n. an expert in history October 2011
A brand new publication from Exeter University History Society
THE HISTORIAN Editors
Chief Editor: Nathan McNamara Assistant Editors: Michael Fear Jennifer Drabble
Contributors Nathan McNamara Michael Fear Jennifer Drabble Claire Beaumont Helen Sproull Lauren Tillott Tristan James-Weed Alex Lamport Andre Hamlyn Sami Russell-Stracey Becky Carter
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Chris Moore Professor Richard Toye Dr. Jane Whittle David Brake Claire McManus Emma Oliver Rebecca Price Michael Marriott Charlotte Mason Patrick Taylor
Contents Editorâ€™s Note Committee Profiles Attention all Finalists History Society Logo Interview with Professor Richard Toye History Foundation Advice SSLC TeachFirst History and Travel: Interrailing The Cloud of the Apartheid Vodka, Meat and a Historical Treasure Chest Work Experience: Markettiers4dc Houses of Parliament
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Any thoughts or comments? Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome, readers. What you see before you is a brand new, unique publication from Exeter University’s History Society. No longer just an idea, this publication has become a fully-fledged, academic journal, accessible to all members of the History Society. My name is Nathan McNamara, and I am the Chief Editor of The Historian. I am in my Third and final Year here at Exeter, studying History. As Chief Editor, my task involves putting this together: the design, layout and everything else you see in these pages. Michael Fear is another Journal Representative and he has helped me by gathering articles, proof-reading and contacting various people about articles.. Jennifer Drabble (the President) also gives her advice and helps facilitate things with the rest of the History Society. This is the first time I have attempted anything like this and I have to say I am pleased with the result! The aim is to produce five of these publications (including this one) throughout the year. The next issue will come out in November and I strongly urge you to get involved! We are quite flexible in terms of the content as it is a brand new publication. Anything history-related would be ideal - my email is at the top of the page so contact me if you need any advice. We have a fantastic first issue for you, a Freshers Edition dedicated to all the new undergraduates who have come to study here. Michael will give more details on the content of The Historian below... In this issue we introduce our new committee for the year 2011-2012 in the Committee Profiles section in the opening pages of the journal. As it is the first issue of the academic year, we have focused on the transition from school to university, with an article offering advice on this change from the lead tutor of the History Foundation Module, Dr Jane Whittle. Along with support from lecturers and the Humanities College, history students can expect help from their Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC), and in this issue we hear from our current chair, Mr David Brake. The issue also follows a transition of a different type, as Chris Moore, a recent graduate, provides advice on your three years at Exeter and life after university. The truly international opportunities which history offers are reflected in our travel section. Read articles from a student studying in Poland, an inter-railing trip over the summer and an excursion to South Africa. For advice on the options open to history students after university, our careers section features articles from two Teach First Ambassadors. Furthermore, we review two recent work placements, one in the Houses of Parliament and the other at a PR Consultancy in London. In the first of our interviews with lecturers we talk to Professor Richard Toye, as he discusses his current research. Those of you interested in intramural sports may find our article on the History Society’s netball team of particular interest, while we also offer several football teams.
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Committee Profiles President:
I’m a third year History student and will be in charge of the society for this coming academic year. As President I will be co-ordinating and launching lots of different aspects that we as a society will now be offering. Involved in everything from the day to day running to our biggest events, I will always be here and contactable for any queries you may have. Having been on the committee since the start of my time at Exeter, it’s quite surreal to finally be in my last year. Membership of the society has always been a key part to my life in Exeter, and has been a great way of making friends outside of my set module groups. With so many students on the History course it has been the only real way to expand and meet people that you otherwise wouldn’t (mainly due to the fact that everyone seem to stick to their favourite periods when picking modules). History as a degree has been great so far and studying at Exeter has meant complete flexibility with regards to what I want to study, which is not always the most conventional. You’ll normally find that staff will bend over backwards to accommodate your needs. My interests have varies a lot over the last two years, but this coming year I will be focusing on the medieval and early modern periods, particularly in relation to family, sex, literature and medicinal history. After a busy summer, our committee have been working hard to put together some exciting new opportunities for members. I’ve got lots of plans for the society this year, and with a great new team we’re really upping our game. We are soon launching our brand new academic journal which will have a mix of features to accommodate everyone’s interests. There will also be an exclusive trip to Paris at the end of November, along with football and netball teams, guest speakers, lots of socials & balls.
I’ve got lots of plans for the society this year, and with a great new team we’re really upping our game
For any queries you may have, or if you’d like to be involved in any way, I’m always contactable: email@example.com
Claire Beaumont & Helen Sproull We, Helen Sproull and Claire Beaumont, are both third year undergraduate History students, and the Vice Presidents of the History Society. Our role involves helping to organise balls and socials, organising guest speakers for careers events and aiding the President in the day to day running of the History Society. You can contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org,clb228@ exeter.ac.uk). Both of us took a Gap Year after A-Levels, and we both applied to Exeter as our first choice University. We attended a taster session for the History Society netball team in fresher’s week in our first year, and playing for the team has been an amazing experience for us both. We have made some fantastic friends and have enjoyed the competitiveness and inclusiveness of the intramural netball environment. The History Society has played a large role in our University experience so far, and our membership has ensured that we made friends and have been able to be a part of a growing and exciting society for the duration of our course. Helen is particularly interested in early modern history (in particular the Tudors), the history of war in England and Spain and women’s history. Claire’s interest centres on Colonial and political history. We both play netball and have been active members of the History Society since first year.
Tristan James-Weed I am the history society treasurer, the one with all the cash! My interests are rowing, squash and running. I also like to travel! In terms of History at Exeter, I like contemporary history, I have done courses ranging from the history of food and nutrition in the 20th century to the Civil Rights Movement in the USA and the Cold War. After Exeter I hope to go into advertising but that may all change when I get into the working world! We have many exciting things planned for this year so keep a keen look out for up and coming events!
We’re Alex and Andre and are both in our third year at Exeter. As Social Secretaries, we will be organising a variety of events this year including regular socials, the Paris trip in November, the Christmas and Spring Balls as well as employability events for you all. If you have any queries or ideas you would like us to hear please get in touch – we would love to hear from you. Looking forward to meeting many of you soon and hope you all have a great year! email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Lamport & Andre Hamlyn 6 - Historian - OCTOBER 2011
My name is Lauren Tillott, I am 20 years old and I live in London outside Exeter term dates. I am in my third and final year, reading History BA. This is the first year I have been involved in the society and the role I was elected for is General Secretary. My role involves attending all meetings and functions. I am in charge of noting down minutes and details of these meetings, ensuring each member receives any information they need and other basic ICT and administration duties. I am easily contactable via my student email lt250@ ex.ac.uk and welcome any history questions whether it is solely about the society or other History concerns at Exeter. I aim to complete a law conversion after graduating from Exeter. I choose to study History at Exeter because it was always a subject I was passionate about and enjoyed at A level. I have studied a diverse range of modules since starting my degree including some of the following; British Naval Seapower, SubSaharan Africa, Childhood in 19th and 20th Century Britain, Norman Conquest to the Wars of the Roses, Chivalry in the Late Middle Ages, Religion, Society and Culture in Tudor England. I have chosen to study Nazism on Trial for my third year speciality and as my variety module I have selected Sexuality in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Britain. I also have numerous books for each of these modules and would be
happy to sell them to you if you think they are useful, including the texts I used for my foundation History module. I have chosen to write my third year dissertation on the Nazi War Crime Trials with particular reference to the Einsatzgruppen, their possible misrepresentation in the press and how they have come to be perceived by historians. I wish to look at how the crimes of the Einsatzgruppen were identified and whether the crimes attributed to them should be accredited to them or whether they were actually jointly carried out by other groups. I have a real interest in the Holocaust as an area of study/ research. My role in the society also extends on to the netball court- I would strongly encourage anyone to come along to training or to a game to watch or participate. It is a great way to meet excellent people and to socialise as well as keeping fit! I met most of my best friends at Exeter through the society netball club. Netball is open to boys as well as girls and we welcome any newcomers! All that is left to say is I hope all the history students have an excellent time this year at Exeter and please come to all the History socials we as a new committee would love to get to know you all!!
Publicity Officer: Sami Russell-Stracey
Hi everyone, I’m Sami and I am your publicity officer for the next academic year. I will keep you up to date with additional academic activities as well as socials and events. I am about to commence my third year studying history (scary!) but have a particular passion for advertising. I have already taken on a number of publicity roles around campus so far and can’t wait to continue building on this experience through the History Society. If anyone has any questions about upcoming events or has an idea of an event or activity which they wish the society to pursue then feel more than welcome to drop me an email on sr314@exeter. ac.uk. The people I have met through studying history are some of the best friends I have at Exeter - I am living with 3 of them - and so make the most of every opportunity that comes your way and I can’t wait to see what surprises this year has in store!
Becky Carter & Sam Rothwell I am the History Netball Sport Secretary for this year and cannot wait to get started! My role sees me organising training sessions, arranging exciting socials and making sure everyone’s there for the matches. I have been part of the society since I have been at Exeter and have some big ideas for the coming year. Our team consists of a range of abilities and is perfect for those looking for a bit of competitive fun, whilst meeting some great people. I am currently in my third year of university studying history and have enjoyed every moment of it. I am writing my
dissertation on the effects of cinema on society, whilst also taking a module on the Norman Conquest! In addition I have been part of the surfing and netball clubs, but it is through the History Society that I have made my closest friends. With a new committee this year I am confident that we can make it even better then before. If you would like to join the History netball team you can contact me via e-mail: email@example.com.
Attention all Finalists
Parting advice from Chris Moore Chris Moore gives his advice to first, second and third years alike as he reflects on his three years at Exeter studying History. As History Society Committee Alumni (Treasurer, 2010/11) and recent History graduate I am going to attempt to impart some wisdom on what to expect from your final year of studying history here: Firstly, expect an exponential increase in your workload compared to the increase between first and second year. The combination of an actual increase and the realisation that this is your final year and worth two-thirds of your degree will ensure that this happens. However, don’t fret you will still have time for History Society Socials and Cheesy Tuesdays at Arena and you’ll probably have less contact hours as well. The biggest worry going into third year is, of course, the dissertation. I’m sure I was not alone in wondering how I was going to write 10,000 words of my own creation, with originality and high quality writing without resorting to ‘Smart Drugs’ or just ending it all from the top of the Physics building! Yes, it is a daunting prospect but ultimately an extremely rewarding process. The best bit of advice I can give regarding your dissertation is don’t worry about it too much, that is to say do not let it consume your entire time outside of other modules. My other advice would be to get all your primary research done early, especially if it involves travelling to archives such as the National Archives at Kew. Make use of your supervisor, my biggest regret was not utilising my supervisor enough. He or she will be an expert in their field and published author; pick his or her
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Your workload will increase...but don’t fret, you will still have time for History Society Socials and Cheesy Tuesdays at Arena
brain as much as possible and show them multiple drafts. Your supervisor wants you to do well as the successes are reflected back onto them; the strict rules on contact hours and the 2,500 word limit on what they can read are malleable and can be circumvented if you have a good rapport with your supervisor. In you final year you will also encounter the ‘Special Subject’ where you will apparently become an expert in a topic. I know that the module I did, Grand Tour to Gladiator: Modern Encounters with the Classical World, was not a typical Special Subject experience, if you are (un-)lucky enough to be doing this module I can assure you that it is life-changing. Apart from that, the Special Subject is half glorified ‘Sources and Skills’ and half ‘Options’ with long contextual essays. As final year historians, you know how to analyse sources, research and write essays so will be fine. However, it is worth half of your final year, double your dissertation and a third of your entire degree so give it the time and effort it necessitates and deserved. A final point: there is no advice in the world that can prepare you for the three hour seminars involved but I suppose that ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ is as good as any. Good luck with the year and outside of academic work make sure you make the most of Exeter; go to Topsham, visit the Ram, go to a final Lemmy, row down the Exe; it is a privilege to study at Exeter and you will soon miss it when you graduate.
The Exeter History Society Logo Inspiration for the symbol
Nathan McNamara (Chief Editor) discusses his inspiration for the new History Society logo and why the Exeter Cathedral had to be an integral part of the new design Being appointed to the new post of Journal Editor for this coming year I knew I had a lot of work on my hands. Despite this, I somehow felt the need to try my hand at graphic design and create the new History Society logo. We did not have a proper symbol, and I wanted something that Exeter students could identify with. I knew I wanted to include Exeter Cathedral in the design but apart from that I had no real plans. I am rubbish at art - I gave it up at school as soon as I could. The picture opposite of the Cathedral was my inspiration for the design. After a few YouTube videos of how to use Photoshop, I gave it a go and the finished product you can see below! The design is also on every new membership card this year, and features prominently on the new Exeter History Society website: http://www.exeterhistorysociety.com Taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/content/image_galleries/east_devon_8_gallery.shtml?6
Are you interested in contributing to the next edition of the Historian? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your pieces. Weâ€™re looking for academic pieces in the next issue - any historical topic of your choice!
History Lecturers at Exeter Professor Richard Toye
Historian speaks to newly-appointed Professor Richard Toye about what motivates him in the world of academia and his current research How and why did you get into academia? It may have had something to do with me being unemployable in any other profession … I guess it was really in my second year as an undergraduate at Birmingham that I started to get truly interested in what I was studying. I loved doing my third year dissertation, and my supervisor encouraged me to do postgraduate study. After my Master’s (also at Birmingham) I moved to Cambridge to start my PhD and from that point on I was pretty clear I wanted to stay in academia. But you always need luck to land a job, and I was fortunate to get my first post in Manchester in 2000. What areas of History particularly interest you? Basically Twentieth Century political and economic history, and in particular the history of rhetoric. My most recent book is Churchill’s Empire: The World That Made Him and the World He Made (2010). Where has academia taken you in the world? Assuming you mean in a literal sense, it has taken me to the USA, Ireland, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Japan and Singapore, either to carry out research or to go to conferences, as well as to many places in the UK. I find Japan in particular very intriguing. I have made several friends there and the food is amazing. How will your role change now you’ve been made a professor? Not a great deal, actually, as I was already quite involved in the administration of the Department as Director of Research. Professors, quite rightly, teach the same amount as other members of staff. The once concrete difference it makes is that I can now sit on interview panels to appoint new professors – but we don’t do that very often. What are your interests outside of History? My two boys (Sven, 5, and Tristan, 2) keep me pretty busy. Actually, we had a mix-up recently at Paignton Zoo: we left the kids there and brought home two little monkeys. The Zoo hasn’t complained yet … What advice would you have for history students contemplating postgraduate study? If you enjoy doing your Doing History module and your dissertation, it could be for you. But you absolutely must want to get up every day and research and write history. Without this motivation, academia – and the extremely difficult process of trying to get into it – will be unrelieved misery.
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. - Winston Churchill
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My current research: I am working on a book on Churchill’s World War II speeches. It will provide a history of World War II through his speeches and it tackles a number of myths. The speeches are often treated as though their sole purpose was to ‘inspire the British people’. In fact, that was only one of their functions and it was arguably not the most important. They were a tool of global diplomacy – not least as a means of appealing to public opinion in the United States -and as such were read carefully by neutral governments for clues about Britain’s strength and strategy. The speeches were designed to communicate some types of facts and to conceal others; and, always subject to misrepresentation by enemy propagandists, they were a weapon used by both sides in the battle for psychological advantage. Churchill’s oratory, moreover, was itself shaped by political processes. Phrases such as ‘this was their finest hour’ now enjoy a timeless status, but they were produced in response to immediate political needs. The romantic image of Churchill as a lone genius conjuring masterly speeches out of the ether is misleading. It is true that he wrote them himself, but he did so as part of a collaborative process. Colleagues and officials supplied him with information and suggestions, and his drafts (which reflected this advice) were often circulated within Whitehall for comment. It was not unusual for Churchill to accept recommendations that particular passages or sentences should be toned down or eliminated. None of this diminishes Churchill’s own rhetorical achievements; rather it helps explain how they were brought about.
Taken from: http://encyc.org/pmwiki/uploads/Main/Churchill.jpg
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History Lecturers at Exeter Dr. Jane Whittle
We speak with Dr. Jane Whittle about the History Foundation module, a compulsory History module for all First Years
Welcome to Exeter University History department. It is wonderful each year to see a new generation of students appear, fired up with their enthusiasm for history. I have taught history at Exeter University for 16 years and before that spent 7 years studying the subject first as an undergraduate and then as a postgraduate. With the routines of academic life it is easy to forget how new and exciting the whole experience of University level history is for each cohort of students. However, in my role as coordinator of the History Foundation module, I try and guide new students through the process of adapting to university study. I am writing this piece to highlight what are, in my personal opinion, the main differences between studying history at A ‘level and at University. By the end of your first year at Exeter (or maybe even your first term) you will have opinions of your own on this subject – I look forward to reading your views in future issues of the Exeter History Society Journal!
1. By the time you graduate from your degree at Exeter, you will be not just someone who is interested in history or even a student of history, but a historian: someone who is trained to carry out historical research. A historian can construct their own bibliography, read and interpret original documents from many different cultures, and read and evaluate a wide range of published works to assess what is known and who is right – that is someone who holds their own opinion based on careful research and a weighing up of evidence. You might not want to (or have the opportunity to) spend the rest of your life practicing history, but the research skills you learn are enormously valuable in a wide range of occupations such as government, teaching, law, journalism and management. And we hope your love of history will stay with you for life.
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2. At university history students are given a lot of responsibility. You will have more unstructured time to spend on preparing essays and other assignments than you are probably used to. Over the three years of your degree we put more and more emphasis on student-led work, in seminars and in independent study, particularly the third-year dissertation. This independent study time is vital for you to do your research and become a functioning historian, rather than a passive recipient of lectures. History students use the University library more extensively than students on any other degree programme, borrowing more books than anyone else. We expect you to read widely and deeply, and give you time to do so. We assume you are here because you have chosen to study a subject you love. We provide the guidance but leave you to do the work.
3. The staff teaching you during your degree will have written and designed all the modules you study, often based on their own research. That means preparing everything from reading lists to lectures and exams. On average, it takes each of us 300-400 hours to devise these courses and keep them up to date. These are unique to each History department: there isn’t a national syllabus for University-level history (although there is an agreed set of skills). This allows us to teach you what we think is most interesting and important, and to deliver new research and ways of thinking to you almost immediately.
4. The close link between teaching and research at University means that all academic staff not only teach but also spend time researching and writing conference papers, articles and books. The university expects its staff to do research, and this is why we are so busy! Some staff are on full-time research leave to complete particular projects funded by government research councils (who pay for teaching replacements), or to finish books for publication. We teach you to become historical researchers by drawing on our own experience and knowledge of archives, documents, methods of analysis and debates between historians. For more information, visit: http://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/history/modules/HIH1000/
5. The fact we design our own teaching also allows us to make direct use of comments and feedback from our students to change and improve what we do. During your degree you will have opportunities to voice your opinions via the department’s Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC), in module evaluation forms at the end of each year, and in the National Student Survey at the end of your final year. Feedback from our students is taken very seriously within History and the wider College of Humanities and is used each year to make changes to how we teach the degree. Please tell us what you think – we will listen to you!
SSLC Advice (Student Staff Liason Committee) David Brake
Hello fellow historians, I’d just like to grab your attention for a couple of minutes to introduce myself as your History Chair for the academic year of 2011/12. My name’s David Brake and I am just a normal history student like you but as History Chair, my role is to address all matters of concern for students and staff within the History department. These matters can range from concerns over essay marks, unmarked papers and other such affairs. You pay thousands of pounds to study at Exeter, its only right you get value for money. I will aim to release a survey in mid-October asking questions on how you feel about the course and the year so far. However, I do not work alone. I work in close relationship with Sarah Hamilton, the lecturer version of myself in basic terms, and I work with other SSLC (Student Staff Liaison Committee) members to tackle the problems faced by all students. In mid-October, I will or the History department on my behalf will be advertising for
SSLC roles for each level of degree – i.e. Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3. The SSLC role entails the student to take part in monthly meetings where all matters history will be discussed. Within your individual year group, you should interact with them frequently to understand what works and what doesn’t. I have two major aims for this year where I will require all of Exeter’s historians’ assistance to help me. First, to try and ensure all exam results are released on the same date so if you take History and French, you don’t have to suffer an extra agonizing wait just for taking another module. Secondly, and most importantly, make sure all historians enjoy this academic year and that History is in the best position possible for all new students when the fees reach £9000. I think that’s it for now. You may never need me, but if you do, I am here to help 24/7 and my contact details are listed above. Have a great year!
Interested in contacting David? Feel free to contact him by email; email@example.com, or on his mobile 07545 773920
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Careers after History An insight into TeachFirst
Ciara McManus graduated from Exeter in 2003 and imparts some wisdom for anyone wondering what to do with a History degree Firstly, if you’re reading this as part of the University of Exeter History Society reading material – lucky you! I read History and German at Exeter graduating in 2003 and absolutely relished every minute of it. After graduating, I loved history so much I decided to study for a Masters of Arts in Modern History at University College London. After this time, I knew I needed to earn some money and join the world of work. Loving my subject, wanting to stay in London and always wondering what teaching was like I applied for Teach First. I loved the idea of the scheme targeting high-calibre graduates, being able to take on lots of responsibility quickly and studying teaching whilst learning on the job in the classroom. I also really liked the private-sector and non-teaching organisation involvement which really helped me feel like I was keeping my career options open whilst gaining lots of skills in the process. So in September 2005 I was placed in London Academy secondary school in Edgware, North West London teaching over 600 11-18 year olds over my two years. I taught a range of history subjects spanning the curriculum from the Normans and the Witch craze to Year 7, World War I and the Slave Trade to year 9 as well as The Tudors and the Russian Revolution to A-level students. I can safely say that Teach First has been one of the hardest things I have ever done – much of my first year felt more like crowd control and resilience was really important having to stay positive even though your class trashed your classroom yesterday and you were up until 1am reworking your lesson to ensure this didn’t happen again... However, with a really good Head of Department and a keenness to learn, I slowly improved and over my 2 years really enjoyed building rapport with the students and other teachers who have become some life-long friends. I also managed to improve history A-level results and increase the take-up of GCSE History by 60% leading to 2 classes of students for the first time in 4 years.
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At the end of the two years, I realised I had gained some invaluable transferrable skills such as time-management, organising, facilitating, evaluating, analysing data, presenting, keeping calm under pressure, perseverance and quickly adapting to my environment to name a few. Although I had enjoyed my time teaching, I was keen to get some experience in business and having done an Internship at Cap Gemini during the summer of 2005-2006 with Teach First, I really felt Management Consulting was something I would enjoy and be good at. After meeting lots of prospective Management Consultant employers at a careers fair in the city one evening (after a hard day in the classroom!), I was offered a position with HCL AXON who are a global SAP consultancy who implement SAP technology solutions into large organisations helping clients save cost whilst improving their service. I joined the Change Management team who work alongside the technology consultants to ensure that the businesses we work with are truly engaged, and own any large-scale change initiatives. I have worked in variety of roles for teams such as Stakeholder and Communications, Organisational Design and Learning and Development for clients such as Birmingham City Council, Thames Water, Xerox, the Royal Air Force and currently GlaxoSmithKline. Teach First gave me the transferrable skills to do this and once I learnt the similarities between the two career choices, it was relatively easy to make the transfer. I know that now I am a qualified teacher, I can return to the classroom in the future. So I would really and honestly recommend the programme to you if you love your subject, are willing to put in the hard work and perhaps most importantly, at least to some extent, think teaching might be for you. You’ll learn loads in the process, meet some great people, be able to directly use your degree subject and perhaps most importantly, be more 100% employable overall than before.
We talk to Emma Oliver, former President of the History Society, about where she is now, over a year after her graduation For those of you who don’t know me, I was at Exeter for have been lots of highs – despite them being three years and studied History. I graduated from Exeter seemingly buried amongst the huge lows. I University in 2010 and am now in my second year of the have enjoyed teaching. I have enjoyed the autonomy you Teach First programme. get in the classroom which is often not granted to many grads in other jobs. I have loved making a difference, For those of you who do not know what Teach First is changing lives, no matter how small or big those changes – it is a charity graduate programme where you commit are. This might sound extremely cringing – but whatever to teaching in challenging schools all over the country you decide to do – you need to make sure you’re going to address educational disadvantage. Once on the to enjoy it and feel like you’re getting something from it programme you are placed in a school and stay there – I’ve had that with Teach First. As a result I think, at the for two years. You work towards becoming a qualified moment, that I would like to stay in teaching for a while teacher and completing your PGCE in your first year. In at least. your second year you have the opportunity to complete a Masters in Education and Leadership. If you are interested in applying for Teach First I would suggest that you go to their website (www.teachfirst.org. The typical tag-line associated with Teach First has been uk) “teach first, cry later”. It has been a very tough year (I have cried) but it has also been a very rewarding year. It isn’t a My top tips for an application would be: glamorous graduate job – but then is any job really ever • Apply early (especially if you want to teach a humanities that glamorous? Fresh out of university without a gap year subject) and working full time, whilst studying still was a shock to • Read the website – has lots of helpful suggestions/hints. the system – but I did it. I never thought I would want to • Speak to the Graduate Recruiter for Teach First that is be a teacher, however, Teach First has provided me with a based at Exeter – ask questions! huge range of opportunities – teaching and non-teaching. • Provide examples to demonstrate the core values. • Check your application through – spelling errors etc (the basics matter!) Despite the difficulties that I have faced this year, there
Historian thanks Ciara and Emma for contacting us about their respective experiences in the working world and at TeachFirst. Are you a recent graduate? Do you know anyone who is? Feel free to get involved with our ‘Careers after History’ section. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information.
TEACH FIRST -
History and Travel European Inter-railing
Rebecca Price discovers the true value of her History degree when inter-railing around Europe this summer Having been to 3 out of the 5 resorts used to film the TV series ‘Sun, Sea and Suspicious Parents’, I decided that this summer was the time for something slightly more adventurous, if not a lot less mainstream! Travelling to 8 European countries in 24 days therefore seemed to be the perfect option for this summer’s holiday; and for once I wouldn’t spend 2 weeks dancing in the same strip and lying on the same beach. I would finally be seeing some of the world on which my degree is based! With inter-rail tickets and friends in tow, we started in the subject of my favourite year one module: the previously divided Germany. Flying to the beautiful market town of Bremen and then railing it to Berlin, the capital certainly lived up to its expectations. On foot we toured the Brandenburg Gate, the mighty Reichstag buildings, the 2,711 pillars of the Holocaust War Memorial, the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie and the ‘Topography of Terror’. The remains of such history lay side by side the modern infrastructure of a fast paced and vibrant city, where 50cm sausages are served with curry sauce and massive pitchers of beer! A night train with no reserved seats (thanks to the language barrier!) and a cramped 11 hours spent on the corridor floor next to the toilets, saw us watch the sun rise in Krakow, Poland. As
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one of the only cities in Poland not to be heavily bombed during World War Two, Krakow contained a beautiful cosmopolitan square as well as one of the downtown ghettos where the thousands of Jews memorialised in Berlin had lived their lives. A day trip to Auschwitz proved to be an unforgettable experience as we were shown 2 of the 3 camps. Not prepared for the sight of rooms filled with prisoners shoes and possessions, the day weighed heavily on us, and gave much significance to the Birkenau camps memorials words ‘Forever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity’. Seeing the camp first hand also allowed us to appreciate the diary extracts and details about the holocaust that we had read in Berlin’s memorial museum, as well as the Nazi primary sources we had looked at in the National German Museum also in Berlin. Hours more on trains saw us arrive in the cities of Budapest and Vienna, grand capitals again steeped in history. Buda palace with its wonderful views over Pest and the mighty parliament buildings, and the 1,400 roomed Viennese Schönbrunn Palace based in acres of landscaped gardens showed us the luxuries enjoyed by Euro pean elites, whilst back alleys and Hungarian goulash gave us an insight into the lives of the masses. After the beautiful Slovenia where we filled our days swimming in the magnificent Lake Bled, we travelled to Venice, Rome and Milan where we were welcomed by 41degree heat, lots of pizza and another interesting night train experience! The 117 islands that made up Venice were intriguing, and after getting extremely lost, also very confusing! Having to spend 1.50 to use the toilet, and watching rubbish collection by canal were all unique experiences. Having never learnt about Venice, the city intrigued us, and I found myself wishing that I had studied the Venetian module last year so that I could have put some
context to the sights I was seeing. In Rome we visited the incredible Colosseum, Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum, the grand Pantheon, as well as the Vatican City, Sistine chapel and St Peters Square. Yet again we found ourselves being drawn to the capitals fascinating past, and filled our days by being stereotypical tourists with guidebooks clutched in our sweaty palms. At some points we even referred to history lessons we had had as long ago as year 9. When we were looking at Greek artwork and pots in the Louvre museum of our final destination, Paris, lessons on the ancient Greeks that I had sat through in class 2 of primary school sprang to mind! Talk of ‘Greek’ pots that we made as 7 year olds even provided us with some sort of context to what we were seeing! So, without even realising, and certainly without planning it, my summer holiday of 2011 confirmed that history is the degree for me. I definitely did not predict the amount of fascinating historical sites I would be visiting and I certainly didn’t see myself tagging along to a guided tour made up of retired Canadians in Rome’s St Peters Cathedral, desperate to learn more than our ‘Europe on a budget’ hand book told us about the cathedral’s grand interior! In just about every place we visited I could relate what I was seeing to something I had learnt in many years of history lessons or lectures, whether it was the contrast between the buildings of the previous GDR and FRG in Berlin, or the patterns on Greek pots. After numerous museums and many more sites, it was clear that it was not only me who was keen to wonder around historical sites. My two friends, who study chemistry and criminology were as equally enthralled as me, and just as keen to learn about the context of the countries which we were visiting.
My summer holiday of 2011 confirmed that History is the degree for me
After 4 (admittedly very fun) years of clubbing holidays with my friends, I can quite safely say that travelling around the European continent was the holiday that, quite by accident, made me truly value my history degree. With Africa being the topic of one of my modules this year, my student loan better stretch a long way as I have big plans for my African summer holiday of 2012! HISTORY AND TRAVEL - 17
History and Travel
The Cloud of Apartheid in the ‘Rainbow Nation’ Chris Moore gives us an informative insight into the South Africa of today and whether the memories of Apartheid still taint this African nation. South Africa is known as the ‘Rainbow Nation’, a term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1994 to describe the nation in its post-apartheid democratic state. This is an apt description for a country with eleven official languages but also for a country I found to be as friendly and as welcoming as the meteorological phenomenon is on a rainy day. The ‘Rainbow Nation’ is a term I had heard a lot last year when South Africa hosted the football World Cup and it had also given me some misconceptions of what to expect when I arrived. I was, naively in hindsight, expecting a country where apartheid was a memory, with racial differences existing in the multicultural, relatively peaceful paradigm which we have in Britain. The reality I saw was a nation, which although surpassed by its beautiful scenery, welcoming people and wonderful Castle lager in creating an indelible mark on my South Africa experience, still lives under the shadow of its apartheid history. This is not to suggest that there is still informal apartheid in the country but to highlight the (obvious?) point that the scars of a system which oppressed the 80% black majority of the nation will not disappear overnight, nor the social structures which sustained apartheid be dismantled in half a generation. This is obvious as I travelled from one picturesque coastal town to another along South Africa’s famous ‘Garden Route’, as we arrived in each town or city, from Knysna to Cape Town there would always be a large shanty town on the outskirts where an impoverished black community dwells whilst rich white families occupy affluent suburbs. In Port Elizabeth (which I found out was named after the Governor of the town’s wife in 1820 not, as I had assumed, Queen Elizabeth I) the affluent white families live in suburban, gated complexes, complete with barbed wire and armed guards whilst there is a large shanty town near the airport. Here, there is the incongruous but architecturally impressive Red Location Museum, which highlights the anti-apartheid efforts of the region but surprisingly, has little regarding Nelson Mandela and much on the Civil Rights Movement in America. Probably the most enduring symbol of apartheid is Robben Island, its name synonymous with Nelson
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Mandela and the struggle against apartheid. The small island off Cape Town is now a World Heritage Site and despite the tourist hub it has become and strictly timetabled nature of the tour, it is still a highly evocative experience. The most curious feature of the tour is that it is led by a former political prisoner; our guide spent eight years in the prison for ‘sabotage’, the euphemism used for the terrorist activities of the African National Congress. As we moved through the prison, which incarcerated three out of the four post-apartheid President’s of South Africa and many more of its current politicians, the tone of the guide changes. Impassioned and defensive of the necessity of his and his ‘Comrades’ extreme actions to begin with, he concluded with the message of reconciliation promoted by ‘Mr Nelson Mandela’. Seeing the concrete floors on which inmates slept (until the International Red Cross provided beds) and the imposing guard-towers, alongside an exhibition of personal items which inmates kept in their cells and the trip to the cell in which Nelson Mandela spent the best part of three decades makes the whole tour deeply moving and reflects the changing tone of the guide. On the half-hour ferry back to Cape Town, I was left to reflect that in spite of the shanty towns and the obvious white economic dominance in South Africa, the doctrine of Nelson Mandela lives on. Reconciliation reigns over resentment and eventually the cloud of apartheid will lift and only the ‘Rainbow Nation’ will remain.
The reality I saw was a nation, which although surpassed by its beautiful scenery, welcoming people and wonderful Castle lager in creating an indelible mark on my South Africa experience, still lives under the shadow of its apartheid history
Letters from Abroad
Vodka, Meat and a Historical Treasure Chest Michael Marriott is spending a year abroad in Gdansk, Poland. He tells The Historian about his first impressions in Eastern Europe. Exactly two weeks ago today, I was sat in a small restaurant in the Polish Baltic resort of Sopot, attempting to utter my order in broken polish. I had eventually decided to be cultural and chose the Eastern European beetroot soup, known as borscht. However, when I relayed this choice to the waitress, she simply looked quizzically at me and barked “No”. I inquired as to whether they had sold out of the borscht, but she shook her head and said “No good – disgusting” and instead proceeded to point to an alternative item on the menu. Confused, I accepted the change in my order and apologized, presuming I had made some form of polish social faux-par. After some anticipation, my modified order arrived…a massive hunk of meat resting alongside an eternal sea of roast potatoes. Halfway through my battle with the colossal meal, the waitress returned to the table and slammed down an ominous looking measure of vodka beside my plate. Hesitantly, I informed her that there must be some kind of mistake, as I did not order any vodka. Looking even more confused than I, she shook her head and insisted it was complimentary. Mandatory is perhaps a more fitting word, as she peered over me until she was satisfied that I had fully knocked back the home-made vodka. Fearing I might be plied with yet more polish moonshine, I requested the bill and hurriedly headed home. This dining experience appeared to confirm my presumption of the Polish as straight talking, vodkaswilling carnivores – no wonder so many Brits flock to Eastern Europe for stag-dos. However, two weeks on, at a deeper glance, it is obvious that this particular part of Europe has played host to the most influential and momentous changes in European history. My accommodation and language course are situated in the chic seaside town of Sopot, which rests between Gdynia and Gdansk to make up what is known as the ‘Tricity’. A fifteen minute train journey takes you into the heart of Gdansk (the Polish, incidentally, care little for small, insignificant details such as closing the train doors on journeys). Gdansk is central to the two most major developments of the twentieth century; the outbreak of the Second World War and, most famously, the groundwork Lech Walesa and Solidarity laid in bringing the downfall of communism in Europe. The shipyards that gave birth to Walesa’s Solidarity are still open and those who visit
are provided with an insightful, historical glance into the formation of the famous trade union.
it is obvious that this particular part of Europe has played host to the most influential and momentous changes in European history Gdansk and Poland have recovered well since they broke free of the crippling communist regime; Poland currently holds the EU presidency for 2011 and is joint host for the European football championships in 2012. Furthermore, Poland is one of the few countries in Europe who can boast economic growth in the global downturn. What is most impressive, though, is that this has seemingly all been achieved without succumbing to the garish paraphernalia of capitalism. Gdansk is also home to the Westerplatte, the place where the first shots of World War Two were fired. A trip here is a truly sobering experience; the solemn atmosphere testifies that this is a feeling which is clearly shared by all who visit the Westerplatte. There is a plethora of fitting tributes, poignant statues and informative museums which commemorate both of the titanic changes in twentieth century Europe. However, Poland certainly does not dwell on the horrors of the past - after all, foreign intervention is no new phenomena to the Polish. Indeed, Poland has a rich history stretching back nearly one thousand years. The impact of German hegemony upon Poland, for instance, far precedes the outbreak of the Second World War. Therefore, it is apparent that Poland has far more than hearty meals and cheap alcohol – it is a historical treasure chest. Poland is a nation which, for a millennium, has been blighted by foreign rule and division. In spite of this, Poland is beginning to flourish after throwing off the shackles of communism. Like any country, Poland still has many problems it must overcome, but the next few decades genuinely do have the potential to become a golden age for the Polish nation.
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Markettiers4dc: Charlotte Mason Charlotte Mason describes her time at Markettiers4dc, an exciting new PR consultancy in London and offers some advice for First Years. With the big wide world more competitive than ever before, obtaining work placements and internships may appear daunting, but are crucial in order for graduates to get their feet in the door! At the end of my first year studying History at Exeter, I was lucky enough to land myself two weeks work experience at markettiers4dc; an up-and-coming broadcast PR consultancy in London. With a keen interest in the media and communications industry, I came across markettiers4dc on the CIPR’s (“the professional body for the UK public relations industry”) website and sent them an email expressing a desire to gain experience in their offices. So while it may seem like a long-shot, I do recommend contacting companies that you are interested in working with. Many of them may never reply, but at least some of them will – and sending along your CV and a flattering e-mail can go a long way! My time spent at markettiers4dc had both advantages and disadvantages. Above all, I benefitted from observation and gained a real insight into the world of PR – it’s hectic and fast-paced campaigns, both in terms of creation and brainstorming with clients and the later stages of output into the media. I was privileged to be able to help with both the preliminary stages of campaigns such as initial research; for example, looking into UK nursery closures to link to a Nestlé campaign; as well as the coming together of a project such as the promotion of Start-rite shoes in a monthly Mum’s half hour live web programme. Markettiers4dc proved itself to be a diverse
and energetic company; whose employees enjoyed great relations with their clients, the media and above all, each other! However, as an unpaid work placement student at markettiers4dc, I was often left feeling like a bit of a spare part! In such a busy environment, I understand that it can be challenging for employers to find the time to realise interesting and challenging tasks for students. For me, this was a little frustrating and having to constantly ask for things to do was probably an annoyance to everyone in the office! Work placements, therefore, are seemingly difficult to get right. How do you go about obtaining an interesting and valuable experience for both you and your employer? These were exactly the thoughts of three students at Loughborough University back in 2006 who developed the website RateMyPlacement.co.uk. RateMyPlacement enables undergraduates to search for the latest worthwhile placements and internships across a wide variety of industries. The website includes over 6000 reviews written by students – giving those searching for placements an honest account of their experiences and a wealth of advice on what to expect! As a user of RateMyPlacement.co.uk and a brand ambassador this year, I feel that RateMyPlacement is invaluable in helping undergraduates develop key employability skills and gain the experience they need. Make sure you look out for us at the Freshers Fair on October 2nd and at other Careers Fairs this year!
Are you studying History at Exeter? Have you had any interesting or useful work experience? Emaill firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with details!
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The Houses of Parliament: Patrick Taylor Patrick Taylor pays a visit to the Houses of Parliament for the first time and tells us his thoughts. For me, as a History student with a particular attachment to British political history, strolling into the Houses of Parliament in Westminster to undertake some work experience with Sajid Javid MP, the first Muslim to be elected a Conservative MP and a graduate of Exeter University with a degree in Economics and Politics, certainly takes some beating.
Daily Politics hosted by Andrew Neil and that scarylooking woman.
Beginning with slightly pedestrian tasks, such as opening envelopes, extracting letters and placing said letters in orderly and corresponding categories, I was then asked to conduct some research into Private Members Bills, which I had hitherto never even heard of. Then Mr. Javid himself briefly entered, before whisking one of his deputies away to prepare for an impending TV appearance on the The
Taken from http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0o7WbDMop-w/TZH6OVP3a6I/ AAAAAAAAeyg/92XcSd8tHI8/s1600/Houses-Of-Parliament.jpg
My remaining time in the Houses of Parliament continued in a similarly hectic manner, combining seemingly insignificant activities, with encountering members of the Cabinet. One morning, for instance, was spent entirely on stuffing 600 letters from the Department for Business Having never set foot in the place before in my life, I could Innovation & Skills into envelopes addressed to every MP not fail to be enchanted and in awe of everything and (I stuffed Ed Miliband’s letter with a particular, yet wholly indeed everyone that I saw, from the humble yet jovial unjustified, sense of self-importance). security officers at the entrance, to the conspicuously knowledgeable tour guides, all dressed in smart black and On another occasion, when conducting research for a gold trim. Bill Mr. Javid was thinking of proposing, I found myself locked on the first floor of near-by Portcullis House, not Prior to my arrival, I was instructed by the secretary of the far from where Rupert Murdoch was unceremoniously MP I would be shadowing, to wait in the rather austere covered in shaving foam earlier this summer. Fortunately sounding ‘Central Lobby.’ This, for those who like me who I managed to escape. did not know, is the place where Parliamentary reporters frequently record broadcasts, whilst uninterested school There are also undoubted perks of working in the House children admirably attempt to put them off. of Commons. You do feel, however remotely, that you are treading in the footsteps of some mightily significant It is also home to numerous skulking members of the individuals. Wherever you walk in the place, there is Metropolitan police together with receptionists who are history to be observed. Indeed, some optimists might required, be they male or female, to dress in White Tie even say that you can also watch history unfolding before and sport golden chains of some regal description. your very eyes. For example, members of the public are free to sit in the gallery of the House of Commons, subject Once Big Ben struck ten o’clock, I was led through to availability, and watch MPs trade reasoned arguments, labyrinthine corridors, past numerous tapestries and argue over amendments to existing laws, debate the future busts of famous political figures of yesteryear and up a of the nation itself, or simply hurl insults at Ed Balls. whole host of stairs, before finally coming to a halt outside of my place of work for the next two weeks.
WORK EXPERIENCE - 21
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