Blog: Talking History in Politics

Talking History in Politics is a space for constructive and respectful debate around conversations between the disciplines of history and politics. We encourage diversity of opinion through our open blog submission section which can be found on our ‘Contact Us’ page and is monitored for selection by our editorial team. The articles featured present the views of the writer only; opinions expressed are not a reflection of the views and beliefs of the History in Politics Society.


Why Does History Help Explain Geo-Political Conflicts?

The construction of historical narratives and the pedagogic authority they hold has been vital in cultivating a sense of legitimacy with those engaged in violent practices in a geo-political conflict. In fact, these narratives are part of violence itself. Although media and education systems usually hold a significant grip on the dissemination of the teaching … Continue reading Why Does History Help Explain Geo-Political Conflicts?

Anne Boleyn: A Forgotten Victim of ‘Fake News’?

Anne Boleyn is an enigma. Contemporaries and historians alike have painted this infamous ‘beheaded’ second wife of Henry VIII as a ‘noble lady,’ ‘a whore,’ ‘an innocent victim,’ ‘a scandal of Christendom,’ and whilst the list of juxtaposing descriptions about the woman with ‘a long neck,’ ‘middling stature’ and ‘black and beautiful’ eyes could go … Continue reading Anne Boleyn: A Forgotten Victim of ‘Fake News’?

‘You Can Get Rid of the Mines, But You Can’t Get Rid of the Miners’: Industrial Legacy and Contemporary Identity in Durham

Durham’s coal mines closed throughout the 1980s, despite dissent from local communities and mining unions. This was not an anomaly – under Conservative rule, mines were shut throughout the nation, yet these were largely concentrated in the North. As a result, a significant regional divide in unemployment, poverty, and general desolation was created. And yet, … Continue reading ‘You Can Get Rid of the Mines, But You Can’t Get Rid of the Miners’: Industrial Legacy and Contemporary Identity in Durham

Housing Reform: Not the Solution to a Prominent Problem

The government’s slogan of “Build, Build, Build”, coupled with radical reforms to the planning system, promises a utopia it will struggle to deliver.  The reforms centre around deregulation, with the aim being to make it easier to build homes where people want to live. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick wrote in the Telegraph of the reforms … Continue reading Housing Reform: Not the Solution to a Prominent Problem

Gorillas, Galleries and Cage Fighting: How Visual Culture and Media Are Still Significant in Modern Politics

If a history student were to be asked about how visual culture and media can influence politics, they would surely think of examples such as British propaganda in the world wars, or the striking posters used in Nazi Germany. There is widespread agreement on the significant impact of this visual culture and media on people’s … Continue reading Gorillas, Galleries and Cage Fighting: How Visual Culture and Media Are Still Significant in Modern Politics

Will Britain’s History Ever Transcend Empire?

In recent months, racism in Britain has been widely discussed in the light of the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless other people worldwide. The Black Lives Matter movement has gained poignancy, with many supporters risking their lives to protest against systemic racism during the Covid-19 pandemic.  When discussing this issue with peers, … Continue reading Will Britain’s History Ever Transcend Empire?

Do the US Presidential Candidates Meet the ‘American Dream’?

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ Declaration of Independence, 1776 The American Dream. It is a belief professed in America’s culture, literature, advertising and schools; the … Continue reading Do the US Presidential Candidates Meet the ‘American Dream’?

Historical Narratives: The Glorified and the Silenced Narratives of Spanish History

The bare, granite landscape of the Sierra de Guadarrama in Spain gives way to a 3,000-acre woodland that is home to the country’s most controversial monument. Soaring an impressive 150-metres high is a granite cross, raised dramatically above the basilica and valley. Beneath the Valle de los Caídos, or the Valley of the Fallen, are … Continue reading Historical Narratives: The Glorified and the Silenced Narratives of Spanish History

Does History Link to Geography?

Although separate disciplines, history and geography are tightly intertwined. While history attempts to examine human society, culture and experience through a temporal lense, geography does so through a spatial one. Physical geography and natural phenomena have undoubtedly influenced the course of history: the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, which caused massive global cooling, attests to … Continue reading Does History Link to Geography?

Why Events in the Gulf Still Matter: Implications of Peace Between Israel and the UAE

There’s a joke that goes as follows: ‘…and on the eighth day, God created the Middle East, and said “let there be breaking news”’. In this constant stream of events it can be hard to distinguish between the important and irrelevant – but make no mistake, mutual recognition between Israel and the United Arab Emirates … Continue reading Why Events in the Gulf Still Matter: Implications of Peace Between Israel and the UAE

The Politics of Food: Modern Sumptuary Law?

The politicisation of food by Boris Johnson’s government has proved to be a highly controversial issue. Whilst the necessity of what has been described as an “obesity crackdown” has been supported by Public Health England, there has been backlash surrounding the government’s strategy. In particular, the lack of meaningful support for the most financially-disadvantaged have … Continue reading The Politics of Food: Modern Sumptuary Law?

Do Belarus’ Protests Suggest a Chance for Change, like the 1989 Revolutions in Eastern Europe?

This article will use Russian spellings of Belarusian names for the sake of consistency. When comparing the situation in Belarus today to the revolutions of 1989, we have to note that each country experienced a different revolution. Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians in the Baltics were trying to reverse the fifty-year long annexation of their nations … Continue reading Do Belarus’ Protests Suggest a Chance for Change, like the 1989 Revolutions in Eastern Europe?

Europe’s Hidden War: How Ukraine Struggles With Post-Soviet Nationalisms

13,000 fatalities. 3,300 dead civilians. These are the casualty numbers of a European war that seems like it could have taken place in the nineteenth century; nevertheless, it is de facto a war of the twenty-first century, and the numbers date from 2019. The war in Eastern Ukraine, sparked in 2014, continues to this day. … Continue reading Europe’s Hidden War: How Ukraine Struggles With Post-Soviet Nationalisms

Book Review: ‘The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence’ (2013) by Gary A. Haugen and Victor Boutros

This book has blown my mind. Honestly and truly, this is not an overstatement. The title itself encapsulates the purpose of the book, one which evidently drives every chapter. Gary Haugen, the book’s main author, is the founder of the International Justice Mission; a mass organisation that seeks to end the global injustice of human … Continue reading Book Review: ‘The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence’ (2013) by Gary A. Haugen and Victor Boutros

The Decolonisation of Mauritius Is Incomplete, It Must Now Come at All Costs

In March 1968, the Republic of Mauritius gained its independence from the United Kingdom. Despite the jubilation which ensued in the small Indian Ocean island nation, the coming of independence brought with it the territorial dismemberment of what was once Mauritius, a moral and legal injustice which still stands today. The decolonisation of Mauritius remains … Continue reading The Decolonisation of Mauritius Is Incomplete, It Must Now Come at All Costs

Orcadian Identity

Having recently returned from the Orkney Isles, one thing that struck me was the strength and uniqueness of Orcadian identity. The people on the island do not identify as Scottish, but rather relate their belonging to ‘the Mainland’. This is not the Scottish mainland, which is a mere fourteen miles away, but the most populated … Continue reading Orcadian Identity

Through the Lens of Stolypin: Understanding Vladimir Putin’s Personal Politics through his Historical Idol

Few pictures hang on the walls of President Putin’s office, but the portrait of the third Prime Minister of Russia, Pyotr Stolypin is more prominent than the rest. Putin has publicly praised Stolypin on multiple occasions and he has become commonly known as the President’s idol.  Following recent constitutional reform to keep Putin in power … Continue reading Through the Lens of Stolypin: Understanding Vladimir Putin’s Personal Politics through his Historical Idol

‘Accepting Violence and Violent Language Against Women:’ How Language is Used to Belittle Female Politicians

On Thursday the 23rd American Congresswoman for New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came before congress to call for a point of personal privilege. Ms. Cortez sought to address her recent confrontation with Republican Congressman Ted Yoho who was overheard by a member of the press as calling her a ‘f***ing b***h.’ Mr. Yoho has denied using … Continue reading ‘Accepting Violence and Violent Language Against Women:’ How Language is Used to Belittle Female Politicians

Defining Peace: Re-evaluating the Assumptions Behind the Term

When we planned the third episode of the first series of History in Politics’ podcast Dead Current about peacebuilding and memory politics, we decided to begin by asking a broad question about peace in the world today versus peace in the world historically. And whilst we knew this question was challenging in that it is … Continue reading Defining Peace: Re-evaluating the Assumptions Behind the Term

Anti-Denial Laws: The Politics of Remembering

In many countries it is criminal to deny the Holocaust; yet, many historians have argued heavily against this concept. Do laws like these, which are passed by parliaments, unjustifiably limit the freedom of expression? Or are they necessary in the remembrance of genocides, such as the Holocaust, or the Armenian genocide? Holocaust deniers either state … Continue reading Anti-Denial Laws: The Politics of Remembering

The Floating Jew: Manifestations of Migration in Chagall’s Art

Although there are many distinct features of a Marc Chagall painting, it is the floating figures that are the artist’s most curious motif. In amongst the rich pastel colours and two-dimensional composition are people suspended in mid-air – an idea that features in some of his major works across his career, from 1915’s Birthday to … Continue reading The Floating Jew: Manifestations of Migration in Chagall’s Art

Deconstructing a Homage to Secularity: A Reflection of Turkey’s Changing Political Identity

After 85 years as a secular museum, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decreed the 1,500 year old Hagia Sophia will return to its former use as a Mosque. Hagia Sophia represents Turkey’s varied history; for a thousand years, the dome covered the largest indoor space in the world and remains a focal point of the … Continue reading Deconstructing a Homage to Secularity: A Reflection of Turkey’s Changing Political Identity

“Strong people don’t need strong leaders” – The Continual Impact of Women in the Black Freedom Struggle

With the ongoing global protests against police brutality and systemic racism sparked by the murder of George Floyd, it is now more important than ever to look back at the history of the civil rights and black liberation movements. When we look at these movements, the work and contributions of women are often overlooked, although … Continue reading “Strong people don’t need strong leaders” – The Continual Impact of Women in the Black Freedom Struggle

Decolonising the Curriculum

Whilst the #RhodesMustFall protests began over 5 years ago in South Africa and in the United Kingdom, misunderstanding has continued over movements to ‘decolonise the curriculum’. To ‘decolonise the curriculum’ means to question well established biases and gaps within teaching that limit our understanding of the world around us. Thus, the movement campaigns to give … Continue reading Decolonising the Curriculum

A Knock in the Dark: Venezuela’s Human Rights Violations

In a country ravaged by authoritarian socialism under dictator Nicolás Maduro, voicing opposition can be a death sentence. Freedom of speech and the right of expression are taken for granted where they exist, and it’s difficult for many in the West to envision a country whereby expressing a political opinion would endanger your own life … Continue reading A Knock in the Dark: Venezuela’s Human Rights Violations

A ‘Rooseveltian’ New Deal?

Speaking in the West Midlands on Tuesday, Boris Johnson unveiled the broad outlines of his strategy to tackle the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The Government’s unwillingness to issue an earlier lockdown at the end of March suggested their fear of the economic reverberations that a forced closure of retail, restaurants, and offices would … Continue reading A ‘Rooseveltian’ New Deal?

The War That Never Ends

It has now been 75 years since the Second World War ended, and yet it remains an inescapable presence in today’s politics. Numerous anachronistic comparisons plagued both sides of the debate during the Brexit campaign. Those voting Leave celebrated the ‘Dunkirk spirit’ of Britain, while those voting Remain rendered the referendum another ‘Eden moment’. There … Continue reading The War That Never Ends

Ireland’s New Government Shows the Limits to History in Politics

It has been a historic week for Ireland. After nearly 100 years, the Civil War divide appears to be coming to an end. Four months after a stunning election result, the newly formed government sees the two traditional parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, enter formal coalition with each other for the very first time. … Continue reading Ireland’s New Government Shows the Limits to History in Politics

Scotland and England: The Irrevocable Divide

The First Minister for Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party (SNP), is currently substantially ahead of Boris Johnson in Scottish opinion polls, largely due to her comparatively steady-handed and rational approach to the coronavirus crisis. Despite recent developments, however, I am not won over by the argument for Scottish independence. This discourse is … Continue reading Scotland and England: The Irrevocable Divide

Is our obsession with Great Men helpful? And other questions…

The tearing down of Edward Colston’s statue, and the defacing of many others, is not new. Love them or hate them, statues of gods, saints, heroes, and prominent individuals have always littered our streets. For as long as they have been in public locations, we have also challenged them; from melting down old Roman emperors, … Continue reading Is our obsession with Great Men helpful? And other questions…

George Floyd

History does not look kindly on bystanders but we must not allow our fear of this to determine our reaction to injustice. The killing of George Floyd has emblazoned social media with messages of protest in solidarity with movements such as Black Lives Matter. Unlike those who came before us, we are able to broadcast … Continue reading George Floyd


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