The power of place: connecting pupils to their local historic environment

Zoom workshop, 30th June 2022, 4.30-6.00pm BST

Dr Michael Riley, IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society

Local history has the power to reinforce a sense of identity and belonging that all young people need to feel. Michael’s session will focus specifically on ways in which we can connect young people to their local historic environment. He will share some case studies that will hopefully stimulate thinking about engaging and meaningful approaches to planning enquiries rooted in the history around us.

This workshop is free and open to all. Registration is via this link.

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Sites of Memory – Sites of Identity: The case of Austria

Soviet War Memorial, Schwarzenbergplatz, Vienna (© Bwag/CC-BY-SA-4.0)

Zoom seminar. 28th June 2022, 5-6.30pm UK / 6-7.30pm CET

Prof. Dr. Marko Demantowsky, Dr. Barbara Pavlek Löbl and Carina Siegl, M.A., Faculty Center for Transdisciplinary Historical and Cultural Studies, University of Vienna

In the past, there has been case-by-case research about Austrian monuments and memorials and their relevance to questions of Austrian national identity. However, these case studies have not been integrated into a holistic conceptual framework and, above all, there is no consensus on what makes memorial sites, their meaning and purpose, ‘national’ and how they are used to construct historical narratives.

Our goal is to disentangle these narratives, to map and to expose the dynamics of past and present national meaning-making and attribution. In addition, we have very little empirically grounded knowledge about what happens at these sites today. We need to know more about how they are used, by whom, and for what. We need to understand how people think with them and whether they add something to their image of history. Are they merely welcome but replaceable sightseeing destinations or do they carry significant cognitive or emotional weight?

This last question has become eminently political in recent years as public memorials have come under attack across the global West, a process that some social groups perceive to be significantly disturbing. The Austrian writer Robert Musil claimed that nothing is as invisible as a monument. This view is more doubtful than ever today. Our research and development focus will pursue these questions cooperatively in a transdisciplinary way on the basis of ethnological, historical and social scientific methodologies and methods. This work might very well become of exemplary interest far beyond Austrian borders.

Our presentation will consist of three parts. First, Marko Demantowsky will introduce the main research question, hypotheses and theoretical foundations of the project, followed by an overview of the state of research in public history and cultural heritage studies. Then, Barbara Pavlek Löbl will outline the methodological framework and research data management plan for the project. Finally, Carina Siegl will present a preliminary case study of the Soviet War Memorial in Vienna and its representation in social media.

The event is free and open to all. Registration is at this link.

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Rethinking Presentism in History Education

21st April, 6-7.30pm BST, Via Zoom

Dr Lindsay Gibson, University of Brtish Columbia, and Dr James Miles, Teachers’ College, Columbia University.

Since the early 2000s, use of the term presentism has rapidly increased in both the historical discipline and public discussions of history. Most recently, the pulling down and defacement of statues in countries around the world inspired by the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests prompted countless articles, discussions, and debates about presentism. The description of presentism featured in many of these discussions reveal a lack of clarity and fundamental understanding about presentism’s complex nature. Given the epistemological importance of presentism to the historical discipline, and its increased prevalence in academic, political, and cultural discourses, we think presentism warrants further attention from history educators. Our presentation aims to rethink the place of presentism in history education by outlining the definitions and common types of presentism identified by historians, examining key arguments for and against presentism, and analyzing how presentism has been approached in history education. We conclude by making the case for rethinking presentism as a necessary and potentially productive concept for history education.

Zoom seminar. All welcome. To register, please go to this link.

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Understanding Historical Interpretations

How do 17-18 year-old students engage with differing historical accounts? A case-study from Cyprus

29th March 2022, 5-6.30pm GMT, via Zoom

Old Nicosia dead-end by Marco Fieber

Dr Maria K. Georgiou, SYNTHESIS Centre for Research & Education

There has been increasing international research on history education (Afandi, 2012; Barca, 2005; Carvalho and Barca, 2012; Cercadillo, 2001; Chapman, 2009; Hsiao, 2008; Martens, 2015; Shemilt, 1980; Lee et al., 1994) that shows that students, to a more or a lesser extent, operate with similar ideas about differing historical intrepretations (known as ‘accounts’ in the British tradition) on the same historical event. How do findings from a post-conflict country – namely, the still divided island-country of Cyprus – compare to those of other studies? This seminar will share the findings of Georgiou’s (UCL, 2019) PhD Thesis research conducted with 17-18 year old Greek-Cypriot students, aiming to explore how young people in their last year of schooling engage with two pairs of differing historical accounts on the same event, one being a Cyprus event and the other a ‘neutral’ one. The research was exploratory and employed an inductive coding approach. Georgiou will discuss how students’ disciplinary thinking looks like – that is, how students analysed, compared, and evaluated the accounts – and how students attributed value to historical accounts in personal terms.

This seminar is free and open to all and will take place via Zoom. To register, please follow this link.

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Haunting Hermeneutics: A deconstructive approach to the past

7th March 2022, 6-7.30pm GMT, via Zoom

Professor Ethan Kleinbern, Wesleyan University

This talk, is meant to challenge some assumptions about the ways we think about the past and “do” history. In particular, I challenge the idea of a stable past or meaning that can be called back or retrieved. What I call “ontological realism.” The past by definition is gone and thus has no definite properties or perhaps we can say that it has latent properties that are activated when we do history. But this activation of the past is always partial leaving remains that are hidden or dormant. This is a past that is absent but haunts us and can return in ways that disturb our conventional historical narratives and understanding of what the past and history is. To account for this play of absence and presence I advocate for a “hauntological” approach to the past. The term “hauntology” is meant to expose the ways that scholars and teachers take the spectral haunting absent past and silently replace it with a representation that appears to have the properties and essence of a present object (in French “ontologie” and “hantologie” carry the same pronunciation). The hauntological approach is one that is attuned to the way the past, like a ghost, is both present and absent and as such it forces us to rethink interpretative hermeneutics for research and teaching to allow for multiple or seemingly conflicting pasts.

This seminar – organised by the Subject Specialism Research Group in collaboration with HIESiG – is free and open to all and will take place via Zoom. To register, please follow this link.

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Realising Big Curricular Ambitions Through Little Curricular Choices, Part 2

27th January 2022, 16:30 – 18:00 BST

Dr Catharine McCrory, UCL Institute of Education

This UCL History Teaching Workshop led by Dr Catherine McCrory is the second exploring teaching decisions on the micro level of individual lessons and lesson segments.

The first half of the workshop will explore the need to use but also move beyond popular generic teaching strategies, while the second part will use a Year 9 history lesson to consider how we make space for pupils to engage with the cognitive challenge of history in ways that develop their historical understanding.

The workshop is free and open to all. To register your attendance, please go to this link.

Catherine McCrory has made two documents available to attendees at the seminar. They can be accessed here.

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How Big Or Little Should The Histories We Teach Be?

CL History Special Interest Group Research Seminar and Workshop, Wednesday 19th January, 6-7.30pm, GMT.

Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, University of South Australia

Ever wondered what size the histories we teach should be? Should we explore the biggest, or the smallest stories with students? In this interactive workshop and seminar, Marnie Hughes-Warrington will guide a discussion using insights and practical examples from her newest book, Big and Little Histories: Sizing Up Ethics in Historiography (with Anne Martin, 2021). A free, worldwide open access copy of the book is available at this link. She will outline how the shifting sizes and scales of all kinds of histories can help us to better understand ethics, and the variety of ethical views in our world. This will set the stage for a glimpse of her new project, on whether machines can write histories. No background in history theory, historiography or philosophy are needed: all are warmly welcome.

To register for this online Zoom event, please go to this link.

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How did we get here? Teaching climate change as history

UCL History Teaching Workshop, Thursday 25th November 2021, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM GMT

This workshops explore practical ways to respond to the climate crisis through the lens of history in schools

The climate crisis may be the single most urgent challenge in our students’ future, but can history teachers empower them to tackle it through a deeper understanding of the human history that led us here? This session, led by history teacher Peter Langdon, will consider both the ‘why?’ and the ‘how?’ of integrating climate change into the history curriculum. It will focus on an experimental enquiry (‘When did humans take over the world?’) into how our relationship with the planet has evolved through the whole of human history, as well as suggesting other possible directions. The workshop aims to be the start of a conversation about how teachers can begin to approach such a mammoth task; how students will benefit from new, wider perspectives on our history and how a focus on human choice could inspire them to consider the alternatives for their own futures.

Free and open to all. To register, click here.

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New Edition of the History Education Research Journal published

Edition 18.2 of HERJ (the History Education Research Journal) is published today at this link – The journal is open access and available through UCL Press.

There are no article processing charges for authors and all HERJ articles are blind peer-reviewed by scholars in the field.

HERJ is now moving to a continuous publication model. This means that there are no fixed submission deadlines (you can submit when you wish) and articles are published every month rather than on a sixth-montly basis, as was the case till now.

HERJ also now has an online submission system that you can access on the ‘Submission’ tab on this page:

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Realising Big Curricular Ambitions Through Little Curricular Choices, Part 1

1st July 2021, 16:30 – 18:00 BST

Dr Catharine McCrory, UCL Institute of Education

Recent workshops in this series have engaged with current BIG PICTURE thinking about what history curricula in our community of schools look like and why. But we were also keen to zoom in from the big choices about what history to teach, when, how and why, to the nitty gritty of those same decisions on the micro level of curriculum planning. Once teachers have decided what teaching focus to take with what period, place, and people and why, how can they think about planning this 10- or 20-minute segment in this lesson? For our educative goals to become realisable, we need to be thinking on both levels of planning. Each works with the other to amount to our side of the bargain when it comes to what pupils learn.

In this workshop Dr Catherine McCrory will be drawing on her teaching experience and the work of current and past student teachers to offer insights about making the most of what we already do in our day-to-day teaching. The examples and principles are useful for anyone teaching history and are also workable for the purposes of mentoring student-teachers or contributing to colleagues’ cpd.

The ideas explored will not be the hugely useful generic ‘walk throughs’ that share teaching practices such as cold calling or live modelling which are beneficial in various subjects but will be the ‘think throughs’ that are needed if general techniques are going to serve worthwhile history teaching.

The workshop is free and open to all. To join the workshop via Zoom, please follow this link.

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