Monthly Archives: July 2019

Reflecting Upon Belonging in late Medieval Cities

by Joshua Ravenhill (University of York) On the 28th-29th June 2019, the Centre of Medieval Studies at the University of York held a stand-alone conference entitled ‘Belonging in Late Medieval Cities’ at the University of York’s King’s Manor campus. This sold-out event brought together Early Career Researchers and more established academics from the UK, Europe, North America, and Russia. I was also delighted that historians working outside of a university context attended the conference. Delegates contributed to an engaging discussion concerning the study of belonging in late medieval cities. In the late medieval city, there were various groups in which individuals could be included in or excluded from. These ranged from neighbourhoods, long-distance social networks, parishes, fraternities, craft guilds, and the citizenry, to name a few. Ideas of belonging and non-belonging can be conceptualised, and applied, in various ways. The key aims of the conference were the exploration of how ideas of belonging could be utilised in the study of late medieval urban centres and to identify which sources could be used in this study. Well #medievaltwitter, we’re all set and ready to get started on #Belonging2019! If any of you #twitterstorians couldn’t make it, don’t worry! We’ll be live-tweeting […]

Past & Present Author Wins Royal Historical Society Alexander Society Prize

by the Past & Present editorial team Past & Present was delighted to hear that Jake Richards (Gonville and Caius, Cambridge) has been awarded this year’s Alexander Prize, by the Royal Historical Society (RHS); for his article “Anti-Slave-Trade Law, ‘Liberated Africans’ and the State in the South Atlantic World, c. 1839-1852” which appeared in Issue 241. The Alexander Prize is awarded annually by the RHS for the best published scholarly journal article or an essay in a collective volume based upon original historical research. In “Anti-Slave-Trade Law, ‘Liberated Africans’ and the State in the South Atlantic World, c. 1839-1852” Richards explores how: From 1807 onwards, bilateral slave-trade treaties stipulated how naval squadrons would rescue slaves from slave ships, and how states should arrange the settlement and apprenticeship of these slaves, to transform them into ‘liberated Africans’. Comparing interactions between the state and liberated Africans at sea along the South African and Brazilian coasts, and in the port towns of Cape Town and Salvador, reveals how the legal status of liberated Africans changed over time. Current scholarship has framed liberated Africans in terms of whether they were attributed rights or suffered re-enslavement, and thus focused on their solidarity through claiming rights, […]

Contextualising Catastrophe: Plague, Societal Collapse, and the Zombie Apocalypse

by Dr. Merle Eisenberg (Princeton University) and Dr. Lee Mordechai (The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center [USA] and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) “In China, some ten million people died within a span of five years; by the end of 1910, another five million would perish as plague emerged in India, Australia, Scotland, and North Africa, sparking fears that the Black Death…had returned,” or so David K. Randall has recently claimed in his Black Death at the Golden Gate: The Race to Save America from the Bubonic Plague. Randall’s book highlights contemporary Western fears of the world’s impending doom, in this case through the quintessential pandemic – plague. Randall’s book falls within the popular catastrophe genre in academic and mainstream writing, not to mention films and even video and board games. If we follow the message of 1995’s Outbreak, for example, there is the distinct possibility that, without careful quarantine procedures and heroic actions, we are all doomed to succumb to a disease outbreak. In 2011 Contagion took the genre a step further and offered us a “scientifically correct” image of how a pandemic would disrupt all levels of social organization worldwide. As Contagion’s last scenes hint, this collapse will occur inevitably […]

Introducing Stonewall 50 years on: Gay Liberation and Lesbian Feminism in its European Context

Received from Dr. Craig Griffiths (Manchester Metropolitan University) 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York, which began in the early hours of Saturday, 28 June 1969, when patrons of the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street defended themselves against police oppression. The Stonewall riots are often credited as the spark that set the gay liberation movement alight, not just in the United States, but around the Western world. In the years since, the words ‘Stonewall’ and ‘Christopher Street’ have become a recognisable shorthand for gay activism across Europe, inspiring the names of organisations, events, bars and publications. With this one-day conference (6th December 2019, Manchester Metropolitan University), we want to rethink the movements that the riots supposedly spawned in a European context. Gay liberation was never a one-way flow from across the Atlantic. While the Gay Liberation Front, set up in late 1969 in New York, was an important catalyst for similar groups in Europe, activist innovations crossed the Atlantic in the other direction too. Rather than walking fully formed off New York’s Christopher Street, the European gay liberation movements that sprang up in the early 1970s were influenced by national events, or groups elsewhere on […]

Registration Opens for Domestic production and work in poor British homes, c. 1650-1850

Received from Dr. Joe Harley (University of Derby) In recent decades the ‘home’ has come to the forefront of historical investigations. Domestic production and work, such as spinning and farming, has received some renewed attention as part of this, yet the poor are still relatively under-researched compared to richer people. This conference aims to address these issues by focusing on domestic production in the homes of the poor. View the Domestic production and work in poor British homes, c. 1650-1850 programme here. The conference will bring together speakers who research a wide range of domestic activities, such as textile production, brewing and dairying. This will allow us to create a dialogue between people working in various areas and develop a holistic understanding of the relative importance of different types of domestic production and work in poor British households. Professor John Styles, University of Hertfordshire, has been confirmed as keynote speaker for the event. He will be discussing some of the project findings of a major Economic Research Council project he led on hand spinning and the industrial revolution. Registration for the conference can be made here, through the University of Derby. *Registration Update* As of 27/08/2019 this event is at […]