news and updates on the Past & Present Blog


Article in Past & Present No. 262 Wins Two Prizes

By Josh Allen - July 11, 2024 (0 comments)

by the Past & Present editorial team

Past & Present was pleased to learn that Dr. Jessica O’Leary (Australian Catholic University) has recently been awarded two prizes for her Open Access article “The Uprooting of Indigenous Women’s Horticultural Practices in Brazil, 1500–1650” which was published in Past & Present No. 262 (February 2024).

Dr. O’Leary was awarded the biennial Philippa Maddern ECR Publication Prize by the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (ANZAMEMS).

As ANZAMEMS explain:

“The Philippa Maddern ECR Publication Prize is awarded to an Early Career Researcher (ECR) for the best article-length scholarly work in any discipline/topic falling within the scope of medieval and early modern studies, published within the below date range.”

More recently Dr. O’Leary was awarded the Australian Women’s History Network’s Mary Bennett Prize.

This prize is awarded “to the best article or chapter bearing the hallmarks of advanced historical scholarship and contribution to the academic field of women’s history”. The award is only made in years when a piece of scholarship is deemed to have reached the levels of quality and significance required to obtain it. When awarded the prize consists of an award of two hundred Australian Dollars and a citation.

Dr. O’Leary’s citation reads:

“In this impressive ethnohistorical account of Indigenous women’s practices in 16th century Brazil, O’Leary shows how, following the arrival of Jesuit missionaries, women’s central role in Indigenous agricultural practices were expunged from public memory and the historical record.  Based largely on Spanish-language sources, this beautifully written and innovative article sets out to reinstate their story, in the process expanding our thinking about Indigenous women as resource holders and knowledge holders, and our understanding of Indigenous women as agents as well as the objects of colonisation.”

Our congratulations to Dr. O’Leary on their scholarship in “The Uprooting of Indigenous Women’s Horticultural Practices in Brazil, 1500–1650” being recognised in this way.

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Registration and Programme for the ‘Epistemology of Ancient Embryology’ Conference

By Josh Allen - May 24, 2024 (0 comments)

Received from Dr. Nathasja Roggo-van Luijn (Johannes Gutenberg- Universität Mainz)

Epistemology of Ancient Embryology Conference

Dates: 1st – 3rd July 2024

Location: Department of Classics, University of Cambridge/and online

Event website


This conference will explore the various epistemological practices and strategies used in ancient Graeco-Roman embryology. An embryo can turn into a fully-fledged human being, but it is unclear how exactly that happens, as the inner workings of a pregnant female body cannot directly be observed. What methods did ancient thinkers use to circumvent this problem and nevertheless say something about the formation of embryos? What strategies did they employ to come up with theories, corroborate general principles, adapt theories from predecessors, and communicate their own theories to their audiences?

Strategies which were employed include dissection, vivisection, empirical observation of the pregnant female body, studying miscarriages, talking to women and midwives, comparisons with artefacts or plants, inferences from the pregnancy of animals, and connecting it to cosmological views by principle of ‘microcosm-macrocosm’. The conference will focus on the Graeco-Roman world, inviting experts on a range of thinkers (the ‘Presocratics’, the Hippocratic Corpus, Aristotle, Hellenistic doctors, the Stoics, Galen, Middle- and Neoplatonism), but will also include a comparative panel on embryology in other ancient cultures, e.g., China, Babylonia, India, and Egypt. Bringing together experts on the use of a range of methods, thinkers, and traditions, this conference aims to give a coherent account of the various, and often overlapping, epistemological strategies and practices employed in ancient embryology.


Monday July 1st:

8.45-9.15 Coffee

9.15      Introduction

Session (1). Chair: Sophia Connell

9.30-10.30: Caterina Pello

‘From Parmenides to Democritus: Presocratic Embryological Arguments’

10.30-11.30: Nathasja Roggo-van Luijn

‘From Cucumbers to Wool: Analogies in Ancient Greek Embryology’

11.30    Break

Session (2). Chair: Nathasja Roggo-van Luijn

11.45-12.45: Cathie Speiser [online]

‘The Embryo in Ancient Egypt’

12.45-2.00        Lunch

Session (3). Chair: Chiara Blanco

2.00-3.00: George Kazantzidis [online]

Terpsis and Akribeia in Hippocratic Embryology: The story of the seven-day foetus’

3:00-4:00: George Karamanolis [online]

‘Early Christians on the Soul of the Embryo’

4.00-4.30 Break

Session (4). Chair: Lea Cantor

4.30-5.30: Lisa Raphals

‘On the Character of an Unborn Child: Three Excavated Texts on Embryology’

Tuesday July 2:

Session (5) Chair: Nathasja Roggo-van Luijn

9.30-10.30: Vishyna Knezevic

‘Philolaus’s Embryology’

10.30 break

Session (6) Chair: Chiara Martini

10.45-11.45: Aistė Čelkytė

‘The Neopythagoreans and the Mathematics of the Embryo’

11.45-12.45: Alesia Preite

‘The Embodiment of the Immortal Soul in the Timaeus: An Embryological Interpretation of Ti. 42e5-44c4’

12.45-2 Lunch

Session (7) Chair: Myrto Hatzimichali

2.00-3.00: Sophia Connell

‘The Use of Empirical Claims in Galen’s Embryology’

3.00-4.00: Anne Behnke Kinney [online]

‘Embryology in Ancient China’

4.00 Break

Session (8) Chair: Sophia Connell

4.30: Mariska Leunissen [online]

‘Old Wives’ Tales, Maternal Expertise, and Early Medicine in Aristotle’s


7.00 Conference Dinner

Wednesday July 3:

Session (9). Chair: James Warren

9.30-10.30: Chiara Blanco

‘Greek Medical and Biological Influences on Lucretius’ Embryology’

10.30 Break

11.00-12.00: Norah Woodcock

‘Eggs as External Wombs in Aristotle’s Theory of Generation’


In addition to the Past & Present Society this event is supported by the British Society for the History of Philosophy, the Mind Association, Birkbeck University of London, and the Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge.

Past & Present is pleased to support this event and supports other events like it. Applications for event funding are welcomed from scholars working in the field of historical studies at all stages in their careers.

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RHS Masters’ Scholarships

By Josh Allen - May 23, 2024 (0 comments)

Via the Royal Historical Society

View the original post on the Royal Historical Society Website

RHS Masters’ Scholarships provide financial support to students from groups currently underrepresented in academic History. Each Scholarship is worth £5,000.

Via Royal Historical Society, all rights reserved (2024)

The next round of applications, for students studying for a Masters’ degree in History from September 2024 is now open. Further information on how to apply are available below. Applications may be made via the Society’s applications.

This year the Society seeks to award eight scholarships to students who will begin a Masters’ degree in History (full or part-time) at a UK university from the start of the next academic year. The Society thanks the Past & Present Society and the Scouloudi Foundation for their generous support of this year’s awards.

The programme, established in 2022, seeks to actively address underrepresentation within the discipline, and enable Black and Asian students, along with those of other minorities, 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, we seek 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 support fees, living expenses etc. during the degree course. Recipients also become Postgraduate Members of the Society.

To ensure that scholarships go to those with the greatest need, successful applicants must meet clear eligibility requirements. Potential applicants to the scheme are directed to our eligibility requirements page before beginning the first stage of the application process, via the button below.

Application Process

There are two stages to the RHS Masters Scholarship application process:

  • Stage One gathers key information on your intended course of study and your eligibility.

Only applications successfully demonstrating eligibility will be moved on to:

  • Stage Two, which enables applicants to detail their reasons for applying and to elaborate on the impact an RHS Masters Scholarship will have upon their personal and professional aspirations.

Applications should be submitted via the Society’s applications portal here >

The deadline for receipt of STAGE ONE APPLICATIONS is 11:59PM on Sunday 23 June 2024

Only those successful in demonstrating their eligibility will be invited to complete Stage Two.

The deadline for receipt of STAGE TWO APPLICATIONS is 11:59PM on Sunday 14 July 2024

Scholarship holders for 2023-24

In autumn 2023, the Society was delighted to announce six recipients of Masters’ Scholarships for the academic year 2023-24:

  • Roqibat Adebimpe, to study at the University of Sheffield
  • Matthew Dickinson, to study at the University of Manchester
  • Baryana Ivanova, to study at the University of Cambridge
  • Nawajesh Khan, to study at Cardiff University
  • Marielle Masolo, to study at the University of Oxford
  • Charlotte Willis, to study at Cardiff University

Supporting the Scholarships programme for the academic year 2025-26

In the first two years of the programme (2022-23), the Society has awarded 12 Scholarships, thanks to the additional support of the Past & Present Society, the Thriplow Charitable Trust, and a generous donor. The RHS seeks to offer as many Scholarships as we can to talented eligible early career historians. In 2024-25, the Society is very grateful to the Past & Present Society and the Scouloudi Foundation for their generous support.

If you or your organisation would like to help support future rounds of this programme, please email to discuss options with the RHS President, Professor Emma Griffin.

All other enquiries about the programme should be addressed to:

Programme and Registration for the "Cosmic Magic: Astronomy, Astrology and Graeco-Egyptian Cultural Interactions" workshop

By Josh Allen - May 22, 2024 (0 comments)

Received from Dr. Peter Agócs (University College London)

The UCL Department of Greek and Latin, the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, Palladion/Graecoaegyptiaca and the Ourania Network are organising a conference entitled ‘Cosmic Magic. Astronomy, Astrology and Graeco-Aegyptian Cultural Interactions’. For the programme, please see here.

The conference, which is fully hybrid, will take place on June 3rd and 4th, 2024 in the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies’ G11 Common Ground Seminar Room (UCL Wilkins Building, South Wing), and on Zoom. Anyone interested is cordially invited.

If you plan to attend, please register via the Eventbrite page.

If you wish to attend in person, please write an email to

Any questions you may have can also be addressed to this email.

The society of Egypt in the Hellenistic and Roman periods was a unique and fascinating melting-pot of Egyptian, Near Eastern and Greek influences. The astronomy and astrology of the period is an exciting area in which to study this rich cultural hybridity. Cosmology was an area where science, religion and magic met and cross-fertilized in a culture where the boundaries between these areas were differently defined. This international project, conceived and run by the established scholarly networks ‘Ourania: Network for Astronomical Cultures in the Ancient and Premodern Worlds’ and ‘Graeco-Aegyptiaca’ (Palladion-UCL), brings together participants from the UK, Europe and US to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration in the fields of Graeco-Egyptian history and the history of ancient astronomy and culture. Our two-day conference, held in London with the support of Palladion, UCL and its Institute of Advanced Studies, the University of Birmingham, the Past and Present Society and the Institute of Classical Studies (University of London IAS) will cast light on how Greek and Egyptian science, religion and magic interacted in the intellectual culture and social and religious practices of Hellenistic and Roman Egypt.


The workshop will be held at the UCL Faculty of Arts and Humanities School of Advanced Studies’ Common Ground seminar space, Room G11 of the South Wing of UCL’s Wilkins Building: information on how to find it will be sent to you on registration. The venue’s location can also be found here.


Monday, 3rd June

9:20 Organisers’ opening remarks – Jess Lightfoot, Peter Agócs, Kata Endreffy and Árpád M. Nagy

9:30–10:40 Marina Escolano-Poveda (Liverpool) and Kim Ryholt (Copenhagen): ʽDemotic Insights on Hephaistion of Thebes’ (in person)

10:40–11:00 Break

11:00–12:10 Alessandra Rochetti (Oxford): ʽThe Cartography of Magic in the Magical Papyri’

(in person)

12:10–13:30 Lunch Break

13:30–14:40 Joachim Quack (Heidelberg): ʽMagic of the Decans’ (via Zoom)

14:40 Visit to the British Museum

Tuesday, June 4th

9:30–10:40 M. Zellmann-Rohrer and A. Winkler (Sydney and Berlin): ʽEgyptian Astrological Manuals in Demotic and Greek’ (presented by Winkler in person)

10:40–11:00 Break

11:00–12:10 Véronique Dasen: TBA (via Zoom)

12:10–12:40 Lunch break

12:40–13:50 Fabio Spadini (Fribourg): ʽAstro-magical gemstones: some case studies’ (in person)

13:50–15:00 Free discussion about the possibilities of research collaboration in this area.

Eventbrite Registration

Past & Present is pleased to support this event and supports other events like it. Applications for event funding are welcomed from scholars working in the field of historical studies at all stages in their careers.

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Programme and Registration for Communication and Exchange in the Early Modern c. 1500-1850

By Josh Allen - May 21, 2024 (0 comments)

Received from Joey Crozier (Aberystwyth University)

Key Details

Communication and Exchange in the Early Modern c. 1500-1850

Date: 30th-31st May 2024

Location: Aberystwyth (Main Hall, International Politics Building, Main Campus, University of Aberystwyth)


Event Poster

Registration (free)

Past & Present is pleased to support this event and supports other events like it. Applications for event funding are welcomed from scholars working in the field of historical studies at all stages in their careers.

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Past & Present logo, 2017 all rights reserved