Opinion Articles

H&P encourages historians to use their expertise to shed light on issues of the day. If you are interested in submitting an opinion piece for publication, please see our editorial guidelines. We currently have 298 Opinion Articles listed by date and they are all freely searchable by theme, author or keyword.


School meals and child welfare in times of crisis: the past and future of welfare policy

Marcus Rashford's intervention prompted a government u-turn on providing free school meals over the summer – Bernard Harris explores how previous crisis moments have led to the expansion of the school meal programme, and of welfare more generally.

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India’s worst affected: the socio-economic parallels between influenza (1918-19) and Covid-19 in Mumbai

Mrunmayee Satam shows that mortality rates in the influenza epidemic of 1918-19 differed startlingly by caste in Mumbai, and the same risks remain today in the city's most congested quarters, where social distancing and self-quarantine is all but impossible

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When affirmative action was white: the work of Ira Katznelson

Simon Szreter revisits a classic paper from 2005 authored by Professor Ira Katznelson, which set out a history of the public policy that fostered black economic disadvantage in the United States.

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When black lives really did not matter

Trevor Burnard explores the shift in consciousness around the acceptibility of slavery in the mid-eighteenth century, and suggests how Britain should undertake a serious reckoning with this history.

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Not business as usual: a feminist map for the post-Covid future

Lucy Delap, D-M Withers and Margaretta Jolly on the approaches feminist thought has taken to business and sustainability, and how we can use those lessons in a post-Covid future.

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The fall of slavery: statues, symbols and social contention

Nick Draper recounts the inertia and resistance to change that led to the fall of the Colston statue. Historians now have a complex job to do in the new terms of debate.

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Epidemics and society: plague in early modern Italy

John Henderson finds some familiar features of the current lockdown situation in early modern Italy - and some compassionate, charity-driven behaviour.

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Loosening lockdown: lessons from the blackout

The Second World War blackout offers us a close analogy to the Covid-19 lockdown, say Henry Irving and Marc Wiggam – complete with flouting of the rules, and opposition to its being lifted.

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On VE Day: we should look to 1942 for inspiration, not the Blitz or 1945

1942 saw the nadir of the war, but also the publication of the Beveridge Report and a profound national discussion on what postwar society should be like, says Lucy Noakes. What should we change in a post-Covid future?

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Covid-19 is not a Black Swan: predictable shocks need fully-funded, resilient public services

In a globalised world, new pathogens made their way to Britain and killed thousands, while a social security system depleted for ideological motives failed to cope. Not today, but the 1830s and 1840s, says Simon Szreter.

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