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Publication date: Tuesday 3rd April 2012

HA Annual Conference 2012: The General Pathway and Visits

Martin Luther King, Jr. 1964. Library of Congress.
Martin Luther King, Jr. 1964. Library of Congress.

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For full conference story click here...

To book your sessions, please email the codes for your chosen sessions to  or contact Suzannah on 0207 820 5989

This year the Conference has a new Heritage strand, and both Conference days will be packed with fantastic lectures, teaching workshops, historical visits and more, and will cater for all our education practitioners and history enthusiasts.


Full details of the General Pathway and Visits


Brian Kemp, Emeritus Professor of Medieval History, University of Reading

The Royal Abbey of Reading

Reading was one of the grandest abbeys in medieval England. It was a royal abbey, founded by King Henry I in 1121 and remaining under royal patronage until its dissolution in 1539. This lecture will cover the abbey's foundation and the rich story of its relations with the Crown, including discussion of its principal relic, the Hand of St James, given by Henry I, which profoundly affected the abbey's identity, as its seals illustrate

Code: FGBK1


Friday 11 May 2012, 13.30 - 14.30

Dr Frank Tallett, Fellow in History at the University of Reading and former Head of its School of Humanities

War, Society and the State in Early Modern Europe

Until recently, military history has largely been concerned with "badges and buttons", an approach that stressed tactics, strategy and weapons. The so-called New Military History has sought to put warfare in its social, economic and institutional contexts. This talk will accordingly look at how armies were raised, what life was like for ordinary soldiers, and at the impact warfare had on the social structure, on government and on civilians in the early modern period. Dr Frank Tallet's publications include "War and Society in Early Modern Europe" (2001), "Priests, Prelates and People: a History of European Catholicism" (with Nick Atkin, 2003) and "The Wiley-Blackwell Dictionary of Modern European History since 1789" (with Nick Atkin and Michael Biddiss, 2011).

Code: FGFT2


Friday 11 May 2012, 14.45-15.45

Jonathan Bell, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of History at the University of Reading.

American Liberalism: The Career of a Concept

What historians have come to term "liberalism" in an American context has taken on numerous meanings that provide a lens through which to examine broad trends in US history across the twentieth century. From the political struggles to establish a welfare state and labour rights in the New Deal of the 1930s to the civil rights revolution of the 1960s, liberals have attempted to wrestle with deep seated inequalities in American society. By the 1980s, the term "liberal" had in many quarters become a term of abuse, and prompts us to examine just why the United States finds it so hard to talk the language of equality compared to many other industrialised nations.

Code: FGJB3


Harold Godwinson falls at Hastings. Harold was struck in the eye with an arrow (left), slain by a mounted Norman knight (right) or both.
Harold Godwinson falls at Hastings. Harold was struck in the eye with an arrow (left), slain by a mounted Norman knight (right) or both.

Friday's Visit

Friday 11 May 2012, 13.30 - 15.45

Dr Elizabeth Matthew, University of Reading

Britain's Bayeux Tapestry

This tour will focus on one of Reading Museum's most prominent acquisitions: the full-size British replica of the Bayeux Tapestry, hand-crafted by the Leek Embroidery Society in 1885-6. How did it come to Reading? Why was it made? How closely does it match the eleventh-century original? Why do the iconic scenes they depict still spark so much historical interest and debate?

Code: FVEM1


Saturday 12 May 2012, 11.15-12.15

Patrick Major, Professor of Modern History at the University of Reading

Bad Nazis and Good Germans: Hollywood and the Third Reich - explains the shifting demonisation and rehabilitation of Nazi Germany against the backdrop of neutrality, war and Cold War, focusing on depictions of  the Gestapo and Wehrmacht. Guilt was not black and white, but black and field grey. The talk, based on studio archives, covers Seventh Cross, Desert Fox, Enemy Below and Saving Private Ryan, including many stills and publicity shots.

Code: SGPM1


Charles Darwin (1809-1882) in his later years. Photo by J. Cameron, 1869.
Charles Darwin (1809-1882) in his later years. Photo by J. Cameron, 1869.

Saturday 12 May 2012, 12.30-13.30

Dr David Stack, Reader in History, University of Reading

'Eugenics, 1859-1945'

Dr David Stack will trace the development, success and international appeal of eugenic ideas in from the publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species (1859) through to the end of World War Two. In the process, he will ask to what extent it is justified to see a direct connection between Darwin and the deathcamps of the 'Final Solution'.

Code: SGDS2


Saturday 12 May 2012, 14.15-15.15

Dr Emma Vickers, Lecturer in Modern British History University of Reading

Fighting a different war: contesting the place of the queer solider in the mythology of the Second World War

In the mid-1990s, the queer solider finally became visible. On the streets, gay rights campaigners led by Peter Tatchell questioned the efficacy of the MoD's exclusion of queer personnel from the Armed Forces and the institution's apparent unwillingness to acknowledge that queer men and women had fought in two world wars for a country that criminalised their sexual expression. Within parliament, MPs who supported the lifting of the ban used the Second World War and the success of its queer personnel as evidence of the MoD's backward approach to the issue. This paper will explore this activity and discuss why the existence of the queer soldier in the Armed Forces between 1939 and 1945 continues to pose such a threat to the sanctity of the People's War.

Code: SGEV3


Saturday 12 May 2012, 15.30-16.30

Dr Matthew Worley, Reader in History, University of Reading

Shot by both sides: Punk, Politics and the collapse of consensus in Britain

This paper examines the way in which organisations of the far left and far right endeavoured to appropriate elements of British youth culture to validate their analysis of British politics and society in the late 1970s. In particular, it focuses on punk - seen by sections of both the political left and right as a cultural expression of social and political crisis. It argues that by taking such a 'cultural turn', both sides of the political spectrum served to undermine the principal basis on which they had initially built their core support.

Code: SGMW4


Saturday's Visit

Saturday 12 May 2012, 14.15 -16.15

Dr Peter Durrant, County Archivist, Berkshire Record Office

A Visit to Berkshire Record Office

Berkshire Record Office provides the archive service for the Royal County of Berkshire. Occupying a new building (opened in 2000) a few minutes walk from the centre of Reading, it holds over five miles of records dating from the twelfth century to the present day. Highlights include the important mediaeval borough records of Wallingford, the archives of the Thames Navigation Commission and related bodies, and the records of Broadmoor Hospital. The tour will include the strongrooms and a visit to the conservation studio.

Code: SVPD1

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