Modern British Studies at Birmingham is a research centre based at the University of Birmingham. Our aim is to explore new ways of thinking about British society, culture, politics, and economics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As well as providing a focus for academic research and teaching, we hope to establish conversations with alternative voices, community organizations, and local historians, and, in so doing, provide fresh opportunities for rethinking modern British history. Our ambitions reflect our location within the global city of Birmingham and our interest in the intellectual traditions of the University of Birmingham, both of which provide inspiration for our efforts. Along with a range of public events, exhibitions, and lectures, we hope to use this blog as a forum to share our research and enable a more wide-ranging and inclusive conversation about modern British history.
You can find out more about Modern British Studies at Birmingham through our website. We are also working on a series of collaborative working papers which set out what we see as the pressing questions and issues facing historians of modern Britain today. These will be published on this blog: you can find out more here.
This is how we will meet our objectives:
(i) Community engagement: we will encourage new forms of public engagement and democratic participation through an ongoing programme called Witnessing Britain. Rather than provide another platform for social and political elites, these events will prompt conversations about the everyday experiences of social, cultural, political and economic change that have defined modern Britain. If you have any ideas for a Witnessing Britain event please feel free to contact us.
(ii) Teaching: we launched a new MA in Modern British Studies in September 2014. You can find out more about the opportunities to study modern Britain with us here.
(iii) Research: as scholars working on Modern Britain at Birmingham we will continue to pursue our own individual interests, but we will also work together in a shared intellectual project that makes us more than our individual parts. In working together we hope to challenge the intellectual and institutional fragmentation of modern British history.
(iv) Interdisciplinarity: Modern British Studies does not pretend to have the status of a discipline but is intended as a field of enquiry that can create conversations with colleagues working across fields and disciplines.
(iv) Beyond Birmingham: We will establish active links with scholars working in modern British studies in other institutions, in particular with comparable centres in north American including Northwestern University; Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; the University of California, Berkeley; and York University, Toronto. These links will extend to providing opportunities for reciprocal intellectual exchange and visiting fellowships for faculty, postdoctoral researchers and doctoral researchers.
(vi) Working papers in Modern British Studies: Rather than formulating a static agenda, we are committed to continual reflection on our intellectual work, pedagogy and public engagement. To sustain this we will publish regular collaborative Working Papers on Modern British Studies that are accessible to anyone interested in the field.