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Archive of History, Philosophy and Religion stories

Oxford Brookes Historian offers a new take on the making of modern public health

Dr Tom Crook, Postgraduate research tutor

This month sees the launch of a new book by an Oxford Brookes historian on the development of public health in the nineteenth century.

In Governing Systems: Modernity and the Making of Public Health in England, 1830-1910, Tom Crook explores the world of Victorian Britain, and revisits a basic question: ‘when and how did public health become modern?’

“For me, the Victorian period marks a critical threshold in British history. It’s during this period when you see Britain’s entrance into the modern world; but you also see Britain’s role in making that world modern – for me, that’s why it’s such an exciting period.”

DR TOM CROOK, SENIOR LECTURER IN MODERN BRITISH HISTORY

Tom said: “It’s not just about Victorian public health; it’s also about trying to understand what made modern public health modern, and I wanted to offer a fresh perspective on that.”

“I felt that the whole history of Victorian public health had been very well studied from multiple perspectives. For example, there is an enormous amount of literature on sewerage systems, small pox vaccination, the management of food, sanitary inspection, and so on; but I thought that there was still this important new story that could be told about Victorian public health.”

“It’s a book that I hope will encourage debate, and not just about public health, but also how we might think again about other fields of governance, such as education, the poor law, penal reform and policing.”

Governing Systems: Modernity and the Making of Public Health in England, 1830-1910 is published by University of California Press

Tom Crook is the Postgraduate Research Tutor for the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion at Oxford Brookes University.

 

 

More doctoral success for the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion in a record-breaking semester

PG graduation

Last week, Melanie Bashor successfully defended her doctoral thesis entitled “Engineering Tolerance: Origins of Multicultural Education Policies in the Atlantic World from 1941‒1988.

Melanie’s success rounds off a record-breaking semester for the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion, bringing the total of doctoral completions this year to ten.

Recent completions also include:

  • Dr Stephen Massie, “The Imperialism of Cecil John Rhodes: Metropolitan Perceptions of a Colonial Reputation.”
  • Dr Jenny Wright, “Public Health Women Doctors in England, 1965-1991.”
  • Dr Christine Bianco, “Modern Art for Middle America: American Abstraction in Mass Magazines, 1946–1960.” Director: Dr Elizabeth Darling
  • Dr Catriona Gilmour-Hamilton: “A Cohort of One: Oral Narratives of Cancer Research in Britain, 1970–2010.” Directors: Dr Viviane Quirke and Dr Marius Turda

“I’m absolutely delighted. Doctorates don’t happen overnight, of course, and the success we’re currently enjoying reflects years of hard work on the part of students and their supervisors right across the department”Dr Tom Crook, Postgraduate Research Tutor

“I’m absolutely delighted. Doctorates don’t happen overnight, of course, and the success we’re currently enjoying reflects years of hard work on the part of students and their supervisors right across the department,” said Dr Tom Crook, Postgraduate Research Tutor for the department.

“The good thing,” he added, “is that this hard work continues, and there are plenty more in the pipeline. So watch this space!”

The department of History, Philosophy and Religion has nine interconnected research communities, supporting our doctoral students and encouraging wide participation through partnerships, research centres, conferences and public events.

Further information about our current cohort of doctoral students, including student profiles, can be found here.

 

Oxford Brookes Communication, Media and Culture student undertakes BMW work placement

Natalia MitevaNatalia Miteva, a current Communication, Media and Culture student at Oxford Brookes University prepares to head back to her final year of study after completing a work placement with motor giant BMW Group UK.

The year long placement held at their head office in Farnborough, UK has seen Natalia take on the role of an assistant in the Aftersales Department. Natalia landed this role after realising two years into her studies that she was keen to put her knowledge into practice and gain exposure to the job market ahead of graduating.

“Since starting on my placement I have been involved in many different projects and events and the increase in my responsibilities over time has proven very rewarding.”

NATALIA MITEVA, COMMUNICATION, MEDIA AND CULTURE STUDENT, OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY

“My role is based around marketing and promotion; on a daily basis I support the team with launches of new products and the maintenance of existing ones, and pilot initiatives on a national level. I’ve also had the chance to apply and test many of my academic skills learnt during my course, including market research and competitor analysis around customer behaviour and trends.”

Natalia’s work on placement has also involved writing an Independent Case Study; the inspiration for which was based upon the recent launch of BMW’s employee brand.

More information about studying Communication, Media and Culture at Oxford Brookes can be found here.

For information and guidance on applying for work placements please contact our Careers department.

Part-time MA by Research Studentships available in the fields of Methodist History and Culture and Religious History.

1-HPR

The Department of History, Philosophy and Religion are pleased to offer two MA by Research studentships, one in the field of Methodist History and Culture and the second in the field of Religious History.

Both studentships are offered part-time and will be supervised by staff from the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History (OCMCH).

Applications are invited for proposals in a field of either Religious History or Methodist History in the seventeenth, eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. Research supervision from the OCMCH can be offered in the following fields: Religion in Britain 1660-1900, Church and State in the Eighteenth Century, Religion and Art in the Eighteenth Century, History and Historical Theology of Methodism and Evangelicalism 1700-1900, History of post-reformation Wales, Book History and Biographical Study in the period 1600-1900.

Previous students have gone on to take PhDs and have gained book contracts with Routledge and Oxford University Press.

“This is a great opportunity for a scholar interested in religious history to explore an area of interest in depth and to use the resources of the Centre and the University to obtain a research degree.”
Professor William Gibson, Director of the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History

The successful candidates will receive funding to cover the costs of the University’s part-time research degree fees, currently £2,112, for two years. To see the full eligibility requirements or submit an application please see here. Applications for both studentships should be made by Friday 1 July 2016.

For more information on the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion, please see here.

Framed! History of Art department bring portraits to life at Ashmolean LiveFriday event

Ashmolean LiveFriday

On Friday 13 May, the History of Art team at Oxford Brookes headed to the Ashmolean museum for LiveFriday, an after-hours experience.

This time around, the theme for the evening was Framed!, focussing on portraits across the museum and beyond, from gargoyles to pop-art, self-portraits to caricatures, and face-swaps to selfies.

Alongside other live performances, hands-on creative workshops and behind the scenes talks and tours, the History of Art team collaborated by designing a portrait trail across the museum’s galleries. It featured a range of portraits and sculptures from the 16th to the 20th century and included highlights such as Titian’s portrait of the Genoese merchant Ashmolean cut out photoGiacomo Doria and Reynolds’ intriguing double portrait of James Paine and his wayward son.

The trail led visitors to various portraits and sculptures based on a set of clues; at each exhibit an academic member of staff or student from the History of Art course were on hand to explain the piece in more depth

Popular features of the portrait trail were the life size cut outs of two famous artworks from the museum’s collection. The Portrait of a Young Man by Alessandro Allori and Music by Edward Burne-Jones proved popular with both young and old visitors.

It was such fun to take part in an event which allowed us, staff and students alike, to work together on a light-hearted, but carefully researched, project and to engage the public in discussion on some of our favourite works in the Ashmolean Museum. It was a wonderful opportunity for some of our second year students to collaborate on an event outside the usual lectures and assessments, really highlighting how exciting art-historical research can be!”
Dr Marika Leino, Senior Lecturer in History of Art

Events such as LiveFriday give visitors the opportunity to experience the museum and explore the collections after hours.

For more information on Ashmolean LiveFriday events please visit their website.

Department of History, Philosophy and Religion receives excellent rankings in new Guardian University League tables

HPR guardian rankings photo

 

The Guardian UK released their new University league tables and the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion achieved excellent rankings for a range of subjects.

Philosophy at Oxford Brookes, is currently ranked 10th for its subject, with a high score of 91.9% of final-year students satisfied with the overall quality of their course, according to the latest National Student Survey (NSS).

History at Oxford Brookes, has recently jumped from 50 to 39 in this year’s Guardian University leagues tables, with a high score of 96.7% of final-year students satisfied with the quality of teaching they received on their course (NSS).

History of Art at Oxford Brookes, is currently ranked 20th for its subject, compared to other providers in the UK and received a rating of 96% of final-year students being satisfied with the overall quality of their course, according to the latest National Student Survey (NSS).

I am delighted to see these results, which are testimony to the hard work and enthusiasm of our teaching staff who use their research to offer inspiring modules and to the committed, high-calibre undergraduates who choose to come and study with us.”
Professor Joanne Begiato, Head of the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion

PhD student wins prestigious Royal Archives Fellowship

Daniel-Reed

Daniel Reed, a PhD student studying History at Oxford Brookes University, is one of the first winners of the highly prestigious Royal Archives Fellowships.

The Fellowship, awarded jointly by the Royal Archives and King’s College, London, will enable him to undertake research at Windsor Castle.

Daniel said: “I am thrilled to have been awarded this fellowship, and for the rare opportunity it provides to explore the Royal Archives at Windsor. Original, primary research underpins the great majority of my work, so it is an honour to be granted access to such a prestigious collection.

I am thrilled to have been awarded this fellowship, and for the rare opportunity it provides to explore the Royal Archives at Windsor.

Daniel Reed, PhD student in History, Oxford Brookes University

“I am grateful to my doctoral supervisors and all at Brookes for their enthusiastic support for my research, which encourages me to pursue opportunities of this kind.”

Daniel’s research will focus on the eighteenth-century ecclesiastical records of the royal household. This is part of Daniel’s wider doctoral study of the Church and patronage during the eighteenth century under the supervision of Professors William Gibson and Joanne Begiato.

Professor Gibson said of the fellowship: “This award recognises Daniel’s outstanding ability as a researcher and his exceptional skill in the use of archives.”

The Royal Archives Fellowships were launched by the Queen in 2015.

More information about studying History at Oxford Brookes University can be found on the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion webpages. 

Brookes Historian attends Downing Street reception to back remaining in the EU

Roger News

On Tuesday 24 May 2016 Professor Roger Griffin attended a reception at 11 Downing Street, hosted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as part of a non-party political event aiming to making a positive case for EU membership from a historian’s perspective.

The gathering was held for an invited audience of many of the country’s most celebrated historians and included a short address by George Osbourne, followed by four short but elegantly articulated position statements from leading British Historians, namely Niall Fergusson, Chris Clark, Linda Colley, and Sir Keith Thomas.

The purpose of the event was to illustrate the potential effects withdrawing from the European Union could have on Britain from a historical perspective. Roger Griffin, Professor in Modern History at Oxford Brookes, attended the event, due to his renown in the field of ideological dynamics of fascism and terrorism.

He summarised some of the important points emerging from the event, “The history of Britain has been a constant process of waves of immigration into Britain and foreign occupation and British identity has always been extraordinarily fluid and malleable; British sovereignty has never been absolute since Britain has always found itself in shifting alliances with other countries or powers for idealistic or pragmatic reasons. It would not do us any harm either to remember that two World Wars were fought in one generation within a Europe torn apart by notions of isolationism, sovereignty, military greatness, and racial superiority.”

Griffin added that “One of the most important points to emerge when history is applied to the debate is that we should beware of idealising Britain’s past as one where a heroic island nation keeps going to the rescue of a Europe in crisis. The Battle of Waterloo, for example, far from being an exclusively British affair, was utterly dependent on a continental alliance of anti-Napoleonic forces and it was Prussian troops that saved our bacon (so to speak). Niall Fergusson opened his talk by revealing that there is no historical truth to the story that an English newspaper headline at the beginning of World War Two ran ‘Fog in channel. Continent cut off’. Both sides of the EU debate are now engaged in shrouding key issues in a verbal fog that social scientists and historians are in a position to dispel if anyone was listening!’”

The event follows the signing of a petition from British Historians to remain in the European Union. More details on Historians for Britain in Europe can be found here.

Roger Griffin is a Professor of Modern History in the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion at Oxford Brookes University.

Working-class mothers were not brutal or negligent but saviours of infant life

History news story

A new book by an Oxford Brookes academic has challenged historians who cast nineteenth -century working-class women as the villains of infant life.

In her book Melanie Reynolds, author of Infant Mortality and Working-Class Child Care, 1850-1899, unlocks the hidden history of northern working-class child care and disputes the entrenched assumption that working mothers were to blame for the high infant mortality rate (IMR) where up to 249/1000 infants died per year in the northern industrial districts during the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Melanie said: “There are deep-seated suspicions among historians that working-class mothers were incompetent and neglectful and that this was the prime cause of the high northern infant mortality rate.”

“In fact, northern working-class mothers did care for their babies and they went to extraordinary lengths to do so. For what was their purpose of their full time work, if not to provide for and protect their families? As valued workers in brickyards, factories, salt works and agricultural fields industrial mothers used this value as leverage to adapt their work places into a far more domestic and infant friendly environments, than we have been led to believe – to ensure infant life.

“Workhouse nurses were equally as pro-active when caring for poor infants in the workhouse. Unlike the infamous drunken and incompetent Sarah Gamp northern workhouse nurses worked in tandem with medical doctors and as usually mothers themselves, demonstrated a strong positive work ethic capable of excellent nursery skill.

There are deep-seated suspicions among historians that working-class mothers were incompetent and neglectful and that this was the prime cause of the high northern infant mortality rate. In fact, northern working-class mothers did care for their babies and they went to extraordinary lengths to do so.

What led to infant death for example, was the penny pinching factory owners who refused to invest in improving the factory conditions and incorrect medical knowledge. Nineteenth century workhouse doctors were obligated to provide ‘up to date’ medical care to infants in the workhouse, but how accurate was their medical knowledge? Was it defined by excellence, or flawed and built on a class bias which defined working-class mothers ill equipped to feed their infants, the remedy of which rendered them ill – in turn increasing the high northern IMR

Lancashire day carers were, contrary to the murderous baby-farmer stereotype propagated in the nineteenth century, ‘identified as reliable and responsible’ and northern infants benefitted from the kindness given to them by neighbourly day-carers

Dr Melanie Reynolds, Associate Lecturer, Oxford Brookes University

The book uses research from a new and wide range of source material, which includes medical and poor law history to show how working-class mothers saved infant life. Infant Mortality and Working-Class Child Care, 1850-1899 is published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Melanie Reynolds is an Associate Lecturer in the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion at Oxford Brookes University.

Oxford Brookes Historian receives Nobel Fellowship

Dr James Cooper speaking at the Nobel Institute in Oslo. Photograph credit: livestream.com/aktivdebatt/events/5319724

Dr James Cooper speaking at the Nobel Institute in Oslo. Photograph credit: livestream.com/aktivdebatt/events/5319724

Dr James Cooper, senior lecturer in History at Oxford Brookes University, joins the Nobel Institute in Oslo this month as part of the Nobel Peace Prize Research and Information (NPPRI) visiting fellows programme.

The NPPRI is run as part of the research agenda of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, which has a special interest in the fields of modern history and international affairs.  In 1992 the Institute set up a fellowship programme offering research grants to established and younger scholars. Nearly 100 visiting fellows from over 25 countries have spent periods at the Institute, including a number of world-leading Cold War historians and experts on international relations.  Fellows participate in, and lead, regular research seminars, which are open to the public.

Dr Cooper, who is primarily interested in contemporary American history within a global context, spoke as part of the Nobel Fellowship research seminar programme on ‘The Politics of Peace Making: US Presidents and the Northern Ireland Conflict, 1964-1998’. The talk stems from his current project on the response of U.S. Presidents to the Northern Ireland conflict during the Troubles and will contribute to the historiography of the American dimension of the Anglo-Irish Process. Dr Cooper will also release a book on this topic early next year with Edinburgh University Press.

Speaking about his fellowship, Dr Cooper said:

It’s a real honour to be given a fellowship at the Nobel Institute.  It’s been an invaluable opportunity to complete my monograph and share my broader research agenda with some of the leading scholars in the field of international relations.”

To see a podcast of this event, please follow this link http://livestream.com/aktivdebatt/events/5319724

For more information on NPPRI visiting fellows programme please visit their website http://www.nppri.org/