Monthly Archives: December 2018

Introducing “The Global Middle Ages” Supplement

by the Past & Present editorial team The Global Middle Ages is the 2018 Past & Present Supplementary issue, edited by Dr. Catherine Holmes (Oxford) and Prof. Naomi Standen (Birmingham) Global history did not begin with the European voyages of discovery. It did not start in the nineteenth century with a great divergence between the West and China. It is not synonymous with a globalization narrative. If we are to realise the full potential of a global approach to history then we must extend our chronologies and geographies. Bringing together historians and archaeologists of Africa, the Americas and Eurasia, this Supplement focuses on the abundant evidence for behaviour and interaction on a global scale in the millennium before 1500. The contributors exploit impulses such as connectivity and comparison, but do not seek direct analogies and connections between the Middle Ages and the global history of other periods. Instead, the social interactions, expectations and demands of people around the globe are foregrounded in chapters which explore recording cultures, cosmologies, networks, mobilities, value, trust, political mediation, settlements and cultural transmission. From these foundations, the Global Middle Ages are presented as a period of dynamic change and experiment, characterised by multiple options and potential […]

Reflecting Upon “Beyond Truth: Fiction and (Dis)information in the Early Modern World”

by Emma Claussen, Tom Goodwin, Luca Zenobi (University of Oxford) On 18-19 September 2018, scholars from across Europe and North America met at New College, Oxford for the interdisciplinary conference, Beyond Truth: Fiction and (Dis)information in the Early Modern World. Our aim was to bring together scholars working in literary, historical, and art historical disciplines to discuss questions related to concepts of ‘truth’, ‘falsehood’ and ‘fiction’ in the early modern world, and thereby to stimulate interdisciplinary reflection on those themes. While the conference and its many papers were focused on the early modern period, the considerable contemporary resonances of issues relating to ‘fake news’ were also a major point of discussion. In addition to considering literary, historical, and art historical perspectives on fiction and (dis)information, it was thought critical to include a broad as possible geographical range of papers. This was in response both to a developing general interest in ‘the global’ in early modern studies, and because changing early modern conceptions of ‘the world’ were a cause of epistemic crises in this period, fundamentally reshaping notions of ‘truth’, ‘falsehood’, and ‘fiction’. Accordingly, our first keynote speaker was a specialist on European literature (Emily Butterworth, Reader in French at King’s […]

Past & Present Author Wins Stanley Z. Pech Prize

by the Past & Present editorial team Past & Present was delighted to hear that Dr. Jakub Beneš (University of Birmingham) has been awarded the 2018 Stanley Z. Pech Prize by the Czechoslovak Studies Association. Presented every other year to the author of the best article published in the preceding two year period on a topic related to the history, languages and cultures of Czechoslovakia. Beneš won this year’s prize for his article “The Green Cadres and the Collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1918” which appeared in Past & Present No. 236. In recognition of this achievement and to encourage wider array of people to read this acclaimed piece of scholarship Oxford University Press our publishers have made it free to read for a limited period of time.

Introducing Early Modern Global Soundscapes: A Workshop

Received from Dr. Emilie Murphy (University of York) Early Modern Global Soundscapes: A Workshop, Humanities Research Centre, University of York, 25th-26th January 2019 How did sounds shape the lives of individuals and their communities in the early modern world? In recent years scholars have started to address this question. Richard Cullen Rath’s How Early America Sounded (2003) is pioneering in its approach to indigenous and European soundscapes in colonial America, and 2019 marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Bruce Smith’s equally provocative analysis of aurality and orality in The Acoustic World of Early Modern England. Yet there are several issues that remain unresolved when considering historic sounds – especially the tension between the particular and the universal. Are there any commonalities between soundscapes, or are all soundscapes unique? Moreover, what is a soundscape and are definitions dependant on disciplinary perspective? Alternatively, is there a collective way that all scholars can and should conceptualise soundscapes? This workshop will bring together early career and established interdisciplinary scholars to discuss their own approaches to historic sounds and sonic interactions. Confirmed speakers and respondents include: Iain Fenlon (King’s College, Cambridge), Alexander Fisher (University of British Columbia, Vancouver), Penelope Gouk (Manchester), Deborah Howard […]

What to Consider When Proposing a Past & Present Supplementary Issue

In addition to publishing four issues annually, every year the Past & Present Society publishes a special thematic supplementary issue. Prof. Alice Rio Past & Present’s Publications Editor has written a guide for potential supplementary issue editors setting out what the journal expects and looks for in supplement proposals and that that guest editors and their contributors can expect to go through when producing one. It is present below as part of an ad-hoc series of blogs that members of the Past & Present editorial community have produced in recent years exploring academic editorial work in general, and requirements of submitting to Past & Present in particular.      by Prof. Alice Rio (King’s College London, Past & Present Publications Editor) Past & Present Supplements: a guide for guest editors The ambition for Past & Present supplements is that they: -Make a significant intervention in an important field of historical study: that is, for them to be useful to think with for a wide variety of different historians in different fields (as is intended for the journal). -Have a coherent agenda, conceptual framework and set of questions, pursued consistently across all contributions: though the conclusions of individual contributors do not necessarily […]