : A Women’s World, Her Memoirs (1967)
Leah Manning (1886-1977) : A Life for Education: An Autobiography (1970)

March 6, 2010

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» Refugees - whose responsibility?

History Workshop: Women and Refugees

University of Glamorgan, G.304 and G.305: Saturday 13 March 2010, 10.00-14.00

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There have always been refugees but in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s there were some of the most monumental and severe refugee crises in the history of the world. Throughout the inter-war years democratic regimes collapsed and were replaced by authoritarian models in Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, France and many other countries. These regimes characterised many individuals and groups as ‘the enemy’, whether they were political opponents – such as the Spanish Republicans – or racially defined ‘others’ – such as German Jews. These were some of the first refugees of the long Second World War.

During the Second World War, there were vast, forced population movements, and more spontaneous movements as people fled from the fighting or from attempts at political persecution. By the end of the war displacement was clearly a tremendous problem and by the summer of 1945 approximately 7 million civilians were on the move in Western Europe. Some wanted to go home, some, especially those from Eastern Europe, were determined never to return.

What should be done with all these itinerant people? Who was responsible for them, and who should look after them? We will discuss the way in which key individuals and groups answered those questions. Susan Cohen will talk about the life and work of Eleanor Rathbone, an Independent MP who championed the rights of the refugees fleeing from Hitler’s Germany. Despite political and popular opposition she argued that they should be given a home in Britain. After the war, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was responsible for the care of a large number of refugees and displaced people. Sharif Gemie describes the role of UNRRA and Laure Humbert will talk about one woman’s experiences as an UNRRA worker. Alongside UNRRA there were numerous voluntary organisations, many of whom had a far wider remit for relief work. Fiona Reid will describe the work of the Friends’ Relief Service and will consider the extent to which the Friends offered a distinct approach to welfare work.

The morning will finish with a brief look at an UNNRA film, The Search, which will be introduced by Louise Rees. This will form the basis for a group discussion about the themes raised during the day.

This event is free and all are welcome. There will be an opportunity to buy Susan Cohen’s book, Rescue the Perishing. Eleanor Rathbone and the Refugees. (2010). Contact: freid1@glam.ac.uk for more information

March 5, 2010

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» History Cinema: "Waltz with Bashir"

The Israeli "Apocalypse Now"

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Introduction and Screening: Tuesday 9th March

In 1982, Israel launched "Operation Peace for Galilee" and invaded the Lebanon. There followed one of the worst atrocities of the Arab-Israeli conflict: the massacre of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of men, women and children at the Shateela Refugee Camp.

How did the massacre happen? Who should be blamed? For historians, these are difficult, controversial questions about a event with continuing repercussions, and still in living memory. For Israeli soldiers who fought in the Lebanon, finding answers must surely be more straightforward? Ari Folman, director of "Waltz with Bashir", suggests not. He uses powerfully animated sequences of nightmares and fantasies, amnesia and confusion, to reconstruct his and his generation's experience of a campaign fought and forgotten.

Sharif Gemie, Glamorgan's expert on refugee history and the history of the Middle East, invites all students and staff to a screening of "Waltz with Bashir" on Tuesday 9th March 2010, 4.30-6.30, Room H126. Contact sgemie@glam.ac.uk for further details.

March 2, 2010

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» Crucifixion in Cilfynydd


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THE HISTORY SOCIETY PRESENTS ... GARETH WILLIAMS

The image of Wales as ‘the land of song’ is based on the renown and immense popularity of its choral singing, particularly among the coalfield communities of the valleys. This period was also a period of great sporting success, for in this economically buoyant Wales its rugby and boxing champions were as internationally known as its widely-travelled choirs. But they seem to represent two quite different kinds of cultural activity.

The disorder, gambling, throwing missiles and spectator violence that were the order of the day on the rugby grounds of Wales seem a world away from the well mannered and restrained behaviour of respectable eisteddfod and chapel choristers. Or was it?

John Stainer’s ‘Crucifixion’ was a popular choral work of this period and there were crucifixions in Cilfynydd and throughout the valleys in this golden age of collective popular culture, as this musically-illustrated lecture will show.

The Glamorgan University History Society presents Professor Gareth Williams as guest lecturer on Tuesday, 2nd March, 5pm, D112. All welcome / Croeso i bawb.

Please contact 03020002@glam.ac.uk for more details.
Image: Kris Carter

February 4, 2010

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» Desperate Remedies?

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The History Society Presents ... Alun Withey

What was it like to experience illness or surgery during the seventeenth century? This was a time when trained doctors were rare, surgery excruciatingly painful, if not fatal, and remedies concocted from a dazzling array of plant and animal products. People saw illness as arising from any number of factors, from an imbalance of bodily ‘humours’, planetary activity or even a punishment from God. From today’s standpoint, it seems miraculous that anyone could survive illness; but survive they often did.

In this paper, we will explore something of the experience of illness and surgery during the early modern period. We will look at how people understood illness and their bodies, the types of remedies used to cure them as well as doctors, surgeons and their techniques. While it is easy to poke fun at the sometimes apparently weird cures, we will also look at the ways in which our seventeenth-century predecessors were actually little different to us; they had the same fears about illness, the same desire to rid themselves of painful symptoms and, in some cases, provided us with remedies which are still used today.

Alun Withey is a research assistant at Glamorgan's History Division. He will speak about medicine in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries at an event organised by the Glamorgan University History Society: on Tuesday 9th February 2010, 17.00, G308 (Treforest Campus). Admission is free and open to all, and any Glamorgan staff or students interesting in joining the History Society are warmly invited to attend its meeting on the same evening at Rickards Pub Function Room, 19.10. Please contact 03020002@glam.ac.uk for more details.

January 19, 2010

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» The History Society Presents ...

Fiona Reid

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Glamorgan University's new History Society has been a huge success: membership is growing and the Society has led the first of many expeditions, to the British Museum's Moctezuma Exhibition.

The next enterprise is a series of guest lectures, open to all staff and students of the university. Dr Fiona Reid of the Glamorgan History Division is the first speaker: she is on research sabbatical this year, but returns to Treforest to share her findings on war, medicine and society in the early twentieth century.

Admission is free and all are welcome to attend this lecture in G303 (Glynneath) at 17.00, 20th January 2010.

For more information about the History Society or about this event, please contact Pete Driscoll (08037582@glam.ac.uk), Secretary.

April 27, 2009

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» Study Day: Women, Work, and Memory

In Response to War: Women, Work, and Memory in the Twentieth Century

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The South West and Wales Women’s History Network and the Outcast Europe research centre held a study day on Saturday 25 April. This day was also part of a wider initiative in which University of Glamorgan historians aim to develop broad discussions on war, violence and society.

Study days are an ideal opportunity to discuss new projects and to present work in progress. Gill Abousnnouga (University of Glamorgan, English) presented a multi-modal analysis of war memorials. This is one of the many areas in which inter-disciplinary research can be fruitful and we hope very much to hear more about this project in the future. Sharif Gemie (University of Glamorgan, History) discussed the work of UNRRA in the Displaced Person’s camps of post-Second World War Europe. We were also pleased to welcome colleagues from the universities of Cardiff and Swansea. Tracey Loughran, (University of Cardiff) who has done much work on First World War shell shock, spoke about gendered interpretations of hysteria; Helen Steele (University of Swansea) talked about her research into the everyday lives of women in National Socialist Austria.

We hope that these study days promote greater collaboration both within and between university departments. The Women’s History Network Annual conference will take place on Saturday 4 July at the University of Wales, Newport. See the South West and Wales Women's History Network for further details.