Talking and listening

As I mentioned in the previous post I plan to attend some conferences while I'm overseas. The first is Air Power, Insurgency and the 'War on Terror' which is being held at Cranwell, the Royal Air Force College, on 22 and 23 August 2007. I submitted an abstract for this, which wasn't accepted -- which I don't actually mind as it would have required a fair bit of research on topics I wouldn't otherwise have done, no bad thing in itself but I don't have the time at the moment! And it's a very good programme anyway, with some top-notch names and several papers at least touching on British air control policies in the interwar period.

The second is Politics of Fear in the Cold War, to be held at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research (Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung), 5-7 September. In many ways the era of the knock-out blow was just a foretaste of the atomic age, and the parallels between the two is a subject that fascinates me. No programme is available yet, in fact no information beyond the call for papers, but just from that alone it looks like a lot of fun.

So that's the listening part ... what about the talking? Well, I'm scheduled to give a talk at a summer school on war and society which is being held at Queen Mary, University of London from 30 July to 2 August. I can't tell you the title of the summer school because I don't know myself :) But I'll be talking about my thesis as a whole. As part of my preparation for this, I'm giving a couple of presentations in my department -- a Monday night postgraduate seminar on 21 May, which will also be a general overview, and a Work In Progress Day talk on 31 May, probably on defence panics. (That's assuming I get around to letting the WIPD organisers know about this ...)

Finally, an event which I sadly won't be able to attend: Graffiti Day at Birkbeck College on 4 May (yes, this Friday). Paul Hodges, who kindly dropped me a line with some accommodation advice, will be giving a talk entitled "Written on the bomb: munitions graffiti of modern warfare" -- things like this, I imagine. That's the only item on the programme to do with military history, but the rest look interesting too, so if you're in London this Friday and have the time, it might be worth turning up.

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7 thoughts on “Talking and listening

  1. Chris Williams

    Ah - I thought I'd let you know the title. My email went a bit pear-shaped towards the end of last week: apparently there's only so many times I can ignore the 'full mailbox - delete something!' message before it stops working. Anyhow the title of the school is:

    "Total War and Social Change: Europe 1914 - 1955"

  2. I have an idea for another talk....

    I did two fairly informal lecture/seminar/workshops last year with undergraduates from Texas. I’m assuming they’ll contact me again soon. They come over to QM every summer to do a kind of mid-stage/2nd year optional course on 'British Studies'. There are numerous ‘pathways’ within that: culture, politics, history, sociology, etc, etc. All these pathways have several 'taught' sessions each day, so they're always looking for dozens of speakers on interesting topics, no matter how tangential. They also like the speakers to make things slightly personal and subjective – not quite "off the top of the head", but not far off. I talked about two theatrical topics, but have also offered to talk about 'Contemporary Britain outwith London' (there tends to be a London bias because they're based here, and they find the concept of 'Scotland' rather interesting.)

    So I'm thinking....something on the Blitz, or Total War - either in London or Britain as a whole? (If they don't ask Dr Todman first.) And/or they might be interested to hear an Aussie talk about the 'colonial' relationship with the UK - historical, political, and/or 1970s-TV-pop-cultural. The field is wide open. I found the students lovely (very focused, but they're 'on holiday' too); none of mine had ever set foot in the UK before and nearly all had never been out of the US; they're always looking for suggested speakers, and the pay rate (cash in hand!) is excellent. They love 'exotic' accents like mine - and yours - too.

    If they ask me for suggestions, might you be interested, even vaguely? Their QM contact is my secondary supervisor, Peter Catterall. He is a great guy who it would be worth you meeting anyway. (Kudos for me too for finding interesting people!)

  3. Post author

    Hey Jack, that sounds like it could be fun. Put me down as vaguely interested, time permitting. I could certainly prattle on about either of those ideas. In fact, in relation to the second one, I've just been re-watching some DVDs of The Goodies lately and it occurred to me that that's probably where I had my first exposure to the stereotypical Winston Churchill (including "V" signs, cigars, boiler suits, and "never surrender"), among many other British icons. There's probably a post in it, at least ...

  4. Great! I talked to them about 'Hair', 'Tommy' and 'Jesus Christ Superstar' - all of which they didn't know and found quite extraordinary - so I don't see why The Goodies shouldn't be considered canonical. :)

    If they ask me for suggested speakers I'll email you about it.

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