RHS News

Sampler, 1828, detail

Sampler, Kent, England, (1828, detail), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, public domain

282 new Fellows & Members elected to the Society

At its meeting on 2 July 2021 the RHS Council elected 150 Fellows, 56 Members, and 76 Early Career Members, a total of 282 people newly associated with the Society.

The majority of the new Fellows hold academic appointments at universities, specialising in a very wide range of fields; but also include broadcasters, film-makers, public historians, curators, publishers, journalists and editors, and academic librarians. The new Members also have a wide variety of historical interests, including those employed in universities, and as school teachers, archivists, museum staff, and education officers – together with independent and community historians.

All those newly elected to the Fellowship and Membership bring a valuable range of expertise and experience that will help the Society to fulfil its objective of representing the diverse body of those engaged in historical scholarship.

New Fellows and Members are elected at regular intervals through the year. The current application round is open and runs to Monday 16 August 2021. Further details on RHS Fellowship and Membership categories, the benefits of membership, deadlines for applications in 2021, and how to apply, are available here.

 

New RHS Fellows, elected July 2021
  • Robbie Aitken
  • Marc Alexander
  • Ian Armour
  • Christopher Ash
  • Emma Aston
  • Revel Barker
  • Alison Beach
  • Hugh Beattie
  • Brad Beaven
  • Stephen Bennett
  • Egemen Bezci
  • Thomas Bishop
  • Thomas Breimaier
  • Thomas Brodie
  • Ugo Bruschi
  • Nathan Cardon
  • Claire Chatterton
  • David Churchill
  • Roland Clark
  • Susan Cohen
  • Paul Corner
  • Tony Craig
  • Nicholas Crane
  • Alice Crossley
  • Jessica Dalton
  • Christina de Bellaigue
  • Joanna de Groot
  • Caroline Derry
  • Malcolm Dick
  • Steven Dieter
  • Matthew Dimmock
  • Celia Donert
  • Dennis Duncan
  • Dee Dyas
  • Serena Dyer
  • Hormoz Ebrahimnejad
  • Derek Elliott
  • Laura Evans
  • Michael Fass
  • Ilaria Favretto
  • Catherine Ferguson
  • Mark Finney
  • Robert Fletcher
  • Chris Fuller
  • David Gange
  • Sebastian Gehrig
  • Chris Godden
  • Wilko Graf von Hardenberg
  • David Greenwood
  • Hannah Greig
  • Sarah Gristwood
  • Jérôme Grosclaude
  • Armin Gruenbacher
  • Anna Hajkova
  • Maria Hayward
  • Matthew Heaslip
  • William Hern
  • Beatrice Heuser
  • Steve Hewitt
  • Tracey Hill
  • Julia Hillner
  • Wendy Holden
  • Ian Horwood
  • Jon Howlett
  • Katja Hoyer
  • David R. M. Irving
  • Dan Jones
  • Laura Kalas
  • Angus Konstam
  • Giada Lagana
  • Craig Lambert
  • Sabine Lee
  • Ulrich Lehner
  • Alan Lester
  • James Lockhart
  • José Antonio López Sabatel
  • Gary Love
  • Mathew Lyons
  • Shivan Mahendrarajah
  • Jatinder Mann
  • Giuseppe Marcocci
  • Naomi Matsumoto
  • Matthew Lynn McDowell
  • Alexander Medcalf
  • Tommaso Milani
  • Sarah Miller-Davenport
  • Thomas Mills
  • Giles Milton
  • Saurabh Mishra
  • Katharine Mitchell
  • Shaul Mitelpunkt
  • Simon Moody
  • Neville Morley
  • Aislinn Muller
  • John Munro
  • Neil Murphy
  • Patricia Murrieta-Flores
  • Dave Musgrove
  • Kathleen Neal
  • Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid
  • Rafaelle Nicholson
  • Philip Norrie
  • Shane  O’Rourke
  • Ed Owens
  • Ian Patel
  • Naomi Paxton
  • Andy Pearce
  • Andrew Popp
  • Linda Porter
  • William Purkis
  • Alex Renton
  • Carol Richardson
  • Klaus Richter
  • Daniel  Robinson
  • Katharina Rowold
  • Dominic Sandbrook
  • Samita Sen
  • Hugo Service
  • Stephanie Seul
  • Shalini Sharma
  • John Singleton
  • Asaf Siniver
  • Clare Siviter-Groschwald
  • Matthew Smith
  • Keith Somerville
  • Beth Spacey
  • David Stack
  • Matthew Stibbe
  • Paul Stock
  • Nicola Tallis
  • Michael Taylor
  • Frank Uekötter
  • Ted Vallance
  • David Veevers
  • Lena Wahlgren-Smith
  • Kevin Waite
  • Fionnuala Walsh
  • Tosh Warwick
  • Thomas Waters
  • Peter Webster
  • David Weekes
  • Sam Wetherell
  • Emma Wilby
  • Stephen Wilkinson
  • Helen Williams
  • Kate Williams
  • Zbigniew Wojnowski
  • Alexander Wragge-Morley
  • Simon Yarrow
  • Henry Yeomans

 

New RHS Members, elected July 2021
  • Meshal Alenezi
  • Paul Allonby
  • Ann-Kathrin Barfuß
  • Del Barrett
  • Sue Berry
  • Michael Bevel
  • Jacqueline Bollmann
  • Quinn Bradlee
  • Birgitte Breemerkamp
  • Patrick Cook
  • Bob Couttie
  • Lauren Davies
  • Vincenzo De Meulenaere
  • John Deane-O’Keeffe
  • Martin Deeb
  • Adrian Defta
  • Alexander Dua
  • Nicholas Ellis
  • Lynsey Ford
  • Shweta George
  • Jose Gonsalves
  • Steven Haines
  • David Matthew Harper
  • Neil Harrison
  • Andrew Henderson
  • Mumtaz Iqbal
  • Brian Izzard
  • Takao Kawanishi
  • Miroslava Kleckova
  • Henrik Kostow
  • Florian Kupfer
  • Neha Lal
  • Katie Lissamore
  • Alice Loxton
  • Stuart Major
  • Vicky Manolopoulou
  • Karen McAulay
  • Joanne McIntosh
  • Louise Moon
  • Peter Morgan
  • Nathan Morley
  • Adenike Ogunkoya
  • Phil Orwin
  • Philip Parker
  • Olivia Blythe Goulet Paterson
  • Tony Pratt
  • Karen Redmond
  • Jeremy Rodriguez
  • Harvey Ross
  • Salman Siddiqui
  • Peter Smith
  • Steven Smith
  • Roy Stedall-Humphryes
  • Mike Stevenson
  • Alexander Walsh
  • Graham Woodall

 

New RHS Early Career Members, elected July 2021
  • Peter Aiken
  • William Baker
  • Fiona   Banham
  • Nicholas Barone
  • Fay Braybrooke
  • Andrew Carter
  • Douglas Chapman
  • Rachel Clamp
  • Andrew Connell
  • Beth Cowen
  • Joseph Crozier
  • Angela Davies
  • Susie Deedigan
  • Trude Dijkstra
  • Paige Emerick
  • David Foster
  • Pauline Gardiner
  • Charlotte Gauthier
  • Daniella Gonzalez
  • Natalie Grace
  • Rob Granger
  • Fraser Gray
  • Stephen Griffin
  • Catherine-Rose Hailstone
  • Lily Hawker-Yates
  • Giulia Iannuzzi
  • Polina Ignatova
  • Claire Jackson
  • Jonathan Jackson
  • Jamie Jenkins
  • Li Jiang
  • Bethan Johnson
  • Aidan Jones
  • Ian Jones
  • Rhian Jones
  • William Jones
  • Saoirse Laaraichi
  • Rosanagh Mack
  • Sebastian Majstorovic
  • Marta Manzanares Mileo
  • Nenad Markovic
  • John Marshall
  • Avaro Maylis
  • Patrick McGhee
  • Claire McNulty
  • Kiran Mehta
  • William Mitchell
  • Joan Passey
  • Joseph Puchner
  • Emily Quigley
  • Jay Rees
  • Michael Reeve
  • Darren Reid
  • Isabel Robinson
  • Laura Robson-Mainwaring
  • Linda Ross
  • Bethany Rowley
  • David Saunders
  • Florence Scott
  • Hana Sleiman
  • Chase Smith
  • Frederick Smith
  • Amy Solomons
  • Marta Starostina
  • Derek Taylor
  • Ezra Teboul
  • Billie-Gina Thomason
  • Cecilia Varuzza
  • Helbert Velilla-Jiménez
  • Mrinalini Venkateswaran
  • Ben White
  • James Wilson
  • Matthew Woolgar
  • Hannah Yoken
  • Tom Young
  • Shijia Yu

 

 

RHS Awards 2021: winners and runners-up announced

Via a video ceremony on Friday 23 July, the Royal Historical Society announced its Publication, Teaching and Fellowship Awards for 2021.

The ceremony also included the Society’s joint fellowships with the Institute of Historical Research, along with the annual IHR prizes.

The RHS Awards are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate just some of the excellent work in research, publishing and teaching undertaken by historians in 2020-21. It’s also a chance to thank all those who’ve contributed to historical understanding through research, writing and teaching — in very challenging circumstances — during 2020-21.

 

AWARD CEREMONY VIDEO

The 2021 Awards ceremony is available to watch here.

 

2021 WINNERS AND RUNNERS-UP: IN FULL

Full details of all the 2021 Awards, their winners, runners-up and judges’ citations are available here.

 

ABOUT THE RHS AND IHR AWARDS

The RHS Awards include prizes for first journal articles (the David Berry and Alexander Prizes); first monographs (the Gladstone and Whitfield Prizes); outstanding Master’s dissertations (the Rees Davies Prize, named for one of Society’s former Presidents); and excellence in university teaching of History (the Jinty Nelson and RHS Innovation Awards, the former named for the Society’s first female President).

The Awards also include the annual prizes of the Institute of Historical Research: the Pollard and Neale Prizes (for best seminar paper and essay on early modern Britain, respectively); and the RHS / IHR Centenary and Marshall Fellowships to support doctoral research in History — the latter generously funded by Professor P.J. Marshall, another former RHS President).

Thank you to everyone who took submitted entries to this year’s awards and to our judges from with the RHS, IHR and universities across the UK.

Thanks also to all who contributed to the video — especially our host for the evening, Dr Andrew Smith (University of Chichester and RHS Hon. Director of Communications), and our video editor, Amelia Lampitt.

 

 

 

 

Vacancy: Chief Executive Officer, RHS

Role:  Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Salary:  UCL Non-clinical pay scale: spine point 42-49 currently £51,325 – £62,346 per annum (dependent on experience)

Contract:  Permanent. Full time, 37.5 hours per week – a flexible, part-time role will be considered for an exceptional candidate.

Location:  Royal Historical Society office at University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT – an option for a proportion of remote working will be considered for an exceptional candidate (We are currently working remotely due to COVID-19 but please note there will be an expectation to return to the office once we are able to do so.)

Start date: October 2021 – early January 2022

 

About the Royal Historical Society

The Royal Historical Society is a learned society, membership organisation and charity with a 150-year history, comprising nearly 4500 fellows, members and early career historians, active in the UK and worldwide. This makes the RHS the UK’s largest membership organisation for professional historians of all kinds, and from all walks of life — held in high regard by historians internationally, and a partner to many similar organisations overseas. These national and international connections are led by the Trustees, academics who make up the RHS Council and the small central team based at University College London, which is the home of the Society.

See the CEO Recruitment Pack for further information on the RHS and its work.

 

The Role

We are looking to recruit our first Chief Executive Officer to work closely with our Trustees in order to shape and implement the aims and ambitions of the Society.

We are seeking a creative and dynamic individual to help us better equip the Society for today’s challenges and build resilience for those of the future in order for the Society to realise its goals in the 2020s.

As we look to develop the RHS through the 2020s, the Chief Executive Officer will expand and modernise our structures and ensure effective collaboration across the Society’s central team, Trustees, and wider membership. Working closely with a range of key stakeholders the Chief Executive Officer will have responsibility for allocating and prioritising resources so that the Society can continue to extend its remit as the nation’s foremost authority and advocate for the discipline: working for History and historians of all kinds.

This is an exciting opportunity to be a lead advocate for the Society, and work closely with the President, Council and other members of the RHS Senior Management Team to shape and implement the Society’s vision. Together you will oversee the Society’s strategic development, and be responsible for ensuring this is realisable and attained.

The Chief Executive Officer will be responsible for the operational side of the RHS with primary responsibility for budget setting, financial and membership management, as well as the development of new funding opportunities and engagement with prospective supporters to make the RHS a more diverse, inclusive and vibrant members organisation.

The role would suit an individual who is prepared to be actively ‘hands on’ and pragmatic in their approach, and to undertake daily tasks, especially in relation to the Society’s operations and organisation.

See the CEO Recruitment Pack for further details of responsibilities and full specifications.

 

Who we are looking for

This is an exciting opportunity for someone with considerable experience of running or helping to run a membership organisation or close equivalent.

To be successful in this role you will bring expertise in strategic planning, operational management and financial development within a membership organisation, to ensure the Society’s programme and ambitions are achieved and sustainable.

This role requires financial, operational and strategic input, so we are seeking someone with high levels of financial acumen, business planning, budget setting and operational resource management. Previous successful line management is essential.

Applicants who wish to speak informally about the role, have queries on any aspect of the role, or need more information please contact: Professor Emma Griffin, President of the Royal Historical Society at president@royalhistsoc.org before 11 August 2021.

See the CEO Recruitment Pack for further details of responsibilities and full specifications.

 

To apply

To apply please submit a CV along with a covering letter (of no more than 3 sides of A4) explaining why you are interested in this post, how you meet the job specification, and what relevant skills and experience you can offer particularly against the person specification. Please also provide a statement, in no more than 500 words, on how you would seek to grow the Society’s membership and income over the next 2-3 years.

Please apply via the Royal Historical Society Jobs Portal

Closing date:             11:59pm on Wednesday 11 August 2021

Shortlist notified:      Week commencing Monday 6 September 2021

Interviews:                 To be held on the afternoon of Tuesday 28 September 2021

The Royal Historical Society is committed to equal opportunities and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.

No agencies please.

Registered charity number: 206888.

 

UK Survey: teaching and learning history before, during and after the Covid-19 pandemic

The Royal Historical Society, History UK and the East Midlands Centre for History Learning and Teaching are sponsoring a national survey which seeks to understand how Covid has affected learning history at university and how staff and students envisage history programmes could and should adapt once Covid has abated.

Over 500 people from three dozen universities have already taken part in the anonymous survey, the findings from which will help universities to devise a post-pandemic framework for teaching, learning and assessment.

Those who teach in UK universities are encouraged to participate before the survey closes on 2 July. The survey is at https://lboro.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/ppps2.

For more information, please contact Marcus Collins (marcus.collins@lboro.ac.uk).

 

HEADER IMAGE: Photo by Bima Rahmanda on Unsplash

 

Wooden ballot box, Smithsonian Museum

Elections to RHS Council, 2021: nominations invited

The Royal Historical Society seeks the election of three Councillors in 2021 to replace serving RHS Council members who are stepping down in November this year.

Nominations for candidates for election are now invited. The closing date for nominations is Friday 16 July 2021.

PLEASE NOTE: Candidates seeking nomination for the Council Election, and all supporters, must be existing Fellows of the Royal Historical Society.

 

In accordance with By-law XXI, Fellows of the Royal Historical Society are invited to nominate for election Fellows willing to serve as Councillors for a term of four years commencing December 2021. Nominations must be supported by one Proposer and four Seconders, who are Ordinary, Retired or Emeritus Fellows of the Society. The Society desires that the membership of its Council be fully representative of the community of historians in the United Kingdom.

Please see the Society’s website for the institutional affiliations and subject expertise of current Members of Council: http://royalhistsoc.org/about/council-members/.

Those elected become trustees of the Royal Historical Society. Councillors are expected to attend all or most of the five annual Council meetings, to attend at least one of the Society’s regional visits or symposia, to serve on one or more committee and to assist the Society in other ways as needed. Council and most committee meetings are held on Fridays at the Society’s office in London, though are currently taking place online. Expenses for economy travel and accommodation are reimbursed by the Society.

The Councillors retiring in November 2021 are: Professor Oleg Benesch, Professor Clare Griffiths and Professor Paul Readman.

To Submit a Nomination for Election

Nominations should be made via the RHS Applications Portal: https://royalhistorical.smapply.io/ (selecting the ‘Elections to Council’ option).

Fellows wishing to stand for election are required to submit a short statement, and then to contact one Proposer and four Seconders via the Application Portal. Proposers in turn submit their supporting statement, and Seconders their electronic signature, via the Portal.

Completed nominations are then submitted by the Fellow who wishes to stand for election.

Closing date for nominations is: 11.59PM on Friday 16 July 2021.The election period will begin soon after the closing date, with further details circulated at that time. Results of the election are expected in early September 2021.

 

IMAGE HEADER: Wooden ballot box used in the northeastern United States c.1870. Smithsonian Museum. Public Domain.

 

New RHS Fellows & Members – elected in May 2021

At its meeting on 7 May 2021 the RHS Council elected 99 Fellows, 42 Members, and 72 Early Career Members, a total of 213 people newly associated with the Society.

The majority of the new Fellows hold academic appointments at universities, specializing in a very wide range of fields; but also include broadcasters, curators, publishers and academic librarians. The new Members also have a wide variety of historical interests, including those employed in universities, and as school teachers, archivists, museum staff – together with independent and community historians.

All those newly elected to the Fellowship and Membership bring a valuable range of expertise and experience that will help the Society to fulfil its objective of representing the diverse body of those engaged in historical scholarship.

New Fellows and Members are elected at regular intervals through the year. The current application round is open and runs to Monday 16 August 2021. Further details on RHS Fellowship and Membership categories, the benefits of membership, deadlines for applications in 2021, and how to apply, are available here.

Fellowship

  • Nicholas Amor
  • Julie Anderson
  • Geoff Andrews
  • Catharine Arnold
  • Karen Bartlett
  • Alison Baxter
  • Carol Beardmore
  • Adam Begley
  • Sheila Blackburn
  • Tracy Borman
  • Stuart Bradley
  • Tancred Bradshaw
  • Emily Bridger
  • Ting Chang
  • Natalya Chernyshova
  • Jessica Cox
  • Eugene Coyle
  • Malcolm Craig
  • Emily Cuming
  • Luke Daly-Groves
  • Gillian Darley
  • Matthew D’Auria
  • Saul David
  • Albert Warren Dockter
  • Patricia Fara
  • Alison Fell
  • Austin Fisher
  • Tanya Fitzgerald
  • Judith Flanders
  • Roy Flechner
  • Peter Galloway
  • Erika Graham-Goering
  • Annie Gray
  • Thomas Green
  • Georgina Green
  • Eilish Gregory
  • Onni Gust
  • Lawrence Hatter
  • Sean Heath
  • Matthew Hefferan
  • Stephen Hodkinson
  • Tom Holland
  • Catherine Holmes
  • Joseph Hone
  • Katja Hoyer
  • Cathy Hunt
  • Claire Jowitt
  • Josephine Kane
  • Matthew Kerry
  • Jagjeet Lally
  • Charles Lawrence
  • Alexander Lee
  • Andrew Lycett
  • Giles MacDonogh
  • Iain MacGregor
  • Manon Mathias
  • Matthew Lynn McDowell
  • Amanda McVitty
  • Hilary Morris
  • Conor Morrissey
  • John Moyle
  • Emilie Murphy
  • Julianne Nyhan
  • Marius Ostrowski
  • Richard Ovenden
  • Ilan Pappe
  • Sami Pinarbasi
  • Christopher Powell
  • Janina Ramirez
  • Helen Rappaport
  • L. M. Ratnapalan
  • Jeremy Rich
  • Jane Ridley
  • Jane Robinson
  • James Rodgers
  • Rochelle Rowe
  • Tim Satterthwaite
  • Max Skjönsberg
  • Angel Smith
  • Francis Spufford
  • Paul Stock
  • Trevor Stone
  • Julie-Marie Strange
  • Zoe Strimpel
  • Liam Temple
  • Mark Thompson
  • Jacqui Turner
  • Maiken Umbach
  • Patrick Wallis
  • Sarah Ward Clavier
  • Sethina Watson
  • Clive Webb
  • Julie Wheelwright
  • Sue Wilkes
  • Sarah Wise
  • Christian Wolmar
  • John Wood
  • Julian Woodford
  • Barbara Zanchetta

Membership

  • Albab Akanda
  • Rob Albery
  • Abigail Ballantyne
  • Donald Bissett
  • Joseph Black
  • Philip Booth
  • Michael Carter-Sinclair
  • Alison J. Clarke
  • Marian Gwyn
  • Mark Hillier
  • Christopher Hollings
  • Chloe Ireton
  • David Isserman
  • Ellis Keeber
  • David Kohnen
  • David Lane
  • Montgomery Lord
  • Lewis Maclean
  • Gaby Mahlberg
  • Jean McLean
  • Daniel McLean
  • Joshua McMullan
  • Tony Meacham
  • Ouassila Mebarek
  • Amanda Payne
  • James Perry
  • George Regkoukos
  • Andrew Richardson
  • Morgan Robinson
  • Husain Roussel
  • John Seriot
  • Jennifer Shaver
  • Aaron Skepple
  • Neil Smith
  • Haig Smith
  • Shantel Smith
  • David Snape
  • Uwe Phillip Strauss
  • James Strong
  • Terry Tastard
  • Rachael Whitbread
  • Mengzhen Yue

Early Career Membership

  • Aaron Ackerley
  • Daniel Adamson
  • Dewi Alter
  • Lee Arnott
  • Christopher Bahl
  • Jonathan Best
  • Priyank Bharati
  • Mattin Biglari
  • Gregory Billam
  • Gabriele Bonomelli
  • Christopher Booth
  • Joseph Buscemi
  • Matthew Coulter
  • Adam Curry
  • Joseph da Costa
  • Alison Daniell
  • Katherine Davies
  • Amanda Davis
  • Christopher Day
  • Shannon Devlin
  • Jacob Dyble
  • Christina Faraday
  • Desmond Felix
  • Holly Fletcher
  • Arielle Flodrops
  • Poppy Freeman-Cuerden
  • Ben Fuggle
  • James Gallacher
  • Jeremiah Garsha
  • Annabelle Gilmore
  • Milo Gough
  • Tarryn Gourley
  • Jacqueline Grainger
  • Heather Hind
  • Tehreem Husain
  • Charlotte Kelsted
  • William Lewis
  • Mark Liebenrood
  • Andrea Mancini
  • Emma Mavin
  • Tara McConnell
  • Lisa McLaughlin
  • Pietro Mocchi
  • Rawan Mohamed
  • Javan Mokebo
  • Carlo Moll
  • Monica O’Brien
  • Carlie Pendleton
  • Anna Reeve
  • MitchellRobertson
  • Euan McCartney Robson
  • Cora Salkovskis
  • Adam Sammut
  • Krishna Sharma
  • Christine Slobogin
  • James Smith
  • Amy Smith
  • Joshua Smith
  • Dave Steele
  • GabrielleStorey
  • Sato Takanobu
  • Hannah Telling
  • Charlotte Tomlinson
  • Alex Traves
  • Jonathan Triffitt
  • Aimee Walsh
  • Bethany White
  • James Wilson
  • Jingyue Wu
  • Kimberly Yancheson
  • Silvia Zago
  • Ally Zlatar

 

RHS statement on the recent closure of UK History departments

The Royal Historical Society (RHS) is deeply concerned to have heard of plans to end History teaching at four universities in the past year (the University of Sunderland, Aston University, London South Bank University and Kingston University). And whilst we are heartened to hear that History at Aston has now been reprieved, we are nonetheless concerned about the vulnerability of History degrees and departments in universities that serve predominantly first-generation students from low-participation backgrounds, and, in some cases, a high proportion of BAME students. Post-92 institutions have relatively large numbers of local and commuting students. It is well understood that many of those who commute to their local university do so precisely because they lack the means to study at a more distant institution.

The closure of History degrees in post-92 institutions, therefore, is not a simple matter of the consolidation of History provision. It also involves the removal of the opportunity to study History as a degree subject from students of a particular demographic. This is bad enough. However, when proposals go further – with historical teaching and training removed from related degree options, or when History staff are not offered meaningful redeployment – then the losses to student choice, and of specialist skills and livelihoods, are all the more serious and damaging.

Recent moves to close History courses and departments occur against a backdrop in which degrees are increasingly ranked and valued according to graduate earnings. The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has recently hit out against ’dead-end courses’ that leave young people ‘with nothing but debt’. According to this logic, History, along with some other humanities subjects, stands accused of being bad value for money – not only for individual students, but also for the taxpayer who will end up footing the bill.

Yet the suggestion that a History degree is poor value or of limited use is simply not supported by the evidence. A History degree teaches all the skills that employers want, including independent, critical thinking and advanced writing, and this is reflected in the graduate employment market.

The British Academy’s recent report ‘Qualified for the Future’ (2020) shows that employment levels are identical for STEM and AHSS degrees. Studies by the Institute for Fiscal Studies conclude that, once controls have been made for socio-economic background, the differences between returns to specific subjects are not large. The 2020 Lifetime Earnings Study likewise reveals relatively few differences in earnings across subjects for either men or women (with History in the middle for both), and – once again – that an individual’s social background matters more than subject. Given the existence of robust evidence for the value of History degrees – both for their owners and for employers – it is far from clear why History is being included in arguments around value for money and graduate prospects.

More importantly, however, the RHS rejects the current terms of this debate, in which graduate salaries have been elevated as the most significant – or even the sole – measure of the value of a university education. It is our position that History serves a social good that goes beyond the monetary benefit to the individual. History provides the intellectual means for understanding the contemporary world. It is vital for the health and breadth of our civic culture, and our evolving sense of national self-understanding in all its nuance and complexity. Equally, the historians who teach these skills, across all kinds of university, are fully aware of the importance of relevance, innovation and public engagement in their work, and of the opportunity these present to better integrate universities within local communities.

High-quality research and teaching in History is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy and an informed, tolerant citizenry. We need this – just as we need the specialists to teach and promote historical awareness. The Royal Historical Society works for History and historians. We will therefore continue to advocate for History: at all kinds of institutions all across the country.

The President, Vice-Presidents, and Council of the Royal Historical Society

 

RHS Gladstone Prize logo

RHS Gladstone Book Prize, 2021 shortlist announced

The eight shortlisted titles for this year’s RHS Gladstone Prize have been announced. The Prize offers £1,000 to the author of a first work not primarily related to British or Irish history.

The 2021 shortlist recognises the scholarly contribution and quality of eight excellent history monographs published in 2020.

 

  • Princely Power in Late Medieval France: Jeanne de Penthièvre and the War for Brittany  by Erika Graham-Goering (Cambridge University Press)
  • A Commerce of Knowledge: Trade, Religion, and Scholarship between England and the Ottoman Empire, 1600-1760  by Simon Mills (Oxford University Press)
  • Revolutionary Pasts: Communist Internationalism in Colonial India  by Ali Raza (Cambridge University Press)
  • The Purchase of the Past: Collecting Culture in Post-Revolutionary Paris, c.1790–1890  by Tom Stammers (Cambridge University Press)
  • Local Lives, Parallel Histories: Villagers and Everyday Life in the Divided Germany  by Marcel Thomas (Oxford University Press)
  • The Origins of the British Empire in Asia, 1600–1750  by David Veevers (Oxford University Press)
  • On Hospitals: Welfare, Law, and Christianity in Western Europe, 400-1320  by Sethina Watson (Oxford University Press)
  • Ishikawa Sanshirō’s Geographical Imagination  by Nadine Willems (Leiden University Press)

 

This year, as in past competitions, the Gladstone Prize has attracted an outstanding range of submissions on the Atlantic World, British imperial, and trans-national contexts. The field was so strong that the committee shortlisted eight first monographs, in recognition of their originality, rigorous research, and vigorous contribution to past and current debates

 – Professor Barbara Bombi, Gladstone Prize Committee Chair

 

The winner of the 2021 RHS Gladstone Prize will be announced in July, together with the winner of the RHS Whitfield Prize 2021, for a first book in the field of British and Irish history.

About the RHS Gladstone Prize and its previous winners, 1997-2000.

 

 

RHS Whitfield Book Prize, 2021 shortlist announced

The six shortlisted titles for this year’s RHS Whitfield Prize have been announced. The Prize offers £1,000 to the author of a work of British or Irish history.

The 2021 shortlist recognises the scholarly contribution and quality of six excellent history monographs published in 2020.

 

  • England’s Northern Frontier: Conflict and Local Society in the Fifteenth-Century Scottish Marches  by Jackson W. Armstrong (Cambridge University Press)
  • History and the Written Word: Documents, Literacy, and Language in the Age of the Angevins  by Henry Bainton (University of Pennsylvania Press)
  • Masculinity and Danger on the Eighteenth-Century Grand Tour by Sarah Goldsmith (University of London Press)
  • The Intelligence War against the IRA  by Thomas Leahy (Cambridge University Press)
  • Irish Women and the Great War  by Fionnuala Walsh  (Cambridge University Press)
  • The Making of an Imperial Polity: Civility and America in the Jacobean Metropolis  by Lauren Working (Cambridge University Press)

 

Once again, the Whitfield Prize competition attracted a large number of excellent entries, presenting the judges with something of an embarrassment of riches. Engagingly written, compellingly argued and deeply researched, the six shortlisted books demonstrate the vibrancy and intellectual ambition of today’s work on British and Irish history.

 – Professor Paul Readman, Whitfield Prize Committee Chair

 

The winner of the 2021 RHS Whitfield Prize will be announced in July, together with the winner of the RHS Gladstone Prize 2021, for a first book not primarily related to the history of Britain and Ireland.

About the RHS Whitfield Prize and its previous winners, 1977-2020.

 

RHS President joins historians in commenting on department closures

Royal Historical Society President, Emma Griffin, has joined fellow historians in raising concerns over plans to close History departments at several UK universities. The proposals risk History becoming an elite subject unavailable to selected students, at a time when History and historical awareness is needed more than ever.

Emma Griffin’s comments (reproduced below) appear alongside those of Professors Kate Williams and Sir Richard Evans among others in an article for the Guardian (1 May 2021): ‘Studying history should not be only for the elite, say academics’.

***

‘Emma Griffin, the president of the Royal Historical Society and professor of modern British history at the University of East Anglia, was anxious that her degree, which she said was very accessible and produced “rounded” graduates, must not become the preserve of the middle classes. “For reasons of cost, many students need to study at their local university. Understanding our own past shouldn’t be a luxury pursuit for the privileged few, and we think that everyone should have a history option.”

Griffin warned that more history closures are already on the horizon. “There are more in discussion, and there are academics at other universities who feel their positions are threatened.”

She said the removal of the cap on student numbers, allowing elite universities to expand, made the demise of smaller history departments in less prominent universities “inevitable”. “These aren’t blips or unfortunate mishaps, it is the government’s policy working as it was designed to,” she said.

Unlike subjects with expensive kit or laboratories, expanding a subject like history is a relatively cheap way for a successful university to increase its income from £9,250 a year fees. But Griffin said that cramming more students in has negative effects on the degree. “A history department cannot suddenly absorb lots more students without an impact on quality. Universities won’t employ new permanent teaching staff for a trend that might prove temporary, so inevitably you just get a casualised workforce managing the extra teaching workload, as well as a lot of stress and overwork amongst the existing staff.”’