our publications Journal, Books and Supplements

JOURNAL

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Past & Present is widely acknowledged to be the liveliest and most stimulating historical journal in the English-speaking world. The journal’s contents reflect the Society’s belief that history should be accessible and interesting to a wide range of readers, and its articles are intended to appeal to non-specialists as well as to experts. Since its inception in 1952, the mark of a P&P article was that it should be a properly researched study which showed an awareness of the wider implications of that research. Its remit is worldwide, and across all time periods.

There are four issues a year, each containing around seven major articles with occasional debates and review essays. Our authors come from around the globe, with about half of our articles written by non-UK authors. Subscription to the journal also includes the annual Supplement, which consists of a collection of essays (often the proceedings of Past & Present conferences and other symposia) reflective of the broad themes and ethos of the journal itself.

 

Find subscription information here

Archive

You can browse the current issue and the archive online (subscription required for full access to articles), as well as advance access articles that are published ahead of the print edition.

SEARCH THE ARCHIVE

    SUPPLEMENTS

    The Past and Present Supplement series was launched in 2006 to provide a forum in which to publish the proceedings of Past and Present conferences and other symposia, and collections of essays reflective of the broad themes and ethos of the journal itself. One volume will appear every year,

    which will be sent out free to subscribers, but which can also be purchased by non-subscribers as a book. This will also be available online and will be, like the journal, fully searchable.

    We welcome detailed proposals for possible future Supplements. Please send proposals to the editorial office.

    Social History of the Archive

    The Social History of the Archive (2016 Supplement)

    Edited by Liesbeth Corens, Kate Peters and Alexandra Walsham

    Archives are the factories and laboratories of the historian. Along with private studies and public libraries, they are the loci of our apprenticeship as scholars and the warehouses from which we acquire the materials to build the history we write. Until recently, however, scholars of the early modern period (as of other eras) rarely paused to consider how and why these repositories came into being, despite the fact that these processes have fundamentally shaped and coloured our knowledge of the past. Too often we mine the documentary sources they house without scrutinizing the decisions about selection, arrangement, preservation and retention taken by those responsible for the care of their contents over successive generations. We still fall into the trap of approaching them as if they provide a transparent window through which we can view societies remote from us in time. The tendency to regard archives as neutral and unproblematic reservoirs of historical fact is a legacy of the historiographical developments of the nineteenth century. It reflects the style of ‘scientific history’ synonymous with the endeavours of the Prussian scholar Leopold von Ranke, who, by elevating the empirical analysis of primary sources onto a pedestal, established the core methodological principles of History as a discipline. The fetischization of the archive of which we are heirs was a by-product of the pervasive positivism of an era in which the ideal of objectivity emerged as the philosophical hallmark of professional academic practice. It reflected the presupposition that the conscientious scholar could reconstruct what really happened with precision and accuracy. The same epistemological moment gave rise to the notion of the archivist as a passive and impartial guardian of the surviving traces of the past. This ethos of invisible custodianship underpinned the official repositories that grew up as an arm of the modern bureaucratic state and gave birth to a new class of civil servants.

    READ THE 2016 SUPPLEMENT
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    Heritage in the Modern World (2015 Supplement)

    Edited by Paul Betts and Corey Ross

    The invention of usable pasts has been fundamental to the making of modern identities across the world. From the origins of historic preservationism in early eighteenth-century Europe to the popularization of new heritage industries after the Second World War, efforts to conserve and protect a collective inheritance have been a crucial field for articulating new forms of cultural identity, community and belonging. This volume reconsiders how, why and in what guises these diverse conservation practices emerged, grew and interrelated in a global perspective. It brings together scholars working not only on Europe and its colonial territories but also on Latin America, China, Japan, the Soviet Union and North America in order to examine the extent to which the various attempts to define, protect and mobilize ancestral pasts were part and parcel of an increasingly global and interconnected approach to heritage in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Together, the contributions tackle a range of overarching issues, including the relationship between war, revolution, imperialism and preservation; how agents and critics of heritage preservation mapped on to structures of state sovereignty and political legitimacy; the role of law, custom and notions of the sacred in shaping heritage management; and finally, how changing technologies and cultural practices impacted on what was (or was not) preserved for posterity. Building on previous scholarship on the ‘nationalization’ of ancestral pasts, Heritage in the Modern World offers a novel perspective by focusing on the increasing ‘internationalization’ of heritage and the ways in which local and trans-regional trends of historical preservation overlapped and interacted.

    READ THE 2015 SUPPLEMENT
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    Cultures of Intoxication (2014 Supplement)

    Edited by Phil Withington and Angela McShane

    This Past and Present Supplement recovers the configuration of factors—social, political, cultural, material—that have combined to shape and inform intoxication in the past, in the present, and over time. For some contributors this has meant hazarding the feelings and perceptions induced by intoxicants and the circumstances of their consumption: in the symposia of ancient Greece, for example, or the dance floors of contemporary San Francisco and Hong Kong. For others it has involved deconstructing the manner in which ‘experience’ and ‘cognition’ are themselves defined and represented, be it in the ‘countercultural’ theories of the 1960s, the virulent colour schemes of contemporary brain scans, the symbolism of Renaissance painting, or the conduct literature of early modern England. 
    Three articles focus on the materiality and tacit rules of practice, exploring the artefacts of 17th century ‘political drinking’, the physical taste of opium during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, and conventions of political patronage and sociability in eighteenth century Stockholm. Others narrate the remarkably ambiguous and complicated intersections between drinking, modernity, and power as witnessed in the Islamic Middle East, West and South Africa, and Spanish colonial and post-colonial America.

    READ THE 2014 SUPPLEMENT

    BOOK SERIES

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    The Society has a long history of publishing books and collections of essays reflective of the broad themes and ethos of the journal itself. Encompassing a range of scholarly and original works primarily concerned with social, economic and cultural changes, their causes and consequences, these volumes endeavour to communicate the results of innovative historical and allied research in readable and lively form to a wide audience. The Past and Present Publications series was established in 1976 and comprises more

    than 70 books by both established and early career scholars. Transcending chronological and geographical boundaries, the purpose of the series is to publish high-quality, cutting-edge work that has an appeal outside the specialist area of the author. The series was originally published with Cambridge University Press.

    In 2009, the monograph series was re-launched with Oxford University Press as the Past and Present Book Series. Collections

    of essays are now primarily published via the Supplement series.

     

    We welcome proposals for possible publication in the series. Please send proposals to the editorial office.

    SEE THE FULL SERIES

    P&P READERS

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    Matthew Hilton writes: In May 2013 Rana Mitter and I published the Past & Present Supplement, Transnationalism and Contemporary Global History. We were aware of a growing interest in the subject and wished to bring together some of the most exciting new research being undertaken around the world. Through a series of essays ranging from wartime China to decolonising Africa we wanted to explore the global spread of ideas, institutions and peoples, especially those that travelled along unexpected paths: hence articles on Indian influences on Kenya or on black Americans in China. Our period was confined to the middle decades of the twentieth century, though we were aware of much other work being conducted on modern history where scholars were exploring the notion of transnationalism.

    Certainly, if the download statistics are anything to go by, there is clearly a growing demand for these types of histories. To mark the two years since the supplement was published, we have decided to make the entire volume freely available for a further three months. In addition, we have also made available in this virtual issue a number of other pieces on modern history that have been published in Past & Present over the last few years that might, in other circumstances, have found their way into such a supplement. As with the supplement itself, these will be available free of charge for a period of three months. This virtual issue marks the latest in a series of initiatives in which Past & Present will make parts of its extensive ‘back catalogue’ freely available through the exploration of various historical themes and subjects.

    READ THE TRANSNATIONALISM SPECIAL ISSUE

    SUBMISSIONS

    Journal

    We welcome new submissions for the journal in all areas. More information for authors, and detailed submission guidelines, can be found here. The online submission website is here and queries can be directed to the editorial office.

    Viewpoint articles: with great success Past & Present recently re-introduced Viewpoint articles to the journal and we particularly invite submissions of Viewpoints. These should seek to provoke or advance debate, to open up new questions, to define the state or direction of a particular field, to shape trends in historiography at a more general level — always in a way that is comprehensible to non-specialists. They might be relatively specific/substantive with respective to area and period or more theoretical. Viewpoint articles would generally have a less formal character than journal articles. The scholarly apparatus of research articles need not be applied so rigorously: polemic could have a place, there might be less need for careful nuance or qualification, or for comprehensiveness of coverage, footnoting could be light, and style could be more individual. These pieces could be flexible in form. Two people (or more) might wish to collaborate on an exchange of views. (We think the difference between such exchanges and our Debates would be that they would not focus on one article). We are flexible in relation to length, but our preference is for Viewpoint pieces which are shorter than articles so that they stand apart.

     

    Please note that we are now practising double-blind reviewing. Submitted texts should therefore be rendered anonymous (you may, if you wish, also submit a separate title page giving author details and acknowledgements).

    We hope to reach decisions on most submissions well within four months (and certainly no longer than six), and we will contact you if the refereeing process takes longer than this. We also offer advance access publication, which allows for swift online publication in advance of the print issue.

    Open Access Policy

    We know that many authors will want to make their work freely available online and we would like to support this. Authors may deposit the ‘accepted manuscript’ version* of their articles in institutional and centrally organized repositories, with an embargo period of 24 months from publication. UK authors should note that articles published in Past & Present are therefore eligible for the post-2014 REF. Further details about self-archiving can be found here. We also offer authors the option of paying an APC (article processing charge) to publish their work freely online immediately on publication.

    However, we wish to emphasise that no author is obliged to pay any charge in order to publish in P&P. All our decisions about publication will be taken regardless of whether an author chooses to pay an APC or not. The quality of the work is the only criterion for publication.

    * The ‘accepted manuscript’ version of an article is the final draft author manuscript, including modifications based on referees’ suggestions but before it has undergone copy-editing and proof correction.

    Supplements

    We welcome detailed proposals for possible future Supplements. Please contact the editorial office in the first instance.

    Book Series

    We also welcome proposals for possible publication in the book series. Please contact the editorial office in the first instance.