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02 July 2018

The UK through Comparative and Transnational Perspectives: KCBH Conference 2018

Details of KCBH Conference in 2018

Night time sky line of London

2018 Conference CFP

‘The UK through Comparative and Transnational Perspectives’

King’s College London

2 July 2018

Keynote Speaker: Professor Guy Ortolano, New York University

This is the second annual conference of King’s Contemporary British History (KCBH). We ran a new kind of conference – designed to generate engaged discussion. Our aim was to examine the United Kingdom in a comparative and transnational perspective and question the place of the nation in the wider world as we prepare to leave the European Union.

Transnational and comparative perspectives have been rare in the study of modern British history, and we wish to encourage arguments and contentions from these viewpoints, and to recover forgotten ones. We wanted to ask in a systematic way, how does, say, the history of British socialism look in a global mirror, or the history of militarism or environmentalism. The plan was for the focus to sometimes be on debates where such perspectives have appeared; in others we chose themes where such a perspective might usefully be applied. In any case we wanted to bring to light implicit and explicit arguments for British lack of exceptionalism, as well as it presence.

Our aim was not to provide a vehicle for the presentation for new research, but rather to generate discussion and reflection, to revisit major debates and positions and ask where they stand now. These conversations will be grounded in the current political moment, looking to the future as much as the past.

The day was structured around panels on the key subject/books which have or could usefully have an established comparative and transnational dimension. Each led by major scholars in the field.

We invited five minute papers that speak comparatively to one of the following areas and books:


  • Welfare states
  • Empire and decolonization
  • Modes of warfare
  • Business and the economy


We asked for reflection on these issues in light of their anniversaries. How has the discussion changed with these commemorations?

  • Suffrage
  • The Munich Conference and its effects
  • Peace Movements
  • Franco-British Relations
  • Olympic and other sports
  • Nationality and National Identities
  • Health systems
  • Government of Ireland (including the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement)


  • C.B.A. Behrens, Merchant Shipping and the Demands of War (1955)
  • Ralph Miliband, Parliamentary Socialism (1961)
  • A.J.P. Taylor, English History (1965)
  • Eric Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire (1968)
  • Angus Calder, The People’s War (1969)
  • Margaret Gowing, Britain and Atomic Energy 1939–1945 (Independence and Deterrence 2 vols (1975)
  • Keith Middlemas, Politics of Industrial Society (1979)
  • Noreen Branson, History of the Communist Party of Great Britain 1927–1941(1985) and History of the Communist Party in Britain 1941–1951 (1997)
  • Arthur Marwick, The Sixties: Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, c. 1958-c. 1974 (1998)


2018 conference programme

‘The UK Through Comparative and Transnational Perspectives’

King’s College London, 2 July 2018

Provisional Programme

Registration: 9:30am

Opening remarks: 10am

First panel: 10:15-11:30am

Room 1: Ralph Miliband’s Parliamentary Socialism

Chair: Professor Richard Vinen (King’s College London)

  • Dr Emily Robinson (University of Sussex)
  • Matt Myers (University of Oxford)
  • Dr Seamus Flaherty (Queen Mary University of London)
  • Dr Florence Sutcliffe-Braithewaite (UCL)
  • Dr Alexander Hutton (King’s College London)
  • Dr Alex Campsie (University of Cambridge)

Room 2: Empire, Nation, World and Decolonisation

Chair: Dr Charlotte Riley (University of Southampton)

  • Dr Michael Lambert (University of Liverpool)
  • Dr Jon Wilson (King’s College London)
  • Dr Christienna Fryar (University of Liverpool)
  • Prof David Edgerton (King’s College London)

Coffee break: 11:30am-12pm

Second panel: 12-1:15pm

Room 1: The Belfast/ Good Friday Agreement

Chair: Dr Maggie Scull (King’s College London)

  • Dr George Legg (King’s College London)
  • Edwin Coomasaru (Courtauld Institute of Art)
  • Alex Coupe (Goldsmiths)
  • Dr Katie Markham (Newcastle)
  • Amanda Hall (St Andrews University)

Room 2: Welfare States

Chair: Professor Susan Pedersen (Columbia University)

  • Dr Aaron Andrews (University of Leicester)
  • Yasuto Dobashi (King’s College London)
  • Dr Max Hodgson (University of Reading)

Room 3: Government, Economics, and Finance

Chair: Martin Stolliday (Strand Group, King’s College London)

  • Dr Jon Davis (Strand Group, King’s College London)
  • Ashley Sweetman (Strand Group, King’s College London)
  • Michelle Clement (Strand Group, King’s College London)
  • Eleanor Hallam (Strand Group, King’s College London)

Lunch: 1:30-2:30pm

Third panel: 2:30-3:45pm

Room 1: Suffrage

Chair: Dr Alana Harris (King’s College London)

  • Vicky Iglikowski (The National Archives, UK)
  • Dr Helen Glew (University of Westminster)
  • Dr Claire Eustance (University of Greenwich)
  • Dr Mari Takayanagi (UK Parliament Archives)

Room 2: Keith Middlemas’, Politics of Industrial Society

Chair: Tom Kelsey (King’s College London)

  • Professor Jim Tomlinson (University of Glasgow)
  • Dr Sabine Clarke (University of York)
  • Dr Ben Jackson (University of Oxford)

Room 3: Modes of Warfare

Chair: TBC

  • Dr Andrea Ellner (King’s College London)
  • George Evans (King’s College London)
  • Professor Joe Maiolo (King’s College London)
  • Dr Christina Goulter (King’s College London)
  • Dr Michael Pryce (Cranfield University)
  • Thomas Bottelier (King’s College London)

Coffee break: 3:45-4:15pm (Anatomy Museum & K6.07)

Keynote: 4:15-5:30pm (Anatomy Lecture Theatre)

Professor Guy Ortolano (New York University)

Chair: TBC

Wine reception: 5:30-6:30pm (Anatomy Museum)