08 October 2012

History at Essex celebrates 40 years of success

Students and staff at the Department of History

Forty years of research and teaching excellence in the Department of History at Essex will be marked on Friday 12 October with a special celebration at firstsite in Colchester.

Alumni from around the country plus current and former staff are coming together to celebrate the Department’s 40th anniversary. The event will include a brief lecture on the history of the Department by Professor Steve Smith, a longstanding member of the Department who has recently taken up a post at the University of Oxford.

The Department of History was founded in 1972 and since then has established a reputation for high-quality, internationally recognised research across a wide range of fields. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise in 2008 the Department was ranked second in the UK.

The Department has a strongly individual character and prides itself on refusing intellectual straitjackets. There is a rich mix of areas, specialisms and approaches covering Britain, Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia.

The friendly atmosphere and good staff-student relationships alongside innovative teaching and learning methods have helped the Department achieve consistently high ratings for student satisfaction and teaching excellence in the National Student Survey.

Head of the Department Dr Alison Rowlands said: “This will be a celebration of the Department and a chance to strengthen our relationship with our alumni. It is also a chance to create a real connection between our current students and our alumni. One benefit of this is on employability as our alumni can help us by sharing their experiences and showing our students the many different careers you can go into after completing a History degree at Essex.”

President of the History Society Geoff Towsey completed an undergraduate degree in the Department and is now studying for a Masters at Essex. He said: ““I really enjoyed my time at the Department as an undergraduate student, which is why I decided to stay on for my Masters. There is a really good community feel within the Department and staff are always happy to help you. I also love the research and outlook of the Department; the focus on a global history and ‘history from below’ is something which I did not find with any other history departments. The University as a whole also offers a great range of opportunities for students.

“It is fantastic to see how the University and the Department of History have developed and changed over the years and I am looking forward to seeing how it continues to develop and improve in the years ahead.”

To find out more about the research strengths of the Department of History and the interests of academics see: www.essex.ac.uk/history/research.

Major research projects currently based in the Department include:

• ‘Rescuing and Presenting Lost Heritage: Promoting Public Engagement with Marks Hall and the World of the Vanished Country House’ led by Professor James Raven and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Visit the Marks Hall project website.
• ‘The Angolan Roots of Capoeira’ led by Dr Matthias Röhrig Assunção and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
• ‘Integrated Census Microdata (I-CeM)’ supported by the Economic and Social Researh Council will create machine readable parish-level tables of population counts by census year and develop consistent enumeration geography for Great Britain over time, based on the censuses between 1851 and 1911.
• ‘Covenanting Citizens? The Protestation Oath and the English Revolution’ led by Professor John Walter and funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

For more information about the 40th anniversary celebrations call 01206 872302 or go to: alumni.essex.ac.uk/netcommunity/history40

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