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.


We Remember: The Civil Rights Act of 1964

iToday to reflect on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, History student Abigael Fagbolagun has written a piece relating to the act itself and the beginning of the end to the long history of injustices suffered by African Americans.

Hi guys! So, today, the 2nd of July 2018 marks the 54th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This Act outlawed all racial discrimination in America, therefore nullifying Jim Crow in the workplace, public places, and integrated schools. This was a goal that the African American community and supporters had been working toward for years.

First, let me give you some background information. After the Emancipation of the enslaved, in 1865 after the American Civil War (woo, finally!), America saw the era of ‘Reconstruction’ from 1866-1877 that attempted to integrate African Americans into a society where they were free from enslavement. As the North won the war, you could say they forced this upon the South and they were not happy. Fast forward to the year of 1879, the North no longer had control of the South. We see the retaliation and repossession of power through the legalising of racial inequality. From these events, the fight for civil rights strengthened. The aim was to end the injustices that burdened the lives of African Americans.

We see 1955 to 1965 being called the years of the Civil Rights Movement. During this movement, we see many rising and taking a stand against racial inequality. Some examples of these courageous figures include Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and Fannie Lou Hamer. We cannot forget Rev. Martin Luther King, , King achieved something millions of African Americans thought impossible. Many events led to this success, from the small grassroot protests, like the Greensboro sit-ins, 1961, to the larger protest that received national attention, for example the March on Washington, 1963. As you would expect, 62204-004-06647584there was opposition from the Senate, but even after groups protesting to prevent the bill from passing, President Johnson signed the Act in The White House on the 2nd of July 1964. This meant different things for different people: for a youngster, this meant the possibility of going to a better-equipped school that was desegregated; for an adult desperately trying to find work, this meant knowing that legally their race should not be an issue in employment. It would now be hyperbole to suggest that effect was immediate and African Americans were still treated unfairly. However, we see it giving the masses hope, as they continued rallying, which led to the Voting Right Act and Fair Housing Act being passed in the latter years of the CRM. Rev. C.T Vivian believed these acts brought a new sense of freedom. He said “what you couldn’t do, you could now do. What your children were never gonna be able to do, they can now do and are doing.’’

I love this History because although it can be saddening, it highlights the success of The Era. It reminds us of the young people’s energy, it reminds you of that old man, who was willing to walk from Selma to Montgomery to rally for the rights of his people. It reminds me of the unity between African American and White Americans who stood together to dismantle the power of racism.

uYep, we still have a long way to go in term of true racial equality in America, and the rest of the world, but let’s take one step at a time and rejoice with every success. Let us not forget those who lost their lives during this fight. We thank you.

Let us keep fighting for racial equality so that, like Martin Luther King, we will be able to scream “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last’’.

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

creativity-accelerators-759x500 (1)

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!


Why I Came to The University of Essex!

Alfie Holt, History student,  shares why he chose to come to Essex.


” …Essex is one of only five Universities in the UK who have funded programmes for seven –a –side Rugby”


”Originally, I moved to Louisiana, U.S.A on a four year scholarship to play rugby at Louisiana State University in Alexandria. That is where I began my journey as a History student. However, after a year I realised it wasn’t for me. Prior to moving, I had a conditional offer to study at the University of Essex and was contacted by Ben Jones regarding the rugby program.

As my first year came to an end in the States, I emailed Ben asking if I could join the program the following year.

Essex is one of only five Universities in the UK who have funded programmes for seven–a–side Rugby, I knew Essex was an unquestionable choice.


There is a wide variety of modules to choose from and for myself, who has a particular interest in American History, I felt confident in picking and studying the modules I had selected .


” I felt Essex suited me perfectly”


As I had already begun my History degree, and wished to pursue this further, I had to redo my first year as the module credits I completed in the States were insufficient to enter into the second year. However, the University, especially the History department gave me ample help by providing course pack documents, and additional assistance with personal tutors.

As well as this, the campus facilities was a major contribution to my choice. These included amenities such as the Albert Sloman Library, the 24hr newly-built Silberrad Student Centre and the vast fields  for sports like Rugby.

With both the sports and researchfacilities catering to my studies and passion for rugby, I felt this University suited me perfectly.


One of the personal factors which also swayed my decision was that I only live 40 minutes from the Colchester campus so it gave me the benefit of both being able to live independently, but the choice to travel to and from home as I pleased. It was almost as if, Essex knew what I wanted and catered to it. I’m happy now ”


–  Alfie Holt


You asked, we answered

If you didn’t manage to make it to our Open Day on Saturday, never fear! Our academics have put together a list of some of the most frequently asked questions by students, along with the answers.


How do joint programmes work in practice?

Our joint programmes are very popular because they offer students a chance to study two different subjects in-depth. Two Departments coordinate with each other to put together a programme tailored for students with particular interests in their areas of study. In practice, this means that students spend about half their time in one department and half in another.

How does Study Abroad work in practice? (How do you choose the institution, do the marks count toward degree, fees, etc).

All our undergraduate students have a fantastic opportunity to study abroad, for either a term or a year. We have exchanges with about 150 institutions all over the world from Canada and the United States to East Asia, Europe to Australia and New Zealand. For students beginning their studies in 2018/19, fees for the year abroad are 15 % of the standard tuition fees. These students take a four-year degree with their third year spent at a university in another country. They go through an application process in their second year with help from the Study Abroad Office.

How many contact hours will I get with lecturers?

Most of our students spend about 8-10 hours a week in the classroom, but they also spend much of their week reading and preparing for classes. This can be on their own or in groups – perhaps in one of the many informal learning spaces we have at the University or off campus. Students are also encouraged to see their tutors on a regular basis in their Academic Support Hours, two hour-long slots are held every week when students can seek guidance and feedback on work and any other matters they want to discuss.

How much teaching is by GTAs?

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) teach some seminars, mainly at First Year level. The vast majority of our teaching, however, is done by full-time academic staff. All of our staff – from lecturers to professors – are engaged in lecture and seminar teaching at all levels, from first to final year.

What are the most common graduate job destinations?

Essex History graduates go into a wide variety of different careers in the public and private sectors. These include careers in the Civil Service, in museums and archives, in journalism and human resources management. Of course, some of graduates also go into teaching and some continue with their studies, going on to do graduate work in a variety of fields. Further information about what some of our graduates have gone on to do can be found here.

If there’s another question not listed which you’d like answering, feel free to email us at and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

You can also check when our next Open Day is on our website.



Stress Management

Exams are nearly upon us and everyone is feeling the pressure. Months of lessons, coursework and revision have built up and this is the final push before the summer. I’m going to provide you with a few ways to help you to retain your sanity.

If you are a student you are most likely familiar with all of the following worries, but if you’re not then before you read this post and get the impression that university is terrifying let me clarify; it isn’t. 99% of the time it is the most fun and enjoyable time of your life, but like anything worth doing, it isn’t always easy. So here’s how to make that other 1% a little easier.

Don’t Stress…

…Just kidding. It’s perfectly OK to be stressed out sometimes by coursework or exams. Just remember that even though at times it doesn’t seem like it, everyone is in the same boat. You should also keep in mind that people deal with their stress in different ways. Just because someones seems chilled to you, they could still be secretly terrified of their coming exams. But even though it’s alright to worry, it isn’t pleasant. So just remember that everyone at your university wants you to succeed and will help in any way they can, and try the following to help you keep calm and carry on revising.


Sounds pretty straightforward doesn’t it? But sometimes it’s not that easy. After spending six hours straight in the library and draining your fourth cup of coffee, things can start getting to you. Just stop, take a few deep breaths, and look away from the books. It’s no good trying to power through your nerves, you’re not concentrating and can’t take in any information. Give yourself some time. Take a five minute break every half hour or so to keep your composure, check facebook, grab some food… It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you give yourself a few minutes to wind down.


Probably one you’ve heard before, but it works. Can’t be bothered to go to the gym or for a jog? That’s fine. A walk will do. Put your headphones in and drain out your fears with your favourite songs. Or visit the ducks, they’re always happy to see you (if you bring them food). Getting some fresh air is good for you and the little bit of exercise will help tire you out so you can get to sleep easier, however worried you are. S1030075


By planning out your time for revision you can know exactly where you are and how much work is ahead of you. That way you won’t end up in a panic a few days before the exam feeling totally unprepared. Also plan out some down time around your revision so you can relax.

Eat well

Think you don’t have time for good food? Think again. It’s important to keep your body working to the best of its ability. Any lack of decent food, water or sleep will affect you badly. Even more so when you’re worried. If you’re having some revision sessions, take some lunch, or schedule time to visit a restaurant.

Think Ahead 

It’s good to remember that this is only one step in getting your degree. You’re going to put in a lot of work to reach your end goal and every piece of work you do gets you one step closer. You will get there!




Summer Time!

It’s coming towards the end of the academic year and if you really want to make your degree stand out, doing something during the summer is a must. Whether its paid work for a little more experience (and a little spending money for your summer) or volunteering. There are so many options available to you. But how do you get organised?

wp2First, you need to decide what you want to do, paid work, volunteer, apprenticeship?

Think about your priorities. If you are going to need money this summer, paid work is necessary, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything else. Take a week out to do a placement that will add to your work experience in your future career. And volunteering is highly flexible, you may be able to work something into your busy schedule.

Find your placement.

Next you need to do some research. Have a look yourself for options that are available in the area you will be living in over the summer, or if you’re having trouble, visit the employability and careers centre. Alternatively, take a look at What’s On? There you can find employment opportunities and free workshops on how to make an impression on an employer.


Even though its good to get experience, don’t spread yourself too thinly. Allow yourself some time to do some Uni work, as well as relax and enjoy your summer!






What to do with your degree

It’s a common misconception that the subject of your degree will limit you in your career choice. This may be true for some subjects, but not history.

A history degree is one of the most versatile. The analytical skills that you gain in history, as well as the project management skills you learn doing your final year dissertation are sought after by employers. We’re also great at arguing (but we knew that already), which is a necessary quality in many jobs; the ability to effectively put your point across, or deal calmly with a difficult customer are what will set you apart. On top of this is the problem solving, time management, and independent research skills gained in any good degree.

So what jobs can you get?

Retail, analysis, accountancy, banking, law, publishing, writing… there are so many possibilities.

Take a look at the Prospects website to give you an idea.

And to the people who don’t know yet, no problem! Take the quiz on their website to find out the perfect career for you.

University is also the time to gain valuable work experience in the field you are interested in. Take your degree and tailor it, and your experiences at Essex to the life you want to lead.


To take away from the stress of considering your future, here’s a picture of the campus ducks!


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