Events Archive

RHS Prothero Lecture — ‘To Do and Be Undone: Enslaved Black Life, Courtship and Marriage in the Antebellum South’

‘To Do and Be Undone: Enslaved Black Life, Courtship and Marriage in the Antebellum South’



Professor Brenda E. Stevenson

(University of Oxford)

RHS Prothero Lecture on 5 July 2023





Brenda Stevenson’s 2023 Prothero lecture centres on the familial ideals and realities of enslaved Black people in the American South via their courtship and marriages, ritually and experientially. The trope of the missing Black family has lived large in the ambitious research designs of scholars, the critical imagination of the public, and the caustic decisions of policy makers. The reality, however, is that even through the pain and loss brought on by centuries of slavery and systemic racialised inequalities of all sorts, Black people wanted and were able to create family ties that fostered humanity, assured survival, and even undergird post-emancipation progress across the generations.

The lecture describes and analyses courtship/romantic attitudes and behaviours, the traits that adults desired and despised in a partner, the negotiations with family and captors regarding one’s choice for a spouse, and the various kinds of ceremonies (or not) that signified one’s marital commitments.




Your Research and the Media: An Introduction and Guide for Historians

This Royal Historical Society workshop offers a practical guide to promoting your research via the media. The workshop was presented by Dr Tom Almeroth-Williams, a communications specialist in arts and humanities research, as well as a published historian and Fellow of the Society.

The session takes you through different scenarios and stages of the process from identifying a potential news story in a forthcoming research paper or book, to responding to media coverage. Topics covered include pitching to an HE institution’s communications team; writing an effective press release yourself; providing assets including images; setting embargoes, contacting journalists; answering enquiries, giving interviews and seeking corrections.

About the speaker

Dr Tom Almeroth-Williams is Communications Manager (Research, Arts & Humanities) for the University of Cambridge. In this role he publicises a wide range of research, including the work of historians, and offers media training. For this RHS workshop, Tom will share his advice on best communicating historical research to the broadest audiences.


Eric Williams’ Capitalism and Slavery: debates, legacies and new directions for research

RHS Panel — ‘Eric Williams’ Capitalism and Slavery’, 13 June 2023


Eric Williams’ Capitalism and Slavery (1944) remains a powerful, provocative and influential work of historical scholarship. For Williams, chattel slavery provided Britain with the capacity to develop commercial and industrial capitalism, and—in turn—the means to power an eighteenth-century industrial revolution. As the profits of slavery declined, Williams argued, so did British commitment to the slave trade—the motivations for abolition of the slave trade (1807) and of slavery (1834) being economic rather than humanitarian.

In this international panel, historians working in the fields of eighteenth-century Caribbean slavery and slave economy, and Anglo-Caribbean society, come together to consider the debates and legacies of Capitalism and Slavery. First published in the UK by André Deutsch in 1964, Williams’ classic text — ‘perhaps the most influential book written in the twentieth century on the history of slavery (Oxford DNB) — is gaining a new readership following its republication as a Penguin Modern Classic in 2022.


  • Dr Heather Cateau (University of the West Indies and University of St Andrews)
  • Dr Stephen Mullen (University of Glasgow)
  • Professor Harvey Neptune (Temple University)
  • Professor Meleisa Ono-George (University of Oxford)
  • Professor Matthew J. Smith (University College London, and chair)



  • Watch the event: full event panel contributions, audience questions and discussion


‘Digital History and Collaborative Research: a Practitioners’ Roundtable’

RHS Panel — ‘Digital History and Collaborative Research: a Practitioners’ Roundtable’,

23 May 2023



History’s ‘digital turn’ has reshaped how nearly all us access and search sources, analyse historical content at scale, and present our research. For some, research also involves the creation of new digitised resources and / or tools for the gathering and study of historical data in ways impossible a generation ago. The scale and speed of these developments means we are all digital practitioners, even if we are not digital historians.

Notwithstanding the ubiquity of digital content, ‘digital history’ as a sub-discipline remains much more specialist and obscure to many historians. In this panel, we bring together five historians — who are also experienced digital researchers and leaders of digital research projects — to discuss their own experience of, and approaches to, digital history.


  • Ruth Ahnert (Queen Mary, University of London, and chair)
  • Dan Edelstein (Stanford University, CA)
  • Maryanne Koweleski (Fordham University, NY)
  • Jon Lawrence (University of Exeter)
  • Katrina Navickas (University of Hertfordshire)



The Russo-Ukrainian War

In Conversation — ‘The Russo-Ukrainian War’, Serhii Plokhy in conversation with Sir Richard Evans, 16 May 2023


The Russo-Ukrainian War is the comprehensive history of a war that has burned since 2014, and that — with Russia’s attempt to seize Kyiv from February 2022 — destroyed the geo-political order in place since the end of the Cold War. Professor Serhii Plokhy traces the origins and the evolution of the war: from the collapse of the Russian empire to the rise and fall of the USSR, and on to the development in Ukraine of a democratic politics.

Our event took place in partnership with the Ukrainian Institute London. The Institute champions Ukrainian culture and shapes the conversation about Ukraine in the UK and beyond. It explores Ukrainian perspectives on global challenges. The UIL is an independent charity registered in England and Wales.


  • Professor Serhii Plokhy (Mykhailo S. Hrushevs’kyi Professor of Ukrainian History and Director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University)
  • Sir Richard Evans (Former Regius Professor of History at Cambridge University; President of Wolfson College, Cambridge;  Provost of Gresham College in the City of London)


  • More about the eventAbstract and panel
  • Watch the event: full event panel contributions, audience questions and discussion



History and Archives in Practice, 2: Online Panel

History and Archives in Practice 2: Online Panel

27 April 2023, in partnership with The National Archives and Institute of Historical Research




  • Sarah Aitchison (UCL)
  • Holly Brewer (Maryland)
  • Alyson Brown (Edge Hill)
  • Michelle Crowther (Canterbury Christ Church)
  • Nick Evans (Hull)
  • Helen Newell (Edge Hill)
  • Andrew Smith (Queen Mary, London)
  • Claire Langhamer (Institute of Historical Research, University of London)

In this online panel, we continued the conversation begun at History and Archives in Practice (29 March 2023, #HAP23) — a one-day, in-person meeting of historians and archivists, jointly organised by the Royal Historical Society, Institute of Historical Research and The National Archives.

History and Archives in Practice is an opportunity for archivists and historians to discuss how they’re working collaboratively. On 29 March, we heard from 14 projects from across the UK, about which you can read more here. In preparing for #HAP23 we also invited 5 additional projects to create short video presentations about their work and experience of how historians and archivists work best together.

On Thursday 27 April, we continued the conversation with an extra session of #HAP23 featuring the presenters and projects described in these videos.

  • More about the event
  • Watch the panel



RHS Lecture — ‘Waiting to die? Life for elderly people in late Imperial Russian villages’

‘Waiting to die? Life for elderly people in late Imperial Russian villages’


Professor Sarah Badcock

(University of Nottingham)


RHS Lecture on 3 February 2023, Online




What was daily life like for old people in Russian villages at the turn of the twentieth century?

This lecture shows that non-able elderly people were often left ‘waiting to die’, de-sexed, de-valued and disempowered. Exploring the parameters of able/visible and disabled/invisible allows us to ask questions about the values accorded individuals within rural communities, and the extent to which families, communities and legal structures could and did intervene in the private sphere. The lecture also places the experiences of elderly Russians in a broader comparative picture of older people’s lives in other countries at the turn of the century.

HEADER IMAGE: Ilya Efimovich Repin, ’The watchman Yefimov’ (c. 1870, Tretiakov gallery), public domain


‘Futures for the History Journal: Reflections & Projections’

RHS Panel — ‘Futures for the History Journal’,

6 December 2022



Journals have long been, and remain, central to the communication of historical research. As a publishing form, History journals have proved remarkably durable, with developments typically taking place within an established framework of article types and formats. At the same time, the very recent history of History (and other) journals points to quickening and more disruptive change — most notably in terms of online access and publishing models; but also with reference to innovations of form, tone and purpose.

In this panel, UK and US historians associated with leading journals (as editors, publishers, innovators, authors and readers) consider the extent, impact and possible outcomes of these recent changes. The event marks both the 150th anniversary, and the 2022 rebrand, of the Society’s own journal, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society.


  • Kate Smith: University of Birmingham and co-editor of Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. 
  • Harshan Kumarasingham: University of Edinburgh and co-editor of Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. 
  • Sarah Knott: Indiana University and a former Associate and Acting Editor of the American Historical Review.
  • Georgia Priestley: Publisher, History Journals for Cambridge University Press.
  • Karin Wulf: Director and Librarian, John Carter Brown Library, and Professor of History at Brown University, Rhode Island.
  • Emma Griffin (chair): President of the Royal Historical Society and a former editor of the Historical Journal (2017-21).


  • More about the eventWorkshop abstract and panel
  • Watch the event: full event panel contributions, audience questions and discussion


‘New Histories of Neo-Liberalism’

RHS Panel — ‘New Histories of Neo-Liberalism’,

13 October 2022



The next in our series on leading themes and concepts in History.

Historical studies of neo-liberalism are much in evidence. The early 2020s have seen new monographs, edited collections and journal articles — offering us a growing range of perspectives on this subject. ‘New Histories of Neo-Liberalism’ brings together five historians who’ve made significant recent interventions, with reference to diverse geographies, political structures, chronologies and methodologies. In doing so, the panel will identify and explore a prominent, resonant and much debated theme in historical research.

  • Professor James Vernon (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Professor Muriam Haleh Davis (University of California, Santa Cruz)
  • Professor Gary Gerstle FBA (University of Cambridge)
  • Professor Quinn Slobodian (Wellesley College, Massachusetts)
  • Dr Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite (University College London)



  • Watch the event: full event panel contributions, audience questions and discussion