Lancaster UniversityGraduate School
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

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Department of History - Research Seminar Series

Date: 13 February 2013 Time: 5.00 pm

Venue: Bowland North SR23

Lent Term 2012-13

The Two Cultures Revisited: The Humanities in British Universities since 1945.

Professor Peter Mandler, Cambridge. President of the Royal Historical Society.


Debate over the fate of the humanities in the postwar university has been dominated by the assumption that social, economic and political trends have all favoured the sciences. This paper inverts this assumption and argues that the postwar period has witnessed a 'rise of the humanities', or at least of non-science subjects, in a rapidly growing and diversifying university system - all the more surprising given the powerful efforts of policymakers which have indeed sought to favour the sciences. The paper is meant both to make a contribution to the historical debate over the influence of the 'two cultures' argument in postwar British society and to provide an historical backdrop to the current debate over the effects of policy changes on the composition of British universities.


Peter Mandler is Professor of Modern Cultural History at Cambridge University and Bailey Lecturer in History at Gonville and Caius College. His most recent book, Return from the Natives: How Margaret Mead Won the Second World War and Lost the Cold War, is published by Yale University Press in March 2013. He is President of the Royal Historical Society, and as such is engaged both in contemporary debates about history and the humanities in schools and universities, and in historical research into debates on these questions over the last century. His Presidential lectures for the Society begin in November 2013 with, 'Educating the Nation: I. Schools'.

For further information please contact Dr. Tim Hickman

All staff and PGR students are warmly invited to History research seminars.


Who can attend: Internal


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: History


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