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Research seminars and guest speakers

Thursday 25 January 2018, 5pm – AB1.03

Queering Christ’s Medieval Loincloth
Vicky Gunn
Glasgow School of Art

The paper will look at weaving theology, medieval art, queer theology and the historical imaginary together provides an intellectual space of reparation for those made vulnerable by the intersections of sexuality and Christian religion.  It will touch on the problems of medievalism in this approach (with especial emphasis on the misuse of the medieval historical imaginary as demonstrated so palpably in Charlottesville), but mainly focus on how visual practice can unpick social injustices within theology and, as an expected side effect, challenge the normative canon within medieval studies as it has been taught in the English speaking and European context.

Wednesday 7 February 2018, 5pm – AB2.01

A Global Stage for the Ballets Africains: Imagining Nations in the Late Colonial State
Dr Andrew Smith
University of Chichester

When the Wind of Change blew, it carried on it strains of new musical forms and new cultural identities on the African continent. In particular, this paper will focus on the trajectory of Kéita Fodéba, a popular musician, poet, dramatist and latterly prominent member of the independent Guinean government. His experience reflects emergent trends during this period of profound negotiation, in which the terms of the ‘postcolonial’ world were established.

The creation of 'national culture' prefaced the imagining of communities outwith the colonial relationship. In part, the intention of this paper is to look at Fodéba as a key figure in the emergence of Guinean National Culture, but it is also to look at the way in which Fodéba played an important role (as per the work of Benedict Anderson) to help 'imagine' that National Culture and provide Guinea's independence movement with a renewed impetus beyond Marxist ideology and demands for political equality. Fodéba’s cultural work took place on a global stage, but interacted strongly with local and national themes. Analysing these connections and distinctions illuminates the tensions of the transnational in a vibrant colonial case study.

Wednesday 28th February 2018, 5pm – AB2.01

The Battles for Arundel 1643-44
Rosemary Hagedorn

The Arundel Civil War campaign, over the winter of 1643-44, has been largely forgotten. Historians provide differing summaries of what happened, and who was involved. The aim of this study was to analyse eyewitness accounts and contemporary sources in order to identify participants, establish a timeline, and expand on the sketchy accounts of the action.  This process has produced evidence which challenges standard views of events. It is doubtful that Sir Ralph Hopton captured Cowdray en route to Arundel. It is clear that Hopton, (credited with taking Arundel and the castle), stayed in the rear and that Colonel Joseph Bampfield was the main Royalist commander, with Colonel Edward Ford, (not Ford and Edward Bishop as is usually stated).  It also seems likely that the larger part of the parliamentarian attack to retake Arundel came from the west, not the north. The final 19 day siege involved deployment of a 10,000 strong parliamentarian army. It is difficult to estimate casualties, but they were considerable because of the battle, siege, and the subsequent typhus epidemic which affected both sides. The lost location of mass burials is an intriguing enigma. The conclusion of this research is that the Arundel campaign was larger and far more significant in its outcome than has been recognised. This defeat, together with that at Alton, prevented the planned royalist advance through Sussex into Kent in the spring of 1644 which, had it been successful, might have changed the course of the war. 

Wednesday 14th March 2018, 5pm – AB2.01

Painting Parliaments: representing politics in the eighteenth century
Paul Seaward

The most famous picture of Parliament is that painted in 1793 by Karl-Anton Hickel of Pitt at the dispatch box in the House of Commons. It has been reproduced countless times, but we know curiously little about why and how it came to be painted. This talk will look at Hickel’s great picture and two others painted within a few years of it, and discusses how paintings of Parliaments at work can themselves be charismatic and striking political statements. Free and open to all. Contact with any queries.

Wednesday 28th March 2018, 5pm – AB2.01

The "hand of history should be feeling someone's collar": the House of Commons and its response to the Iraq Inquiry

Dr Ann Schreiner
University of Chichester

Seven years after the Iraq Inquiry was commissioned, the Chilcot report was published on 6 July 2016. The Iraq war has come to define the premiership of Tony Blair. The parliamentary vote for war impacted widely on British politics. Blair succeeded with the support of the Conservative party, whilst members of Labour expressed considerable opposition, along with the Liberal Democrats who were the main voice of dissent at Westminster. Aside from domestic politics, ‘Iraq’ has also impacted on British foreign policy, acting as a brake on subsequent military interventions. The findings of the Iraq Inquiry were thus bound to provide a catalyst for considerable parliamentary debate.

This paper will examine the key themes raised in the House of Commons following the report’s publication. With close reference to Hansard, the study will demonstrate how politicians took the opportunity to reassert parliamentary sovereignty, which they felt had been damaged by the flawed arguments for war. The paper will outline how M.P.s recognised the impact that the Iraq war had had on subsequent parliamentary debates relating to military intervention, as well as explaining the steps taken by them to move away from the legacy of the 2003 conflict.