Author Archives

Jamie Kreiner Wins Wayne D. Rassmussen Award

by the Past & Present editorial team We were delighted to hear that Dr. Jamie Kreiner (University of Georgia) recently was awarded the Agricultural History Society’s Wayne D. Rasmussen Award. Dr. Kreiner received the award for her article “Pigs in the Flesh and Fisc: An Early Medieval Ecology” which was published in Past & Present last summer (No. 236, pp. 3-42). The Agricultural History Society awards the Wayne D. Rasmussen prize annually “for the best article on agricultural history published outside [the Society’s own] journal Agricultural History in the preceding twelve months. In addition to the honour of the prize, recipients are granted a year’s membership of the Society, free registration at their annual conference and two hundred US Dollars in cash. In recognition of Dr. Kreiner’s achievement and to ensure the widest possible readership for her award winning research, out publishers OUP Academic have made “Pigs in the Flesh and Fisc” free to access until 29th June 2018. It also offers our web editor an excuse once again to share “The Pig[er] Picture” Dr. Kreiner’s blog post about her research which he considers “amongst the most exuberant things [he] has ever published”.   

Voyage Iron: An Archival Odyssey 20 Years in the Making

Dr. Chris Evans (University of South Wales) and Dr. Göran Rydén (Uppsala University) What took us so long? We first got interested in “voyage iron”, one of the currencies of the Atlantic slave trade, two decades back, so why does our (open access) article on the subject only appear in Past & Present in 2018? Archival research takes time, of course, but not always twenty years. The real reason lies in our failure to ask the right questions. So, not so much “What took us so long?”, more “Why were we so obtuse?”. Voyage iron came to our attention in the late 1990s. Like so many historians at the time, we were trying to push at the boundaries of Atlantic History. We were convinced that early modern Sweden had an unsuspected Atlantic dimension, one provided by its iron industry, which exported huge volumes of bar iron to Britain. As late as the 1780s, it should be remembered, most iron on the British market was shipped in from the Baltic. In some sectors of the economy there was total reliance on Swedish material. Every steel manufacturer in Britain, for example, depended upon high-grade Swedish iron. That had important Atlantic consequences. It meant […]

Imagining Revolutions II

from Prof. Peter Jones (University of Birmingham) We are delighted to let you know that the programme of A Date with History – the second edition of our annual Franco-British collaboration with the York Festival of Ideas – is now available! Over the 9th and 10th June, this second edition Imagining Revolutions will bring together top historians including Peter Mandler of the University of Cambridge, Laura Lee Downs of the European University Institute, Florence Tamagne of the University of Lille, Helen Rogers of Liverpool John Moores University, Mike Savage of the London School of Economics (LSE) and David Andress of the University of Portsmouth! Over the weekend, leading historians from France and the UK will discuss how national narratives are written, from revolutions and empires, to the industrial revolutions in France and Britain during the following panel discussions: –          Were the 1960s a Revolution? (Sat 9 June, 12.30pm – 2pm) –          Revolutions and Empires (Sat 9 June, 2.30 – 4pm) –          Gender Revolutions (Sat 9 June, 4.30 – 6pm) –          Industrial Revolutions and Social Welfare in France and Britain (Sun 10 June, 11am – 12.30pm) –          Revolutions in History Writing (Sun 10 June, 1.30pm – 3pm) –          A Revolution in Universities (Sun 10 June, 3.30pm – 5pm) We are looking forward to welcoming you! We would be grateful if you could spread the word around […]

Inequality needs to be put at the heart of our understanding of social change during the industrial revolution

by Prof. Emma Griffin (University of East Anglia) For the past decade, I have been looking at the impact of the British industrial revolution on the lives of ordinary men, women and children, drawing upon life-writing and autobiography and focusing on the lived experience. My reading of the autobiographical evidence suggested that adult men working in industrial occupations earned higher wages and enjoyed a raft of advantages compared with those who remained on the land, and although I emphasised these gains were not shared by women and children, the suggestion that industrialisation brought any meaningful benefits to any segment of the working classes, nonetheless proved to be controversial. A collection of extraordinary working-class household budgets collected between 1790 and 1850, offered the promise of studying the living standards of the early industrial workforce in a more quantitative way than was possible with the working-class autobiographies. The budgets were recorded by gentlemen investigators – vicars, landowners, and other members of elite society with an interest in the lives their poorer neighbours. The investigators collected information about income and expenditure in selected households in their parishes, making it possible to compare the incomes and diets of those who lived in the industrial […]

A Ghost Army of Ancestors

by Dr. Song-Chuan Chen (University of Warwick) Located in Taipei, the voluminous records on tomb protections in the Academia Sinica archives, piqued my curiosity. It was 2009, and I was leafing through a collection of Qing dynasty foreign office documents when my attention was arrested by accounts of Chinese villagers ardently protecting ancestral tombs against Western encroachment during the closing decades of China’s last dynasty. The villagers’ tears and protests against tomb destruction conjured personal memories of growing up on a remote outer island of Taiwan in the 1970s and 1980s where an old evolving tradition of ancestor worship escaped the disruption of modernity. In those days, my mother faithfully prepared annual rituals of ancestor worship during important festivals, and my father careful maintained his father’s tomb, to which he has a deep attachment. To him, the tomb provided a physical connection to his father, whose remains lay just beneath the earth. Because my father and brother believed that my career was not going anywhere (in fact I have been not a day without employment even before graduation), they sought to improve my fortunes in 2011 by trimming the overgrown Acacia trees surrounding the burial site. In their minds, the […]

Introducing Manuscript Pamphleteering in Early Stuart England

by Dr. Noah Millstone and Dr. Richard Bell (University of Birmingham) Before the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642, England developed a large, influential and often radical pamphlet literature. Speeches, learned briefs, and scaffold apologies joined character assassinations, secret histories and conspiracy theories in a jumbled literary underground. Our two-day interdisciplinary conference will explore the scope and significance of this literature, considering both the scale and significance of scribal production in a period of political, religious and social turmoil. It will also introduce a forthcoming database of over four hundred texts that will enable scholars to understand better the production and circulation of pre-Civil War political writing. The conference will take place at the University of Birmingham (in conjunction with the British Library and UCL’s Institute of Advanced Studies) between 29th and 30th June 2018. Speakers include: Dr Victoria Anker, Dr Richard Bell, Professor David Como, Dr Alexandra Gajda, Dr Emily Jennings, Professor Peter Lake, Professor Julia Merritt, Dr John Reeks, Dr Richard Serjeantson, Dr Laura Stewart, Dr Angus Vine and Dr Alison Wiggins. Past & Present is pleased to support this event and others like it. Applications are welcomed from scholars of at all career stages working on all time periods.

Introducing “Negotiating Networks: new research on networks in social and economic history”

by Charlie Berry (IHR) and Esther Lewis (University of Nottingham) On 25th June 2018, the Institute of Historical Research will host a one-day conference showcasing the latest research by social and economic historians who study networks and employ techniques of Social Network Analysis (SNA). The conference is co-organised by two PhD students, Esther Lewis (University of Nottingham) and Charlie Berry (Institute of Historical Research). Esther and Charlie specialise in late medieval social history and met at the 2017 Harlaxton Medieval Symposium. We both use SNA to investigate aspects of urban social life and got chatting about the challenges and rewards of such an approach. Social Network Analysis has become increasingly popular amongst social and economic historians as part of their ‘digital toolkit’, alongside other methodologies borrowed or adapted from the social sciences such as GIS. Whilst the language of network theory has been familiar to historians since the 1980s, the advent of readily available SNA software such as QGIS has hastened its adoption as a methodology for primary research in recent years. We have both seen significant benefits to the use of SNA in our research, but recognise that there are some real challenges to its adoption. Network research takes […]

Courtney Campbell Wins Latin American Studies Association Prize

by the Past & Present editorial team We were delighted to hear that former Past & Present Scholar-Courtney Campbell-has been declared the 2018 winner of the Latin American Studies Association’s Brazil Section award for best article in the humanities. This is for “Four Fishermen, Orson Welles, and the Making of the Brazilian Northeast” which appeared in Past & Present last year. The award will be presented at the Latin American Studies Association’s annual conference in Barcelona this May. In honour of this achievement and to enable more people to read the article our publishers Oxford University Press Academic are very kindly making the article free to read for a limited time period.

Call for Papers: Substance Use and Abuse in the long Nineteenth Century

by the Past & Present editorial team Past & Present is pleased to be supporting Substance Use and Abuse in the Long Nineteenth Century on the 13th and 14th September 2018 at Edge Hill University. Convened by Edge Hill’s Dr. Laura Eastlake and Dr. Andrew McInnes, confirmed speakers include Prof. Susan Zieger (California, Riverside), Dr. Noelle Plack (Newman University), Dr. Douglas Small (University of Glasgow).       ‘The body (follow me closely here) lies at the mercy of the most omnipotent of all potentates—the Chemist.’ Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White (1859) In The Woman in White Collins’s villainous Count Fosco expounds on the power of modern pharmacology. Fosco is speaking at the mid-point of a century wherein the body and the mind seemed increasingly easily affected by the influence of substances. From 1821 opium had allowed Thomas de Quincey to explore ‘the palimpsest of the human mind’ and navigate the dream space of the human subconscious. Ether and chloroform banished pain and facilitated new surgical innovations. Stimulants and sedatives regulated waking and sleeping and the working day in between. Reports of alcoholism, addiction and criminality appeared with increasing regularity in the periodical press and featured in the plots of new literary […]