by the Past & Present editorial team Oxford University Press who are Past & Present’s publisher, recently assembled a virtual issue on the “History of Witchcraft”. They have chosen a selection of three articles from back issues of Past & Present, many of them very recent, to include in the collection. The articles included are: “Enchantment in an Age of Reform: Fortune-Telling Fever in Post-Mao China, 1980s–1990s”, by Emily Baum (University of California, Irvine) published in Past & Present No. 251 (May 2021) “Irish Cursing and the Art of Magic, 1750–2018”, by Thomas Waters (Imperial College London) published in Past & Present No. 247 (May 2020) “Witchcraft and the State: Cameroon and South Africa: Ambiguities of ‘Reality’ and ‘Superstition’” by Peter Geschiere, published in Past & Present No. 199 (August 2008) All articles are currently free to read. Our congradulations to the authors on their work being recognised in this way.
by the Past & Present editorial team Past & Present was delighted to become aware that two articles published in the journal during 2021 appear in our publisher Oxford University Press’ Best of History 2021 collection. The articles which comprise this collection are amongst the “most read” pieces to have been published across Oxford University Press’ History subject area during 2021. The selection from last year’s run of Past & Present issues consists of: “Managing Food Crises: Urban Relief Stocks in Pre-Industrial Holland”, by Dr. Jessica Dijkman (Utrecht University), published in Past & Present No. 251 (May 2021) “The Political Day in London, C.1697–1834”, by Dr. Hannah Grieg (University of York) and Prof. Amanda Vickery (Queen Mary, London), published in Past & Present No. 252 (August 2021) “The Political Day in London C. 1697-1834” have been made temporary free to read by Oxford University Press. “Managing Food Crises: Urban Relief Stocks in Pre-Industrial Holland” is Open Access. Our congradulations to the authors on their scholarship being recognised in this way.
by Dr. Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky (University of California, Santa Barbara) My research on the nineteenth-century Eastern Mediterranean quarantines started in an unlikely place — a Russian literary journal Otechestvennye zapiski (Annals of the Fatherland), beloved in tsardom’s liberal circles. I came across a curious report about a vaccination experiment in Istanbul. Written by a young doctor from Odessa, Artemii Rafalovich (1816–51), it described how, in 1846, he heated cowpox matter to test whether that would destroy the ability of the disease to pass on. He then inoculated eight (allegedly) volunteer Istanbullite children with heated and unheated cowpox. Those children inoculated with heated matter would not develop pockmarks, which led the doctor to conclude that the heat annihilates the disease’s contagiousness. He conducted the experiment to bolster evidence that the heat destroys the matter of diseases, including that of plague, which had recently resurfaced in the Ottoman Empire and Egypt, and that the heating technique might prove useful in treating clothes and goods in quarantines. The Russian doctor’s report was my introduction to the world of nineteenth-century medical travelogues. My research on the subject was published in an article “Ottoman and Egyptian Quarantines and European Debates on Plague in the 1830s–1840s” in […]