Robert Dover’s Olympick Games

I contributed to this BBC Radio 3 documentary on Dover’s games, presented by former test cricketer Ed Smith. You can listen to the documentary here (available til 26th Feb 2012).

Published in: on February 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Non-traditional assessment in ‘traditional’ subjects – HEA workshop 4th April 2012

The Department of Humanities at the University of Roehampton has received some funding to host a workshop exploring the use of ePortfolios in teaching and assessing ‘traditional’ subjects (the examples used in the workshop will mainly be drawn from History and Classics). In particular, we will be looking at the use of PLEs (Personal Learning Environments) in supporting independent project work, improving study skills and enhancing employability. Details of the workshop can be found over here at the HEA website. The event is free and we have 30 places for interested delegates.

Londoners: Rioting through the Ages

An article I wrote for Al-Jazeera on the recent riots in England can be found here.

It was picked up by In These Times in an interesting piece by Michelle Chan.

Elsewhere, History Today editor Paul Lay had some thoughtful insights on the literary rather than historical parallels.

Histories of Activism Postgraduate Conference CFP


Event Type: Conference


Date: Saturday 26th November 2011


Event Location: Bishopsgate Institute, London


Call for Papers Details


Call for Papers Deadline: 28th June 2011


Northumbria University’s Histories of Activism group is proud to present its first postgraduate conference, in association with the Society for the Study of Labour History. Activism can take many forms, from extreme militancy to peaceful lobbying, and provides a unique insight into how societies are shaped. This conference aims to explore forms of political activism across Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Political activism is not simply confined to extreme political movements, or beliefs, but can apply to many issues, such as suffrage rights, racial equality and economic issues. This conference aims to place political activism within its historical context and to explore how such activism shaped and defined modern European politics, both within the confines of individual states as well as through transnational studies. We welcome papers on any form of political activism – some potential themes and ideas for papers may include, but are not limited to:-


–          The activism of political pressure groups

–          The emergence of peripheral political movements

–          Top-down approaches to activism

–          Activism within governments

–          Grass-roots activism and its impact on socialist policies

–          Political activism and gender issues

–          Political activism and race

–          The impact of pressure groups on various levels of government

–          The role of pressure groups in the wider scheme of politics

–          The role of activism in politics, is it effective?

–          Historical theories of activism

–          How does activism travel?

–          How do governments use politically active groups to their advantage?


Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted by 28th June 2011. All abstracts should be emailed to Vanessa Sherriffs at and should include a title, contact details and institutional information. Please also include areas of research interest, as it may be possible to set up parallel panels during the morning session. Bursaries for travel within the UK are available from the Society for the Study of Labour History. All other enquires should be directed to Vanessa Sherriffs at


Those interested in attending the conference as a delegate are also welcome, please register interest by email.

Published in: on June 12, 2011 at 9:57 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Readings and Representations of the Seventeenth Century

‘Such Total and Prodigious Alteration’/‘The Wounds May Be Again Bound Up’: Readings and Representations of the Seventeenth Century’

An academic conference to be held in Chetham’s Library, Manchester, 28th-29th January,

A  forum for researchers in all disciplines whose work spans all or any part of the long seventeenth
century. We also encourage papers discussing subsequent representations of  the
period in all areas of culture.

Confirmed speakers include:

Rosanna Cox (Kent),
Jeremy Gregory (Manchester),
Helen Pierce (York),
George Southcombe (Oxford),
Jeremy Tambling (Manchester),
Edward Vallance (Roehampton)

Abstracts of 300-500 words to be sent to James Smith (Manchester) and Joel Swann (Keele) by 15th
October 2010:

CFP here.

Published in: on June 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Restoration London Conference CFP

Call for papers announced for this conference, taking place Sept 2010 at the IHR. Flyer attached. Proposals due 31 May.

Call for papers (2)

Published in: on March 22, 2010 at 10:22 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

From Space to Place: The Spatial Dimension in the History of Western Europe

A reminder about this upcoming conference, organised by colleagues at Roehampton, which takes places 16/17 April at the German Historical Institute, Bloomsbury, London. Further details here. A full programme is now available.

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 7:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Political and Popular Culture in the Early Modern Period

Happy New Year!

A reminder about the above Pickering and Chatto series. We would welcome proposals for new monographs. Details of where to send proposals and the form they should take can be found on the series homepage. Here you can also find details of current and forthcoming titles within the series.

Ted Vallance

From Space to Place: the Spatial Dimension in History of Western Europe 16 and 17 April 2010

Centre for Research in History and Theory

German Historical Institute, 17 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NJ.

A two-day international and interdisciplinary conference, organised by the Centre for Research in History and Theory, Roehampton University

This conference will explore the so-called ‘spatial turn in history’ discussed among historians for the last decade or so and inspired by earlier anthropological ideas and the interdisciplinary approach by sociologists, especially geographers. It challenges the idea of place or space in history as an unreflected essentialist category linked to tradition and immutability. Instead, space as place is shown to be socially and culturally constructed, mediated and contested. Organised into three separate but interlinking topics (social space, workplace and intimate space) papers will investigate how specific spaces in the past not only evoked but conveyed political, social, cultural and symbolic meaning and conversely how particular spaces/places influenced this meaning.

The conference is interdisciplinary; historians and geographers with an interest in politics, society, culture and gender as well as anthropologists, archaeologists, and literary scholars will explore the meaning of space in the past by situating it in its precise historical

context. There will be broader reflections on historiography and theory as well as case studies from a wide chronological span (from the medieval, early modern to the modern period) but geographically restricted to Western Europe.


10.00am   Registration

10.30am   Welcome by Andreas Gestrich, Director, German Historical Institute, and Cornelie Usborne, Roehampton University

10.45am – 1pm General reflections

  1. Beat Kümin (History, Warwick), ‘The “spatial turn” from a historical perspective’

2.   Linda McDowell (Human Geography, St John’s College, Oxford), ‘Space and place in geographical theory: from spatial differentiation to social relations’

3.   Eliza Darling, (Anthropology, Goldsmith College, London), ‘The spatial turn that wasn’t: class, anthropology, and the triumph of place over space’

1 – 2pm Lunch at the GHI

2 – 5pm Social Space

  1. Matthew Johnson (Archaeology, Southampton), ‘Late Medieval Spaces, Early Modern Practices’
  2. Gerd Schwerhoff (History, Technical University Dresden), ‘Public places in early modern towns’.

3. – 3.30 Tea break

  1. Leif Jerram (Urban History, Manchester), ‘Space: A Useless Category of Historical Analysis?’ (with case studies from turn of the 20th-century Munich)

Conference Dinner


10 – 10.30am coffee

10.30 – 12.45pm Workplace

1. Jeremy Goldberg (History, York), ‘“I have mor to doo then I doo may”: Problematising Labour, Space and Gender in later medieval England’

2.  Amanda Flather (History, Essex), ‘Space, place and gender: the sexual and spatial division of labour in the early modern household’

3. Steven King (History, Oxford Brookes), ‘Work places and places of work: Labour market architecture and issues of space in Europe 1750-1870’

12.45-1.45pm Lunch at the GHI

1.45- 4pm  Intimate Places

1.  Felicity Riddy (English, York), ‘Space, intimacy and values in the late medieval English “bourgeois” home’

2. Sandra Cavallo (History, Royal Holloway), ‘Spaces for body-care and body services in the early modern Italian home’

3. Willem de Blėcourt (Historical Anthropology, Huizinga Institute, Amsterdam), ‘Over the Threshold: liminality, proximity & intimacy in twentieth-century witchcraft discourse’ 

4-4.30pm Tea

4.30 – 5.30pm Roundtable

Organising committee:  Prof. Cornelie Usborne, Prof. John Tosh, Dr Charlotte Behr, Dr Sara Pennell, Dr John Seed, Dr. Sabine Wieber, Prof. Trevor Dean.

Participation Fee: £ 80 (including lunch and refreshments on both days)

£ 40 Students/Associate Tutors

For more information and registration see:

Published in: on September 30, 2009 at 2:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Controversy, protest, ridicule and laughter

The University of Reading Early Modern Studies Conference 9-11 July 2010

Call for Papers

This three-day conference at the University of Reading aims to draw together scholars from a variety of disciplines working on areas related to the themes of controversy, protest, ridicule, and laughter in the early modern period.

Controversy, protest, ridicule and laughter are means to register more than disagreement: they convey contemptuous opposition to an opponent. How can the study of their uses advance our understanding of the nature and development of public debate in the early modern period?

How were new media (theatres, newsbooks, periodicals) and traditional forms (sermons, proclamations, disputations) used by the two (or more) sides in early modern controversies? What were the connections between ‘low’ literary forms (pamphlets, ballads, satires, libels), and the learned seriocomic tradition of, for example, Erasmus’s Praise of Folly?
What were the sites of protest: Parliament; stage; university; alehouse; Inns of Court – and what connections, if any, existed between these spaces?

What role did ridicule have in religious and political controversy, from Martin Marprelate to John Milton’s anti-prelatical writings? How were the conventions for mocking one’s opponent refracted by variables of class and gender?

Laughter might be a marker of intellectual achievement (distinguishing the human from the animal), or it might be condemned as a sign of brutality. If laugher was both elevating and debasing, what strategies were used by writers of satire, comedy and polemic to control its connotations? How can we write a history of laughter? How useful is more recent psychological and philosophical work on laughter – by Freud or Henri Bergson, for example – for work on early modern culture?

Possible topics include:

Humanism, learning, wit, and laughter; gender and class; classical ideas of laughter and ridicule; disputation and debate in education; ridicule, stereotyping and national identity; European models of controversy and ridicule; popular radicalism and the public sphere; conduct manuals and the etiquettes of laughter; the Putney Debates; clowns and jesters; new media and popular radicalism; the Spanish Match; burlesque, parody, scatology and obscenity; Jonson’s comedy of humours and satirical comedy; popular print (pamphlets, ballads) and ‘low’ literary forms; urban and rural forms of controversy; Rabelais and discourses of the body; legal controversy: sedition, libel, slander; the Marprelate Tracts; jokes and jests on the stage and page; Milton’s Defensio pro populo Anglicano; the Oath of Allegiance controversy; mimicry and impersonation; Civil War religious radicalism; the carnivalesque; Jacobitism; traditions of complaint, satire and invective; the decorum of ridicule, controversy, and ideas of ethical restraint; the ‘Glorious Revolution’ and ‘godly revolution’.

We invite papers that consider any or all of this year’s themes. Proposals (max. 300 words) for 30 minute papers and a brief CV should be sent via email attachment by 4 December 2009 to: Dr. Chloë Houston, School of English and American Literature, University of Reading,

Published in: on August 20, 2009 at 1:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , ,