PGR Open Day – 15 November

For those considering postgraduate studies in imperial and global history at the University of Exeter, the Doctoral College is organizing an Open Day on the Streatham Campus on 15 November from 12.45-6.30pm for both PGT and PGR students. The Open Day includes talks on funding for both Masters and PhD students, Exeter’s PGR research environment and facilities, meeting departmental staff, and a drinks reception.

Prospective applicants can find further information and can sign up for the Open Day here.

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

The Eldorado club in Berlin was one of the many popular clubs for ‘homosexuals and transvestites’ visiting the city in the 1920s and early 30s. (c) Germany Federal Republic Archives

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From the Hollywood Nazi who spied for America to the myth of the spitting anti-war protester, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Exeter unveils its new £1.2 million Digital Humanities Lab

This past week, we’ve had some exciting new developments for the study of imperial and global history at the University of Exeter. Introducing the new Digital Humanities lab!

The University of Exeter’s new £1.2m Digital Humanities lab opened this week.  The lab will allow researchers to use high-tech equipment to find out more about our cultural heritage and creative past and share their discoveries with the public. The new facilities confirm the University of Exeter’s position at the forefront of international research into historical and cultural artefacts. Continue reading “Exeter unveils its new £1.2 million Digital Humanities Lab”

Rethinking American Grand Strategy in the Asia Pacific

By More than Providence: Grand Strategy and American Power in the Asia Pacific Since 1783. By Michael J. Green. Illustrated. 725 pp. Columbia University Press. $45.

Reviewed by Jonathan R. Hunt (University of Southampton)
Follow on Twitter @JRHunTx

Otto von Bismarck once remarked that the United States was blessed: “The Americans are truly a lucky people. They are bordered to the north and south by weak neighbours and to the east and west by fish.” Thanks to this geographic grace, George Washington could call for freedom from “entangling alliances” in his farewell address. This distance has also bred a strong undercurrent of parochialism and chauvinism in American culture. From these two impulses has emerged the conceptual DNA of American foreign relations in the form of two dichotomies—exemplarism versus interventionism; cosmopolitanism versus exceptionalism—lending form and structure to debates about how a democratic people should manage their affairs in an often unkind, even hostile, world.

In his sweeping and authoritative account of United States grand strategy in the Asia Pacific, Michael J. Green reminds us that Americans have long regarded this maritime expanse – from the Aleutians to Cape Horn in the Western Hemisphere across to Australasia and Sakhalin in the Eastern — as integral to defending their ‘empire of liberty’. Nineteenth-century policymakers from Thomas Jefferson and Matthew C. Perry to Henry Seward and John Hay sought to pry open these watery frontiers to American influence (and conquest) so as to stave off any threats that might overleap the Pacific Ocean. Their twentieth-century successors, Alfred Thayer Mahan and Teddy Roosevelt, George Marshall and Franklin Roosevelt, Dean Acheson and Harry Truman, Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon, George Shultz and Ronald Reagan, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, among others, have fought to keep the Pacific an American lake – for now. Continue reading “Rethinking American Grand Strategy in the Asia Pacific”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Claudia Jones

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From how colonial borders still influence the way academics study Africa to the transnational activism of Claudia Jones, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Why the UK Must Teach More Chinese History

Zheng He, the eunuch admiral.

Tom Harper
University of Surrey

The Sovietologist E.H. Carr once asked “what is history?” in his book of the same name. It is a question that may need to be asked again in light of plans by Oxford University to introduce exams in non-Western history. Such a move is cast against the background of the apparent backlash against the traditional notions of imperial history as symbolised by the protests over the philosophy courses of the School of Oriental and African Studies for focusing on European thinkers at the expense of Asian and African philosophers.

These Oxford initiatives should not be considered as merely simplistic, politically correct gesture politics. Instead, with the rise of the Eastern powers, most notably China, it has become imperative to reconsider the limitations of the current Eurocentric curriculum. As the influence of China grows, so too does its historical experiences with imperialism, as epitomised by Xi Jinping’s utilisation of China’s imperial past as a source of national pride. In order for UK universities to stay afloat in changing waters and to cast off the shackles of their Eurocentrism, they will need to start placing a greater emphasis on Asia – and China, in particular. Continue reading “Why the UK Must Teach More Chinese History”

Call for Papers – Britain and the World Conference 2018 (Exeter, June 2018) #BATW2018

Reed Hall, University of Exeter, where the 2018 conference will be held.

This serves as the Call for Papers for the 2018 Britain and the World Conference, Exeter, June 2018 (#BATW2018).

After our tenth anniversary conference in Austin in April 2017, Britain and the World returns to the UK for 2018: Thursday 21 to Saturday 23 June. It will be at Exeter University: the venue is Reed Hall and accommodation is at the neighbouring Holland Hall, and, as always, the conference is concerned with interactions within the ‘British world’ from the beginning of the seventeenth century to the present and will highlight the importance of transnational perspectives.

The Keynote Speaker will be Professor Richard Overy (Exeter), and the Plenary Speaker is Professor Audrey Horning (Queen’s University Belfast). There’ll be lunchtime roundtables on cinema and history, and on public history. Publishers present will include our journal publisher Edinburgh University Press, and our book series publisher Palgrave Macmillan, and the commissioning editor will be present throughout to discuss your publishing plans.

We accept both individual twenty-minute papers and complete panel submissions. Panels are expected to consist of three papers and should be submitted by one person who is willing to serve as the point of contact. Complete panels should also include a chair. In addition to abstracts for each individual paper, panel submissions should also include a 100-150 word introduction describing the panel’s main theme. The conference does not discriminate between panels and individual paper submissions, nor between graduate students and established academics.

As ever the conference icebreaker will be held on the Thursday evening, the Dinner Party on the Friday, and the outings downtown on the Saturday. These events will provide numerous opportunities for networking and more in the capital of Devon.

Exeter is two hours by direct train from London, and there is a direct National Express bus line from Heathrow Airport. Exeter also has its own international airport, and is one hour by train from Bristol.

Exeter Cathedral.

On campus is the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, home to one of the largest collections in Britain of material relating to film. The University’s special collections are noted for archives relating to twentieth-century South West Writing (and include the papers of Daphne du Maurier), literature and visual culture, Victorian culture and imperial endeavour, Arab and Islamic studies, and religious and parish book collections. In city centre there are Exeter Cathedral and archives, the Devon and Exeter Institute (which houses a large collection of local archival materials), Exeter Castle, and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM). Continue reading “Call for Papers – Britain and the World Conference 2018 (Exeter, June 2018) #BATW2018”