History at Large

‘Building Welfare States’: Report on an Online Conference

Amidst the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic it seems that virtual conferences are here to stay. In the first half of this post, PhD student Ed DeVane reflects on the experience of ‘doing’ an online event. The second half of this blog serves as a report on the proceedings of the ‘Building Welfare States’ conference, hosted (online) by Warwick University, 23rd – 25th September 2020.

The National Charter Association and its legacy, 180 years on

In July 1840 a convention of twenty-three delegates met at the Griffin Inn, Great Ancoats Street, Manchester. Elected by Chartist bodies from across Britain, their purpose was to put together a plan for reorganising the movement following a year of repression, in which much of their leadership had been imprisoned, transported, or forced into exile. On July 20 the delegates agreed a plan for a permanent organisation of all the Chartist groups across the country within ‘one Society to be Called “The National Charter Association of Great Britain”’. With this they made history: the formation of the first working-class, mass-member political party in the world.

The Memory Map of the Jewish East End

A new digital resource allowing users to explore former sites of Jewish memory in East London went online this week. On it you will find audio interviews, photographs, and essays about more than 70 sites (we hope to include more in future) that consistently appear in people’s recollections of Jewish East London. The memory map aims to create a lasting document of both the history and memory traces of the Jewish East End and attempts to bring the stories and memories of this rapidly vanishing landscape to new audiences.

The Slippery History of the Dental Dam

As an object, the dental dam awkwardly straddles the history of AIDS activism and queer sexuality, acting as an assertion that sex doesn’t require the presence of a penis to be real sex, while acknowledging simultaneously that such sex still carries risks. The dental dam was deployed as an object for sexual use in an attempt to abate the risk of HIV transmission, but its questionable efficacy as a barrier against the virus has reduced it, for some at least, to a latex relic of historical fears.