New History Lab presents History Idol: Leicester's Got Talent

Posted by mjs76 at Feb 02, 2011 11:33 AM |
When not down the pub or eating cake, the gang at our New History Lab are always looking for new ways to explore and discuss each other’s research. This Friday, they’re putting things to the vote.

The idea behind History Idol: Leicester’s Got Talent is simple. Last November, Leicester postgrads were invited to submit abstracts for areas of research that they were pursuing. The titles of these abstracts were then posted (without author names) on the NHL blog as a poll and punters voted for who they would most like to see present at the Lab.

The three finalists step up to the mic this week (Friday 5 February 2011), with backing singers and full orchestral accompaniment, and the assembled masses will decide the overall winner. Then head off down the pub. And it’s an impressively diverse line-up, to be sure…

  • Maureen Harris will look at how Warwickshire villagers battled unpopular ministers in the late 17th and early 18th centuries “through verbal and physical abuse, breaking into churches, destroying bells, withholding tithes and repair levies, petitioning, stealing pulpit cushions, urinating in church and sometimes telling downright lies.”
  • Ann Stones will compare the then and now of two Leicester council estates, New Parks and Braunstone and “hopes that conclusions drawn from this research will not only highlight the reasons for any problems within estates, but also dispel any misconceptions about them.”
  • And, broaching a topic that offers myriad opportunities for bad jokes and gentle mockery, Miriam Cady will examine the culture of Trekkies and how they “use the material culture associated with Star Trek as a touchstone in the negotiation of their personal and group identity.” (Will Miriam present her paper in uniform? And, if so, will she go for the classic Uhura/Yeoman Rand outfit or the full Janeway? You’ll have to turn up to find out.)

As always, the New History Lab takes place at 1 Salisbury Road and is open to all interested parties. There will be tea and cake at 4.30pm, history at 5.00pm and Romulan ale down the pub at 6.00pm.

If History Idol is a success, expect the NHL to expand on the idea next term with I’m a Historian Get Me Out of Here and, quite possibly, Strictly Come Researching.

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