Symposium on Class, Identity and Immigration, University of Reading, 26th September 2013

In conjunction with the University of Reading and Socialist History, this symposium will examine communal and radical politics in the turn of the century East End of London, particularly focusing on the Jewish and Irish immigrant communities, through discussion of political, social, and comparative history, faith and minority culture. The speakers, from a variety of academic backgrounds, will provide fresh insight into the nature of identity and how it is shaped, both in the turn of the century East End and today.
With the recent statistics on the profound shift that has taken place over the last decade in the demographic make-up of London, and the political controversies over renewed immigration from Eastern Europe in to Britain, the question of minority ethnic identification and involvement in politics is as relevant as it was at the turn of the twentieth century. How the contemporary political Left should address these issues, and the viability of grass roots radical politics in minority communities, is a question beyond the remit of these papers. However, the arguments on class, immigration and identity in the late-Victorian and Edwardian period, presented here, approached from different disciplines and standpoints, and encompassing and utilising music, theatre, and poetry, may perhaps help to clarify the challenges faced today.
The following papers will be given:
‘Morris Winchevsky’s London Years: The New Poetry of Jewish Socialism, 1884-94’ – Vivi Lachs (Royal Holloway)
‘Control, Cohesion and Faith: A Comparative Discussion of Immigrant Communal Control in the Fin-de-siècle East End’ – Daniel Renshaw (University of Reading)
‘Irish Catholic Religious Processions in Early Twentieth Century East London’ – Giulia Ni Dhulchaointigh (Trinity College Dublin)
Towards a Cosmopolitan Account of Jewish Socialism: Class, Identity and Immigration in Edwardian London’ – Dr Ben Gidley (COMPAS, University of Oxford)
‘” England People Very Nice”: Multi-Generational Irish Identities in the Multi-Cultural East End’ – Emeritus Professor Bronwen Walter (Anglia Ruskin University)
The symposium is to be held in Old Whiteknights House, at the University of Reading on Thursday 26th September 2013, with registration at 12 midday. Lunch will be provided. All are welcome, but please register as places are limited. If you are interested in attending or wish to find out more please email D.G.W.Renshaw@pgr.reading.ac.uk for further details.

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May 2013

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