Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Surprising Modernity of Friendly Societies

guest post by Penny Ismay Read the full article here I was a graduate student in search of a research topic when I first encountered friendly societies in E.P. Thompson’s Making of the English Working Class.  They weren’t of immediate interest to me, though, because I wanted to study modern forms of solidarity in order to get at the question of how societies like modern Britain managed to hold together even as they were increasingly populated by self-interested, individualized strangers.  With their penchant for archaic rituals, excessive drinking, and the expensive outfits they did their drinking in, friendly societies have long been considered anything but modern.  Yet, as backward as they seemed, they nevertheless thrived during the nineteenth century, far outstripping the membership numbers of the more conventionally modern social organizations of trade unions and the cooperative movement combined.  And in spite of their long time resistance to the actuarial reforms that critics thought would make them more financially secure, they also provided millions of pounds of relief to millions of working class Britons for more than a century. The puzzle friendly societies presented, successful in the modern world without apparently becoming modern, hooked me.  As I worked to make […]

Debating lordship in ninth-century Francia

guest post by Charles West read Charles’s article from the February issue Around the turn of the year 869, a northern Frankish bishop named Hincmar had a fraught meeting with one of his secular followers, a man called Grivo. Hincmar asked Grivo to carry some letters to Rome. When Grivo refused to take them, the annoyed bishop brought up some rumours he’d heard about Grivo – that he’d damaged a wood he held from the bishop, and that he’d been spreading stories that the bishop was hoping for a bribe. Grivo forcefully denied all this. But no sooner had Grivo left the bishop’s presence than he told his neighbours to take as much timber from the wood as they liked, since he was about to lose it; and when the bishop sent envoys to stop the pillaging, Grivo and some relatives turned up in armour to face them down. Grivo then promised to make amends: but when Hincmar and he met a few days later, Grivo stormed off, saying he wouldn’t be the bishop’s man any longer, and wouldn’t travel even as far as his lodgings for a reward from Hincmar, let alone to Rome.   How should historians best […]

Getting Published in Journals: a guide for graduate students

This was supposed to be a talk at the Oxford History Faculty, but circumstances prevented me from actually giving it in person. Apologies to them, therefore (though I am sure that EHR were at least as helpful). Below is what I usually say to graduate students about getting published in journals. It’s *just* possible that there’s some advice in here for people who aren’t grads, too…   First, make sure that what you’ve got for publication is actually an article. An article stands alone and makes sense to readers all by itself. It is not a master’s thesis or a chapter of your doctoral dissertation (it may once have been one of those things but it will not be in the same form). Adapting elements of your thesis may well produce an article, but do be mindful of what you might want to do with the whole once you’ve finished. If you want to publish it as a monograph, you need to be careful about what you release before that. Sometimes, side branches of your research make for better articles. Whatever the case may be, writing an article is very different from writing a thesis. You don’t need anything like […]