Celebrating Black History Month 2020

Black History Month logo from https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/

Today is the first day of Black History Month.  This year, of course, our events to mark Black and African diaspora histories are all moving online, and will take place via Teams.  We still have a great deal going on, combining student- and staff-led initiatives with talks by expert academics from outside St Andrews.

Our various research seminar programmes include several speakers in October presenting topics that intersect with Black histories:

On Monday 5th October, 4-5pm, Dr Peggy Brunache (University of Glasgow) will speak at the modern history seminar on the topic of ‘Slavery and resistance in the French Antilles’.

On Monday 12th October, 7pm, Dr Giovanni Ruffini (Fairfield University) will be hosted by SAIMS, speaking on the topic of ‘Rethinking Medieval Nubia’.

On Monday 26th October, 4-5pm Professor Trevor Burnard (Director of the Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull) will speak at the modern history seminar on the topic of Hearing enslaved women: tales of labour and family from slave testimony in Berbice, 1819-1833’.

If you would like to attend any of these seminars, please get in touch with Dr Kate Ferris for the modern history seminars and Dr Alex Woolf for the SAIMS seminar, to be sent the Teams link.

In addition, our Annual Lecture in the History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, which has been rescheduled from its original date in the Spring, to Wednesday 14th October, 4pm, will be:

Professor Diana Paton (Robertson Professor of Modern History, University of Edinburgh) ‘Gender History, Global History, and Atlantic Slavery’

All are very welcome! Please look out for the Teams Live Event link which will be circulated via email, blog, and twitter closer to the time.

Finally, on 28th October at 4pm the student-led Spence Project will hold a discussion-based event about the connections between Fife, St Andrews – the university and town – and slavery. The Spence Project are a group of students who have been investigating the links between St Andrews and slavery, including the slave trade, the use of enslaved labour, and the business of slavery. They have made several important discoveries and have lots of exciting plans afoot. This event will uncover some of their findings and discuss future activities, including forms of ‘public history’ work in this field.  Please look out for further details and the Teams link for this event, which will be circulated closer to the time.

As those of you who are not newcomers to the School may remember, for the past three years one of the ways we have marked Black History Month is by continually building a reading list of ‘essential texts’ on African and African Diaspora (including Black British, African American, and Afro European) histories. By its nature, we acknowledge that the reading list will always be a ‘work in progress’, requiring revising and updating as time goes on. Each year, many staff members pledge portions of their library allowance to buy books on the list that are not yet held by the library, thereby augmenting the library’s holdings in their fields in order to facilitate further research and learning. We invite all students and staff to look through the reading list again this year and let us know if there’s anything that you think should be there.  Please email any suggestions to Dr Kate Ferris (histedi@) by the end of the month. We’ll add these to the reading list and, as and when we are able to make normal library purchases again, we’ll do our best to purchase any works that are not already in the library’s collections. In this way, we’re pledging to making a tangible and lasting difference to the university’s holdings in the fields of Black and African diaspora histories that will help inform our research and teaching for the years to come.

About standrewshistory
With over forty fulltime members of staff researching and teaching on European, American and Asian history from the dawn of the Middle Ages to the present day, the School of History at the University of St Andrews has one of the finest faculty and diverse teaching programmes of any School of History in the English speaking world. The School boasts expertise in Mediaeval and Modern History, from Scotland to Byzantium and the Americas to South Asia. Thematic interests include religious history, urban history, transnationalism, historiography and nationalism. The School of History prides itself on small group teaching, allowing for in-depth study and supervision tailored to secure the best from each student. Cutting edge research combined with teaching excellence offer a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment for the study of History.

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