Friday, 19 August 2016

LSHG Seminar series Autumn 2016

London Socialist Historians Group seminar series Autumn 2016
All in Room 304 Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, WC1, at 5.30pm. Free without ticket - no need to book in advance. 

Monday October 10th 2016 - Steve Cushion: 'A Working Class Heroine Is Also Something To Be: Where women workers fit into "A Hidden History of the Cuban Revolution, How the Working Class Shaped the Guerrilla Victory"'

Monday October 24th 2016 - Ian Birchall: 'Lenin’s Moscow by Alfred Rosmer(book launch)

Monday November 7th 2016 - Simon Hall: '1956: The World in Revolt'

Monday November 21st - tba
Monday December 5th - Merilyn Moos: 'Breaking the Silence. Voices of the British Children of Refugees from Nazism'
For more information please contact LSHG convenor Keith Flett on the email address above...

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

CFP: Revolutionary Pasts

Revolutionary Pasts
Revolutionary Pasts: Representing the Long Nineteenth Century’s Radical Heritage’, 4 and 5 November, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne
How did activists remember, represent and reassess the revolutionary heritage of the ‘long nineteenth century’? On 4–5 November, Northumbria University’s ‘Histories of Activism’ research group will examine this question in association with the Society for the Study of Labour History (SSLH) and with the support of Durham’s Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies.

We will explore how movements, groups and organisations evoked the memory of particular events (e.g. the revolutions of 1789 and 1848, the Paris Commune, the Haymarket Affair) and how they cast or recast the legacy of particular movements (e.g. utopian socialism, Chartism, feminism). In doing so, the event explores narratives about radical and revolutionary legacies in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

We are currently accepting paper proposals for this event. Please send us a brief abstract (c. 200 words) and a biographical note or CV by 12 September. You can contact the organisers (Daniel Laqua, Charlotte Alston, Laura O’Brien) via

Members of the SSLH may wish to note that the Society’s AGM will take place during the conference. A full programme and registration details will be available in late September.


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Social Histories of the Russian Revolution

A year-long series of monthly discussion meetings, timed to take place during the run-up to the centenary of Russia’s revolutions of 1917.
Venue: Birkbeck, University of London
Full programme and further information:
Each discussion will be opened by historians, scholars working in academia who have spent many years studying the revolution in the Russian archives. But these are not academic seminars - they are open to all who share our interest in the history of the Russian revolution as a landmark struggle for social liberation. At each discussion there will be an opening talk of about 30 minutes, followed by open debate.
The emphasis in the discussion meetings will be on the social histories of the revolution - that is, how it was experienced by the mass of working people who participated.
By taking this approach we aim not to brush aside the role of political leaders, and their disputes and decisions, but rather to move beyond these well-known debates and reach a deeper understanding of the revolution as the active participation of millions of people in changing history.
We hope that by developing our theme over a year of meetings, we will be able collectively to engage in serious thinking and re-thinking about the revolution and its significance for our past and present.
William Dixon, Brendan McGeever, Simon Pirani (Organisers)  

Oct 27 – Steve Smith (University of Oxford): The Social History of the Russian Revolution and Civil War, 1917-1921
Nov 24 – Brendan McGeever (Birkbeck, University of London): Antisemitism and Revolutionary Politics in the Russian Revolution, 1917-1919
Dec 15 – Andy Willimott (Reading University): Living the Revolution: Urban Communes in 1920s Russia and the Invention of a Socialist Lifestyle

Jan 26 – Sarah Badcock (Nottingham University): The 1917 Revolutions at Local Level
Feb 23 – Katy Turton (Queens University, Belfast): Women in Revolt: the Female Experience of the 1917 Revolutions
March 16 – George Gilbert (Southampton University): The Radical Right and the Russian Revolution
March 30 –Dimitri Tolkatsch (University of Freiburg, Germany): The Ukrainian Peasant Insurgency in the Revolutionary Period
April 27 – Chris Read (Warwick University): The Social History of the Revolutionary Period
May 25 – Barbara Allen (La Salle University, USA): Alexander Shlyapnikov and the Russian Metalworkers in 1917
June 29 – Don Filtzer (University of East London): The Working Class and the First Five-year Plan, 1928-32
Sep 28 – Wendy Goldman (Carnegie Mellon University, USA): Taking Power: Remaking the Family, Levelling Wages, Planning the Economy
Oct 12 – Lara Cook (University of York): Local Soviets in 1917-18 and their Relations with the Central Executive Committee
Oct 26 – 1917 A Century On: A Debate (Speakers TBC, including Simon Pirani (author of The Russian Revolution in Retreat 1920-1924)
Nov 23 – Gleb Albert (University of Zurich): Early Soviet Society and World Revolution, 1917-27

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

John Blanke Plaque event

For one night only - Friday 5th August 20:15 to 21:15 - the BBC will project a plaque commemorating John Blanke - the black trumpeter to the courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII. The BBC will be launching and projecting onto the Colonnades at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich - the site of Henry VIII's favourite residence, Greenwich Palace.   
This plaque event is part of a forthcoming BBC Two series called A Black History of Britain, presented by historian and BAFTA Award-winning broadcaster, David Olusoga.  The series explores the relationship between Britain and the continent of Africa and people of African descent.  This event will be filmed as part of the series, which features the launch of about 20 plaques in Britain and beyond. 
Music and poetry from the John Blanke Project will be played and read at the event. Children are especially welcome.

For health and safety purposes, please RSVP with numbers attending to Jyoti Mehta by noon Thursday 4th August.  

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Neil Davidson on Nation-States: Consciousness and Competition

Neil Davidson's latest work, Nation-States: Consciousness and Competition is composed of a series of extended essays dealing with themes such as the rise of national consciousness under capitalism, the validity of concepts such as "ethnicity", and the role of the state in guaranteeing accumulation and advancing the interests of national capital on the world stage through competition. Neil engages widely with both Marxist and non-Marxist theories of nationalism and capitalist development in order to advance an argument for treating both terms in the hyphenated formula "nation-state" as moments within the mediated totality of the capitalist system - in other words, the connection between the "nation" and the "state" is systemic, even necessary, rather than contingent, as has been argued both by mainstream theorists and some schools within Marxism.
Neil is doing a launch event in London on Thursday 11 August 6.30pm at Bookmarks bookshop, 1 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3QE. £2 entry, refreshments required.  For more info, see Facebook event page here:


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

SHS meeting - Liberty's Apostle: the Life and Times of Richard Price 1723 - 91

Socialist History Society Public Meeting

Liberty's Apostle:
the Life and Times of Richard Price 1723 - 91 

Speaker: Paul Frame
2pm, 1st October 2016
37a Clerkenwell Green EC1R 0DU - nearest tube Farringdon
Dubbed by an eminent historian as 'Britain's first left-wing intellectual' the Reverend Richard Price was a major figure in the Enlightenment. A supporter of the American and French Revolutions it was a Price sermon that provoked Edmund Burke into writing Reflections on the Revolution in France in answer to what he viewed as Price's 'wicked principles'. This talk will look broadly at Price's life, the nature of his wide-ranging contribution to political ideas and explain his continuing relevance.
Speaker: Paul Frame
A Welsh historian of the Enlightenment period and author of the book, Liberty's Apostle: the Life and Times of Richard Price, University of Wales Press, 2015. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies in Aberystwyth.

Monday, 18 July 2016

CfP: Populism in historical perspective

'Populism in historical perspective'

 2nd November 2016, European Institute, University College London

The last decade has seen the rise of politicians, parties and governments to whom the label 'populist' can usefully be applied. This is true not only in Europe, but also in North and South America, Turkey, India and elsewhere. British media responses to this global shift have focused on the 'Brexit' referendum result and the short term consequences of the 2008 financial crash. There has been less interest in historicising these phenomena or locating them in an analysis of twentieth and twenty first century democracy. Yet this would be a useful endeavour, involving study not only of twentieth century populists like Pierre Poujade or Juan Perรณn, but also a wider project investigating the development of modern mass society since the late nineteenth century.

The UCL European Institute and UCL Centre for Transnational History therefore invite abstracts for papers covering topics in twentieth and twenty-first century populism across a broad geographical range, with the aim of exploring the factors which shape its form, as well as the reasons for its apparent recent upsurge. While operating with an historical focus, we aim to bring together sociologists and political scientists, as well as modern and contemporary historians. We aim to discuss populism in a global perspective, and therefore especially welcome papers that deal with the subject outside of the European context, or which examine transnational connections between populists.

The symposium is co-organised with Passionate Politics ( a research group at University College London which explores the relationship between politics and the world of the emotions. As such, we are particularly interested in the affective content of populist politics, and the means by which emotions are mobilised to political ends.

In order to facilitate dialogue between our speakers and encourage lively and engaged discussions between conference attendees, the conference will be organised in three thematic panels, preceded by an opening plenary which will help to orientate the discussion. The panels are as follows.

The People
Populists tend to portray themselves as standing for the marginalised. Yet they seek to be majoritarians, and their coalitions often encompass a large range of publics, characteristically cutting across divides (socio-economic, cultural, regional, occupational) which other political formations treat as normative. What is the class composition of populist movements and to what extent is the formulation 'the people' used to shape a politics that lies outside class (or other) conflict? Who in turn lies outside the people?

Populist values
Populists characterise themselves as defenders of a particular set of values, often under attack by a distant elite. What social structures, cultural practices and economic interests shape these values? How do these values translate into political decisions? How do they inform notions of legitimacy, democracy, and authoritarianism.

Languages of populism
Populism often deploys the language of 'common sense', both as a persuasive rhetorical tool and an articulation of the subjectivity of a group which feels it has been neglected or ignored. How are these knowledges formed, communicated and mobilised? What is the role of the media, both as a mouthpiece for populist politics, a force in shaping the context in which it emerges, or as a focus for anger on the part of publics. What role have new forms of media played in allowing contemporary populists to communicate with their publics?

Please send 250-400 word abstracts for papers of 15-20 minutes to Please indicate the panel to which your abstract applies, and attach a short CV. Please direct any questions to or