Monthly Archives: October 2021

Reflections on 50 Years of Keith Thomas’s “Religion and the Decline of Magic”

by Théo Rivière (Cardiff University) This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Sir Keith Thomas’s Religion and the Decline of Magic. In recognition of this momentous milestone, the Past & Present Society generously supported “50 Years of Keith Thomas’s Religion and the Decline of Magic,” an event jointly organized by Michelle Pfeffer, Jan Machielsen, and Robin Briggs. The event was held in the Old Library of All Souls College, University of Oxford, and was also livestreamed via Microsoft Teams. Attendees were able to live react to the celebrations using the Twitter hashtag #SirKeithFest. Originally published in 1971, Religion and the Decline of Magic offers an incredibly vast and detailed overview of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English supernatural. While some early reviewers critiqued the book for making use of “out of date” anthropological approaches, Thomas’s book has since been heralded as a landmark of socio-historical research and has become a classic point of reference for scholars and students of early modern religion and culture. The event was a resounding success, with more than 300 people joining in both virtually and in-person to celebrate the rich legacy of Religion and the Decline of Magic. It was divided into three […]

Past & Present Author Wins the 2021 SIHS Article Prize for Medieval and Early Modern Italian History

by the Past & Present editorial team Past & Present was delighted to hear that Dr. Michael Martoccio (University of Oxford) has won the 2021 Society for Italian Historical Studies Article Prize for Medieval and Early Modern Italian History. The award has been made for his article “The Art of Mercato: Buying City-States in Renaissance Tuscany” which appeared in Past & Present No. 252 (August 2021). The prize’s Award Committee citation runs as follows: “The committee unanimously and enthusiastically agrees to award the SIHS prize for Medieval and Early Modern History to Michael Martoccio for his article ‘The Art of the Mercato: Buying City-States in Renaissance Tuscany’ (Past & Present, 2021). Carefully positioned in the existing scholarship and supported by a meticulous and insightful analysis of a variety of primary sources, Martoccio’s essay reveals the logistics and meanings of the early modern Italian financial and political practice of buying city states. Uncovering an important aspect of Renaissance political life and exploring the links between the money-market economy and the language of empire, this article stirs us to consider the overlapping valences of Italian imperial projects that were at once commercial, territorial, and moral.” A full news story about the prize […]

Call for Papers: Orosius Through The Ages

Received from Dr. Victoria Leonard (Institute of Classical Studies, London), Elisa Manzo (University of Naples Federico II) and Cameron Wachowich (University of Toronto)  Orosius Through The Ages is due to take place 25th-27th May 2022 at the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London This conference explores how the Orosian reshaping of the classical past calibrated medieval and early modern conceptions of antiquity, and how far the formulation of fundamental Christian belief-systems such as sin, divine providence, and human salvation took place in the pages of the text. The conference asks how the field of Orosian studies has developed since the publication of the seminal critical Latin edition by Sigebert Havercamp in 1738. It questions how scholars can bring together the many intersections of the Historiae’s influence in different fields, such as paleography, book history, Anglo Saxon studies, ancient history, Celtic studies, medieval history, and early modern studies, into a coherent field. In particular, the conference aims to examine how the Historiae shaped ancient and medieval constructions of race and colonialism, and how the text represented women, gender, and sexuality. The conference is generously hosted by the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London. The event blends in-person and online participation, as far […]