Radical Histories/Histories of Radicalism Conference July 2016




1-3 July 2016

Queen Mary University of London

This international event commemorates twenty years since the death of the leftwing social historian Raphael Samuel and forty years since the founding of History Workshop Journal. The event will explore radical approaches to the past and histories of radical ideas and action through lectures, panels, performances, screenings, workshops and  exhibitions.

The event is hosted by Queen Mary University of London and organised by the Raphael Samuel History Centre (www.raphael-samuel.org.uk). It is intended to engage a diverse audience, and to bring together practitioners of many varieties of historical research, curatorship, writing and performance, from both inside and outside the academy. Other venues and partners for the event include Bishopsgate Institute, the London Metropolitan Archives and Tower Hamlets Local Studies Library. 

The event will open on the evening of Friday 1st July with a plenary session ‘Radical history then and now’ involving radical historians, historians of radical movements and movement activists, past and present. It will close with a panel discussion on ‘Raphael Samuel and his Legacies’. In between these plenary sessions, there will be papers, film screenings, workshops, meetings and performances, all exploring a wide range of themes and ideas in radical history. We have grouped these themes as follows: 

  1. Radical movements:

History of radical movements and organisations; parties; left-wing activism; working-class radicalisms; national liberation struggles; popular mobilisations, past and present.

  1. Diversity, difference and beyond:

Histories of feminism, gender and sexuality; histories and activism of race and ethnicity; disability politics.

  1. Local and global histories:

Radical London; migration/movement of peoples; empire/post-colonial histories; globalisation; internationalism in a global age.

  1. Culture, art and environment:

Heritage and public history; radical arts; environmental activism; housing politics.

  1. History, policy, and the idea of politics:

Europe; government; elites; the move to the right; austerity; neo-liberalism; the politics of the academy

How to contribute:

Contributions that reflect on any of these themes in relation to any period of history are invited from academic and non-academic historians, and from those working or practising in the arts, education, heritage and culture, as well as activists campaigning in any of these areas.

The themes are indicative only, and we are happy to consider proposals that fall outside them so long as these relate to the overall conference theme. We welcome offers of traditional academic papers but would particularly like to encourage proposals for other session formats likely to engage a varied audience, for example panel discussions, interactive hands-on workshops (for example, around primary source materials), photo-essays, exhibitions and performances. Contributions that focus on any period of history are welcome, as are contributions that offer reflections on methodologies (whether of the historian or the activist).

Please send a 250 – 500 word proposal, including a description of the format and content of the proposed paper, session, workshop, meeting, screenings, or performance. Include an abstract if appropriate, and the names of any other speakers or participants. AT THE TOP OF YOUR PROPOSAL PLEASE INDICATE THE CONFERENCE STRAND (A –E above) TO WHICH YOU THINK YOUR PROPOSAL RELATES MOST CLOSELY. 

Please submit your proposal to Katy Pettit, Raphael Samuel History Centre administrator (k.pettit@uel.ac.uk) by Monday September 14th. Proposers will be notified by November 30th.


About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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1 Response to Radical Histories/Histories of Radicalism Conference July 2016

  1. The organisers are now providing further guidance on the Radical Heritage, Art and Culture strand for this Conference.

    ‘For this strand (D) we are particularly interested in cultural initiatives that are wholly or partly situated outside of established heritage organisations, that offer alternative or counter narratives, or that experiment with new forms of producing and articulating history. We invite academics, activists, artists, and practitioners of all kinds to contribute proposals for short papers, workshops, walks, displays, and performances that critically reflect on themes including but not limited to those listed below:

    · Radical forms of heritage

    · Uses of the past

    · Radical and alternative forms of classification

    · DIY heritage projects: who, how and why?

    · Walks as public history

    · Digital heritage

    · Mainstreaming radical histories

    · Cultural interventions

    · Art and activism

    · Counter narratives

    · Democratisation of heritage

    If you would need more information or would like to informally discuss proposals for the strand, please contact Kathleen McIlvenna kathleenmcil@gmail.com

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