Monthly Archives: July 2020

Daylight Hours and Work Hours in Early Modern England

by Dr. Mark Hailwood (University of Bristol) This post first appeared on the ‘Women’s Work in Rural England, 1500-1700’ project website in February of 2016, and represents some early thoughts on the research that developed into Mark’s Past & Present article in #248 on ‘Time and Work in Rural England, 1500-1700’. It’s that time of year – the bleak midwinter – when the short daylight hours mean that many of us find ourselves both going to and coming home from work in the dark – or, rather, in the artificial glow of street- and head-lights. For us, then, the length of daylight hours does little to dictate the hours we work. But how, in the age before electric light and widespread street-lighting, did the length of daylight hours shape the working lives of our sixteenth- and seventeenth-century ancestors? We might reasonably expect that throughout the year their working hours were much more closely correlated with the hours of daylight than our own: that you worked when it was light, and slept or rested when it was dark. Having just reached 1000 entries in our work activities database (we are aiming for a total of 5000) I am currently extracting some […]

Past & Present Extends its Funding for Race, Ethnicity & Equality in History Postdoctoral Fellowship

by the Past & Present editorial team In 2018 the Royal Historical Society released its groundbreaking report Race, Ethnicity & Equality in UK History which illustrated what many within the discipline had long suspected and feared, that historical studies was drastically failing to include and represent individuals, perspectives and parts of the past which are not racialised as white. The publication of the report prompted much discussion within historical studies and illustrated a desire for the development of concrete steps to change and diversify the discipline. To move this forward at a national level, in 2019 the Past & Present Society resolved to work with the Royal Historical Society and the Institute of Historical Research (University of London) to develop a two year postdoctoral fellowship in Race, Ethnicity & Equality in History. The purpose of the Fellowship is to lead, support and general catalyse upon the momentum generated by the 2018 report and assist with the Royal Historical Society’s efforts to diversify the discipline and achieve racial equality within the study of history in the United Kingdom. In 2019 when the post was initial created and advertised Dr. Shahmima Akhtar, who had recently completed a PhD at Birmingham, was appointed […]

Introducing: The Human, the Animal and the Prehistory of Covid-19

by the Past & Present editorial team In response to the ongoing Covid-19 public health emergency, Past & Present worked with Prof. Sujit Sivasundaram (Gonville and Caius, Cambridge) to produce a piece exploring the very roots of the crisis, by exploring humans’ millenia long relationship with the pangolin. In doing so, the article has much to say about our complex and often fraught relationship with the natural world, other species and each other. COVID-19 and the interspecies frontier How our long history with pangolins reveals the preconditions of both the pandemic and environmental crisis. “The origins of the COVID-19 pandemic go far beyond China and much further back than 2019. The long history of the current crisis lies in human interactions with animals, not least pangolins, in a variety of settings, including in Europe. This global, increasingly capitalised and geographically-evolving story is one historical context that has allowed the virus to jump across the species barrier. Zoonotic transfer occurs where relations between humans and animals have been unstable or where they are entering a new phase of contact. Such transfer is linked with the climate emergency because life on the planet is being radically changed by accelerating extinctions caused partly […]