by the Past & Present editorial team
In 2018 the Royal Historical Society released its groundbreaking report Race, Ethnicity & Equality in UK History which illustrated what many within the discipline had long suspected and feared, that historical studies was drastically failing to include and represent individuals, perspectives and parts of the past which are not racialised as white.
The publication of the report prompted much discussion within historical studies and illustrated a desire for the development of concrete steps to change and diversify the discipline. To move this forward at a national level, in 2019 the Past & Present Society resolved to work with the Royal Historical Society and the Institute of Historical Research (University of London) to develop a two year postdoctoral fellowship in Race, Ethnicity & Equality in History. The purpose of the Fellowship is to lead, support and general catalyse upon the momentum generated by the 2018 report and assist with the Royal Historical Society’s efforts to diversify the discipline and achieve racial equality within the study of history in the United Kingdom.
In 2019 when the post was initial created and advertised Dr. Shahmima Akhtar, who had recently completed a PhD at Birmingham, was appointed to the post, which was due to run from the summer of 2019 until the summer of 2021. We are delighted to report that Shahmima has now been appointed to a permanent lectureship in History at Royal Holloway, London from September 2020, following a successful year in post.
With work ongoing, and rightly brought fully into the limelight by the Black Lives Matter movement, the Past & Present Society hopes to help build upon the excellent work Shahmima has done with the Royal Historical Society to catalyse change on and beyond campuses across the UK by funding the scholarship for the remaining year of the initial term and an additional year as well, allowing another postdoctoral researcher to take up a two year fellowship (running September 2020-September 2022) in Race, Ethnicity & Equality in History.
Applications for the post, which is full-time, and tenable at the Royal Historical Society offices and the Institute of Historical Research (in central London) are now open-full details here-and close on 5th August 2020.
If you would like to read about Shahmima’s experience in post, how the opportunity has helped her develop her career, and the postive change she has played a part in effecting take a look at her blog for Historical Transactions.