Going To My Father's House: a history of my times

Hosted by the International Inequalities Institute

Online public event


Madeleine Bunting

Visiting Professor in Practice, LSE III

Professor Catherine Hall

University College London

Professor Patrick Joyce

University of Manchester


Dr George Kunnath

Research Fellow, LSE III

From Ireland to London in the 1950s, Derry in the Troubles to contemporary, deindustrialised Manchester, Joyce finds that ties of place, family and the past are difficult to break. Why do certain places continue to haunt us? What does it mean to be British after the suffering of Empire and of war? How do we make our home in a hypermobile world without remembering our pasts?

This event launches Patrick Joyce's book Going to My Father’s HousePatrick's parents moved from Ireland in the 1930s and made their home in west London. But they never really left the homeland. And so as he grew up among the streets of Paddington and Notting Hill and when he visited his family in Ireland, he felt a tension between notions of home, nation and belonging. Going to My Father’s House charts the historian’s attempt to make sense of these ties and to see how they manifest in a globalised world. He explores the places—the house, the street, the walls and the graves—that formed his own identity. He asks what place the ideas of history, heritage and nostalgia have in creating a sense of our selves. He concludes with a plea for a history that holds the past to account but also allows for dynamic, inclusive change. The event will comprise a discussion between the author; the historian of gender, empire and slavery Catherine Hall; and columnist and author Madeleine Bunting.

The late Seamus Deane on the book, to serve as input to the discussion, can be found here.

Meet our speakers and chair

Madeleine Bunting (@MBunting_) is an award winning author of five books of non-fiction and two novels. Her book on care, The Labours of Love, was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2021 and longlisted for the Baillie Gifford 2020. Her previous non fiction titles include Love of Country, A Hebridean Journey and The Plot, A biography of an English Acre. Her second novel, Ceremony of Innocence was published in July 2021, and her first novel, Island Song won the Waverton Good Read Prize. Formerly a Guardian columnist and Associate Editor, writing on a wide range of political and social issues, she was named as one the world’s Top Fifty Thinkers in 2021 by Prospect magazine. She is a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics’ International Inequalities Institute, and holds an honorary fellowship at Cardiff University. She is a regular public speaker and broadcaster on BBC Radio.

Catherine Hall is Emerita Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History at University College London. Her research centres on rethinking the relation between Britain and Empire in the early/mid-nineteenth century, reflecting on the ways in which metropolitan ideas and practices have been shaped by the colonial experience. 

Patrick Joyce is Emeritus Professor of History, University of Manchester, and has been a visiting professor at numerous institutions internationally, including LSE. He is a leading British social historian and has written and edited numerous books of social and political history, including Visions of the PeopleThe Oxford Reader on Class, The Rule of Freedom, and The State of Freedom. Going to my Father’s House is his book length foray into non-academic writing. The book is of a form of mixed genre, memoir and history being the most immediately available descriptive terms to hand in describing it. He is currently writing another book in the same non-academic but scholarly vein as Going to my Father’s House, entitled Remembering Peasants, due to be published by Penguin in 2022.

George Kunnath is a social anthropologist. His work focuses on the everyday world of Dalit and Adivasi communities living amidst India’s Maoist insurgency and counterinsurgency; on caste and class relations; relationality of poverty, inequality, conflict and development; and research ethics. At the International Inequalities Institute, he is part of the coordination team for the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity (AFSEE) programme, and is engaged in a research on the politics of caste-based inequalities among the South Asian diasporas in the UK.

The International Inequalities Institute (@LSEInequalities) at LSE brings together experts from many of the School's departments and centres to lead cutting-edge research focused on understanding why inequalities are escalating in numerous arenas across the world, and to develop critical tools to address these challenges.

This event will have live captioning and BSL interpreters.

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Automated live captions will be available at this webinar. Once you join the Zoom webinar, you will be able to show or hide the subtitles by clicking on the “Live Transcript - CC” button, from where you can also change the font size and choose to view the full transcript. Please note that this feature uses Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology, or machine generated transcription, and is not 100% accurate.

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