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Public and Popular History

What happens when history narratives are produced not for library bookshelves but for a mass audience? Does popularization of history automatically mean dumbing down? Who are the people who make history for the public sphere, and what are their motivations and priorities? The Public & Popular History seminar series brings them together, film makers, journalists, professional historians and museum curators. Through talks, multi-media presentations, panel discussions, and debates the seminar explores the practices and characteristics of public and popular history in the contemporary world.



Convenors: Helen McCarthy (hm234), Bernhard Fulda (bdf20) and David Reynolds (djr17) 

Meetings on Wednesdays at 5pm in the Lloyd Room, Third Court, Christ’s College.


22 January

Parliament, History and the Public
Kathryn Rix (History of Parliament Trust) and Mari Takayanagi (Parliamentary Archives) reflect upon the challenges of engaging a wide range of publics with Britain’s rich parliamentary history and heritage.


 5 February

Twittering Historians: On Active Duty in the Rapid Reaction Force

In the era of 24/7 news and social media, how can professional historians combat the fake history and crude clichés that seem all pervasive? A scholarly article or book takes months, even years, to see the light of day.

We hear from some bloggers and tweeters who are part of history's rapid reaction force,

Dr Robert Saunders (Queen Mary London), a prolific author on 19th and 20th-century British politics, including his acclaimed book Yes to Europe: The 1975 Referendum and Seventies Britain (2018).

Robert is an active blogger: see  Follow him on


and also two members of the Faculty’s own Doing History in Public group:

The editor Stephanie Brown (PhD Candidate in Medieval History at Magdalene College). Follow her at

and Laura Flannigan, a member of the editorial team, who is a PhD candidate in Early Modern History at Newnham College. Follow her at

Doing History in Public is a collaborative blog founded and run by graduate historians at the University of Cambridge. Find out more here and follow them at


26 February
Due to strike action, this seminar has been postponed. More details to follow.

Gendered Agendas: How to Change the Historical Iconography

Speakers to include Dr Lucy Delap and Dr Ben Griffin reflecting on their recent exhibition at the University Library ‘The Rising Tide: Women at Cambridge’.


Lent Term 2020 programme - print version


 The Seminar is grateful for the generous support of the Trevelyan Fund.


Seminar Programme Archive

Easter Term 2019

Lent Term 2019

 Michaelmas Term 2018

Lent Term 2018

Michaelmas Term 2017

Easter Term 2017

Lent Term 2017

 Lent Term 2015

Michaelmas Term 2014

 Lent Term 2014 



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