Monthly Archives: February 2019

Citation Released for Stanley Z. Pech Prize Winning Article

by the Past & Present editorial team Past & Present was pleased to hear just before Christmas that Dr. Jakub Beneš (University of Birmingham) had won the Czechoslovak Studies Association’s biannual Stanley Z. Pech Prize. The award was made for his article “The Green Cadres and the Collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1918” which appeared in Past & Present  No. 236 in August 2017. The Association’s Prize Committee has now released its citation outlining the rationale for awarding the prize to Dr. Beneš and we are pleased to reproduce it below: Few historians, not to mention the general public, are familiar with the “Green Cadres,” irregular forces of former soldiers and local farmers that banded together at the end of the Habsburg Monarchy. At first glance, this disparate group of ordinary folk might seem peripheral to the central narrative of imperial collapse and the establishment of new national states. In his masterful article, Jakub Beneš demonstrates to the contrary that these seemingly marginal individuals built on revolutionary traditions, threatened longstanding orders, channeled old prejudices, and helped to create new societies. As Beneš traces the changing role of the Green Cadres from bandits to avengers, to national heroes, to social revolutionaries, he shows […]

Rodney Hilton Addresses the Soviet Academy “On Historical Scholarship in England”

by Prof. Rodney Hilton (University of Birmingham)  Moscow, Autumn 1953 “…Only a small number of students study in university history departments. In Birmingham University, for example, there are between twenty and thirty students in each of the three years. When they finish university, the students in history departments take exams for the degree of BA. A very insignificant number of graduates (not more than two or three students each year) have the opportunity to continue study as postgraduates, so that the number of postgraduate students in history does not usually exceed ten. The basic factor that limits the number of postgraduates is a lack of material resources and sources of finance for their research work. Various capitalist organizations finance research primarily into those problems whose resolution is necessary to the interests of capital and the war industry… …The academic work of postgraduates in the history faculties of English universities usually begins after the award of the degree of BA, that is, after a three-year university course. The postgraduate chooses the topic of his research on the advice of the supervisor allocated to him. After two years the student takes a qualifying exam, which admits him to submission of a thesis. […]

Who Deserves Independence?

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. 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 […]

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

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 […]