20 episodes

Public History seminars at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.

Public History Seminars University of London

    • Society & Culture

Public History seminars at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.

    Double Helix History: the use of DNA in Popular Genealogy?

    Double Helix History: the use of DNA in Popular Genealogy?

    Institute of Historical Research

    Double Helix History: the use of DNA in Popular Genealogy?

    Dr Jerome de Groot
    (University of Manchester)

    Genealogy is on e of the biggest and most profitable activities on the planet. Generally undertaken via massive gateway websites like Ancestry.com (14 billion family history records; 60 million member trees) it involves investigators around the world formulating their 'family tree' and imagining their relationship to the past accordingly.

    Increasingly these websites are adding a new tool to the researcher's armoury: DNA sequencing. The armchair genealogist investigates their past by spitting in a tube. The creation of huge repositories of DNA databases allows for analysis to be undertaken that leads to 'scientific' speculation about the ancestry of the individual.

    This paper investigates this intersection of genetics and popular narratives of the self/ the past.How is this science represented and understood? How, particularly, is it visualised? What does this mean for privacy, and the projection of the self online? What are the imaginative implications of sharing DNA data? Does DNA render an identity 'outside of history'? Certainly it seems to allow for entire populations ejected from the archive to find their ancestors - Henry Louis Gates Jr. has claimed 'we are able, symbolically at least, to reverse the Middle Passage'.

    Public History seminar series

    • 54 min
    The personal heritage research environment in the 21st century

    The personal heritage research environment in the 21st century

    Institute of Historical Research

    The personal heritage research environment in the 21st century

    Dr Nick Barratt
    (Associate Director, Collections & Engagement, Senate House Library)

    Drawing upon case studies and examples, Dr Barratt will explore changing approaches to personal heritage - including genealogy, local and social history - over the last decade and a half, arguing that current practice threatens to undermine the evolving research infrastructure.

    Public History seminar series

    • 51 min
    The Generational Transmission of Memory and Identity through 'Family Heritage'

    The Generational Transmission of Memory and Identity through 'Family Heritage'

    Institute of Historical Research

    The Generational Transmission of Memory and Identity through 'Family Heritage'

    Anne-Marie Kramer
    (University of Nottingham)

    This paper will explore the generational transmission of memory and identity through a focus on the role of 'family heritage'. It will analyse what form remembrance practices take, map and problematize the relationship between the family and public archive/history in understanding and interpreting the legacy of the past, and begin to tease out some consequences of these acts of 'remembrance'. IT will therefore ask a number of related questions. First, what forms of 'value' accrue to family history and heritage? Second, what does performing 'remembrance' mean in this context, and what role are texts and material objects expected to play in 'remembering'? Third, who and what is remembered, to what ends, and with what effects? Fourth, what role does family history and heritage play in reproducing and/or challenging official histories, and how do such projects imagine the relationship between individual, family, community and 'nation'? Lastly, how are these practises of remembrance used to re/construct relationships and connectedness in the past/present/future, between and among the generations?

    Public History seminar series

    Cabinet of Curiosities: Using Museums to Challenge Disablism

    Cabinet of Curiosities: Using Museums to Challenge Disablism

    Institute of Historical Research

    Cabinet of Curiosities: Using Museums to Challenge Disablism

    Jocelyn Dodd
    (University of Leicester)

    The rich and diverse collections museums hold, display and interpret, give us a sense of what society values and what it chooses not to value. For too long material related to the lives of disabled people has been buried in the buried in the footnotes. Cabinet of Curiosities: using museums to challenge disablism will explore how the material evidence, the history and experiences of disabled people which are part of museum’s collections can be used to engage the public in a reassessment of widely held assumptions surrounding disability and to challenge deeply entrenched negative and discriminatory contemporary attitudes towards disabled people. The session will explore how museum can re- present their collections to give more informed rights-based understandings of disability.
    The session will raise questions of how museum & heritage collections can be used to inform contemporary social issues.

    This session is based on research undertaken by The Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG).

    Jocelyn Dodd is Director of RCMG (Research Centre for Museums and Galleries), School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester.

    Public History seminar series

    Homesick for Yesterday: A history of the "nostalgia wave" in the 1970s and 80s

    Homesick for Yesterday: A history of the "nostalgia wave" in the 1970s and 80s

    Institute of Historical Research

    Homesick for Yesterday: A history of the "nostalgia wave" in the 1970s and 80s

    Tobias Becker
    (German Historical Institute, London)

    All throughout the 1970s and 80s intellectuals in the United States, Britain and West Germany complained about a “nostalgia wave”, an almost pathological yearning for a sentimentalised past that afflicted Western societies. Initially they found nostalgia mainly in pop culture’s return to its own past, particularly the revival of the 50s in rock music, film and on TV. Soon, however, the “nostalgia wave” manifested itself in the booming antiques trade, the success of the conservation movement and the popularity of historical books, museums and exhibitions, in short, what Robert Hewison dubbed the “heritage industry”.
    My paper looks at the discourse, the manifestations and the contemporary explanations of the “nostalgia wave”. It argues that the nostalgia discourse was partly a reaction to the popularisation and democratisation of history: a means to reinstate the interpretative authority of academic history by discrediting the grass-roots engagement with history and the appropriation of scholarly practices by amateurs. However the popular interest in the past was also indicative of changing concepts of time. Drawing on the works of Hartmut Rosa and François Hartog, the paper understands the “nostalgia wave” as an expression of a new, presentist “regime of historicity” that emerged as a result of accelerated social change.

    Tobias Becker is a research fellow at the German Historical Institute London, where he works on the “nostalgia wave” in the 1970s and 80s. Publications include Inszenierte Moderne. Populäres Theater in Berlin und London, 1880-1930 (2014); Popular Musical Theatre in London and Berlin, 1890-1939 (ed. with Len Platt and David Linton, 2014).

    Public History seminar series

    Public History Prize Symposium - Professor Pamela Cox

    Public History Prize Symposium - Professor Pamela Cox

    Institute of Historical Research

    Public History Prize Symposium

    Professor Pamela Cox
    (University of Essex)

    Public History seminar series

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