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BRIHC Scholars Symposium: Identity and Individuality across Time and Place

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The Danford Room, Arts Building

Univeristy of Birmingham

Edgbaston

Birmingham

B15 2TT

United Kingdom

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Come and learn about the exciting research being undertaken by the BRIHC Scholars in a friendly, informal atmosphere.

Lunch provided.

PROGRAMME:

11:00 - 11:30: Refreshments and Welcome

11.30 - 12.15: Session 1

Howard Barlow – PhD Department of History (20 min):
A ‘lewd company’ at prayer: plebeian Catholics in Elizabethan Cheshire

In May 1582, and again in May 1586, a ‘lewd company’ from the Cheshire parish of Malpas appeared before the Chester Quarter Sessions, charged with attendance at illegal Catholic masses in farmhouses there. The examinations of some of these attendees survive in the Quarter Sessions Files at the Cheshire Record Office, and provide a rare and informative glimpse of a rural post-Reformation Catholic community at a key point in its development. This paper argues that together they provide a valuable ‘thick description’ of the plebeian form of Catholicism which Bill Sheils identified in the communities of the North Yorkshire Moors, and which, unlike the religion of the Catholic gentry in isolated manor houses, with their priests’ holes and clerics disguised in servants’ livery, has rarely survived in the record.

Elizabeth Crawley - MA Early Modern History (10 min):
'Defacing Gloriana: Image Attacks in Post-Reformation Britain'

Images of Elizabeth I are now famous throughout the world, but during her reign they were not always treated with reverence. This talk will examine several examples of when the Queen's image was defaced to discover why Elizabeth I's subjects attacked and defaced images of her.

12:15 - 13:00: Lunch

13:00 - 13:30: Session 2

George Harrold - MRes Ancient History (10 min):
Thucydidean Identity

This short paper will consider the identity of Thucydides, the great historian and author of The Peloponnesian War. I will examine Thucydides' own identity - ethnically as a Thracian who had immigrated to Athens, and professionally as an elected military general - and explore how the effects of this identity can be discerned and analysed in his literary work, particularly with relevance to my own research on 'Topographical Terrain in Thucydidean Warfare'.

Robin Downing – MA Medieval Studies (10 min):
Venetian and Frankish fortifications in the late medieval Peloponnese as active in the construction of western identities in late medieval Peloponnesian society

This paper explores the role played by Venetian and Frankish fortifications in the late medieval Peloponnese in the construction of western identities in the context of increasing western involvement in the geo-politics of the Aegean. Previous research into these fortifications has tended to concentrate on categorizing them according to their location, form and function and isolating individual functions for fortifications if either a practical and, less commonly, symbolic nature. Exploration of the broader significance of fortifications such as their role in identity formation is lacking. By situating these fortifications within their broader geographical, social, political and cultural contexts, it is argued that the Venetian and Frankish fortifications were consciously crafted material expressions of identity oriented towards adapting to the circumstances surrounding the seizure of territory from one power by another. For example, in order to address the problem of the impermanence of their claims to land ownership, the Franks of the Aegean identified with the ruling elites of Western Europe by utilising a shared symbolic vocabulary of power, namely a central tower, or keep, added to the castles which they occupied. In order to insert themselves into the social and political life of, and thus shore up their claims to political hegemony, over their newly acquired Aegean territories, the Venetians constructed strong fortresses, notably at Koroni and Methoni, in order to cement their control of maritime trade. By this means, the Venetians constructed an identity for themselves to which trade and political domination were equally important.

13:30 -13:45: Refreshment Break

13:45 – 14:30: Session 3

Katherine Jones - PhD Department of History (20 min):
‘Men Too’: The Family Planning Association and Male Involvement in Contraception in 1980s Britain

This research explores the content, motivations and implications of the Family Planning Association’s male involvement campaign and the understandings of the histories of gender and sexuality in modern Britain that are produced via critical engagement with it.
Recent media reports on current medical trials of the ‘male pill’ have stirred public debate around why male hormonal contraception remains unavailable in the twenty-first century. To begin to understand this debate, it is useful to historicise the role of men in contraceptive-decision making and broader attitudes towards men, sex and contraception. Men had long been excluded from the institutional family planning. Since its formal inception marked by the opening of the first birth control clinics in 1921, for much of the twentieth century voluntary organisations – namely the FPA – dominated the scene. These were almost entirely female-orientated, perpetuating the existence of gendered cultures of contraception in which men frequently felt excluded from clinics, forcing them to obtain ‘protectives’ from commercial outlets. However, the 1980s heralded a turning point. In 1984, the FPA launched its campaign to encourage male involvement. The key objective of ‘Men Too’ was to advocate the benefits of shared responsibility and ‘joint’ contraceptive-decision making and men were actively encouraged to attend clinics to seek advice. The campaign was active for over a year, culminating in a national conference held in London in March 1985 entitled ‘Men, Sex and Relationships’.
Using the FPA’s copious archive, this paper will demonstrate how this experimental campaign ushered in new attitudes towards men, sex and contraception, echoing critiques of masculinity voiced by both feminism and men’s movements in this period. This campaign can provide understandings of the changing expectations of men in relation to contraceptive decision-making, family planning and their perceived sex role more broadly by the mid-1980s. It advocated values which had not previously been associated with ideal, normative, and ultimately heterosexual masculinity, implying a retreat from a domineering and often impulsive male sexuality, by encouraging prior negotiation with a partner and conscious pre-planning, which use of contraception often - if not always - demands.

Mohammad Khan – MA Global History (10 min):
'The Role of the Pakistan Military within State Formation'

The project goes beyond arguments in the historiography, to analyse the role of the military within specific contexts of military coups and state dominance.

14:30: Final Remarks


For further information please contact: brihcscholars@contacts.bham.ac.uk

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Date and Time

Location

The Danford Room, Arts Building

Univeristy of Birmingham

Edgbaston

Birmingham

B15 2TT

United Kingdom

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