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February 2, 2012

History Division News
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» How to do a literature search outside of academia

Updated: February 11, 2013 Following graduation, I have found it useful for my personal research and professional development to have continued access to ‘library and information science’ online databases.  Although I no longer have access through Loughborough University where I studied, and … Continue reading

April 3, 2011

History Division News
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» History in the Media: Coal Dust and Choral Song

There had been singing in Wales for centuries, formally in monasteries and cathedrals, informally in taverns and ale-houses, but it is with the industrial history of Wales that the popular mind associates the Welsh male voice choir and the popular mind is right.

Find out why from Professor Gareth Williams of Glamorgan’s History Division, writing for the Western Mail

Pendyrus Choir c. 1924 (Photograph)

Pendyrus Choir c. 1924

November 8, 2010

History Division News
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» Speech of the Century - Vote Here

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Speeches in History


Last week saw the death, at the age of 82, of Ted Sorensen, one of John F. Kennedy’s key associates. It was Sorensen who drafted Kennedy’s landmark ‘Ask not what your country can do for you’ speech, delivered at the new President’s inauguration in Washington, January 1961. Tom Griffin, the University of Glamorgan’s media spokesperson, reflects here on Sorensen and his achievement.

Kennedy’s ‘Ask not’ speech was certainly memorable, but how does it rank alongside other great speeches of the modern era? Have a look at (or listen to) some of the other contenders at the Guardian's 'Great Speeches' mini-site and vote for your favourite. Comments - and alternative suggestions - can be entered below. Our poll closes at midnight on November 18th

Chris Evans

June 23, 2010

History Division News
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» Panzers in Pembrokeshire?

<image class="left" src="http://historydivision.weblog.glam.ac.uk/assets/2010/6/23/michael_foot.jpg" />

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 25, 2010

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» Re-reading the Past

<image src="http://historydivision.weblog.glam.ac.uk/assets/2010/3/25/Screenshot.png" height="425px" alt="screenshot" width="712px" />

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.

March 2, 2010

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» Crucifixion in Cilfynydd


<image class="left" src="http://historydivision.weblog.glam.ac.uk/assets/2010/2/24/version-1_SMALL_1.jpg" alt="Poster by Kris Carter" />

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

October 28, 2009

History Division News
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» Story of Wales and Slavery

<image title="J.H. Stobwasser, Gracebay Plantation, Antigua, British West Indies, c. 1830" src="http://historydivision.weblog.glam.ac.uk/assets/2009/10/28/crop.jpg" alt="plantation illustration" />

Bittersweet: Sugar, Tea and Slavery at the National Assembly

<image title="Sugar Curing House, from Diderot, Encyclopedie, i. 1762" class="left" src="http://historydivision.weblog.glam.ac.uk/assets/2009/10/28/crop2_1.jpg" alt="illustration" />

How are our lives connected to the world of Atlantic slavery? One clue may lie in the things we eat and drink. For example, the well-sugared cup of tea first become part of the British way of life in the eighteenth century and the ‘cuppa’ has never gone away. Therein lies a story...

Find out more by visiting a new exhibition at the National Assembly of Wales in Cardiff that traces the connections between Wales and slavery. Bittersweet: Sugar, Tea and Slavery – A Story of Wales & Slavery looks at the problem through the history of food and gardens, by tracing the connections between Caribbean slavery and our diet, especially the institution of afternoon tea.

The exhibition, which marks Black History Month, is the work of the charity Gateway Gardens Trust, which has organised a Heritage Lottery Funded series of visits to gardens in Wales established by slave traders, plantation owners or abolitionists. The exhibition at the Senedd marks the culmination of the project.

I should declare an interest. I was the historical consultant to the Bittersweet project and a book I’ve written that explores some of the issues raised by the project – and much else besides – will be published next year by the University of Wales Press: Slave Wales: the Welsh and Atlantic slavery.

Chris Evans

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

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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.