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History Faculty Newsletter January 2018

Newsletter, winter 2017-18

Welcome to the History Faculty's first digital newsletter. We are pleased to be more regularly in touch with our current and former members, and updating you with some of the exciting news and developments in our work. Thanks for the feedback we received on the summer newsletter; if you want to contact the editor, you can do so on

Introducing the new Chair of the History Faculty

Tim Harper

Prof Tim Harper became Chair of the Faculty in October 2017. He is a historian of Southeast Asia and has been teaching here since he first came to Magdalene College as a research fellow in 1990.  Over the next couple of years, he looks forward to sharing more of the Faculty’s news through this bi-annual newsletter, and perhaps to welcoming you to Cambridge.

Remembering the Reformation


A major new digital exhibition, produced collaboratively by historians at Cambridge and York, was launched to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Sources drawn from Cambridge University Library, Lambeth Palace Library, and York Minster Library shed new light on the competing Reformations of Protestants, Catholics and radicals.

The Undergraduate experience

Undergraduate experience

Holly Firmin has been studying History at Cambridge for the last two and a half years. She tells us about her studies, theatre production, and the overlooked radical history of her home county, Essex.

Celebrating the Stirling Building

Stirling building

All who have passed through its doors have memories of the wonders and weaknesses of the History Faculty’s building. We occupy a space of great architectural significance, built in 1967 by James Stirling as one of his radical ‘red trilogy’ of buildings. Internal icicles, tropical greenhouse effects and those highly polished cork tiles have been just a few of its peculiarities.  In this video, Stirling’s modernist innovations are viewed within the Cambridge context, and put into conversation with his other famous contributions to British architecture.

Further videos showcasing recent events and the research of junior and senior members of the History Faculty can be found on our new Youtube channel,

Graduate research

Charlie Jeffries Charlie Jeffries is currently Lecturer of 20th Century History at Keble College, Oxford. Prior to this she was a pre-doctoral Fox International Fellow at Yale University, and she earned her PhD in History from Cambridge in 2017, in a dissertation that looked at the political uses of ideas of teenage female sexuality from the 1980s to 2008.
Rosa Hodgkin Rosa Hodgkin, a PhD student completing her dissertation at the History Faculty on public attitudes to tax in postwar Britain, has been seconded to the Cabinet Office for six months. She discovered a very different pace of life, but also found insights into policymaking that have changed that way she will approach her academic research.

In 2017, a group of Cambridge history postgraduates founded the podcast project Interventions, aiming to bring accessible and lively podcasts on history and politics to wider audiences. They describe their guiding questions and challenges here.



Research feature: recasting the history of modern Ireland

Research Feature: Ireland

Prof Eugenio Biagini was recently awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship to explore the history of religious minorities in modern Ireland. In this feature he reflects on how the field of Irish history has developed, through the recent political commemorations of events such as the Ulster Covenant and Easter Rising, through developments in the field of social history, and in the changing nature of contemporary Ireland.

Thoughts from alumni historians

Alumni historians

Three of our former students reflect on their former tutors, and how history has informed their professional lives and personal interests, spanning Britain, Ireland and Nigeria.

Research projects and prizes

Research news

Our students and researchers have continued to win prizes and gain research grants – the latest successes and honours are listed here.