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April 11, 2011

History Division News
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» Student Trip to Germany

Brandenburg_Gate (Photograph)

The History Division has won funding from the German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD) to bring a group of second-year students on an educational tour of Germany this summer.  Fifteen students will visit Berlin, Munich and Nuertingen to learn more about Germany’s past – from renaissance artists and witch-hunters to Nazi and Communist dictatorships.

We’ll be asking how the past is remembered today – not just in universities and museums, but in cyberspace, on the streets, and on the very sites where history was made.   Thanks to generous invitations from partners in Germany, we’ll learn how students and professionals, civil servants and entrepreneurs deal with the past in their lives and work.  Watch this space for updates.

July 29, 2010

History Division News
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» Symbols of Oppression?

Graduate Prizewinners in History, 2010

Hijabs and headscarves have made headlines all over Europe recently. Is the Islamic veil a security threat, a symbol of oppression, a rejection of modernity? What can a historian add to this debate? In her prize-winning BA dissertation, Kara Hynes describes how French colonists stigmatised the wearing of the veil in Algeria long before twentieth-century feminism or fears of Islamist terrorism introduced new controversy. In revolutionary Iran, women wore the veil as a symbol of rebellion, even gender equality. More recently, it has been described as a "gateway to education"; adopted as a fashion item by young 'Muhajababes'; and used in performance art to challenge stereotypes concerning Muslim women.

Kara argues that veil has become the main symbol of differences between Islam and the rest of the world - and that its symbolic importance may distract us from its complex history. Catrin Isaac, the other recipient of this year's Ursula Masson Memorial Prize, confronted another powerful symbol in her BA dissertation: the nineteenth-century workhouse.

<image class="left" title="Kara Hynes, Helen Molyneux, Catrin Isaac" src="http://historydivision.weblog.glam.ac.uk/assets/2010/7/29/prize2.jpg" alt="Photograph - award of Ursula Masson Prize" />

Until now, historians had barely touched upon the treatment of pauper children in nineteenth-century Wales. Catrin discovered that records preserved in the archives challenge the Dickensian image of the workshouse as a place where children were subject to unabated cruelty. Wales lagged behind England in funding alternative, family-style accommodation for destitute children, yet there is evidence that trustees were anxious to provide their charges with a 'sense of home'.

A third History BA graduate, Daniel Robinson, received the Alison Waite Memorial Prize (shared with Tiffany Oben, BA graduate in Art Practice). This prize rewards the students who achieve the highest average grade for third-year work in Humanities and Languages. Dissertations by history's three prizewinners will feature in a collection of outstanding undergraduate work to be published by the history division later this year.

September 28, 2009

History Division News
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» Welcome

History Division Blog

This blog is the news and opinion forum for Glamorgan's History Division. The Division was rated first in Wales for student satisfaction in the Good University Guide 2010. Our students are taught exclusively by full-time lecturers who are active, published researchers. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), History at Glamorgan was rated joint first in Wales

The history blog is where we write about student news and opportunities in the history division; topics we're debating in our classes; our recommendations and comments on history and current affairs; and details of events we've organised or attended. To navigate between sections, use the links on the right of each page.

For more information on our degree programmes, visit the History Subject Guide. Visit the History Research Unit website for research news and details of forthcoming events.

June 26, 2009

History Division News
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» Double First for History

Glamorgan's History Division tops the League for Student Satisfaction

Glamorgan's History Division was placed joint first in Wales in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. Now, the Times Good University Guide 2010 has ranked the division first among Welsh history departments for student satisfaction. This is based on our third-year students' responses to the National Student Survey, which rated the history programme on teaching, feedback, organisation and personal development.

The Good University Guide put satisfaction with our degree programme 22nd in the UK, and first among all universities in Wales and the Welsh border region:

<image class="right" src="http://historydivision.weblog.glam.ac.uk/assets/2009/6/10/Fireworks2.jpg" alt="fireworks" />Glamorgan 84%
Bath Spa 84%
West of England 83%
Aberystwyth 83%
Swansea 82%
Cardiff 82%
Bangor 81%
Birmingham 81%
Worcester77%
Lampeter 75%
Gloucestershire 74%
Newport 69%
Bristol 68%

Source: Good University Guide 2010, sorted by student satisfaction

Glamorgan's history students are taught exclusively by full-time lecturers who are active, published researchers. This year's assessments of our teaching and research show that this system works. We're delighted that our students are so happy with their choice of degree programme.

June 18, 2009

History Division News
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» Glamorgan Historians work with Welsh Museums

<image class="left" src="http://historydivision.weblog.glam.ac.uk/assets/2009/6/18/museums.jpg" alt="Photographs, Museum Storehouse and Cardiff City Centre">

Two of Glamorgan's historians, Dr Jonathan Durrant and Dr Andy Croll, are working with Welsh museums as part of the Strategic Insight Programme (SIP). The programme enables staff in universities to build relationships with external partners.

Jonathan Durrant has been working with The National Museum of Wales at St Fagan's on the interpretation of space in its early modern buildings, particularly Hendre'r-ywydd Uchaf and the merchants' house from Haverfordwest which is currently being re-erected there. This secondment will lead to a workshop drawing together the expertise of historians, museum professionals, archaeologists, re-enactors and architects.

Andy Croll is working with museum experts who are setting up the 'Cardiff Story', a new museum dedicated to presenting the city's history. The museum is to be based in the Old Library in the Hayes - the former home of Cardiff Municipal Museum which closed its doors in 1922. Since that time, Cardiff has been without a civic museum dealing with the city's own history. The 'Cardiff Story' will fill that gap when it opens in the summer of 2010. Dr Croll has been joined on the museum's Academic Panel by two other Glamorgan historians - Professors Chris Evans and Gareth Williams.

History students will also benefit from the experience gained by Jonathan and Andy. Second-year students already visit St Fagan's while learning about different approaches to history. With these new collaboration, there are opportunities for student placements with the two museums and exciting courses in Public History can be developed that build on the insights gleaned in both Cardiff and St. Fagan's.

June 11, 2009

History Division News
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» Welcome

History Division Blog

This blog is the news and opinion forum for Glamorgan's History Division. The division has eleven members of academic staff, who work on the history of Wales, Europe, and the World since 1500. Our undergraduate history degree is highly rated in subject league tables and was ranked first in Wales by the Times Good University Guide 2010 for student satisfaction (based on the results of the National Student Survey). Our students are taught exclusively by full-time lecturers who are active, published researchers. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), History at Glamorgan was rated joint first in Wales

The history blog is where we discuss student life and opportunities in the history division; news from the classroom; our recommendations and comments on history and current affairs; and details of events we've organised or attended. To navigate between sections, use the links on the right of each page.

For more information on our degree programmes, visit the History Subject Guide. Visit the History Research Unit website for research news and full details of forthcoming events.

May 11, 2009

History Division News
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» Llancaiach Fawr Living History Museum

<image title="Llancaiach Fawr website" src="http://historydivision.weblog.glam.ac.uk/assets/2009/5/11/llancaiachfawr.jpg" alt="Llancaiach Fawr screenshot" />

Glamorgan's History Students are invited to apply for summer placements at Llancaiach Fawr Manor. Llancaiach Fawr is a seventeenth century living history museum offering first person historical interpretation. The work is very varied and staff are currently looking for history students to work on historical projects during the summer months. This is a great opportunity, offering real work experience. It will look good on a CV and could provide you with an extra useful reference. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Louise Griffith, Learning Officer, at GRIFFL9@CAERPHILLY.gov.uk

This new section of the history blog will advertise work opportunities for history students and will feature students' reports on their experience of history at the university and further afield.

April 5, 2009

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» Schools Event - AS-Level History Conference

Succeeding at History AS-Level, 2nd April 2009

<image src="http://historydivision.weblog.glam.ac.uk/assets/2009/4/5/Treetoplong.jpg" /><image class="left" src="http://historydivision.weblog.glam.ac.uk/assets/2009/4/4/treetrunk.jpg" />

Over forty students and teachers from schools in South Wales attended Glamorgan's AS-Level History Conference on 2nd April. The conference was designed to support school pupils in their exam preparation while offering them a taste of university life.

The event opened with a presentation on the AS History exam from Caryl James, WJEC Principal Examiner in History. Glamorgan historians then delivered lectures on popular elements of the AS-Level curriculum. Norry Laporte discussed with pupils how they might construct an argument to explain the Nazi party's rise to power. Gareth Williams spoke about the development of liberalism and its place in Welsh culture in the early twentieth century, challenging students to consider why certain attributes came to be considered particularly Welsh.

Moving beyond the AS-Level curriculum, Brian Ireland explained to pupils and teachers how he has used film in teaching and studying history. Chris Evans spoke about the breadth of university history, and the opportunities for students taking a history degree to choose and investigate subjects for themselves.

Teachers and pupils reported that the day had been extremely enjoyable and had helped significantly with their exam work. We wish all of our visitors the best of luck in the exams.

Glamorgan's History Division organises a number of free schools events yearly. We expect to hold our next schools conference in summer 2009. To sign up for regular updates on our school events and resources, please e-mail Jane Finucane (jfinucan@glam.ac.uk)



March 20, 2009

History Division News
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» News from the Classroom ... Trip to St Fagans

Second Year Module: 'Approaches to History'

<image title="Students at St Fagans" src="http://historydivision.weblog.glam.ac.uk/assets/2009/3/20/stfaganscomphor.jpg" alt="Students at St Fagans">

Throughout the academic year the level two History students have been studying different approaches to history. This is partly in preparation for their final year dissertations, and partly to increase their understanding of the intellectual roots of their own discipline.

As part of this process, students are invited to consider the role of public history. Is it just history-lite? Is the heritage industry there just to provide us with a good day out? Can heritage be both scholarly and accessible? If so, how?

To help answer some of these questions, and to provoke many others, we all went on a day trip to St Fagans National History Museum. Beth Thomas, a curator at the museum, spoke to the students and highlighted some of the many political issues associated with creating a museum of Welsh life: What best represents Welsh life? Who decides what is Welsh? Where does history end and the contemporary world begin? Is there a decidedly Welsh experience in a global capitalist world?

The students then spent the afternoon looking around the site…and a good time was had by all as these pictures testify.

Fiona Reid

February 26, 2009

History Division News
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» News from the Classroom ... out and about at the Tate Modern



<image title="Final Year Students at the Tate Modern" src="http://historydivision.weblog.glam.ac.uk/assets/2009/2/26/tate3.jpg" alt="Final Year Students at the Tate Modern">

Third Year Option: 'From the Second Reich to the Nazis:
Culture, Art and Politics in Germany, 1890-1933'

<image class="left" title="Final Year Students at the Tate Modern" src="http://historydivision.weblog.glam.ac.uk/assets/2009/2/26/tateside.jpg" alt="Final Year Students at the Tate Modern">

The years immediately after the First World War are often shrouded in gloom and depression: war was followed by economic strife, deep misery, the rise of the radical right and then more war. There is some truth in this miserable chronology but, like all chronologies, it obscures another truth. For artists, sculptors, architects, film-makers and designers of all sorts, the 1920s were most exhilarating and productive. Revolution in Russia and Germany had been accompanied by great artistic innovation, and the new regimes encouraged artistic experiment.

Many artists were eager to help shape the new world. After the horrors of the First World War and the trauma of revolution many were deeply committed to making a world that was completely different to anything that had ever existed before. Alexander Rodchenko, and Liubov Popova were two of the most influential and prominent members of the Russian avant-garde. Rodchenko was a painter, photographer, sculptor and designer; Popova was an artist and designer. They both rejected the idea that art was the simple representation of reality and – like many artists of the time – saw their work as intrinsic to their politics.

Last week, final year history students on Fiona Reid's 'Culture, Art and Politics' module went to the Tate modern to see an exhibition of Rodchenko and Popova’s work. There were fantastic examples of early abstract compositions: pure colour and pure line. We also had a glimpse into the everyday life of early Soviet Russia. Popova produced designs for peasant women’s headscarves, Rodchenko designed the poster for Eisentein’s famous Battleship Potemkin. Given their political commitment, the artists had no qualms about producing adverts for the new Soviet state. So we saw pictures of Moscow department stores during the New Economic Policy and we saw how Soviet citizens were encouraged to eat ‘Red October cookies’. We could even sit in the chairs that Rodchenko created for his ‘Workers’ club’, one of the Soviet exhibits at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in the summer of 1925.

Powerpoint is brilliant but there is really no substitute for seeing actual works of art. Only then can you gauge size, texture, colour and depth –as well as the indefinable thrill of seeing the original work.

This trip was only possible because the university agreed to subsidise it to a great extent. We would like to thank those responsible.

Thanks also go to John Arnold (Final year History student) for taking the photographs.

Dr Fiona Reid