History seminars at the IHR

Public History Seminar

Convenors: Alix Green (University of Hertfordshire), Anna Maerker (King’s College, London), John Tosh (Roehampton University), Judy Faraday (John Lewis Partnership), Tim Boon (Science Museum), Scott Anthony (University of Cambridge), Kathleen McIlvenna (IHR), Alison Hess (Science Museum), Caroline Nielsen (University of Northampton), Claire Hayward (Kingston University), Ciara Meehan (University of Hertfordshire), Nicola Phillips (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Venue:  Past & Present Room 202, 2nd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House

Time: Wednesday, 17:30

Some podcasts from this Seminar are available online

Spring Term 2016
DateSeminar details
3 February The personal heritage research environment in the 21st century

Dr Nick Barratt (Author, historian and consultant for BBC 'Who Do You think You Are)

Drawing upon case studies and examples, Dr Barratt will explore changing approaches to personal heritage – including genealogy, local and social history – over the last decade and a half, arguing that current practice threatens to undermine the evolving research infrastructure.


19 February Pride of Place: England's LGBTQ Heritage

Rosie Sherrington (Historic England), Alison Oram (Leeds Beckett University), Justin Bengry (Birkbeck, University of London and Leeds Beckett University)

‘Pride of Place: England's LGBTQ Heritage’ is a collaborative initiative between Leeds Beckett University and Historic England to explore the relationship between lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) history and the country’s buildings and spaces. The project aims to show that LGBTQ heritage is a fundamental part of our national heritage and to improve knowledge of, and access to, this diverse history. As part of this project we are using crowd sourcing techniques in the mapping the widest range of historical LGBTQ locations across England. A key feature of this initiative is engagement with the community, who are encouraged to identify sites of LGBTQ historical significance including everything from commercial and leisure locations, interiors and outside spaces, national historic sites and even domestic spaces in both the recent and more distant past. When completed the project will include not only the interactive map, but also an online exhibition, guidance packs for heritage and community groups, a teaching pack for use in schools, and other outputs. After the recent success of the iconic Royal Vauxhall Tavern being listed as Grade II on the basis of its significance to LGBTQ history and heritage, we hope to recommend further locations for listing and amend the descriptions of currently listed buildings to identify their LGBTQ historical significance.
Website: historicengland.org.uk/prideofplace
Interactive Map: mapme.com/prideofplace

Co-hosted with the Public history and Digital history seminars Starting at the earlier time of 17:15

Venue: Room S246, 2nd floor, South block, Senate House


16 March Double Helix History: the use of DNA in Popular Genealogy?

Dr Jerome de Groot (University of Manchester)

Genealogy is one of the biggest and most profitable activities on the planet. Generally undertaken via massive gateway websites like Ancestry.com (14 billion family history records; 60 million member trees) it involves investigators around the world formulating their ‘family tree’ and imagining their relationship to the past accordingly.
Increasingly these websites are adding a new tool to the researcher’s armoury: DNA sequencing. The armchair genealogist investigates their past by spitting in a tube. The creation of huge repositories of DNA databases allows for analysis to be undertaken that leads to ‘scientific’ speculation about the ancestry of the individual.
This paper investigates this intersection of genetics and popular narratives of the self/ the past.How is this science represented and understood? How, particularly, is it visualised? What does this mean for privacy, and the projection of the self online? What are the imaginative implications of sharing DNA data? Does DNA render an identity ‘outside of history’? Certainly it seems to allow for entire populations ejected from the archive to find their ancestors – Henry Louis Gates Jr. has claimed ‘we are able, symbolically at least, to reverse the Middle Passage’.