Monthly Archives: July 2023

Royal Historical Society Masters’ Scholarships for Academic Year 2023-24

by the Past & Present editorial team The Royal Historical Society now invites applications for its programme of Masters’ Scholarships for the academic year 2023-24. This scheme provides financial support to students from groups currently underrepresented in academic History. Scholarships are worth £5000 each and are awarded to students who will begin a Masters’ degree in History (full or part-time) at a UK university from the start of the academic year, 2023-24. Six Scholarships will be awarded for 2023-24. This year’s Scholarships are generously supported by the Past & Present Society and The Thriplow Charitable Trust, to which the Royal Historical Society is extremely grateful. The programme, established in 2022, seeks to actively address underrepresentation and encourage Black and Asian students to consider academic research in History. By supporting Masters’ students the programme focuses on a key early stage in the academic training of future researchers. With these Scholarships, the Society seeks to support students who are without the financial means to study for a Masters’ in History. By doing so, we hope to improve the educational experience of early career historians engaged in a further degree. There are no conditions on what the award may be spent and may be used to […]

Nightsoil in Wartime China: Lessons From the Past to Build a Better Future

by Prof. Nicole Elizabeth Barnes (Duke University) Our planet is dying. It turns out the fossil fuels hidden beneath its crust were properly placed there, tucked away in the darkness. We cannot put them back any easier than we can reverse climate change, but we can, and must, seek every possible solution to our current predicament. This means every form of knowledge, past and present, is a resource to mine with as much diligence as we mine coal and drill for oil. The history of farming in China is one such resource, as I show in my open access article “The Many Values of Nightsoil in Wartime China” Past & Present No. 259 (May 2023). The problems can seem insurmountable. Agroindustry and rampant application of chemical fertilizers have so depleted our soils that, according to some reputable entities such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) we have just sixty harvests left. Chemical fertilizers cause harm from their inception. Phosphate mining damages habitat, pollutes waterways, and creates a radioactive byproduct, phosphogypsum. Chemical fertilizers emit methane pollution into the atmosphere during production and after application. They also pollute waterways with excess nutrients in a process known as eutrophication. […]

Past & Present Author Roseanna Webster Wins 2023 Royal Historical Society Alexander Prize

by the Past & Present editorial team Past and Present was pleased to learn that Dr. Roseanna Webster (Trinity College, Cambridge) has won the Royal Historical Society’s Alexander Prize 2023 for an article in any field of history by a woman scholar”. The award was made for her article “Women and the Fight for Urban Change in Late Francoist Spain” (open access) due to be published next month in Past & Present no. 260 (August 2023). This year the Alexander Prize was also awarded to Dr. Jake Dyble (University of Padua) for the article “General Average, Human Jettison, and the Status of Slaves in Early Modern Europe” published last year in the Historical Journal. The prize judges noted that: “Roseanna Webster’s work on Francoist Spain is a classic account of history from below. She focuses on female activists in new housing estates whose concerns were to gain the necessities of life, such as a regular supply of running water. Webster’s use of oral histories shows how the role of activist jarred with traditional gender roles, and how this caused the women themselves some unease. Webster’s unusual choice of subject matter and her careful handling of her source material has produced […]

Past & Present Author Samantha Payne Wins a 2023 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Prize

by the Past & Present editorial team Past and Present was pleased to learn that Dr. Samantha Payne (College of Charleston) has won the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians “article prize for 2022 for an article in any field of history by a woman scholar”. The award was made for her article “‘A General Insurrection in the Countries with Slaves’: The US Civil War and the Origins of an Atlantic Revolution, 1861–1866” which was published in Past & Present no. 257 (November 2022). The prize committee noted that: “Payne foregrounds the actions of enslaved people in the debate about emancipation following the American Civil War and its ripple effects on the other slave states of the Americas. She argues the end of the Civil War precipitated the abolition of slavery in Cuba and Brazil because of the actions of these slaves. Members of the Committee were impressed by the breadth of her research, with archives in several countries and multiple languages. By considering the communications network that existed among enslaved people and free people of color in the Atlantic world, she was able to consider how much their participation of affected the changing discourse of emancipation By reading across the […]