Tuesday, March 27, 2018

History undergraduate wins research bursary

Matthew Thomas, a third year history undergraduate, has received a bursary from the Society for the Study of Labour History, enabling him to visit Norfolk Record Office and collect important documents regarding the Burston School Strike, the longest strike in British history (1914-1939). The findings from this research will be revealed in Matthew's dissertation, a study of the role of school strikes in labour history. The main focus is on the Burston and Washington/Usworth strikes, which were vastly different in their execution, but had similar aims. Matthew's research in Norfolk unearthed some invaluable documents, including a copy of the school log book for the Burston and Shimpling School which describes the conduct of the school and gives details of the attendance rates and disciplinary action under Mrs. Higdon, the headmistress and wife of a Labour activist. This material helped Matthew to provide the necessary context for the dispute between the local authorities and the Labour-supporting headmistress, as well as the children who backed her and voted in favour of founding the alternative Burston Strike School. In addition, Norfolk Education Committee minutes, newspaper articles, pamphlets and booklets all provided fascinating accounts of the strike: its motivations, politics, and the ways in which these affected local government and industrial relations in general.
Handbill for the opening of the Burston Strike School, dated May 1917.
Original held at Norfolk Record Office. MC 31/38, 478x1.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Hypermasculinity, Twitter and #MAGA

Professor Angela Smith has recently given a paper at the 'Approaches to Discourse' conference at Georgetown University (Washington DC). She spoke on the concept of hypermasculinity, which was first theorised in the early 1980s. At that time masculinity was often perceived as being under threat from the great advances in gender equality made following the arrival of Second Wave Feminism.  Angela argued that in the last five years we have seen a rise in the performance of hypermasculinity on the national stage, often aligned with right wing politics and a heightened sense of national identity in face of a perceived over-reaching of liberalism.  Angela's paper explored how some politicians use social media to promote their messages, side-stepping the otherwise regulating voice of the mainstream media. She looked at tweets from the personal account of Donald Trump to offer an explanation for at least part of the appeal of the ‘Make America Great Again’ hashtag, and argued that resurgent hypermasculinity can be used to explore such data.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

North East students and the Great War

Dr Sarah Hellawell will be speaking on the theme of 'Students in the North East of England and the Aftermath of the Great War' at an event held by the North East Labour History Society. She will explore the impact of the First World War on student life in the North-East, shedding light on the student-led initiatives to foster a greater sense of internationalism during the interwar years. This research is part of the ‘British Ex-Service Students and the Rebuilding of Europe Project, 1918-1922′ led by academics at Northumbria, UCL and Sunderland Universities in connection with the National Union of Students and the North-East branch of the Workers’ Educational Association. It has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s WWI Engagement Centre at the University of Hertfordshire.
April 3rd 2018 at 7pm

Old George Inn
Old George Yard
Newcastle, NE1 1EZ


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SURE: Research from the University of Sunderland