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Who Deserves Independence?

By Josh Allen - February 4, 2019 (0 comments)

by Dr. Lydia Walker (Dartmouth College)

Twentieth-century global decolonization changed the map. In the thirty years after the Second World War, sixty countries—mostly in Asia and Africa—became independent from colonial powers. During the high point of accelerated decolonization in 1960, the United Nations recognized seventeen independent states. At times it seemed that there was a new country every week.

Map of Indian states and surrounding nations highlighting location of Nagaland

South Asia Showing India with States and Disputed Territories. Created using India with States (Disputed Areas) and South Asia with Countries by Credit: Kristin Caulfield

This narrative of progressive national liberation ignores two important implications. First, it overlooks the existence of people who claimed—yet did not receive—independence during this period of heightened possibility. Second, it elides the fact that international recognition required an external audience—sometimes the United Nations, or a former colonizer, or a great power backer—to determine which ‘people-territorial match’ was a nation deserving a state, or a minority requiring protections, or indeed, a group of humans needing rights. Recognition signifies seeing a people as a state, considering a people as a political unit that ‘deserves’ statehood, and therefore being willing to hear their claim in international politics. The unspoken presence of a silent, sometimes shifting entity that bestowed international recognition suggested that it was incumbent on the nationalist movement to demonstrate its legitimacy, and construed the granting of statehood as a moral rather than a strategic question (a lengthier discussion of these questions of legitimacy and recognition can be read in Lydia Walker’s recent Past & Present article “Decolonization in the 1960s: On Legitimate and Illegitimate Nationalist Claims-Making”.

The Role of Advocacy

In order to demonstrate their legitimacy to audiences with power—or those with access to circles of power—nationalist claimants relied on advocates to assist them in their petitioning and fundraising.

These advocates were a strange array of missionaries, anthropologists, activists, and newspaper reporters. Their petitioning set the stage for nationalist claimants to pursue international recognition, and the possibility of moving their claims onward, to the attention of organizations like the United Nations or the Rockefeller Foundation.

During the early 1960s, claimants from groups that were often considered minorities used nationalism to frame their demands of resistance. They did so because this made their claims internationally and legally legible, and therefore ‘legitimate’—i.e., understandable to their advocates (and through their advocates, potentially to audiences of power). Studies of the nationalist claims of the Kurds, Tibetans, and Palestinians, of the peoples of Biafra and of Western Sahara, among many others, show how advocacy—sometimes called rebel or insurgent diplomacy—worked as an avenue for understanding the aspirations and actions of a range of nationalist movements that did not achieve independence during the postwar era.1 Nationalist claims moved, mutated, actualized, and dissolved through networks of advocacy, through the efforts and activities of concerned individuals and organizations with connections to media, corporations, and influential government figures.

But enough theory—how did this operate in practice?


In June 1960, the nationalist leader for the Naga people in northeast India, Angami Zapu Phizo, arrived in London after a two-year secret journey that took him from East Pakistan through Zürich on a fake El Salvadorian passport. When Phizo reached London, he had travelled nearly 10,000 kilometers undercover from the Naga Hills, in the Indian Northeast, the part of India that hangs over (then) East Pakistan, bordering (then) Burma with whom it shared an unfixed frontier until 1952. While this territory became the Indian state of Nagaland formally in 1963, Nagas continued to live in contiguous parts of Burma, Assam, Manipur, and the North East Frontier Agency (which became the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh). According to Naga accounts, in 1952, there were approximately 800,000 Nagas across all the Naga territories.2

Forested range of hills in Nagaland

The Naga Hills. Credit: Lydia Walker

Foreign intervention in Nagaland began during the Second World War. The Allied Forces halted the Japanese westward invasion in the Naga Hills, at the Battles of Kohima and Imphal, in neighboring Manipur. Battle and bombing modernized a region left purposely undeveloped by the British Raj, since it was cheaper and easier to govern with a light footprint. Few Nagas actually fought in the war. Only one is buried in the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Kohima. And not all chose the Allied side; Phizo himself allied with the Japanese.

War was not the only foreign intervention in the region. From the 1870s onward, a small group of American Baptists converted many people in the area to their religion. After Indian independence in 1947, the Indian government selectively refused to renew visas of missionaries departing for home leave, arguing that they undermined Naga loyalty to the Indian Union; by 1953, there were no more Americans in the Naga Hills. Still, American influence persisted. Today, the Indian state of Nagaland is 90 percent Christian and 75 percent Baptist.3 Percentage-wise, it is the most Baptist ‘state’ in the world, after the American state of Mississippi.4

Besides war and religion, social scientific study also connected the Naga Hills to the Western world. Nineteenth- and early twentieth-century anthropology had depicted Nagas as premodern headhunters, as an uncivilized tribal people in a forgotten corner of the world. Anthropology not only defined Nagas this way in scholarly monographs, but also in the Indian constitution. Verrier Elwin, a British anthropologist who took Indian citizenship after independence, advised on special provisions for tribes within the Indian constitution. He believed that the tribal areas of the northeast should be kept separate from the rest of India for a time so that the peoples that resided there could be slowly modernized and Indianized in the “right” way, and also lured away from what he perceived as their racial affinity with China and affective sympathy with the British Empire.

Quest for Independence

Phizo himself, the Naga nationalist leader, was a member of the Angami tribe from Khonoma village. The Angamis of Khonoma had held off the British twice in 1847 and 1879.5 Phizo embodied a nationalist call of historic and current resistance with populist credibility. In 1954, he went into the forest to lead an insurgency against the Indian Army. Two years later, when the war in Nagaland did not go in his favor, he sneaked into East Pakistan in order to pursue international support for Naga independence. The Pakistanis looked on the Naga cause with suspicion and kept Phizo in bounds. Neither Pakistan nor China, however inimical to India, would seriously foment separatist sentiment in the region, when they had their own national-separatists in nearby East Pakistan and Tibet with which to contend.

Making his way to Zürich, Phizo was stranded. Through family contacts, he came to the attention of Reverend Michael Scott, an Anglican clergyman and anti-apartheid activist who worked with the Indian delegation at the United Nations on questions of national liberation in Southern Africa.

Reverend Scott knew that taking up the Nagas could upset his important working friendships with Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Vijayalakshmi Pandit, Nehru’s sister who had been the Indian ambassador to the United Nations and was high commissioner to London in 1960. But he felt that there might be something major to the Naga plaint, which argued through history that Nagaland had never been really part of India, and through data by presenting lists of Indian military atrocities against individual Nagas.6

So Reverend Scott went down to Zürich in June 1960 and brought Phizo to London. Under the label ‘former imperial citizen,’ Phizo was provisionally admitted into the UK.7 Scott gave Phizo an office at the Africa Bureau, a nongovernmental organization focused on African anticolonial nationalism in the heart of London. Phizo quickly got to work writing a booklet on the history and politics of Naga nationalism, and appearing in public forums to personally demonstrate the Naga cause to a potential international audience.8

Photo of archival shelf holding papers of Nagaland nationalist insurgent Zapuvisie Lhousa

Personal papers of Zapuvisie Lhousa, Naga nationalist insurgent, in Mezoma, Nagaland. Credit: Lydia Walker

People or State?

Phizo’s arrival in London during the summer of 1960—a year when seventeen colonies became independent states—posed the quandary: When were a people deemed a minority deserving protections versus a nation requiring a state? With his adherents, Phizo consciously placed the Naga claim within the context of African decolonization, and reached out to Reverend Scott because of Scott’s longtime role as spokesman for anticolonial nationalist claims-making for South Africa and Namibia.

While at times Naga nationalists used their status as a premodern tribal people to appear harmlessly apolitical to Indian authorities, they also subverted the stereotype with their reams of typed, English-language petitions protesting India and asserting their national sovereignty.9 They consciously presented themselves as modern and therefore respectable to international and Indian audiences. Elwin, the British anthropologist, complained that the Nagas in London were “dressed up like members of the YMCA,” and Indian commentators groused that the Naga nationalists wore the clothes of “life insurance salesmen.”10 Naga nationalists made a point of displaying themselves as English speaking, Western-oriented, and most importantly, Christian—in contrast to the rest of India.

Contemporary newspaper article in the Daily Herald about Naga leader's visit to London

Naga nationalists Yongkong, Kaito, Mowu, and Yanthan with one of their advocates, Ursula Graham Bower Betts, on a London park bench. Nagaland, The Daily Herald (UK), September 1962, DO 196/62, held by The National Archives, Kew. This information is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

Nationalists of all sorts made important sartorial and linguistic choices in physically demonstrating their claims in person, on paper, and in their environment—from Yasser Arafat wearing Fidel Castro’s military fatigues (and aligning his cause visually with left-wing revolution) to the renaming of cities, streets, countries, and even people by new nationalist elites. Usually this nationalist branding occurred in reaction to Western-ruled imperial pasts or current colonial opponents. For Nagas, however, India had a vested interest in portraying them as an exotic, premodern tribal people, the “spear-and-feathers contingent.”11 In opposition, Naga nationalists emphasized their “Western-ness” in clothing, language, and religion. A contrast that deliberately set them outside of India’s own international political self-presentation of sari-clad Indian Ambassador Vijayalakshmi Pandit speaking in the United Nations on behalf of disenfranchised South Asians and Africans in South Africa.

From Decolonization to International Recognition

Decolonization transformed sovereignty for regions in the Global South by recognizing many former colonies as independent states. Yet even as the UN General Assembly declared and accepted national self-determination as a norm, as it did in 1960, that norm did not meet the standards of political practice. In practice, international recognition favored communities that had already begun to take over the infrastructures of authority under colonial rule, and acquired leverage with the colonial power—or alternatively had the military strength and regional allies to command dominance when colonial powers withdrew. In either process, successor regimes were able to secure the acquiescence—forced or grudging—of their departing colonizer and its great power allies (usually, but not exclusively, the US) on their route to international recognition.

The contradiction between the norm of national self-determination and the practice of international recognition arose for communities with national aspirations who mobilized later, or, like the Nagas, were considered by both colonizer and successor state to be incapable of the development and ‘civilization’ necessary for nation building. Because of the solidarity of statehood, UN member states—almost all of whom included minority peoples claiming different levels of autonomy—stood to gain little and lose much by providing claimants within each other’s territories the recognition of a public hearing.

Indeed, in spite of his many letters and journeys, Phizo never reached the United Nations to publically present the Naga nationalist claim. The Naga demand for an independent state, like those of many peoples within or straddling the borders of preexisting states, came up against the limits of a system of international order designed to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its members.

View from a window in Nagaland, looking out onto cultivated hillside terraces, to wooded hills beyond

The view from Mezoma, Nagaland. Credit: Lydia Walker

The constraints on nationalist claims-making for so-called minorities show not only the complexity of decolonization, but also its structural shape—a shape defined by that which it excludes. The narrative of Naga nationalist claims-making is full of secret journeys, stalled endeavors, refused hearings, deportations, and exile. These disappointments all express the parameters, and therefore the boundaries, of what is a legitimate national claim, who can provide recognition, and the process by which that may—or may not—be achieved.

Viewing the political transformation of the 1960s from the perspective of nationalist claimants within postcolonial states shines a spotlight on decolonization’s unfinished pieces. This perspective reveals the process of decolonization outside of the celebratory narratives from dominant nationalist movements or those of imperial apologia, and maintains that the question of how groups are organized and recognized is political—determined by power relationships—rather than moral. ‘Who deserves independence?’ is the wrong question to ask. A better question might be, ‘why is independent statehood framed as a reward or prize, for a which a people must demonstrate their legitimate candidacy?’ And ‘who profits by framing the question in this manner?’ A system of international order has much to gain by reading political questions that have the potential to undermine the territorial integrity of its member states in terms that make them unrealizable or invisible.

Lydia Walker is a Past & Present Fellow (2018-20) based at Dartmouth College. Her article “Decolonization in the 1960s: On Legitimate and Illegitimate Nationalist Claims-making” is now out in Past & Present #242. This blog post originally appeared on Epicenter, the blog of Harvard’s Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs. It is reblogged with their kind permission, and you can subscribe to their newsletter here.


1Alex de Waal, “Genealogies of Transnational Activism” in de Waal, ed. Advocacy in Conflict: Critical Perspectives on Transnational Activism (Zed Books, 2015) pp. 22–27.

2Unnamed Naga tribal spokesman to Hindustan Times, 12 March 1952.

3Indian Census, 2011.

4Mississippi is 34% Baptist according to Paul Harvey, Freedom’s Coming: Religious Culture and the Shaping of the South from the Civil War through the Civil Rights Era (University of North Carolina Press, 2007) pg. 255.

5Sanjoy Hazarika, Strangers of the Mist: Tales of War and Peace from India’s Northeast (Penguin, 2003). pp. 95–6.

6A.Z. Phizo, The Fate of the Naga People: An Appeal to the World (London: self-published, 1960).

7Pieter Steyn, Zapuphizo: Voice of the Nagas (Keegan Paul, 2002) pg. 106.

8Phizo, The Fate of the Naga People.

9There are a massive number of similar and copied Naga nationalist documents listing atrocities allegedly committed by the Indian Army found in collections ranging from Naga villages—I visited personal and church collections in Kohima, Mezoma, and Toulezoma outside Dimapur —to the Bodleian library in Oxford, UK.

10Elwin to Hutton, 20 October 1962, Elwin Papers Subject File 16, Nehru National Museum and Library, New Delhi; Shankar’s Weekly, April 1966.

11Ursula Graham Bower Betts to David Astor, 15 July 1966. Guthrie Michael Scott Papers Box 35, The Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford.

Open Letter from History Journal Editors in Response to Consultation on Plan S

By Josh Allen - February 4, 2019 (0 comments)

by the Past & Present editorial team

We write as the editors of a number of academic journals in History and associated Humanities disciplines, based in the UK, continental Europe and North America, in collective response to the call for feedback about the proposals for the implementation of Science Europe’s Plan S.

The overall aim of Plan S, to make publicly funded research freely accessible to all users, is a laudable one. As a group we are committed to the principle of Open Access (OA). We welcome initiatives that facilitate the dissemination of scholarship to the widest possible audience and that enable new developments in knowledge. We endorse the objective stated in the Guidance document of creating a culture that ensures that young scholars have opportunities to excel and advance their careers. A transparent, fair and efficient system of scholarly publishing that does not discriminate against researchers or institutions with no or limited ability to pay APCs is clearly in the interests of our discipline. We also share Plan S’s insistence on the need for robust and sustainable OA repositories that will preserve and curate scholarly publications for future generations.

We are, however, concerned about some key aspects of Plan S and about their workability in practice, particularly (but by no means exclusively) within the landscape of the Humanities, in which publishing operates in a significantly different way from the way it does in STEM disciplines. We know that many of the concerns articulated below are shared by our colleagues in STEM, but we call for greater recognition of the complex ecology of HSS publishing and urge closer consideration of the differential impacts and possible unintended consequences of the ambitious plans laid out in the Guidance document. We seek clarification about several dimensions of the mandate that appear to be in tension with the overall objectives of Plan S. We also wish to highlight the challenges posed by the very short time frame for implementation and to question whether it will be possible to create the necessary mechanisms for facilitating full and immediate Open Access to publicly funded research publications by January 2020.

Hybrid Journals

Plan S is predicated on the assumption that the hybrid model of journal publishing is incompatible with the principles underpinning Open Access and should be phased out. This is a claim that we find very hard to accept. Humanities journals are overwhelming published on a hybrid basis for the simple reason that the majority of the articles they publish are not funded by national governments, the ERC, or charities. Across the broad sweep of History journals, only about 15% of articles are currently published via the Gold OA route, because most authors do not have access to institutional or other funds to pay APCs. The rest are published via the Green OA route, whereby authors pay nothing for publication but make their accepted manuscripts available via an institutional or other repository, after an embargo period. For the most part such journals (many of them published by or for learned societies rather than large commercial conglomerates such as Elsevier and Springer-Nature) charge relatively modest subscription rates that allow them to cover the costs of their editorial operations and that are often reduced for low-income and third world subscribers. The institutional subscriptions for Past and Present, for instance, are £279 for print; £223 for online; and £303 for the bundle. The print subscription for developing countries is just £33. For the Economic History Review the first three figures are £366, £366 and £458; for the Historical Journal, £465, £399 and £484; for the English Historical Review, £403, £331 and £437; for German History, £308, £258, and £334. The American Historical Review standard institutional print subscription is £229, while its print and online bundles range from £52 to £490 depending on the size and nature of the organisation; for the online-only Journal of Social History, the subscription is £88.

Unless levels of public funding for Humanities research increase very significantly, it is difficult to envisage how it will be possible for such journals to afford to flip to full Open Access within the transition period allowed for in the Guidance document, or indeed in any later period. Given the low proportion of funded articles in our journals, revenue from APCs (at their present levels) will be insufficient to make it viable to enter into the kind of three-year transformative agreement outlined there. It is hard to see that a business model can be devised that will enable these journals to sustain their commitment to maintaining the high standards of peer review and editorial intervention of the type that the Guidance document rightly insists must be in place. (These processes, which play a vital part in maintaining and validating scholarly standards, are not cost-free, as is further emphasised below.) We estimate that APCs would need to be multiplied four or five times in size for many of the undersigned journals to continue their operations. This will be even more challenging in the context of the requirement that journals must provide automatic APC waivers for authors from low income countries and discounts for authors from middle-income countries (a measure whose underlying principles we applaud). It should also be noted that some journals also publish substantial amounts of content that will not be eligible to be covered by APCs, including book reviews and review articles. This has not yet been adequately factored into Plan S as currently outlined.

The result will be that most existing journals will be compelled to make a stark choice between compliance with the principles of Plan S and non-compliance in the interests of continuing to serve the bulk of their existing constituencies of authors. In many cases, this includes substantial percentages of authors from countries in which there is currently no national gold OA policy or set of requirements, including the USA and many parts of the Global South, and who have no access to funds to pay for APCs. Non-compliance is the most likely choice, given the constraints as set out above. World-leading journals such as the American Historical Review, Renaissance Quarterly and Past and Present would therefore not be able to publish cOAlition S funded research. The result would be to skew and bifurcate scholarly publishing in regrettable ways. It would create a divide between European and other scholars, as well as between funded and unfunded scholars. It would also differentiate affiliated from unaffiliated independent scholars without access to funds more sharply. It would have a particular impact upon the early career researchers that Plan S is explicitly determined to support in the development of their careers, many of whom have one or more periods of postdoctoral life without a university affiliation or research contract. Freedom of access might consequently come at the cost of freedom to publish. The result might be new forms of exclusion that limit and constrain who is able to contribute to the formal production of knowledge.

We urge recognition of the point that hybrid journals are not incompatible with the principle of Open Access. They themselves are already playing a key role in facilitating its development and extension in History and the Humanities more generally. We would argue that they should not be seen as an obstacle but as an aid to its realisation.

Unintended consequences and collateral damage

We believe that Plan S’s drive to eliminate hybrid journals in favour of fully OA ones might also have a number of other regrettable unintended consequences.

One of these is the danger that these developments could, perversely, foster insularity rather than promote international exchange. cOAlition S funded scholars would not be able to publish in non-compliant international journals (including virtually all North American journals). In turn foreign scholars from outside the UK and Europe will not be able to afford to publish in compliant OA journals because they would not have access to the necessary funds. Alongside archives and libraries, academic journals are the laboratories of the humanities. They are collaborative spaces and enterprises that contribute materially to the international republic of letters and to conversations and dialogues that transcend boundaries and frontiers. They are successful in doing so precisely because there is no cost entailed in submitting to such journals. There is a risk that this culture of exchange will be impoverished and threatened by the elimination of hybrid journals.

A second unintended consequence might be to erode the high standards of quality control, peer review and editing that Humanities journals regard as essential to the validation of the scholarly articles they publish. It is important to emphasise that these processes, although they rely on the voluntary and usually unpaid labour of academic reviewers and editors, are not cost free. Journals need to employ copy-editors, proof readers, and support staff to coordinate submissions, oversee the formatting of manuscripts in accordance with disciplinary standards, and liaise with typesetters and publishers. Supported by the income generated by subscriptions, such processes play a vital and indispensable part in the making of knowledge. They contribute to the international reputation and reach of the History journals listed here, which are respected and trusted for the rigorous processes of scrutiny to which submissions are subjected and their commitment to excellent standards of presentation. Such standards are vital to ensuring that scholarship stands the test of time: some articles have a lasting value for decades, which would be undermined if short cuts were taken at the assessment and production stage. Plan S recognises that ‘solid systems’ for reviewing will need to be established for new fully OA journals. In the Humanities, these are currently very rare, so they will have to be set up from scratch, by new teams of researchers, on platforms which remain unclear. Yet such systems are already firmly in place and tried and tested in hybrid journals, whose contribution to facilitating Open Access via the Green route should be properly recognised.

Making publication in hybrid journals uncompliant is likely to have a third unforeseen side-effect. Many hybrid journals are published by learned societies, which use the income from subscriptions to finance their publishing operations and to further the objectives of organisations that are often registered charities. The income they derive from journal publishing is fed back into the scholarly community in a variety of ways that are vital for the health and development of the profession. It is used, among other things, to support PhD studentships and postdoctoral fellowships, to fund book and article prizes, to finance conferences, workshops, networks, and other academic activities, to facilitate collaborations with museums and other bodies, to support key initiatives in our disciplines, and to assist international scholars under threat. In this respect, via their publishing operations learned societies play an under-acknowledged role in supporting the knowledge economy. Driving hybrid journals into extinction will limit the ability of learned societies to contribute to this and even, in some cases, threaten their very existence. Plan S rightly seeks to constrain the practices of predatory publishers, but the strategies it proposes to adopt to achieve this are likely to do so at the expense of learned societies which seek to serve and represent their disciplines.


Plan S mandates that publicly funded research must be published under the most permissive CC BY licence, which allows for reuse and adaptation of any kind, provided that the original author is acknowledged. It nevertheless insists that copyright of the work will remain with the legal copyright holder (the author or his/her institution). The CC BY licence poses particular problems for those who work in the Humanities, where the content and form of scholarly findings are not easily distinguishable, and where the line between raw data and the argued presentation of such data is harder to draw. We think it would be a mistake to rule out the possibility of a CC BY ND licence. This provides protection against practices that historians regard as unacceptable, if not unethical. In Humanities disciplines, the practice of copying and altering the words of another author without specifying the changes made is defined as poor and unsatisfactory academic practice. Students are penalised and disciplined for doing this, which has the potential to distort and contort the meaning of the texts from which they are derived. Researchers would also have no control over inaccurate translations (for, unlike in Science and Medicine, the majority of European Humanities research is not published in English). And, although the Guidance document insists that third party content is not affected by the CC BY requirements, our collective experience is that in practice it is very much more complicated, not least because of the conditions for the use and reuse of images, graphics, etc. that are laid down by the repositories (archives, libraries, museums, etc.) who own such material. Such repositories commonly charge reproduction fees that themselves add further to the costs of publishing, and are already in some cases quite prohibitive. The process of obtaining permissions for fully OA publications is often even more time-consuming and expensive because of the policies of these institutions, and will present particular challenges to those, such as art historians, whose research depends heavily on illustration.

Process and time frame for implementation

Finally, we wish to highlight the considerable challenges presented by the proposed timeline for implementation of full OA. As indicated above, it is difficult to envisage that existing journals will be in a position to create the ‘innovative new publishing models’ envisaged by Plan S or even to work out viable transformative agreements by January 2020. Given that the deadline for the consultation process only closes in February 2019, the proposed timetable seems unrealistic. We would also underline the complexity of establishing Open Access repositories that meet the technical standards laid out in the Guidance document, including those regarding automated manuscript ingest facilities, metadata, quality assurance and helpdesk support. This will inevitably be costly and there is the associated danger that the provision of appropriate repositories will consequently be commercialised in the same way that some forms of journal publishing have become. It may, therefore, have the inadvertent effect of consolidating rather than diminishing the place of large commercial publishers in the publishing landscape. Plan S says that cOAlition S members will collectively establish incentives for establishing Open Access journals/platforms where there are gaps and needs, but clarification is needed on the form that these incentives will take. Without significant investment by national governments, it seems unlikely that the ambitious objectives of Plan S can be achieved within the period envisaged.

We conclude by urging full and careful consideration of the issues we have raised. Precipitate implementation of Plan S without adequate exploration of the particular challenges it poses to scholars in different disciplines and without taking due account of the distinctive publishing landscape of Humanities research may have unfortunate and deleterious consequences. As emphasised at the outset, we too are committed to disseminating scholarly research as widely as possible and to expanding access to it, but we do not believe it is the interests of anyone to do so at the cost of hybrid journals and of the learned societies which they serve and sustain.

Alexandra Walsham and Matthew Hilton, editors, Past and Present

Stephanie Kitchen, Managing Editor, Africa: Journal of the International African Institute

Kathryn Salucka, managing editor, African Studies Review

Richard Hoyle, Henry French and John Broad, editors, Agricultural History Review

Frank James, Chair of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry, Anna Simmons, Secretary of the Society, and Bruce Moran, editor of the Society’s journal Ambix

Alex Lichtenstein, editor, American Historical Review

Ute Lotz-Heumann and Marjorie Elizabeth Plummer, editors, Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte/Archive for Reformation History

Katy Gibbons and the editorial board, British Catholic History

Charlotte Sleigh, editor, British Journal of the History of Science

Steven French and Wendy Parker, editors in chief, and Beth Hannon, assistant editor, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Liz Potter, publications and web manager, and Greg Woolf, director and editor of Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, Institute of Classical Studies, London

Benjamin Marschke, Executive Director of Central European History Society, and the editors and editorial board of Central European History

Euan Cameron, Dana Robert, Jon Sensbach and Andrea Sterk, editors, Church History

Andrew Shryock, President of the Society for the Comparative Study of Society and History, and Geneviève Zubrzycki and Paul Christopher Johnson, editors, Comparative Studies in Society and History

Sian Edwards, Chris Moores, Lucy Robinson, Camilla Schofield and Tony Shaw, editors, Contemporary British History

Ludivine Broch, Matthew Frank, Celia Donert, Dominique Reill, Emile Chabal, Christian Bailey, David Brydan and Victoria Harris, editors, Contemporary European History

Chris Briggs, Susan Leonard, Julie Marfany, and Mary Louise Nagata, editors, Continuity and Change

David Nash, editor, Cultural and Social History

Marios Costambeys and Roy Flechner, editors, Early Medieval Europe

Iain Fenlon, editor, Early Music History

Sara Horrell, Giovanni Federico and Patrick Wallis, editors, Economic History Review

Catherine Holmes, Peter Marshall, Hannah Skoda, Stephen Conway, Catherine Wright and Kim Reynolds, editors, English Historical Review

Steven King and Carol Beardmore, editors, Family and Community History

Joseph Clarke and Julian Wright, editors, French History

David Andress, president of the Society for the Study of French History

Barbara Simms, editor, Garden History

Joachim Whaley and Nick Stargardt, editors, German History

Emma Griffin and Sujit Sivasundaram, editors, The Historical Journal

Julie Spraggon, executive editor, Historical Research

Rebecca Sullivan, CEO, The Historical Association, on behalf of the journal History

Christian Wedemeyer and co-editors, History of Religions

Jamie Wood and Lucinda Matthews-Jones, convenors, History UK

The History Workshop collective (on behalf of History Workshop Journal)

John Reuben Davies, editor of the Innes Review

Jo Fox, director, Institute of Historical Research

The Newcomen Society, which publishes The International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology

Catherine Cox and Graham Brownlow, editors, Irish Economic and Social History

Liam Chambers and Marie Sullivan, editors, Irish Historical Studies

H. Floris Cohen, editor, Isis

Carolien Stolte, editor , Itinerario

Shane Doyle, Emily Osborn, Greg Mann, and Keith Breckenridge, editors, Journal of African History

Jeffrey Collins and Sandra den Otter, editors, Journal of British Studies

Mark Kramer, editor, Journal of Cold War Studies

Alec Ryrie, co-editor, Journal of Ecclesiastical History and VP of the EHS

William Clarence-Smith and Merry Wiesner-Hanks, editors, Journal of Global History

Arthur MacGregor, editor, Journal of the History of Collections

Martin J. Burke, Stefanos Geroulanos, Anthony Grafton and Ann Moyer, editors, Journal of the History of Ideas

John Boyer and Jan Goldstein, editors, Journal of Modern History

Ewen Cameron, editor, Journal of Scottish Historical Studies

Martin Bellamy, editor, and the editorial board of the Mariner’s Mirror

Angus Burgin, Duncan Kelly, Tracie Matysik and Darrin McMahon, editors, Modern Intellectual History

Marc S. Rodriguez, editor, Pacific Historical Review

David Hayton and Richard Gaunt, editors, Parliamentary History

Jessica Wolfe, editor, Renaissance Quarterly

Jennifer Richards, editor, Renaissance Studies

Richard Maber, editor, The Seventeenth Century

Merry Wiesner-Hanks, senior editor, Sixteenth Century Journal

Sarah Spence, editor, and the editorial board, Speculum

Charlotte Methuen and Andrew Spicer, editors, Studies in Church History

Andrew Spicer, editor of Transactions of the Royal Historical Society and also co-editor of Studies in Church History

Helen McCarthy, Guy Ortolano and Adrian Bingham, editors, Twentieth Century British History

CFP: Domestic production and work in poor British homes, c. 1650-1850

By Josh Allen - January 23, 2019 (0 comments)

Received from Dr. Joseph Harley (University of Derby)

Thursday 12th September 2019, University of Derby

Keynote Speaker: Professor John Styles, University of Hertfordshire

In recent decades the ‘home’ has come to the forefront of historical investigations. Domestic production and work, such as spinning and farming, has received some renewed attention as part of this, yet there remain gaps in the literature and issues that need addressing.

Our most detailed understanding of the domestic sphere comes from studies of the middling sort and elite, and much less research has been conducted on the domestic activities of the poor, who (defined in their broadest sense) made up well over half of the contemporary population. There has been something of a growth in the study of the poorer sorts over the past decade, but more is still needed. For example, domestic work such as spinning and farming has been subject to historical study for long periods of time; however they are often considered almost in isolation of other activities, while other forms of production such as brewing and baking have not received quite the same attention. This is surprising considering that being involved in myriad activities was crucial for many to make ends meet.

This conference aims to address these issues by bringing speakers together who research a diverse range of domestic work. This will allow us to create a dialogue between people working on various aspects and develop a holistic understanding of the relative importance of different types of domestic production and work in poor British households.

Proposals for 20-minute papers are invited from both new and established researchers to contribute to this discussion. Suggested topics for papers include, but are not limited to:

*Domestic activities such as spinning, weaving, knitting, carding, brewing, distilling, baking, dairy work, cleaning, washing, cooking, and food preservation such as salting meats.

*The extent to which the country underwent an ‘industrious revolution’.

*Critiques of the literature/applicability of the concept ‘proto-industrialisation’.

*Gendered and age-related dynamics of domestic work.

*Time management and the seasonality of domestic production.

*The relationship between domestic production and the industrial revolution.

*Urban, rural, regional and other geographical differences in domestic production.


*The productivity of various types of domestic work.

*The uses of home-produced goods (e.g. for personal use, commercial use etc).

Proposals should comprise a 300-word abstract and a biography. Please email proposals to Joe Harley at by 30 April 2019. Travel grants of up to £75 will be available for postgraduate and early career researchers. Please indicate in your proposal if you would like to be considered. The call for papers can be downloaded in pdf. format here.

This conference has been kindly funded by the Economic History Society, Past and Present Society, and the Royal Historical Society.

Past & Present is pleased to fund this event and others like it. Applications for events funding, in line with the Society’s objectives; are welcomed from scholars of all time periods, geographical regions, and career stages.

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