Author Archives

Looking Ahead to Energy, Culture and Society in the Global South

Received from Mattin Biglari (SOAS, London) This two-day international conference brings together doctoral students and early-career scholars to discuss the different ways energy is and has been intertwined with economic, social, cultural and political developments and processes. The aim of the conference is centring attention on energy as a key agent in modern and contemporary history, in contrast to its typical designation as an external subject of research exclusive to the Natural Sciences. At a moment of global climate crisis, it is necessary to critically analyse energy systems and their entanglement in social, economic and political realities. This discussion will develop crucial understanding of the use of alternative and renewable forms of energy. The conference (taking place at CRASSH, Cambridge 31 May to 1 June 2019) will address the significance of historically uneven development in determining the different ways energy is used and conceptualised around the world. As the negotiations of the 2016 Paris climate accord highlighted, plans for energy transition must also engage with calls for energy justice. Therefore, this conference will focus on cultures of energy in the Global South, drawing attention to particular connections between energy, colonialism and the post-colonial state. We address an array of different […]

Introducing Modes of Authentication in Early Modern Europe

received from Dr. Liesbeth Corens (Queen Mary, London)  Introduction In a time of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ we may long for an earlier, purportedly simpler world in which facts were simply facts. But were facts ever that simple? How did past generations separate fact from fiction; truth from falsehood; and proof from hearsay? Tradition has it that written proof once ruled supreme, whether it concerned early modern scholarship or litigation, the spiritual world of demons and the saints or the worldly realm of land rights and taxation. As historians in different fields have since realised, proof was an omnipresent, but nevertheless contested practice that bred fierce conflicts about degrees of trust, the nature of truth, the boundaries between scholarly disciplines, and the purview of official institutions. The historiography on proof is varied, and scholars work in parallel traditions; historians of science are inspired by Bruno Latour; historians of religion look at wonders and miracles; historians of scholarship discuss authenticity and forgery; cultural historians are fascinated by the witness. Proof, in short, has enjoyed much critical press within today’s scholarly disciplines. Rarely, however, have scholars integrated these individual observations to probe the shared European legacy of proof. This conference seeks […]

Reflections Upon 18th Century Now

by Miranda Reading (King’s, London), Dr Joseph Cozens (UCL), Dr Sally Holloway (Oxford Brookes), Esther Brot (King’s, London) On Friday the 26th April 2019, the British History in the Long Eighteenth Century Seminar at the Institute for Historical Research hosted it’s 30th anniversary conference at UCL. The sold-out event hosted attendees from all over Britain and Europe, giving a wide perspective to the conference’s stated aim, which was to examine the current state of the study of eighteenth-century British history. The seminar began life devoted to the political history of the eighteenth century. Under the influence of the late Professor John Dinwiddy (1939-1990) it enlarged its remit, becoming a discussion space for all aspects of the long eighteenth century, which we generally define as being the period 1660-1830. As one of the longest-running seminars at the Institute for Historical Research, over the past thirty years, the Long Eighteenth Century Seminar has developed a distinguished reputation, providing space for scholars at all stages of their careers to bring new research to an engaged and receptive audience across thematic and methodological boundaries. 30 years as a time period, has a certain amount of resonance. It is about the time of a demographer’s […]

Viewpoints on Temporalities and History

By the Past & Present editorial team A desire to accessibly explore the big themes the unite and animate those interested in historical studies has lain at the heart of the Past & Present project since the first issue of the journal in 1952. So pleasingly, since their revival in 2016, our Viewpoint articles-a series of person reflections-seeking to interrogate questions around and advance key overarching areas of discussion and debate for all who work in the discipline-have become some of our most read and engaged with publications. Continuing in this strong vein, Past & Present is pleased to publish as part of its May 2019 issue (#243) the thoughts, perspectives and insights of five scholars working across time and space, on the matter of temporality and history. The Temporalities Viewpoints have been made free to read by our publisher Oxford University Press Academic and are available to read below: “The History of Temporalities: An Introduction”, by Dr. Matthew Champion (Birkbeck, London) “A Fuller History of Temporalities”, by Dr. Matthew Champion (Birkbeck, London) “The Fetish of Accuracy: Perspectives on Early Modern Time(S)”, by Dr. Stefan Hanß (University of Manchester) “Time and the Modern: Current Trends in the History of Modern […]

Past & Present Editorial Board Member Publishing the Society of Prisoners

by the Past & Present editorial team Past & Present Editorial Board member Dr. Renaud Morieux (Jesus College, Cambridge) has a book The Society of Prisoners Anglo-French Wars and Incarceration in the Eighteenth Century forthcoming in the Past & Present Book Series (published with Oxford University Press Academic). The cover has now been released and can be viewed here.

Programme Released for Best Sellers in the Pre-Industrial Age

Received from Dr. Shanti Graheli Past & Present is pleased to be one of the sponsors of “Best Sellers in the Pre-Industrial Age” at the University of Glasgow 22nd-24th May 2019. The organisers have now released the full programme for the event and it can be downloaded here. The outline of the event below is taken from the call for papers: Bestsellers, TV series, spin-offs, fan fiction, are all deeply embedded in our perception of literary consumer culture today. Yet the notion of a bestseller with spin-offs is a very old one indeed. The consolidation of the printing press in the Renaissance led to the first major re-assessment of the book as an object of ‘mass’ consumption. Lower production costs, paired with a rise of literacy levels, brought more books to an ever-growing reading public. Printers and publishers devised marketing strategies to meet demand, such as serialisation and branding, the creation of abridgements and illustrated editions, spin-offs and games inspired by the most successful texts. Foreign and ancient texts were re-packaged in translation or alongside new commentaries. Bestsellers catered for all types of readers, or indeed users, with oral transmission playing an important part in the dissemination of texts. While […]

Appointment of Past & Present Fellow: Race, Ethnicity & Equality in History

by Dr. Katherine Foxhall (Royal Historical Society) The Royal Historical Society, together with the Past and Present Society, is delighted to announce the appointment of Shahmima Akhtar to the two-year post of Past and Present Fellowship in Race, Ethnicity & Equality in History. The post will be held jointly at the Royal Historical Society and the Institute for Historical Research. Time will be divided evenly between research, writing, engagement, organisational work and event management to advance the work of the RHS Race, Ethnicity & Equality Working Group (REEWG); and development of Ms. Akhtar’s academic research and career as a historian. Shahmima joins us from the Department of History, University of Birmingham, where she has recently submitted her AHRC/Midlands3Cities-funded PhD thesis entitled “‘A Public Display of Its Own Capabilities and Resources’: A Cultural History of Irish Identity on Display, 1851-2015.” She is currently working with the curatorial team at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to develop a display on Birmingham and the British Empire from a decolonising standpoint. In creating this Fellowship, the Royal Historical Society and IHR are grateful for the financial support of the Past and Present Society. Explaining why the Past & Present Society are funding this position, […]

Past & Present Author Michelle Tusan Wins Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies Prize

by the Past & Present editorial team We were delighted to hear that Prof. Michelle Tusan (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) has won the 2019 Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies Article Prize, for an article that she published in Past & Present. The winning article “Genocide, Famine And Refugees On Film: Humanitarianism And The First World War” appeared in Past & Present No. 237 which was published in November 2017. To recognise this achievement and enable even more people to read Prof. Tusan’s prize winning scholarship, our publisher Oxford University Press Academic has decided to make “Genocide, Famine And Refugees On Film: Humanitarianism And The First World War” free to access online for a limited time period.