Monthly Archives: May 2019

On Rethinking Approaches to Unpaid Work

Prof. Jane Whittle (University of Exeter) For years I have been frustrated by many historians’ approach to women’s ‘domestic work’. Domestic work is used as an explanation for women’s failure to contribute to the same extent as men to the rest of the economy, but is rarely subject to serious study in its own right. Additionally, writers were rarely clear what they meant by ‘domestic work’, and when they did specify its meaning, it was evident it meant significantly different things to different people. My article in Past & Present #243 on ‘A Critique of Approaches to “Domestic Work”’ is an attempt to unpick these issues. It was a journey that took me to unexpected destinations, and the more I probed, the bigger the issues involved became. As a result, the article ended up being about how we conceptualise work and the economy, tracing these ideas back into the history of economic thought. And the solutions lay primarily with the work of feminist development economists and political scientists in their blistering critiques of the real-world consequences of adopting a definition of work that prioritised men’s activities over women’s. Behind all this lay the work of economist Margaret Reid, who in […]

Looking Ahead to Energy, Culture and Society in the Global South

Received from Mattin Biglari (SOAS, London) This two-day international conference brings together doctoral students and early-career scholars to discuss the different ways energy is and has been intertwined with economic, social, cultural and political developments and processes. The aim of the conference is centring attention on energy as a key agent in modern and contemporary history, in contrast to its typical designation as an external subject of research exclusive to the Natural Sciences. At a moment of global climate crisis, it is necessary to critically analyse energy systems and their entanglement in social, economic and political realities. This discussion will develop crucial understanding of the use of alternative and renewable forms of energy. The conference (taking place at CRASSH, Cambridge 31 May to 1 June 2019) will address the significance of historically uneven development in determining the different ways energy is used and conceptualised around the world. As the negotiations of the 2016 Paris climate accord highlighted, plans for energy transition must also engage with calls for energy justice. Therefore, this conference will focus on cultures of energy in the Global South, drawing attention to particular connections between energy, colonialism and the post-colonial state. We address an array of different […]

Introducing Modes of Authentication in Early Modern Europe

received from Dr. Liesbeth Corens (Queen Mary, London)  Introduction In a time of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ we may long for an earlier, purportedly simpler world in which facts were simply facts. But were facts ever that simple? How did past generations separate fact from fiction; truth from falsehood; and proof from hearsay? Tradition has it that written proof once ruled supreme, whether it concerned early modern scholarship or litigation, the spiritual world of demons and the saints or the worldly realm of land rights and taxation. As historians in different fields have since realised, proof was an omnipresent, but nevertheless contested practice that bred fierce conflicts about degrees of trust, the nature of truth, the boundaries between scholarly disciplines, and the purview of official institutions. The historiography on proof is varied, and scholars work in parallel traditions; historians of science are inspired by Bruno Latour; historians of religion look at wonders and miracles; historians of scholarship discuss authenticity and forgery; cultural historians are fascinated by the witness. Proof, in short, has enjoyed much critical press within today’s scholarly disciplines. Rarely, however, have scholars integrated these individual observations to probe the shared European legacy of proof. This conference seeks […]

Reflections Upon 18th Century Now

by Miranda Reading (King’s, London), Dr Joseph Cozens (UCL), Dr Sally Holloway (Oxford Brookes), Esther Brot (King’s, London) On Friday the 26th April 2019, the British History in the Long Eighteenth Century Seminar at the Institute for Historical Research hosted it’s 30th anniversary conference at UCL. The sold-out event hosted attendees from all over Britain and Europe, giving a wide perspective to the conference’s stated aim, which was to examine the current state of the study of eighteenth-century British history. The seminar began life devoted to the political history of the eighteenth century. Under the influence of the late Professor John Dinwiddy (1939-1990) it enlarged its remit, becoming a discussion space for all aspects of the long eighteenth century, which we generally define as being the period 1660-1830. As one of the longest-running seminars at the Institute for Historical Research, over the past thirty years, the Long Eighteenth Century Seminar has developed a distinguished reputation, providing space for scholars at all stages of their careers to bring new research to an engaged and receptive audience across thematic and methodological boundaries. 30 years as a time period, has a certain amount of resonance. It is about the time of a demographer’s […]

Viewpoints on Temporalities and History

By the Past & Present editorial team A desire to accessibly explore the big themes the unite and animate those interested in historical studies has lain at the heart of the Past & Present project since the first issue of the journal in 1952. So pleasingly, since their revival in 2016, our Viewpoint articles-a series of person reflections-seeking to interrogate questions around and advance key overarching areas of discussion and debate for all who work in the discipline-have become some of our most read and engaged with publications. Continuing in this strong vein, Past & Present is pleased to publish as part of its May 2019 issue (#243) the thoughts, perspectives and insights of five scholars working across time and space, on the matter of temporality and history. The Temporalities Viewpoints have been made free to read by our publisher Oxford University Press Academic and are available to read below: “The History of Temporalities: An Introduction”, by Dr. Matthew Champion (Birkbeck, London) “A Fuller History of Temporalities”, by Dr. Matthew Champion (Birkbeck, London) “The Fetish of Accuracy: Perspectives on Early Modern Time(S)”, by Dr. Stefan Hanß (University of Manchester) “Time and the Modern: Current Trends in the History of Modern […]