Open Letter

on the Proposed Redundancies at Goldsmiths, University of London

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3 November 2021


Professor Frances Corner, OBE

Goldsmiths, University of London

Dear Warden,

We are writing to you with great concern as you and the senior management team have decided to place colleagues in the History department at risk of redundancy.

We are the convenors of the Rethinking Modern Europe seminar at the University of London's Institute of Historical Research.

This seminar was founded in 2009, following the initiative of Goldsmiths Professor Dejan Djokić. In its more than ten years, not least because of Professor Djokić's international reputation, the seminar has been able to bring together leading historians from all over the world in London to discuss their research on global and transnational histories of modern Europe, often in collaboration with Goldsmiths' Centre for the Study of the Balkans.

Talking about reputation, we invite you to reflect on how damaging the planned cuts are to your institution's international prestige, not to mention the damage the proposed job losses are causing to the staff affected and their students.

We understand that you and your colleagues in management are proposing a stronger focus of the History department on global history. We support that because global history by definition must include European history, and this is already demonstrated in the work of Goldsmiths historians.

Modern European history at Goldsmiths is unique because it is distinctly not West European-centric. Strengths of the modern Europeanists lie in their teaching and research that connects modern Europe to other parts of the globe. In their research and teaching, the modern Europeanists at Goldsmiths engage with non-European history. Specifically, they teach and research Ottoman history, which is both European and non-European, the global non-aligned movement and the cultural history of diplomatic encounters between Yugoslavia and Southeast Asia.

As historians based at leading UK and overseas universities, we urge you to reconsider these cuts.

We also invite you to acknowledge the fundamental contribution Professor Djokić and his colleagues in History are making to research, education and service to higher education, at Goldsmiths, in the UK, and globally.

Yours sincerely,

Christian Goeschel, Reader in Modern European History, University of Manchester

Celia Donert, Associate Professor in Central European History, University of Cambridge

Alex Drace-Francis, Associate Professor, Modern European Cultural History, University of Amsterdam

Russell Foster, Lecturer in British and European Politics, King’s College, London

Simon Jackson, Director of the Centre for Contemporary and Modern History, University of Birmingham

Lucy Riall, Professor of History of Europe in the World (19th to 20th centuries), European University Institute, Florence


29 October 2021