The Ian and Mildred Karten Memorial Lecture 2014

You are cordially invited to the 2014 Ian and Mildred Karten Memorial Lecture which will be given by Dr James Jordan.

‘Reviewing the Extermination: Dr Who, Daleks and the Changing Face of Jewish Identity’

The lecture will be chaired by Malcolm Ace, Chief Operating Officer at the University of Southampton.

Tuesday 20 May 2014 – 6pm
It has recently been suggested that the Doctor, the central character of the BBC’s Doctor Who, is in fact the most compelling Jewish character ever seen on British television. This lecture, part of a series of events organised to mark the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Parkes library at the University of Southampton, will explore this statement through a consideration of the show’s history both off-screen and on. It will explore the (real and imagined) displays of Jewish identity seen across 50 years through a discussion of the Doctor’s changing appearance, his rivalry with the Master, and enmity towards the Daleks, the despotic pepperpots with a love of extermination who were modelled on the Nazis. As we will see, the Doctor is not averse to antisemitism and the Daleks own past is more complicated and perhaps more controversial than the simplistic parallel provided by the Nazis.

Dr Jordan is the Karten Lecturer for the Parkes Institute and is also an alumnus of the University of Southampton. The Ian and Mildred Karten Memorial Lecture is part of the Parkes Institute annual lecture series and has this year been renamed to honour the generosity and interest shown by Ian and Mildred in the Parkes Institute.

If you wish to attend what promises to be a very popular lecture please email asap to reserve a place and avoid disappointment.

Avenue Campus
Building 65
Lecture Theatre A

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MA Jewish History and Culture now recruiting

The Parkes Institute is now recruiting for its MA in Jewish History and Culture.

MA advert

The Programme

The Parkes MA programme offers a rich encounter with the main currents in Jewish history and culture from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Reflecting the heritage of James Parkes’ scholarship, the programme places an emphasis on the study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations. The course of studies builds on the world-class resources of the University’s Parkes Library and Jewish archives, and is taught by a well established team of international scholars, drawn from disciplines including History, English and Modern Languages. The expertise of the Parkes Institute provides opportunity for study from the ancient to the modern world and with wide geographical scope.

Modules include:

  • Jews and Non-Jews: Relations from Antiquity to Modernity (core)
  • Approaches to Jewish History and Culture (core)
  • Jewish Society and Culture in Eastern Europe
  • The Holocaust, Englishness and Americanness
  • The Jews of Egypt: from Alexander to Trajan
  • Jerusalem: City and Symbol
  • It is also possible to negotiate working on a subject of your choice

The programme attracts students from a very varied range of backgrounds and academic interest. For many the MA provides the foundation for doctoral studies but for many others the course offers other opportunities for professional and personal development.

Funding: Ian Karten Scholarship

Patron and supporter of the Parkes Institute, Ian Karten MBE, set up a charitable trust to assist students studying Jewish History and Culture. Scholarships from the Ian Karten Charitable Trust are offered to students on the MA programme. The award covers a contribution towards fees for students enrolling for the MA in Jewish History and Culture.

“The funding I received was vital in allowing me to embark on the course and I am already benefitting extensively from the options offered to me. I am very excited at this opportunity and I feel privileged to be at a university which is offering me this chance” (Katie Power).

For further information and applications

Please see our website:

The deadline for applications is 1st September 2014

Please contact Dr Claire Le Foll for informal discussion (

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The 2014 Montefiore Lecture

The Parkes Institute cordially invites you to attend this year’s Montefiore Lecture:

Between Two Worlds: A Reflection on Assimilation

This year’s lecture will be delivered by Reverend Dr Giles Fraser who is a priest of the Church of England and a journalist for The Guardian newspaper.  He is currently a parish priest at St Marys in London and writes a weekly Saturday column as well as frequently appears on BBC Radio 4.  He is also a visiting professor in the anthropology department at the London School of Economics.

The Montefiore Lecture is part of the Parkes Institute’s annual lecture series and is the oldest lecture in the University of Southampton’s calendar.

All welcome. If you would like to attend the lecture place contact Tracy Storey ( to register.

Venue and details

6pm, 4 March 2014
Lecture Theatre A
Avenue Campus
University of Southampton
SO17 1BF
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The Last Man: A British Genocide in Tasmania

The Last Man

A British Genocide in Tasmania

Tom Lawson

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new book by Parkes alumnus and former member of staff Professor Tom Lawson.

The Last Man

Little more than 70 years after the British settled Van Diemen’s Land (later Tasmania) in 1803, the indigenous community had been virtually wiped out. Yet this genocide at the hands of the British is largely forgotten today.

The Last Man is the first book specifically to explore the role of the British government and wider British society in
 this genocide. It positions the destruction as a consequence of British policy and ideology in the region. Tom Lawson shows how Britain practised cultural destruction and then came to terms with and evaded its genocidal imperial past. Although the introduction of European diseases undoubtedly contributed to the decline in the indigenous population, Lawson shows that the British government supported what was effectively the ethnic cleansing of Tasmania – particularly in the period of martial law in 1828–1832. By 1835, the vast majority of the surviving indigenous community had been deported to Flinders Island, where the British government took a keen interest in the attempt to transform them into Christians and Englishmen in a campaign of cultural genocide.

Lawson also illustrates the ways in which the destruction of indigenous Tasmanians was reflected in British culture – both at the time and since – and how it came to play a key part in forging particular versions of British imperial identity. Laments for the lost Tasmanians were a common theme in literary and museum culture, and the mistaken assumption that Tasmanians were doomed to complete extinction was an important part of the emerging science of human origins. By exploring the memory of destruction, The Last Man provides the first comprehensive picture of the British role in the destruction of the Tasmanian Aboriginal population.

‘This clearly written, accessible and strongly argued book contends that the British government committed genocide in Van Diemen’s Land/Tasmania – and, by implication, in other parts of the British Empire. This study, whilst obviously controversial, provides an important contribution
to the current public debate that is reassessing the record of the British Empire following the recent emergence of new archival sources.’

– John S. Connor, author of The Australian Frontier Wars

‘The Last Man enhances our knowledge of British imperial history as it played out in one of
its most distant colonies, Tasmania. It shows how British policies and practice meant that Aboriginal society there was almost destroyed. In using the international scholarship on genocide along with its own original and detailed empirical historical study, it reminds us of the enormity of what happened. As if that were not enough, The Last Man then goes on to show how understandings of this Tasmanian genocide have since reverberated through British culture, right up to the present. In doing so, it asks us to reconsider the nature and meaning of British history for us now.’

– Ann Curthoys, author of Freedom Ride

Tom Lawson is Professor of history at northumbria university. He is the author of Debates on the Holocaust and The Church of England and the Holocaust: Christianity, Memory and Nazism.

Special Offer Price £17.50 RRP £25.00* (release offer expires 30th June 2014)

To order online go to and enter the discount code AN2 when prompted

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Studying a PhD at the Parkes Institute: an interview with Bradley Barnes

The Parkes Institute is a thriving and globally recognised research centre. Our research interests cover all periods from antiquity to the twenty first century and have a truly global focus. Amongst our specialised interests currently are Holocaust Studies, Migration, Maritime Studies, Heritage and Ancient Jewish Studies, and our work is underpinned by examining questions of the relations between Jews and non-Jews and Jewish identity and culture more broadly.

Our research culture includes not only our established members of staff, but also our PhD students. In the first of a new series highlighting the work of our doctoral candidates we meet Bradley Barnes, a former BA and MRes student here at the Institute. Brad is supervised by Dr Dan Levene, an internationally recognised authority on early Jewish magic and incantations. In this interview, Brad tells us a little more about his work here at the Institute:

Bradley Barnes

What’s your project title?

Negotiating the Power of the Demon and the Divine: Semitic Cultures of Incantation Magic in Late Antique Mesopotamia.

What are some of your research interests?

Late Antiquity, Syriac Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism, Demonology and Semitic cultures of Incantation.

Tell us a bit more about your PhD project

Human societies have always sought to control and ultimately shape the numerous uncertainties of everyday life, and the Christian and Jewish communities of Late Antique Mesopotamia were by no means any exception. When the uncertainty of one’s health, the success of one’s crop or a number of other misfortunes threatened to disrupt the smooth flow of life-as indeed they must have done so almost constantly-many turned to the supernatural: so as to humbly beseech their divine aid, but also and perhaps most surprisingly, to demand and command it. God, his angels and even biblical prophets, were just as easy to manipulate as humbly supplicate, if only you were to find one suitably well versed in the necessary words and efficacious formulae for an incantation- a contract of sorts, binding the divine to act in accordance with its terms. Judging by the number and variety of incantations to have been excavated and attributed to these communities, it would seem that the ancient Christians and Jews of Mesopotamia found many who were willing to allay their trivial and more serious concerns through this extraordinary technology.

It’s this fascinating dialogue between the divine and the Jewish and Christian communities of Late Antique Mesopotamia which has shaped not only my PhD project, but also my wider research over the past few years five years. ‘Fascinating’, not only for what these incantations might tell us about the wider religious cultures of these two communities, but for what they might tell us about their interaction. These ‘dialogues with the divine’ offer an intriguing insight into the imaginations of those who produced and believed in the efficacy of these incantations, but they also offer a rich repository of common ideas and smaller details, which when examined by the historian, reveals something of the exchange and perhaps something of relationship between Mesopotamia’s Late Antique Jewish and Christian communities.

What got you interested in this particular topic?

Aside from what this fascinating culture of incantation might reveal to the historian about the Christian and Jewish communities which produced them, these objects also reveal a very real, very human story. Hidden behind the words and formulae written to appease or command the power of the divine, was a mother, a father, a farmer, a lover, all fearful of the potential misfortunes which rocked the lives of the ordinary woman, man and child indiscriminately. Despite their age and despite the very different contexts within which they were produced, the incantations of Late Antique Mesopotamia are tangible and very human objects, offering the historian a rich and rare insight into the lives of those who lived in the past in a way that many artefacts simply cannot offer.

What made you want to study at the Parkes Institute?

With one of the largest collections of Jewish and Jewish related archival materials in Western Europe and with some of the world’s most expert authorities, the Parkes Institute at the University of Southampton is an obvious choice for those, interested in Jewish studies and Judeo-Christian relations. It was Dr. Dan Levene in particular, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Semitic and especially Jewish incantations, which convinced me that the Parkes Institute was where I needed to be.

What do you like about studying here?

The Parkes Institute is a friendly, intimate yet extremely well resourced academic facility, whose various scholars offer expertise on a variety of subjects directly related to the materials preserved in one of Europe’s largest collections of Jewish and Jewish related sources. In accordance with the will of James Parkes, whose collection of resources were donated to promote Jewish-Christian relations, the institute offers perhaps one of the richest environments for understanding these two communities, and the events which have shaped their interaction.

What sort of activities have you been involved in since you started here? 

It’s easy to imagine how the process of PhD might involve three years of largely reclusive study, but studying at the Parkes Institute means that the process of PhD can be a far more fulfilling, far more enriching experience than that.  Whilst engaging in my own research, I have also been invited to be a part of the University of Southampton’s Outreach programme, which attempts to further knowledge and understanding within the wider Southampton community, but also and perhaps more importantly, to raise aspirations and engage with those who might otherwise feel alienated from the possibility of going to University. You may say that I was once one of those people, having grown up in what is often referred to as a ‘non-typical’ background, and so I have grown to feel quite passionate about widening participation, and sharing in the privileges and enrichment of an education both at the University of Southampton, and the Parkes Institute.

As well as being involved in the personally enriching experience of the Parkes Institute’s Outreach programme, I have also been fortunate enough to attend a number of conferences, most recently the British Association of Jewish Studies ‘BAJS’ conference 2013, where I was able to present my own research and to engage with the questions of a variety of academics. Various funding opportunities make the possibility of attending and presenting at conferences all the more feasible, allowing each researcher the possibility to enhance and nurture the skills and tools essential for any potential academic.  My personal grasp of these necessary ‘skills’ were recently put to the test through the process of MPhil-PhD upgrade- just one of a series of official assessments, designed to assess  your progression, to shape the direction of your research  and  to give you the experience of defending your thesis.  A variety of outcomes were possible, but I’m glad to say that I was allowed to continue my research with only a few recommendations.

So what does the future hold? Well, recently with the careful guidance of my Supervisor Dr. Dan Levene, I have been invited to write an entry on the topic of my research for an American Encyclopaedia- my first, I hope of many more future publications.

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F.T. Prince Poetry Workshop

F.T. Prince (1912-2003) is known to many of our alumni as a Milton scholar and a founder of the University of Southampton’s English department, where he taught until his retirement in the 1970s.
Prince portrait
Yet he is increasingly being recognised as one of the most distinctive poetic voices of the twentieth century. Poets from Geoffrey Hill to Susan Howe have praised his work, and his  Collected Poems was chosen as a 2012  Book of the Year in The Guardian.  Last year his archive at Hartley Library was unembargoed, making available letters by T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster, and C.S. Lewis, as well as unpublished poems, drafts, and correspondence by Prince himself. Centennial celebrations included a one-day symposium on his work hosted by the Centre for Modern and Contemporary Writing, and the inaugural F.T. Prince Memorial Lecture, given by Sir Christopher Ricks.
In this afternoon workshop, Will May (English) will be introducing you to the wonder and richness of F.T. Prince’s poetry. You will have the chance to explore early drafts of Prince’s work, see letters by some of his most important correspondents, and explore the various literary and intellectual contexts for his work, which include Hasidism, African kingship, and the Chinese T’ang Dynasty.
This event is free to all Lifelong Learning members, but space is limited. Please email to book your place on this workshop.
14.00-17.00, 30 April 2014
Special Collections
Hartley Library
Highfield Campus
University of Southampton
SO17 1BF
Please contact Will May for more information:
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‘The Bloke who Lived Opposite Hitler’

You are cordially invited to the inaugural University of Southampton Humanities Alumni Lecture; this year the lecture will be given by Dr Edgar Feuchtwanger, alumnus and former member of staff, at 18:30 Thursday 6 February 2014.

“When I started teaching in the History department in the 1950s my subject was English political history of the 19th century. I also worked on research for a PhD thesis, which was published in 1968 by the Clarendon Press, on the recommendation of Reobert Blake, the author of the first modern Biography of Disraeli.

My thesis dealt with the organizations developed by the political parties to mobilize the mass electorate enfranchised by the reform bill of 1867. Ten years on in my career, by the 1960s, many seminal works on World War II had been published. Students wanted to know about the European dictators, especially Hitler. As the most obvious member of staff to talk about this I acquired the name the forms the title of this lecture.”

Dr Edgar Feuchtwanger graduated with a PhD in History in 1958 and came to teach history at Southampton in 1959. He has a fascinating story as well as being an established academic in his field; he grew up as ‘Hitler’s Jewish Neighbour’ and has featured in numerous documentaries, newspapers, History Today, BBC radio and a book is being published in April 2014 about his story.

Tea and coffee will be served at 6pm and a deinks reception will be held following the lecture.

To attend what promises to be a very interesting and popular lecture please email Tracy Storey ( asap to reserve a place and to avoid disappointment.


Thursday 6 February 2014, 6:30pm
Lecture Theatre A
Avenue Campus
Building 65
University of Southampton


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