Susanah Owen, one of our most recent graduates, has just been awarded joint first prize in the History of Parliament competition for the best undergraduate dissertation presented in 2016 on a subject relating to British or Irish parliamentary or political history before 1997. Her subject was ‘Digitally mapping popular political activity in Manchester 1792-5.’ The prize will be presented at the History’s annual lecture, which will be held at Westminster in the Attlee Suite, Portcullis House in the evening of Wednesday 7 December 2016. (The lecture will be given by Professor the Lord Morgan FBA on ‘7 December 1916: Asquith, Lloyd George and the crisis of Liberalism.’)
The dissertation was a striking piece of work with two subjects: the popular political response to the French Revolution in Britain, and the contemporary response of historians to what has been described by some academics as a digital revolution. As a part of the study Susannah created a digital, interactive map of popular political activity during the French Revolution which displayed 100 different geographically located events which took place in Manchester and its surrounding areas between 1792 and 1795. Each pin on the map was colour coded to denote whether it was politically radical or loyalist, and included further information on the event in question (what happened, when it happened, and the sources used to ascertain these things). The digital Humanities is an approach which is being explored widely by current historians working with new media.
The other joint prize winner is a student at Cambridge University. Susannah Owen, having been supervised by Professor Dominic Janes, is staying at Keele for a Master’s programme,.