Keynote addresses

Presidential Lecture

The Kennedys and the Gores
Tony Badger
President, Historical Association

Historical Association Annual Conference

In a country that prides itself on its egalitarianism and its democracy, it is perhaps surprising that family dynasties are so prominent in its national politics – the Kennedys, the Bushes, the Clintons. Albert Gore Sr was a prominent senator in the 1950s and 1960s. His son was in due course elected to the Senate as well, then to the vice-presidency, and finally was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the presidency in 2000. Gore Sr was elected to the Senate at the same time as JFK and their families were friends. Their close political friendship survived Gore wrecking JFK’s chances of winning the vice-presidential party nomination in 1956. Gore’s remorseless opposition to the Kennedy tax cut also led to the President describing him as a son of a bitch. Gore and Bobby Kennedy were allied on both social spending programmes and the the Vietnam War. When RFK was assassinated, Gore hoped that Ted Kennedy would run for the presidency in 1968. At great political cost he supported Ted Kennedy’s drive to oppose Nixon’s southern nominations to the Supreme Court. Gore’s son and Ted Kennedy served in the Senate together and both had presidential ambitions. In the 1980s both had different visions of how the national Democrats could win. Those differences continued into the Clinton presidency and the 2000 election.

The lecture examines these friendships and tensions over 50 years to illustrate the changing nature and fortunes of the Democratic Party.

Education keynote speech

Inspecting the history curriculum under the new inspection framework (EIF) 2019
Heather Fearn
Inspector Curriculum and Professional Development Lead, Ofsted

Historical Association Annual Conference

This session will aim to explain Ofsted’s approach to inspecting the curriculum under the new education inspection framework (EIF) that will come into effect in September 2019, with special reference to the history curriculum.

Friday keynote speech

The Raj at war: a people’s history of India’s Second World War 
Yasmin Khan
Associate Professor of British History, University of Oxford

Historical Association Annual Conference

Indian soldiers stand at the centre of the Second World War. They fought at all the major battles, spanning the war’s theatres from Monte Casino to Kohima. There were Indian regiments fighting in the deserts of North and East Africa. Indian regiments served around the Mediterranean, in Italy and in Greece, and they rolled into Rome as it was recaptured. Along the South-East Asian theatre they were the backbone of the troops at every grisly battle for Burma. There were Indians evacuated at Dunkirk and Indian fighter pilots flying deadly sorties in the RAF during the Battle of Britain. We know more about these two million soldiers than ever before.

But what about South Asians at home and the experiences of ordinary people beyond the battlefield? Can we talk of something like India’s Home Front? Did India experience ‘total war’ with all its social, economic and moral implications? This part of India’s war is a strangely obscure story. How did the global war – which was wrenching apart societies across the world – shape India’s own development during the 1940s? How far did Indian society itself feel the full force of the world’s war?

Told through the life-stories of individuals – soldiers, civilians, men and women – this lecture will restore the centrality of India to the war.

Saturday keynote speech

Uncomfortable histories: from sex to the suffragettes
Fern Riddell

Historical Association Annual Conference

Uncomfortable histories: from sex to the suffragettes  Over the last few years, we have seen a widespread cultural failure in our history. From the rose-tinted nostalgia of politicians to a rise in destructive ideologies, history has become weaponised by those who seek to misuse, misrepresent and misunderstand it. At the same time, the field of history is undergoing rapid, exciting and much-needed changes, reversing the status quo and bringing to light histories that have previously been ignored or passed over. In this lecture, Dr Fern Riddell will discuss the challenges of bringing ‘uncomfortable histories’ to light – ones that contradict our ideas about the past and yet give us a far clearer understanding of the world as it was, rather than just the world as some might wish it to have been. Focusing on her research into suffragette terrorism and Victorian attitudes to sexuality, she also explores why it is so important to teach these histories in our homes, our schools and our universities.


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