Monthly Archives: April 2018

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) The programme for this event is now available 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 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 […]

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.