British academy


Teaching History in the Twenty-First Century

Tuesday 29 January 2013, 6-7.30pm, followed by a reception
The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH

During the twentieth century, traditional concepts of objectivity and narratives of Western exceptionalism have been forcefully challenged. Does that mean that our relationship with the past and the content and purpose of history are now less self-evident than before? Which historical problems appear most urgent for contemporary societies to explore critically? What and how do historians in an age intensely aware of global interconnections teach in universities, and do their interests productively inform school curricula? Following a year of intense debate on history teaching in schools, the panel discusses the controversies over current visions of the discipline.

Dr Ulinka Rublack, University of Cambridge
Ulinka Rublack teaches early modern European history at Cambridge University and is a Fellow of St John's College. She is editor of the Concise Companion to History, a pioneering volume for readers on global historiography and other topics and issues that interest historians today. Among her monograph publications are Reformation Europe, as well as her recent prize-winning study Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Renaissance Europe, published by OUP.

Sir John Elliott FBA, University of Oxford
Sir John Elliott is Regius Professor Emeritus of Modern History in the University of Oxford. His publications on Spain, Europe and the Americas in the Early Modern period include Imperial Spain, 1469-1716 (1963); The Old World and the New, 1492-1650 (1970); The Count-Duke of Olivares (1986); and Empires of the Atlantic World, 1492-1830 (2006). He was awarded the Wolfson Prize for History in 1986, the Prince of Asturias Prize for the Social Sciences in 1996, and the Balzan Prize for History in 1999. He has received various honours from the Spanish government, and was knighted for his services to history in 1994. His most recent book, History in the Making, was published in 2012.

Professor Christopher Clark FBA, University of Cambridge
Christopher Clark's research interests are centred on the history of nineteenth-century Germany and continental Europe. His early work focused on the political and cultural history of religion. His first book was a study of the relationship between Christians and the Jewish minority in Prussia between 1728 and 1941; here he explored the ways in which contemporary understandings of Christianity shaped successive mutations of the 'Jewish Question'. Since then he has published various articles and essays on related subjects - some of them examine the trouble that results when the state authority takes the initiative in religious questions, others look at the ways in which questions of religious allegiance were implicated in processes of political and cultural change. In 2004 he co-edited, with Wolfram Kaiser of the University of Portsmouth, an edited volume about the 'culture war' between Catholic and secular social forces that polarised so many European states in the years 1850-1890. In the meanwhile, he has published a study of Kaiser Wilhelm II (2000) for the Longmans/Pearson series Profiles in Power and completed a general history of Prussia for Penguin, due out in spring 2006. He is currently working on a study of political change across Europe in the aftermath of the 1848 revolutions.

Professor Maxine Berg FBA, University of Warwick
Maxine Berg  is Professor of History at the University of Warwick, founder of the Global History and Culture Centre at Warwick in 2005 and Fellow of the British Academy. She initiated the Luxury Project and the Eighteenth-Century Centre at Warwick in 1997, and as a European historian then turned her interests to the impact of Chinese, Indian and Japanese luxury and trade goods on Europe’s emerging consumer and industrial cultures. She is currently leading a European Research Fellowship project, ‘Europe’s Asian Centuries: Trading Eurasia 1600-1830'. She is the author of Luxury and Pleasure in Eighteenth-Century Britain (OUP, 2005), and editor of Writing the History of the Global: Challenges for the 21st Century (British Academy/OUP, 2013).

Professor Michael Bentley, University of St Andrews
Michael Bentley is Professor of Modern History at the University of St. Andrews. He has written several books about the political and intellectual history of moden Britain but in recent years has turned to the comparative study of historiography as a form. His biography of Herbert Butterfield was written from this point of view and appeared in 2011 but he is now working on a large-scale study of difference in styles of western historical writing since the Enlightenment. He is committed to the importance of training students in theory and historiography as part of a rounded historical education.

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