HCA Lunchtime Seminars


HCA staff and doctoral students are warmly invited to this year’s series of lunchtime seminars. All seminars are on Wednesdays in the Dreyfus Room unless otherwise stated. Please feel free to bring refreshments. This year the HCA lunchtime seminars are taking an eclectic approach, with seminars on new research, recent publications and some thematic teaching challenges. We also have one shared seminar with the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research.

Some speakers may provide optional readings, which will be circulated in the weeks before the seminar. For more information please contact Lesley McFadyen or Rebecca Darley.

Autumn Term


12th October, 1-2pm

‘Teaching the Everyday’ (led by Lesley McFadyen, with Jen Baird, Matthew Champion, Rebecca Darley, Caroline Goodson and Brodie Waddell)

This initial seminar of 2016/17 kicks off by asking how the theme of ‘the everyday’ links teaching across HCA and what challenges it poses to us and to our students.


26th October, Room B03 Gordon Square, 1-2pm

Dr Caroline Rusterholz (BISR/BiGS Fellow)

‘Leading the way: English women doctors and contraception in transnational perspective (1930-1970)’


This talk explores the pivotal role played by English women doctors in the legitimisation and production of scientific knowledge on contraception from 1920 onwards. This paper shows that the male-dominated field of medicine discriminated against women in terms of career opportunities until the end of World War II, allowing women doctors to exploit this peripheral position to develop new skills. Albeit less prestigious at first, these skills became decisive assets at both the national and international levels in a context of increasing worldwide recognition of the key importance of birth control knowledge. Taking a gender and transnational perspective this talk reconsiders the well-known issue of birth control and family planning.


7th December, 1-2pm

Sean Brady

‘John Addington Symonds, Horatio Brown and Venice: Friendship, Gondoliers and Homosexuality’

Based on a recently published article, this seminar will address transnational approaches to British literary homosexual men with means, and their relationships with working-class Italian men in late nineteenth-century Venice – and the implications of this for discourse, identities and gender.


Spring Term


1st February, 1-2pm

‘Teaching Empire’ (led by Jan Rüger, Hilary Sapire and Rebecca Darley)

This session addresses the theme of Empire and the challenges and possibilities of using this concept in the classroom, following on from the teaching session in the Autumn Term. How far is it possible to teach students about empires across time and space while ensuring that they remain anchored in both?

23rd February, 1-2pm (N.B. Thursday, not Wednesday)

Anthony Bale and David Feldman


Reflecting on Anthony and David’s successful exhibition, which took place at the Jewish Museum from November 2015 to February 2016, this seminar will focus on the issue of public history and the translation of academic narrative into exhibition format.


1st March, 1-2pm

Frank Trentmann and Matthew Champion

‘The Empire of Things’

This seminar will give members of the department an opportunity to discuss themes arising from Frank’s extremely well-received monograph, The Empire of Things, starting with reflections from Matthew based on his own research into time-keeping technology in the Middle Ages.

15th March

Jen Baird and Rebecca Darley

‘Images of Archives, Archives of Images’


Developing from some of the themes of last year’s lunchtime seminar series, this session will focus on the nature and use of photographic archives for research and teaching.

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