Raphael Samuel was a founding member of History Workshop–both the Journal and the workshops that were instrumental in the Journal’s foundation. Long before it was a journal, History Workshop was a popular movement for the democratisation of History which flourished in Britain from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s (with sporadic activity continuing into the 1990s). It emerged from Ruskin College Oxford where Raphael Samuel, the movement’s initiator and presiding spirit, taught history for many decades. While the themes explored varied widely, the events were primarily a showcase for history seen from a non-elite perspective, ‘people’s history’ as it was labelled.In the early years this meant primarily working-class history but over time, after some controversy, it expanded to include the new women’s history. Seen as a radical, left response to a ‘turbulent society’, these Workshops were a seedbed for many new histories and historiographies. At its height, these workshops saw as many as seven hundred attendees.
Beginning in December, 2018, The Raphael Samuel History Centre’s team meetings will attempt to modestly rekindle the spirit of the History Workshop, focusing upon pressing political, methodological, and theoretical issues and debates relevant to what has become an even broader and deeper historical field, and responding to our own ‘turbulent society’. Watch our event listings for upcoming History Workshops.
For more on the History of History Workshop, see http://www.historyworkshop.org.uk/the-history-of-history-workshop