The Institutionalization and Professionalization of History in Wales, 1880-1939

Type Chapter
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWriting a Small Nation's Past: Wales in Comparative Perspective, 1850-1950
EditorsNeil Evans, Huw Pryce
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISBN (Print)978-1409450627, 1409450627
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2013
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Abstract

This chapter will chart the formation and changing complexion of the community of academic historians in Wales in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and seek to view them from a transnational perspective. Studies of the ways in which academic History became a professional pursuit and established an institutional presence in universities in the UK have thus far focussed almost exclusively on Oxford and Cambridge. Only patchily have the roles even of Manchester and London Universities been explored. For Wales, though it was by no means behind-hand in establishing a presence of History in its University Colleges, developments in the establishment of history as a profession have hitherto remained as woefully neglected as have the cases of Ireland and Scotland. Some of the questions the chapter will address are therefore necessarily rather basic. How committed to the still-nascent discipline of History were the Welsh University Colleges in their formative years, and how far were they able to invest in the pursuit of History? Whom did they recruit to posts in the discipline? Were the early Professors and Lecturers in History trained historians? Did they research and publish? How were departments established, and how did they function? What and how were undergraduates taught, and to what extent were postgraduate communities developed? How far did History Departments in Wales model themselves on successful counterparts elsewhere? What divergences were there between the individual Welsh universities? What parts were played by individual 'academic entrepreneurs' and how far did each Department create its own character and ethos, capable of surviving changes in individual staffing?