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July 28, 2011

History Division News
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» Sachsenhausen 1: the ‘Geometry of Total Terror’

History Student Fieldtrip to Germany, July 2011 The gateway to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Photo: Pete Driscoll As we walked through the gates of the former concentation camp Sachsenhausen on the outskirts of Berlin, under the obscene slogan `Through Work, Freedom’ … Continue reading

July 27, 2011

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» Berlin Notes: Weimar Cinema comes home

History Student Fieldtrip to Germany, July 2011 Sony Center, Potsdamer Platz, Home to the German Cinematheque. Photograph: Caitlin Freitag. Twenty years ago, the Potsdamer Platz was Europe’s biggest building site. While the Berlin Wall was in place, the square was … Continue reading

July 21, 2011

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» History through a Lens – German Film

History Student Fieldtrip to Germany, July 2011 Visit to the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen (German Cinematheque – Museum for Film and Television) Along with history, film has always been one of my greatest passions. One of … Continue reading

July 19, 2011

History Division News
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» Shifting Perspectives: Berlin’s Jewish Museum

History Student Fieldtrip to Germany, July 2011 Axes of Jewish Experience. Photo: Pete Driscoll. The axes of experience at the beginning of Daniel Libeskind’s controversial annex to the Jewish Museum in Berlin disorientate the visitor. They are below ground and … Continue reading

July 13, 2011

History Division News
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» Aufarbeitung – a new word for history

History Student Fieldtrip to Germany, July 2011 Visiting the Foundation for the ‘Aufarbeitung’ of the SED Dictatorship With Dr Ulrich Maehlert (far right): Gary Brady, Pete Driscoll, Huw Edwards, Ceri Carter, Linda Graham, Dave Pennell, Jonathan Durrant, Kirsty Pullin, Norry … Continue reading

July 9, 2011

History Division News
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» Making History in Berlin

Dave, Kirsty and Katie follow the traces of the Berlin Wall How do we remember and discuss the past? It’s a complicated question for any society, and nowhere more than in Germany. Germans are already preparing for the extraordinary ‘constellation … Continue reading

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.

March 25, 2010

History Division News
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» Re-reading the Past

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Saving Cardiff's Rare Books Collection

For decades, Cardiff Council Library hid a treasure – a collection of 18,000 rare books purchased and donated in the nineteenth century for the benefit of the people of the city. During the twentieth century, the books were almost forgotten – the catalogue which had recorded their existence destroyed; the hoard presumed to be an insignificant, lesser copy of greater collections elsewhere.

In fact, like any rare books, the Cardiff Council holdings were truly distinctive. Industrialised printing, developed in the nineteenth century, produces identical copies. Print with moveable type, used in European book production from the mid-fifteenth century, created books as part of a slower and more flexible process. Binding and colouring vary from one exemplar to the next , and even the text itself can vary within one print run, as the manufacturers modified text in response to political events and censors' reactions. Readers frequently added their own notes in ink, even to lavish and costly books: this was seen as a way of adding value to the material. Every item in a rare books collection is a unique artefact, offering new information about the past.

There's more still to the Cardiff collection. After it was announced in 2007 that the books were to be auctioned off, scholars protested and began a long overdue investigation of the collection. Among recorded holdings, they found 175 incunabula – the most treasured of rare books, printed before 1500: estimates for the number of incunabula editions worldwide are only 28,000. They found rare seventeenth-century editions of Shakespeare's works, with copious handwritten notes from early readers. Other highlights include scarce civil war tracts, atlases and herbariums, Welsh-language material and art-house prints. We have much more to learn about this collection: statistically, it's highly probable that it contains titles unknown anywhere else in the world. There's no doubt that its contents can help to update and revise our grasp of past events. But its mere existence is significant for Cardiff's history: the donors and purchasers of these books firmly believed that the city needed a truly world-class library, and that the books they collected would be appreciated first and foremost by the general public.

For this reason, the Cardiff Heritage Friends group campaigned for the books to be kept in Cardiff and made available to its people as the donors intended. We were delighted to learn, earlier this month, that the collection will now be preserved for the city thanks to a shared initiative between Cardiff Council, Cardiff University, the Welsh Assembly Government, and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW). For more on the books and the campaign, see the Cardiff Heritage Friends website.

June 26, 2009

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» Invitation to A-Level History Conference, 16th September

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Glamorgan's History Division will host its annual A-Level Conference on 16th September 2009. This event is open to A2 level teachers and students. Entry is free, but schools must book places. The conference offers a taste of university life and a selection of workshops relevant to students' work on the WJEC History syllabus.

The event consists of a morning programme, free lunch, and optional afternoon session, and runs from 9.45 to 2.30. Speakers will include Caryl James, a WJEC principal examiner, Professor Chris Evans, head of the History Division, Dr Norry LaPorte, an expert in twentieth-century German History and Dr Jane Finucane, who specialises in early modern Europe.

Caryl James will open the event by explaining how students should approach the A2-level exams and assessments to maximise their chances of success. Speakers from the history division will offer workshops on finding and using sources to solve historical problems, designed to support students' independent historical investigation. Teachers are encouraged to contact us to find out how these sessions can be customised to meet their students' requirements.

In the afternoon, students may choose to attend lectures on Nazi Germany or on the German Reformation. These lectures will be delivered by subject experts and will be relevant to the A-Level in-depth studies on these areas.

Glamorgan's History division is rated first in Wales for research quality and student satisfaction. We're expanding our schools programme to share our expertise with teachers and students preparing for exams. To find out more about this and future events, or to book a place for your school on this conference, e-mail Jane Finucane (jfinucan@glam.ac.uk)

April 5, 2009

History Division News
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» Schools Event - AS-Level History Conference

Succeeding at History AS-Level, 2nd April 2009

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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)