Wednesday Keynote: Dr Charlotte Lydia Riley

Dr Charlotte Lydia Riley, University of Southampton, History Under Fire: Why Historians Need to Speak out in the Culture War

Wednesday 23rd of June, 1.30pm - 2.15pm 

In Britain today, historical research is under threat: history departments are being closed, historical research projects are being defunded, and historians are being demonised by politicians and newspapers. In the context of BLM, the Rhodes Must Fall and Colston Must Fall campaigns, and a wider movement to 'decolonise' our heritage sector and educational establishments, there has been a backlash from the political right in government and the media. The right has always been sceptical of the value of the arts and humanities; this scepticism fits neatly into the culture war that is currently raging around identity, history and experience in modern Britain. This talk will outline how this has unfolded, and will make a case for historians responding not by retreating and hoping not to be noticed, but by working to defend their public role. 


Dr Charlotte Lydia Riley is lecturer in twentieth century British history at the University of Southampton. She has recently edited a book,  Free Speech Wars: how did we get here and why does it matter, and is writing another, Imperial Island, that examines the way that empire continues to shape British social and cultural history.  

Twitter: @lottelydia

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First published: 1 June 2020