‘Our Country’s Good’ – That Time Britain Used a Foreign Territory as Its Social Dumping Ground

By Ellie Raftery In October 2015, my three passions in life – history, music and theatre – came together at the National Theatre. Timberlake Wertenbaker’s ‘Our Country’s Good’, based on Thomas Keneally’s 1987 novel ‘The Playmaker’, followed the remarkable true story of the first British penal colony in Botany Bay, Australia in 1788. This itself […]

Cecil Rhodes: A Story of Supremacy and Statues

By Sam Gilder On Wednesday 17th June 2020, the governors of Oriel College at Oxford University voted to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes that sits above the town’s high street. A month later, on 15th July, the colonialist’s statue in Cape Town, South Africa was decapitated. What did Rhodes do in order to cause such […]

The Issue of Stateless People in Our Modern World

By Jessica Townley The rise of the nation-state and the trend of nationality has gripped the modern world, most notably in unifying groups of people native to certain territories. The concept of statelessness is that a person is to “not be considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law”, as […]

Winston Churchill: Challenging Perceptions of a British Hero

By Megan Bellamy Historical figures are ever-increasingly labelled as inherently ‘good’ or ‘evil’, as their entire characters, experiences and deeds are reduced to a singular narrative. This has never been more apparent than in the way we think about and commemorate Winston Churchill. Popular opinion celebrates him as a brilliant wartime hero, the saviour of […]

A Brief History of Whiteness in America: From Reconstruction to Trump’s Inauguration

By Shaye Mistry America has become a peculiar place in recent times. The once global hegemon was the centre of Western Liberalism and the forebearer of democracy. Yet, ongoing civil strife between legislature, institutions and the citizens themselves demonstrate another story. Much of the tense relationship between America’s multiculturalism and its minority white population is […]

The Relationship between Race and Rank During the First World War

By Steph Ritson The First World War is celebrated as the first globalised war, however, the experience and contributions of non-Europeans remain sidelined. The First World War saw the increased use of colonial troops, as well as the implementation of Charles Mangin’s ‘martial hierarchy’. This advocated an ideology of difference through the segregation and subordination […]

Equal Sporting Chance? How Sport Creates, Continues and Challenges Racism

By Ellie Marlow Recent events have drawn attention to the marginalisation of non-white actors in history, driving calls for more inclusive historical coverage. The ignorance of historical and contemporary contributions by certain groups of society creates prejudiced and narrow narratives that perpetuate implicit bias and continue racism. Sports provide a valuable route to analyse why […]

“I fear I am not in my perfect mind”: Mental health and the perception of madness in Shakespearian England

By Hannah McCann In Shakespeare’s plays, ‘madness’ plagues many of the characters. It is thought that the work of John Hall, a physician and Shakespeare’s son-in-law, influenced the playwright’s depiction of mental illness to some degree.  Physicians could explain some mental illnesses by drawing on ancient ideas. The concept of the four humours, created by […]

Ghosts of the Past – Our emotional connection to history

By Georgie Todd When we think of ‘history’ there are probably two images that pop into our minds: one of a grey-haired, old professors hunched over a dusty tomb of ancient words, or one of grand manor houses and castles, high ceilings and banquets fit for kings and queens. It is this split between ideas […]

The Tragic Plague of Eyam: a history more fiction than fact?

By Ethan Battison ‘The desolation of Eyam by the plague, in years 1665 and 1666’, wrote the Victorian William Wood, ‘has no parallel; not even that of the “Black Death” of the fourteenth century’. According to Wood, it was the severity of the scourge in Eyam, being ‘more dreadful and fatal … than of any […]