Monthly Archives: November 2021

Past & Present Article Wins a 2021 American Society for Legal History Prize

by the Past & Present editorial team Past & Present was delighted to hear that Dr. Sonia Tycko (St. Peter’s College, Oxford) has been awarded the 2021 Sutherland Prize by the American Society for Legal History, for her article in Past & Present No. 246 (February 2020) “The Legality of Prisoner of War Labour in England, 1648-1655”. The Sutherland Prize is awarded annually for the “best article on British legal history published in the previous year”. This year the prize has been awarded to two scholars with Dr. Priyasha Saksena (University of Leeds) also being recognised for her article “Jousting Over Jurisdiction: Sovereignty and International Law in Late Nineteenth-Century South Asia” published in Law and History Review. In their citation the prize committee described Dr. Tycko’s work as: Bringing us back two centuries and across a hemisphere, Sonia Tycko’s meticulously researched and methodically argued article excavates the legal acrobatics that allowed for foreign, especially Dutch and Scottish, soldiers captured by English forces in the mid-seventeenth century to be forced to serve as labor on projects ranging from the drainage of the fens to Caribbean plantations. The Council of State and various private interests saw multiple opportunities in putting prisoners of […]

Smoke Signals: Tobacco, Visions, and Disaster in Late Seventeenth-Century Stockholm

by Prof. Karin Sennefelt (Stockholm University) One evening in 1695, the retired non-commissioned officer Lars Ekroth sat down in his home in Stockholm to smoke a pipe. While he was smoking, he received a vision he was sure came from the Holy Spirit. What was revealed to him was that the whole city, including the royal palace, would be destroyed in a great fire, and that the Swedish king Charles XI would die from poisoning (this is related to research I have recently published – Open Access – in Past & Present No. 253 through the article “A Pathology of Sacral Kingship: Putrefaction in the Body of Charles XI of Sweden”) God’s wrath would come upon the country because there was so much sinfulness, ostentation, mistreatment of the poor, and people trying to rise above their station. In particular, it was the sins perpetrated by the Royal Council that had awoken God’s wrath, Ekroth came to understand. When he later related his experience, he said that he was unsure whether he had been awake or asleep during the episode, only that it was when he took his pipe of tobacco that the vision came to him.   Tobacco smoke had […]

Reflecting on the “Being a Minority in Times of Catastrophe” Conference

by Dr. Samuel Foster (University of East Anglia/University College, London – School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies) Being a Minority in Times of Catastrophe served as the BASEES Study Group for Minority History’s inaugural event. Although our original intention had been to host it in hybrid format, with those outside the UK taking part via videoconference link, the ongoing uncertainties surrounding the public health restrictions led to us deciding to divide the event into two parts. The first involved a two-day remote symposium comprising a keynote and five research panels, which took place on 25-26/06/2021. The second, was an authors’ workshop for participants who had expressed interest in having their paper feature as part of a post-symposium publication. This subsequently took place at the Wiener Holocaust Library in central London on 22/10/2021. Given the symposium’s theme, it now feels somewhat fitting that the process of setting up and registering the Study Group mostly took place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020. Indeed, our decision to explore the consequences of historical crisis and natural disasters, stemmed in part from the tragic implications that have unfolded over the last two years. Surveys by the British Medical Association […]