Derek Keene (1942-2021) was one of the leading figures in medieval and urban history over the past forty years. He was the founding director of the Centre for Metropolitan History at the IHR from 1988, and led the centre until 2002 when he became Professor of Comparative Metropolitan History. He remained at the IHR, ever active, until his retirement in 2008.
This symposium event bought together a diverse range of scholars to reflect upon Derek’s career as a historian, his impact upon urban history, and most importantly new research directions in the field. Derek was a pioneer not only in economic and social approaches to urban history, through large-scale projects such as the ‘Social and Economic Study of Medieval London’ (1979-1984), but also in the interface between history and archaeology, and environmental history.
The symposium comprised of three roundtable panels through the afternoon, with discussants focusing on different aspects of Derek’s legacy, broader impact, and, new directions in today’s research that build upon his insights. To embody and promote Derek’s values as a person and scholar, this is framed broadly and inclusively, looking across disciplinary and national boundaries, and encompassing both traditional and practice-based approaches.