University Lecture for Young Historians

On Friday 8th January, a group of more able history students went to Cornwall College to hear lectures from historians based at Exeter University, a member of the elite Russell Group of universities. Topics included violence in Colonial India, the Irish revolution, St Austell’s history and issues of studying child soldiers in modern conflict.

Students heard current research about how the British Empire responded to the end of the First World War and the threat of decolonisation and why historians have recast the Irish Uprising as a revolution, however it was discussing issues of child soldiers which most engaged the students. Students were surprised to learn how children colonies such as Kenya fought in WWII for the British Army, having been forcibly taken from their schools, and how the children were influential in taking the fight to the apartheid government in South Africa during the 1980s and 1990s.

Students were really pushed to consider if children should be allowed to fight, and asked why they accept heroes such as Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but not Child Soldiers as evidenced in films such as Blood Diamond. These ideas really challenged strongly held notions of social acceptability, and the role of the media.

Read more about College and University Beyond Penrice here.