BAME and Gender History in Our Department

Activism and protest has led news headlines for years. The number of protests around the world, questioning human rights and political issues, particularly in the United States, has risen increasingly over the last. This year in Washington D.C, there has been a mass movement led by students called March for Our Lives. This protest called for greater gun control in the US following 8 school shootings that have occurred since the beginning of the year.  The Women’s March took place in late January 2017; this protest saw involvement of nearly 1 million people within the US and over 4 million people globally. They marched for women’s rights being recognized as human rights, as well as LGBTQ rights, racial equality, worker’s rights, and many other issues faced by US and international citizens. Another prominent global movement which surfaced in 2013 is the Black Lives Matter campaign. This member-based organisation is fighting to end the violence and racism faced by Black communities. These are all current acts of protest but what about the protests and activism the world has seen throughout history?


March for Our Lives, Washington, 2018

For the new academic year our History department has introduced two new modules. One focuses on activism within Britain and the other looks at how colonised peoples resisted empire around the world. Both modules interpret gender history and BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) history uniquely.


Queen Anna Nzinga


HR104-4-SP: Resisting Empire is a first year, spring term module. The module will focus on the definition of resistance and how we think about it and will put non-Europeans at the centre. Events looked at will range from the Haitian Revolution, 1791 to 1804, the succession and power of Angolan Queen Anna Nzinga, 1557, the Pueblo Revolt of Mexico, 1680, the Boxer Rebellion of China, 1899-1901, as well as other movements that took place in Kenya and Cuba. Unlike current modules taught within the department, HR104 looks at other empires, like the Portuguese and Dutch, in addition to the British Empire. The module is aimed at providing students with broader exposure to lesser known events and movements, alongside thinking about empire from the view of the colonized, rather than the colonizers.


HR225-5-AU: Cultures of Activism: Protest in Britain, 1958-2003 is available for second-year students, in the Autumn term. Considering current protests, which I mentioned before, this module has been designed to look at how people within Britain have been involved in activism within the twentieth century. The definition of ‘activism’ is highlighted, as well as examining the effects of protest on society. Some examples of British protest looked at are the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1958, the Black Power movement, feminist movements, health activism, and environmentalism. The module aims to allow students to develop an understanding of what initiated protest in the late 1900s, how these protests have changed over time, and most importantly to be able to recognize how current protest and activism draws on the history of activism.


Black People’s Day of Action, 1981





For more information contact the History Department or visit the module directory.


Is a 10,000-word Dissertation My Only Option?

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Not anymore! This year our final year History students were able to approach their History Research Project in a creative way. As the History Research Project makes up one-eighth of your overall mark, it’s really good to have greater control over how you would like to present your research. Researching a topic of your own interest and displaying it in a way that you feel best illustrates your work means you can actually enjoy writing your most significant piece of independent work here at Essex.

What is the Public History Output Project?

Instead of a 10,000 word dissertation, the Public History Output Project allows you to produce a 5,000- 6,000 -word report and a public history output. This side of your project must be the equivalent of 5,000-words. The report should consist of an introduction of your area of research, the main response to your research question, and a review on your public output choice; this would include why you have chosen the style it is presented in, how effective this style is at educating the public on your chosen topic, and why it is appropriate for your topic. Your public output can be anything that displays your work sufficiently and can reach an audience, whether that is a podcast, a short film, museum exhibition board, a teaching pack for schools; a web page… the list is endless. Students are advised to check with their supervisors that the public output piece of their project is substantial enough to equivalent to 5,000-words.

I spoke to two students that completed the Public History Output Project option this year. Jesse and Rowena both produced a 5,000-word essay, alongside a podcast. Here are their interviews:

Jesse Harrison-Lowe


“Be creative! I think I enjoyed my RP more thanks to the creative side of it.”

What was your dissertation topic or question?

My focus was on the American interest of expansion into Cuba throughout the mid-1800s.

What format did you use for you RP? Blog? Podcast? Video?

Podcast! With a 5,000-word write up.

Why did you use that format?

I picked a podcast because I listen to loads myself and felt that I had a grasp on what made a good podcast. I prefer talking to writing as well, which made it an even more interesting option.

If you could do it again what would you change about your project?

I would probably have put more emphasis on making my research fit the podcast in an attempt to create a more streamlined output.

Do you have any advice?

Be creative! I think I enjoyed my RP more thanks to the creative side of it.

Rowena Field-Carter

What was your dissertation topic or question?


“Having enthusiasm for something you have to engage with over a long period of time is beneficial.”

Forward from the Past: A Historical Exploration of Sex Education in Britain from 1985-2008 and the Practical Uses of Public History

What format did you use for you RP? Blog? Podcast? Video?

5000-word essay and podcast

Why did you use that format?

I wanted to create a podcast in order to create a more discussion based format for the audience. As the topic relates to everyone that has grown up and been through the UK education system, it made sense to me to make the public history element of my RP as accessible, understandable and relatable as possible in an easy format.

Also people interpret information they read differently to how they read it; as a public history source it may be more effective if it has a longer lasting impression on the audience.

If you could do it again what would you change about your project?

The scope of the topic I chose to do was very broad, so to streamline in on one particular facet would be what I’d change.

Do you have any advice?

Make sure whatever you choose to do you is committed to the topic; having enthusiasm for something you have to engage with over a long period of time is beneficial. Also, be creative with your idea. It’s more likely to allow your project to stand out, and as long as it is well designed the possibilities are huge.

If you have any further questions please contact:

Alix Green or Alison Rowlands 


16 Houses, 5 Primary Schools, and a New Job

IMG_0204As it goes, I will be writing several blogs for you all over the next eleven weeks. However, is it not important to know who the person on the other side of the screen is? In this article I will tell you a little bit about me.

Originally, I am from Hackney, London. However, I have not spent my entire life there. Since I was a child I have moved from place to place, including to Cornwall, Hertfordshire, Ireland, and now Colchester. These moves mean that I have lived in a whopping 16 different homes throughout my 19 years on this planet! Some of you may be able to relate to this, but for those who cannot, it means you become an expert packer and cardboard box hoarder.

You may be wondering why I moved house so much. Well in simple terms I had indecisive parents, who continuously sought change. Ironically, after 8 or 9 years of this continuous movement, we ended up right back in Hackney, where I have remained until venturing off to university in 2016.

Because of how much I moved around, I attended 5 primary schools. Two of them were based in London, the other three were in Hertfordshire, Cornwall, and Ireland. I was fortunate enough to stay in my secondary school, Edmonton County School, Enfield, for the whole of sixth form. I finished with 1 A*, 4 As, 4 Bs, and a C in French, which I am immensely proud of, although I can no longer speak a full sentence in French!

I am now at the end of my second year, here at the University of Essex. In line with the fluidity I have become used to, I have changed my course from when I first began here. Initially I started studying BA History with English Literature. But by the end of first year I was literatured out… So, I began second year as a straight history student.

Throughout my course I have studied modules from the history department, in addition to modules from other departments. If you have not looked at modules from other departments when making your enrol choices, I would highly recommend you do so. The change in topics and assessment is very enjoyable. In my politics modules I was able to engage in assessed debates, something I have not yet encountered in history modules. It was also an opportunity to meet other lecturers and students, who you can just learn an awful lot from.

I have always been a busy bee. I feel lost without knowing I must be somewhere on a certain day or do something at a certain time. It has become ingrained into me over my teen years to work. Since last year I have juggled jobs alongside each other as it keeps me busy.

Recently I became a trained fencing instructor. This was for a job I took at an Easter camp for children. I can say that being targeted by 4-year olds with foam (but sturdy) foils was not my most enjoyable job experience, nonetheless it was fun.

Now I have taken on the role of Marketing and Student Recruitment Frontrunner for the History department. I chose to apply for this position for a number of reasons. Firstly, I knew it would look good on my CV after I graduate. Secondly, it gave me an opportunity to work within the department I was studying in, meaning I would have greater relationships with everyone in the department, which could only benefit me in the long haul. And lastly, I was not entirely sure what I was going to do with my history degree. Although we have had careers modules, I still did not know if the professions advertised to us would suit me. This Frontrunner position has given me the chance to see if I would enjoy working in an office-based environment, as well as allowing me to explore different writing opportunities, organise events, and give presentations to potential students.

You will be hearing more from me in – you guessed it! – more blogs, regarding events and opportunities in the department. I hope I have captured your interest. I’m excited for the work ahead!


Go Green Week!

So thglobal-303172is week is Go Green Week! We’ve already had everything from a Post-code coffee morning, Make a green Chinese New Year’s resolution, the Big bike sale and Dr. Bike to Green Games and an SU Swap Shop. So far this week has been pretty amazing!

The History Department is even getting involved in Go Green Week! We’re hosting a Stationary Amnesty where all of the staff have to return the stationary they’ve borrowed to stop the department from getting more which they don’t need. We’re also getting some thermometers for their offices to ensure that we’re keeping the radiators down.

Still to come this week is a Transport Stall, Waste Electrical items Amnestry, Lunch time bike ride, Film showing of Cowspiracy, Meat-free Friday, and Prizes for cyclists!

You can find out more about Green Week here

Tweet the History Department about what you’ve been getting up to in Go Green Week, even if it’s something as simple as putting your recycling out for collection or walking to campus!

Love Rosie x


Welcome to the Blog

To any and all history students or enthusiasts, this blog is for you!

It will give you all sorts of helpful tips, new information and important events that will help you keep up to date on what’s going on in and around the Essex campus, and how the History Department works.

There will be posts at least every couple of weeks so make sure you check out the page every few weeks to see what’s happening.