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Anatomy Museum

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The "Foreigner" in Britain conference, 6-7 July 2017

Britain, despite being a ‘fortress built by nature’ in John of Gaunt’s estimation, has historically been shaped by immigration. From the arrival of the Romans to present-day migration patterns, there has always been an ‘Other’ in Britain, and London’s status as a place of refuge for political exiles goes back centuries. With this history in mind, what constitutes a ‘foreigner’ in Britain, and what meanings does the term evoke? Is ‘foreignness’ just about place of origin, or has the ‘foreigner’ been characterised by racial, sexual, religious, cultural or political identities? What has the role and identity of the 'foreigner’ been in British history? And how has the foreigner, the Other, been seen and represented within Britain? How have Britons, in turn, been characterised by foreigners?

As Europe and Britain grapple with a global refugee crisis, ongoing debates about immigration, and the aftermath of a referendum on Britain’s relationship with Europe, this conference seeks to investigate the theme of the foreigner in Britain in a historical perspective. By approaching Britain as a site of historical interaction, integration, and exclusion, the conference seeks to bring scholars from different fields together to investigate how British society has historically viewed the foreigner, and how British identity has been shaped by diversity. London has been a temporary stop for political exiles from the Paris Commune and Nazi-occupied Europe, while industrial cities such as Liverpool, Glasgow and Birmingham have developed unique identities through economic immigration. Political activism, uprisings and conflicts over identity and exclusion have shaped and reshaped British culture. London may have more in common with Europe than with other parts of Britain. If so, what can this tell us about British society and its views on foreigners?

DAY 1 Thursday 6 July

9-9.30 Registration

9.30-11.15 Panel 1: The Politics of Exile

Claire Benson (University of York) - Boundaries and Belonging: English Born Foreigners in Early Modern London

Christos Aliprantis (University of Cambridge) - Preventing the next Revolution: European political exiles and secret agents in the 1850s London

Tina Tamman (Independent researcher) - Baltic political exiles in the 1940s London

Thomas Jones (University of Buckingham) - Understanding the land of asylum

11.15-11.30 Coffee

11.30-1 Panel 2: Empire, Career, and Foreignness

C. Bradford Bow (Yonsei University) - Globalising Orientalism in Sir William Jones’s Asiatick Researches, 1784-94

Barry Crosbie (The Education University of Hong Kong) - Irish Elites in Late Nineteenth-Century Britain and the Empire: The Imperial Career of Sir John Pope-Hennessy

Mike Humphries (King’s College London) - ‘A regular mosquito for money’: Sir Francis Trippel and the patriotic philanthropy of Germans in Edwardian Britain

1-1.30 Lunch

1.30-3 Panel 3: Immigrant Communities and Oral Histories

David Swift (Queen Mary, University of London) - From Mirpur to Mill: The South Asian ‘Foreigner’ in West Yorkshire, c.1961-1990

Binal Somani (SOAS) - Assimilation, Adaptation, and Marginalisation: A Study of the Gujarati Community in Britain

Jack Crangle (Queen’s University Belfast) - Immigration and conflict in Northern Ireland: Migrant identities in a divided society

3-3.15 Break

3.15-4.45 Panel 4: Religion and Foreignness

Eliot Wilson (Independent researcher) - Foreigners and the English Church, 1553 – 1558

Gareth Jenkins (Open University) - Group Religious Identity and a Question of ‘Britishness’: Belfast and Liverpool as Contrasting Case Studies of Political Intervention, 1886-1922

Diane Robinson-Dunn (University of Detroit Mercy) - Assuming ‘the burden of these days as no other religion is able’: Ahmadiyyah Muslim missionaries define their role in English society and the British state during WWI

4.45-5 Break

5-6.30 Panel 5: Scottish Legal and Cultural Frameworks of Foreignness

Thomas Tyson (University of Cambridge) - The Scots Experience of Incivility, c. 1590-1610

Paul Tonks (Yonsei University) - Embracing the ‘Other’ and welcoming the ‘Foreigner’ in 18th Century Britain: Refugees, Economic Migrants and a Global Vision of Scottish Political Economy

Terence McBride (Open University) - Scottishness and ‘Foreigners’: State Institutions in Scotland, 1885-1928

6.30-7.30 Wine reception [Open Space, Department of History, 8th floor, Strand Campus.]

7.30- Dinner

DAY 2 Friday 7 July

9-10.45 Panel 6: Riots, Violence, and the State

Francesco Guidi-Bruscoli (University of Florence) - Between riots and trade: The Italians, London and the Englishmen at the end of the Middle Ages

Elly Robson (University of Cambridge) - Unsettling xenophobia: Imagined communities, assimilation and exclusion in popular and state responses to Protestant refugees in the Lincolnshire fens, 1626-1660

Simon Peplow (University of Exeter) - Black Political Participation, Public Inquiries, and the 1980 St Pauls ‘Riot’

Jac St John (St. Andrews) - The Foreigner and National Security: Rudi Dutschke and the Alien (Appeals) Order (1970)

10.45-11 Coffee

11-12.30 Panel 7: Language and Media

Ruth Byrne (Lancaster University) - ‘Anarchical firebrands and murderers […] in their London Dens’: Testing the limit of British ‘tolerance’

Daniel Renshaw (University of Reading) - The Revolution and the ‘other’: The concept of the ‘foreign’ in the British socialist press, 1889-1914

Agnes Arnold-Forster (King’s College London) - ‘A man’s worst foes are they of his own household’: The Foreigner in Fin de Siècle Cancer Discourse

12.30-1.15 Lunch

1.15-2.45 Panel 8: Stereotypes and Cultural Constructions

Emily Glassford (University of Oxford) - Butter, Beer, Boasting, and Bawds: Cultural Stereotypes of Strangers and Sin in London and at the English Court, c. 1450-1558

Constance Bantman (University of Surrey) - French women in Britain, 1871-1914

Soile Ylivuori (Queen Mary, University of London) - Negotiating National Identity in Georgian Britain: The case of Teresia Phillips

2.45-3 Break


Kennetta Hammond Perry (East Carolina University)

4-4.15 Break (19 Princelet Street Museum video presentation)

4.15-5.45 Round Table Discussion

Humayun Ansari (Royal Holloway), Susie Symes (19 Princelet Street, Museum of Immigration), Thomas Jones (University of Buckingham), Anna Maguire (King’s College London)

5.45- Pub

Contact: fibconference@gmail.com

#fibconference @kingshistory

Conference generously funded by King's College London and the Royal Historical Society

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