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Drop-in session: Branches welcome meeting
This session is an opportunity to find out more about the HA’s network of local branches and meet colleagues informally before the live conference begins. The new chair of the branches committee, Peter Hounsell, will introduce the session with a short presentation about what branches do, the role of the branches committee, and how you can get involved. HA branches are open to all members and hold regular programmes of history lectures and activities. They are keen to welcome new members and support local schools where possible. For those more familiar with our branches, this is a chance to meet others interested in history over a virtual coffee or drink. Please submit any questions in advance to
Live session: Monday 24 May 2021, 6:15 pm

The Civil War among American Civil War historians
Adam Smith
University of Oxford
In his second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln reflected that “all knew” that slavery “was, somehow, the cause” of the American Civil War. Historians agree about the centrality of slavery but are divided about that “somehow”. Was the Republican Party a radical mass movement aiming from the outset to destroy slavery? Or did slaveholding create political tensions which led both sections to stumble into war? Adam Smith discusses recent historical scholarship and asks if there is a way to bridge the divide among historians.
Live session: Tuesday 25 May 2021, 4:30 pm

Refugees and twentieth-century Britain
Becky Taylor
University of East Anglia
In her session Becky Taylor will use a selection of documents to explore what the sudden arrival of vulnerable strangers might reveal about the changing nature of modern Britain.
Live session: Tuesday 25 May 2021, 4:30 pm

Kingship, queenship and political society during the Wars of the Roses
James Ross, Gordon McKelvie and Ellie Woodacre
University of Winchester
There have been significant developments in our understanding of the Wars of the Roses in the last two decades, both in the discovery of new evidence, such as Richard III’s bones, and in new approaches by historians, notably concerning the role of ordinary people in politics, the study of queenship and the study of political ideas. James Ross’s talk will bring these disparate strands together, assess the current state of research and consider possible future avenues of study. A live panel of three experts from the University of Winchester, Gordon McKelvie, Ellie Woodacre and James Ross, who work on a range of aspects of the Wars of the Roses, including kingship, queenship, the nobility, popular protest and bastard feudalism, will pick up on some of the themes from Dr Ross’s lecture and will (try to) answer questions on the Wars from the audience.
Live session: Tuesday 25 May 2021, 6:00 pm

The trial of Michael Würth, a seventeenth-century male ‘witch’
Alison Rowlands
University of Essex
Men made up around a quarter of all those accused of witchcraft in German courts between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. In this talk, I explore the experience of one of these men: Michael Würth, a wheelwright from the city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, whose life was changed forever when he was accused of murder by witchcraft by his next-door neighbour in 1663. I discuss his trial and its aftermath, exploring who Würth was, why he was accused of witchcraft and why he was able to survive a legal process that could, technically, have ended in his execution. The talk will also explore ideas about male witchcraft and masculinity in seventeenth-century Germany.
Live session: Tuesday 25 May 2021, 6:00 pm

From Confucius to Conflict: the rise and fall and rise of China’s greatest philosopher and the shaping of modern China
Rana Mitter
University of Oxford
Live session: Wednesday 26 May 2021, 4:30 pm

‘A classic example of over work, of hard and inappropriate labour’: the life of the nineteenth-century brickmaker
Peter Hounsell
HA Ealing Branch
Karl Marx’s verdict in Das Kapital was based largely on his reading of a Report of the Children’s Employment Commission (1866). This rich source sheds light on the working conditions experienced by the men, women and children involved in the industry and helped to stimulate reforms. The industry finally came under the scope of the Factory Acts, which ensured that young children were no longer employed and were able to go to school instead.
Live session: Wednesday 26 May 2021, 4:30 pm

Herodotus and the origins of history
Tom Harrison
University of St Andrews
In this lecture Tom Harrison of the University of St Andrews looks at Herodotus and his book The Histories. Professor Harrison examines the influence of Homer, Herodotus’s moral theology and ethnography and his ideas on human development.
Live session: Thursday 27 May 2021, 4:30 pm

A history of Pan-Africanism
Hakim Adi
University of Chichester
In this session, Hakim Adi will present a history of Pan-Africanism from the time of the Sons of Africa in the 18th century to the Black Lives Matter movement of 2020, explaining why Britain has always been central to this history.
Live session: Thursday 27 May 2021, 4:30 pm

Blood and iron: the rise and fall of the German Empire 1871–1918
Katja Hoyer
Historian and author
The German Empire before 1914 is often perceived to be a militaristic and dictatorial system that naturally resulted in war and eventually in Nazism. While the Second Reich had a constitution that tried to control the forces of democracy and liberalism from above, it was also home to the largest social-democratic movement in Europe and to a parliament elected through universal (if male-only) suffrage. The dramatic tale of Germany’s first nation state deserves to be told in its full complexity, not as a mere prelude to the events that succeeded it.
Live session: Friday 28 May 2021, 4:30 pm

Father of a genius: Robert Evans and the making of George Eliot
David Paterson
HA Nuneaton Branch
2019 saw the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of our greatest novelists, George Eliot. In this talk, David Paterson looks at the vital importance to her work of the early nineteenth-century midland world in which she grew up. The influence of her land agent father Robert Evans is seen as especially significant, and David will show this by illustrating how far his work provided his daughter with both the raw material and the philosophical approach that underpin almost all her writing.
Live session: Friday 28 May 2021, 4:30 pm

Divorce, medieval Lincolnshire style: the murder of William Cantilupe, 1375
Frederik Pedersen
University of Aberdeen
This talk explores the murder of the great-nephew of Thomas of Hereford, the last English saint. The victim, William Cantilupe, was attacked and murdered as he was preparing to go to bed in his wife, Maud Nevill’s manor in Scotton, Lincolnshire on 23 March 1375. After his murder, the assassins cleaned his body, put it into a sack and took it seven miles away on horseback where the scene was staged to look like a highway robbery. Two men, Roger Cook and Richard Gyse, William’s cook and squire, were convicted of the crime and became the first people to be tried and executed under the 1351 Treason Act. During their trial, accusations were made that the pair had acted under the direction of William’s wife, together with his chambermaid who unlocked William’s bedchamber. So thick was the plot that some 15 members of William’s household were initially indicted for the murder. This paper argues that the murder had been planned over a period of years and that it involved William’s wife, Thomas Kydale, who was the sheriff of Lincoln, and the nobleman Ralph Paynel. While a romantic sub-plot could explain the participation of Thomas Kydale, I suggest that the roots of the plot go back to the humiliation that Ralph Paynel, a magnate with strong royal connections and the father in-law of William’s brother, Nicholas, may have felt at the humiliation of his daughter, Catherine at the hands of another member of the Cantilupe family. Paynel’s enmity took its beginning in the disastrous marriage between his daughter and William’s older brother, Nicholas, seven years earlier. The paper traces a tangled web of legal wrangling, armed conflict, and a bitter contest between the Cantilupe and the Paynel families which cast new light on the case and raises new questions about Nicholas Cantilupe’s gender identity.
Live session: Saturday 29 May 2021, 11:30 am

Capital and kin: women, family and enslavement in seventeenth-century Barbados
Misha Ewen
Historic Royal Palaces
In this session, using the letters and legal records of English women, Misha Ewen will explore how the first generation of Barbados colonists established networks of family and kinship in the Atlantic world, allowing them to develop plantation economies and establish practices of enslavement. Their archives reveal the range of legal and economic competencies and tools that women had at their disposal to further their colonial interests, but their records also offer a rare glimpse into the lives of the enslaved people.
Live session: Saturday 29 May 2021, 11:30 am

Women and the Crusades
Natasha Hodgson
Nottingham Trent University
The expeditions we refer to as ‘Crusades’ dominate a controversial era of Western European History during which the act of killing ‘enemies of Christ’ became an active means to gaining salvation. They have long been synonymous with warfare, religion and politics – manly endeavours that were perceived to exclude women. However, crusades were also pilgrimages open to all Christians, and in the eyes of the Church the whole of Christian society was beholden to support crusading – including medieval women. This session will explore the histories of women on different sides of the conflict, who joined crusade armies, lived in areas captured by crusaders and advocated for the crusade movement in the West both financially and spiritually.
Live session: Saturday 29 May 2021, 1:00 pm

Legacies of Empire: Native North American Travellers to Britain
David Stirrup and Jacqueline Fear-Segal
University of Kent
In this lecture David Stirrup and Jacqueline Fear-Segal of the University of Kent look at the history of Native North American Travellers to Britain.
Live session: Saturday 29 May 2021, 1:00 pm

Accidental death in the Tudor landscape
Steven Gunn
University of Oxford
Inquest reports on accidental deaths in Tudor England shed light on everyday life. This talk shows how they can be used to explore the landscape and how people lived in it: the different hazards presented by fells and fens, the differences in farming on contrasting soils, the different industries based on coal and chalk, the hazards of travel and how to avoid them.
Live session: Saturday 29 May 2021, 3:00 pm

Old age care in the time of crisis: London in the sixteenth century
Christine Fox
Utrecht University
In this session, Christine Fox discusses some of the key findings from her recent project ‘Old Age Care in the Time of Crisis: London in the 16th Century’ and then looks at public health in general in the sixteenth century.
Live session: Saturday 29 May 2021, 3:00 pm


Call for papers 2021

About Bristol 2021 Conference

HA Virtual Conference

About the Virtual Conference

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