Posts tagged: Professor Alaric Searle

Chinese Academic Visitor: Dr Wang Wei from Nankai University hosted by Arts & Media

The School of Arts and Media has played host over the last week and a half to Dr Wang Wei, Lecturer in International History, Faculty of History, Nankai University, Tianjin, PR China. Dr Wang delivered a paper at New Adelphi on Thursday afternoon, 4 May, on the subject of her current research: ‘Arnold J. Toynbee and British Planning for the Post-war World Order during the Second World War’. She has also been undertaking research at the People’s History Museum, as well as examining some of the collections held in the Working-Class Movement Library in Salford.

 

Alaric Searle, Professor of Modern European History, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Nankai University, said: ‘It has been a great pleasure to organise this visit to Salford by Dr Wang while she is spending time in the UK. This is not only because I am anxious to strengthen ties between Salford and Nankai, but also because her research interests fit very closely with those in Politics and Contemporary History, where we have considerable expertise in international history during the twentieth century. It has been very enjoyable for colleagues in Politics and Contemporary History to engage in a productive dialogue with Wei over the last week.’

 

Prof Alaric Searle, Dr Wang Wei (Nankai University) and Dr Moritz Pieper

 

Prof Alaric Searle, Dr Wang Wei (Nankai University)

and Dr Moritz Pieper

 

Dr Wang commented: ‘It is such a wonderful experience to visit Salford University. I immensely enjoyed meeting staff and students in Salford. In particular, I am very grateful to Professor Alaric Searle for inviting me, to Dr Moritz Pieper for chairing my lecture, and to Professor Allan Walker for supporting the visit. The conversations with scholars in Salford and the visits to the People’s History Museum and the Working-Class Movement Library have helped me to understand more about the significance of history from below, to view my current project from different angles, and to pose new research questions. I am hopeful that the ties between Nankai and Salford will be further strengthened with future research collaboration.’


Salford Military Historians Deliver Papers at Practitioner Conference at Pembroke College, Oxford

On Monday, 6 March 2017, three Salford academics delivered papers at a one-day conference held at Pembroke College, Oxford. The conference on ‘Military Doctrine: Past, Present and Future’ saw historians and armed forces practitioners meet to discuss the way in which military doctrine has been formulated and disseminated in the past, with a discussion on how past and current experience can inform future practice. The conference was hosted by the Oxford Changing Character of War (CCW) Programme. Three Salford military historians – Dr Brian Hall, Professor Alaric Searle and Dr James Corum – delivered papers, together with other academics and several practitioners.

Dr Brian Hall, Prof Alaric Searle and Dr James Corum at Pembroke College

Dr Brian Hall, Prof Alaric Searle and Dr James Corum at Pembroke College

 

‘The idea for the conference emerged after a discussion I had with Dr Robert Johnson, Director of the CCW Programme, while I was a Visiting Fellow at Pembroke last semester’, explained Alaric Searle, Professor of Modern European History in the School of Arts and Media. ‘The basic idea was that if we considered how military organisations had developed their doctrines from a historical perspective there might be lessons which contemporary military organisations could draw to inform future practice. If we invited those who had written recent doctrine, then that would create a discussion between practitioners and historians.’

 

Military doctrine is, in essence, what armies put in their manuals; the process itself can be very contentious, often leading to major internal controversies inside armed forces. The aim of the conference was to provide an international, historical perspective, and combine these papers with presentations by those who had been involved in the process in the past. Professor Searle began the conference with an overview of historical experience and the lessons which suggested themselves. Dr Brian Hall, Lecturer in Contemporary Military History, offered a case study of British communications doctrine in the First World War. Dr James Corum, Lecturer in Terrorism and Security Studies, one of the co-authors of the US Army FM 3-24: Counterinsurgency manual of 2006, written under the direction of General David Petraeus, reported on the experience of doctrine-writing for what has turned out to be the most down-loaded field manual in history.

 

The conference provided an opportunity for Salford to showcase its expertise in both military history and high-level practitioner experience. Professor Searle noted: ‘It is always very pleasurable as a historian to be able to engage in debate with military professionals and test one’s ideas and interpretations with those who have been involved in real-world policy making, even if it is at times slightly intimidating to be debating with high-ranking officers. However, my experience has been that quality research can very often throw interesting new perspectives on practical problems.’ He added: ‘While the general public often regard history as something which is not particularly practical, it often is extremely useful for policy-makers. Events such these demonstrate the relevance and importance of historians and political scientists for the University of Salford’s ICZ agenda.’


Salford Professor’s Book Launch at Pembroke College, Oxford

Armoured Warfare Book CoverAlaric Searle, Professor of Modern European History in the School of Arts and Media, was able to launch his new book, entitled Armoured Warfare: A Military, Political and Global History, at a conference at Pembroke College, Oxford, last week. Following a one-day conference on ‘Military Doctrine: Past, Present and Future’, he was interviewed by the Director of the Oxford Changing Character of War Programme Director and Senior Fellow at Pembroke College, Dr Robert Johnson, on his motivation for writing the book and which trends he anticipated in armoured warfare over the next two decades.

‘Holding the book launch at the end of the one-day conference on military doctrine seemed to be a particularly good way of publicising it’, said Alaric. ‘For one, the role of military doctrine has been absolutely central to the development of armoured warfare since the first appearance of the tank in the First World War. Moreover, what better way to showcase the book than in front of an audience of military historians and professional soldiers.’ He added: ‘It might seem a little intimidating to be answering questions about a military subject as technical as armoured warfare when several retired generals are sitting in the audience. However, the book has been the product of many years of research, so I feel fairly confident about the views I have expressed in the book.’

 

Book Launch TableThe book, which was published by Bloomsbury Academic last month, was conceived as a textbook for university undergraduate and postgraduate students. What is unusual about it is that it is the first work to consider both the global aspects of the subject, but also include the history of the politics of armoured vehicles and the political symbolism with which they have been invested. As Alaric noted: ‘There have been many, many books written on specific armoured vehicles, but there has been until now no one single volume which provides a reliable guide to the subject suitable for students. I was also able to persuade the publisher to include an extensive bibliography, so that students can follow up individual subjects which interest them.’

 

The presentation of the book was followed by a wine reception at which conference participants could purchase a copy of the book and network.

 


Salford-Nankai Cooperation Up and Running

Prof Alaric Searle, who was appointed Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Faculty of History, Nankai University, Tianjin, PRC, in June of last year, has already started to cooperate with staff from Nankai. Within the framework of his recent Visiting Fellowship to Pembroke College, Oxford, and the Changing Character of War (CCW) Programme in particular, undertaken during his sabbatical in Semester 1 of AY 2016/17, Alaric was able to arrange a guest lecture in Oxford by Dr Wang Wei of Nankai.

Dr Wang, Lecturer in International History in the Faculty of History at Nankai, delivered a talk on 23 January as part of the CCW lecture series entitled, ‘British Planning for the Postwar World Order: The Role of the Foreign Research and Press Service, 1939-43’ at Pembroke College. Alaric commented: ‘It was one of the great blessings of the Visiting Fellowship on the CCW Programme in Oxford that I was able to make the suggestion that Dr Wang deliver a lecture at Pembroke. I am most grateful to the Director of CCW, Dr Rob Johnson, for agreeing so readily to the suggestion. It is one example of the type of cooperation which I am hoping to pursue with the Faculty of History at Nankai in the future.’

 

Nankai Lecture

During the course of the visit to Oxford, Prof Searle and Dr Wang also had the opportunity to meet with Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, at the University of Oxford China Centre. Prof Mitter, who is well-known for his research on twentieth century Chinese history, most recently through his book China’s War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival (2013), discussed a variety of topics and projects relating to Chinese history with Alaric and Wei.

China Centre Building University of Oxford

Dr Wang is currently spending a year in the Department of International History, London School of Economics, as a Visiting Scholar. Wei commented: ‘I am immensely grateful to Professor Alaric Searle for making it possible for me to give talks in Oxford and soon in Salford. I look forward to visiting Salford; and, I hope more staff and students from Salford can come and visit Nankai in the future.’

Dr Wang will be visiting Salford University in April/May of this year and will be delivering a guest lecture. She also intends to take the opportunity to conduct archival research in the People’s History Museum and the Working-Class Movement Library. Alaric noted: ‘I am delighted that Wei is able to come to Salford. Much of her research intersects well with the interests of staff in Politics and Contemporary History. It will be a great way to cement the relationship with Nankai and for students and colleagues in English, Politics and Contemporary History to get to know her as well. We look forward immensely to hosting her for two weeks in Salford.’

 


Salford historian awarded Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Chinese university

Professor Alaric Searle and Nankai's Dean of the Faculty of History, Professor Jiang Pei

Professor Alaric Searle and Nankai’s Dean of the Faculty of History, Professor Jiang Pei

The School of Arts and Media strengthens its Chinese partnerships once again with the news that Professor Alaric Searle, Chair in Modern European History, has been awarded a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Nankai University.

The Professorship will last for three years and Professor Searle will visit Nankai for two months each year. During these stays, he will deliver short courses and workshops for students, as well as collaborating on research projects with his colleagues in the Faculty of History. During his Professorship, Alaric will help the Faculty strengthen its coverage of European, German and British history for Nankai students. The award was made at an official ceremony at Nankai in July.

Following his appointment, Alaric said: “I am really looking forward to working with my new Chinese colleagues, not least of all as the Faculty of History at Nankai is one of the top departments for history in China. It is a great honour for me, and for Salford, to have received this invitation and accolade.”

Professor Abigail Gregory, Associate Dean International for the School of Arts and Media, added: “We are delighted that Alaric has been awarded this prestigious Visiting Professorship. The link with Nankai is a valuable addition to the School’s other Chinese partnerships at Luxun Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing Film Academy and Zhejiang Fashion Institute of Technology, enabling the School to grow its presence and reputation in China.”