Wednesday, 25 June 2014

CFP: The Resurgence of 'Class' in History?

Postgraduate History Conference

The Resurgence of ‘Class’ in History?

International History Conference for Postgraduates and Early Career Historians
Department of History, University of Essex

12-13 September 2014

Just over fifty years ago E. P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class put the concept of class firmly at the centre of historical debate. Over subsequent decades, however, the academic agenda has shifted considerably. Postmodernists and others have questioned the usefulness of ‘class’ as a key analytical category and historical narratives emphasizing class conflict as a driver of social change have become increasingly unfashionable.
Yet class now appears to be making a comeback. Within the last year, the concept of social class has been resurrected and reimagined by the authors of the ‘Great British Class Survey’. Likewise, the media furore surrounding the release of Channel 4’s ‘Benefits Street’ speaks of our continuing obsession with class in modern Britain. Within the field of history, many authors have lately reasserted the usefulness of class as a tool of historical analysis. This two-day conference therefore wishes to provide an opportunity to critically evaluate this key concept and consider how a sense of class enables a better understanding of past societies and how they change.
Keynote addresses will be given by Jon Lawrence (Cambridge) and Andy Wood (Durham). The conference organizers also wish to welcome postgraduates and early career historians to submit proposals for papers (of about 20-30 minute’s length) by the 1 July 2014. Abstracts (c. 300 words) should include the author’s name, affiliations, email address, and length of paper and should be sent to either Joseph Cozens or Emily Mason (respectively jtcoze and emason @ Those wishing to attend the conference should also register their interest via email.
Possible themes for papers may include but are not limited to:
v languages of class
v representations of class
v class and the ‘cultural turn’
v class and the ‘spatial turn’
v class formation
v class and gender, race or nation
v class before class society
v class as an agent of social change
v E. P. Thompson’s conception of class

Friday, 20 June 2014

Play: A Bright Room Called Day

A Bright Room Called Day
by Tony Kushner

 “This age wanted heroes. It got us instead.”
Berlin. 1932. A group of young communists throw a decadent party to celebrate the coming New Year. But as the country succumbs to the seduction of Nazism the friends are forced to choose between integrity and survival.
Shocking and provocative, the play caused a sensation when it was first performed. From Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Tony Kushner, A Bright Room Called Day examines the darkest reaches of the human heart.

Brash, audacious, intoxicatingly visionary."  - Chicago Tribune

Post-show talk on Tuesday 29th July
Professor Christopher Dillon of Kings College London will be giving a post-show on the historical context of the play. His talk is entitled ‘Perched on the Brink: the Rise and Demise of the Communist part in Weimar Germany.’ The talk will be free to all ticket-holders.

23 July – 16 August

Special offer for LSHG supporters - TICKETS for performances from 26-31 July are just £13 when you quote the code BRIGHT1 when booking online or by phone

Working class education conference - Bridgwater, 2 August

Does working-class education
have a future?
A day conference for all trades unionists including Union Learn reps, trade union branch officers, TUC/ Trade Union Studies tutors, WEA/adult education lecturers, and mature students, organised by Trade Union Solidarity magazine and Bridgwater Trades Union Council
11am to 4pm, Saturday 2ndAugust GWRSA/Railway Club, Wellington Rd, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5HA
Marie HughesSouth West TUC Regional Education Officer
Trish Lavelle CWU National Education Officer
Becca Kirkpatrick Co-editor Trade Union Solidarity
Shan Maidment TU studies tutor, City of Bristol College
Carole Vallelly GMB Southern Region/TUC tutor
Nigel Costley, Secretary, South West TUC
Dave Chapple,Bridgwater TUC
Ian Manborde,Ruskin College
Richard RossLondon Metropolitan University
Cost is £5 per person which includes buffet lunch. Places are limited: please register in advance if possible, make cheques out to“Bridgwater Trades Union Council” and send to Dave Chapple, Conference Organiser, 1 Blake Place, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5AU. Further details phone 07707 869 144 or e-mail
10.30am to 11am: registration tea and coffee
11am: welcome: Vicki Nash, Somerset NUT and President Bridgwater TUC
11.05am: First session: Chair, Andy Newman, GMB, White Horse (Wiltshire) TUC
Speakers: Marie Hughes, Trish Lavelle, Dave Chapple
11.50am: discussion
12.30pm: Second session: Chair, Glen Burrows, RMT, Bridgwater TUC
Speakers: Nigel Costley, Shan Maidment, Richard Ross
1.15pm: discussion
2.40pm: Third session: Chair: Richard Capps, PCS, vice-Chair South West TUC
Speakers: Carole Vallelly, Ian Manborde, Becca Kirkpatrick
3.25pm: discussion including conference follow-up
4pm: Close of conference
The last few generations have seen, overall, both a crisis and decline in the general field of what used to be called working-class education. Despite substantial government Union Learn funding, now of course under severe pressure, and some impressive internal trade union shop steward programmes, the subsidised and ‘liberal’ ‘adult education sector where many of us learned the theory and practice of socialism has almost disappeared.
This conference is a ground-breaking attempt to address this crisis, asking these questions amongst many others: would the internet have destroyed adult ‘liberal’ education without any government cuts? Do any trade unions educate their members for socialism or merely effective trades unionism? Can a volunteer/community-led strategy restore cuts to Union Learn and adult evening courses?
What about the left-wing political parties, including Labour and the Greens? What are the strategies to restore a once-thriving Independent Working Class Education as part of the workers’ emancipation project? Do TUC courses succeed in teaching solidarity between workers in different unions? Could local trades councils play a new educational role?
These of course are only a few possible ways of approaching our conference subject: make sure you raise yours! Our speakers will all, hopefully, give us personal reflections of all their years teaching workers, as well as their own ideas for future education campaigns.
Bridgwater GWRSA/Railway Club is 100 yards from Bridgwater rail station at the east end of Wellington Rd. Car parking in adjacent station car park. Bridgwater station is served by an hourly train service throughout the day, arriving from Bristol at 40 minutes past the hour and from Taunton at 15/20 minutes past the hour. Bridgwater is also easily accessible from the M5 motorway with two junctions: north (Dunball/Junction 23) and south (Huntworth/Junction 24). The GWRSA/railway club itself is one of the national network of railway clubs which in themselves are an important part of working-class history-they were funded by the employers, and so can be understood both as social concession or dangerous palliative. However, you will find the Bridgwater GWRSA a friendly, thriving but last-surviving local working class club. We look forward to seeing you on 2nd August!

LSHG seminar on the British far left since 1956

The last socialist history seminar of 2013/14 is on Monday 23rd June at 5.30pm in Room G35 ground floor Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, London WC1 - all welcome. 

It is a special occasion as Evan Smith will be launching a book he has co-edited -Against the Grain: The British far left from 1956

'Revolutionary force or pressure group? The role of the British far left in British politics since 1956?'
Evan Smith (Flinders University)

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Black Cultural Archives heritage centre opening soon

Black Cultural Archives opens

Join us to celebrate the opening of our new heritage centre.

We are pleased to announce we will open our new heritage centre on Thursday 24 July. It has been a long journey and we are tremendously thankful for your continued support in helping us realise our vision.

Our new heritage centre is a beautiful historic space dedicated to Black British history and culture. Located in the heart of Brixton on Windrush Square, we are proud to invite you to explore the space, preview our opening exhibition Re-imagine: Black Women in Britain and join us to celebrate this special moment.

Further details and invitations will be announced soon. 

Black Cultural Archives
1 Windrush Square 
Brixton, London

Follow us on Twitter @bcaheritage 

Urgent Appeal for old LSHG Newsletter

---- Edited to add - This missing newsletter has now been found - thanks ------------------
Urgent Appeal – Reward!!
In July 2008 a summer issue of the LSHG Newsletter was published. This included, among other things, a report by myself on a meeting addressed by survivors of the Socialisme et Liberté  resistance group in Paris in 1941.
As a result of a Byzantine dispute between LSHG officers, this issue was deemed “unofficial”; it was ignored in the numbering of subsequent issues, and it is not archived or available on line.
I urgently need a copy of my article for a book I am currently writing. I should be most grateful to hear from anyone who could supply the article in printed, photocopied or electronic form. I will pay a reward of £20 for the first copy received.
Please contact me through my website at

Ian Birchall 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Matchwomen's Day 2014

Battles and Victories, 1888-2014
Saturday 5th July, 11am Mander Hall, NUT Hamilton House, Mabledon Place London WC1H 9BD. Transport: King’s Cross,Euston
Tina McEvvit Louise RawKate ConnellyKate HardieSara KhanSukhwant Dhaliwal
John Hendy QC Terry McCartyScarlett HarrisHeather Wakefield Alex Wall Caroline RaineFaisal Ali
Facebook Twitter: @Matchwomen1888 Email: by NUT London Women Thanks to the Pay Equity Campaign


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Tariq Ali on CLR James

Looking Back...Looking Forward – C.L.R. James Annual Memorial Lecture 2014
A lecture on the life and work of C.L.R James and its relevance today
with Tariq Ali

IT HAS BEEN 25 years since C.L.R. James’ (1901-1989) passing yet he remains one of the twentieth century’s most remarkable thinkers. Join Tariq Ali (writer, journalist, and filmmaker) in conversation, discussing his legacy and its relevance today
Where:Dalston C.L.R. James library, Dalston Square, E8 3BQ
When: Thursday 19th June 7-9pm

Organised by the CLR James Legacy Project 


Book Launch: New Beacon Books: the pioneering years

From The George Padmore Institute:

Dear Friend,

We would like to inform you of this new exciting publication which we have recently posted on our website.

We shall be officially launching the publication

NEW BEACON BOOKS: the pioneering years
by Dr Ruth Bush

at the George Padmore Institute

on Wednesday 9 July at 6.30pm

All Are Welcome

Still the Enemy Within film premiere in Sheffield

One week until premiere of
Still the Enemy Within!

World Premiere on 7th June @13.45

 11th June @20.30 


Showroom 4 Cinema, Sheffield 

Still the Enemy Within will be screened at the prestigious Sheffield International Documentary Festival  

There is just one week until 'Still the Enemy Within' has its world premiere at the Sheffield Documentary Festival on 7th June and 11th June.
Tickets are selling fast for both screenings so please book today to avoid disappointment. If you do join us in Sheffield please remember to vote for us in the audience choice awards.
We hope as many of you can join us as possible!
We have more screenings coming up that will be announced shortly

The Beautiful Game

Come and watch The Beautiful Game
A Play about Forgotton Heroes of Black British History Arthur Wharton and Walter Tull by Phil Vasari
10 and 11 June 2014, 7pm,
Brent Civic Centre, Grand  Hall
Free admission, closest station Wembly Park
District 6 Company