our publications Journal, Books and Supplements
Past & Present is widely acknowledged to be the liveliest and most stimulating historical journal in the English-speaking world. The journal’s contents reflect the Society’s belief that history should be accessible and interesting to a wide range of readers, and its articles are intended to appeal to non-specialists as well as to experts. Since its inception in 1952, the mark of a P&P article was that it should be a properly researched study which showed an awareness of the wider implications of that research. Its remit is worldwide, and across all time periods.
There are four issues a year, each containing around seven major articles with occasional debates and review essays. Our authors come from around the globe, with about half of our articles written by non-UK authors. Subscription to the journal also includes the annual Supplement, which consists of a collection of essays (often the proceedings of Past & Present conferences and other symposia) reflective of the broad themes and ethos of the journal itself.
You can browse the current issue and the archive online (subscription required for full access to articles), as well as advance access articles that are published ahead of the print edition.
The Past and Present Supplement series was launched in 2006 to provide a forum in which to publish the proceedings of Past and Present conferences and other symposia, and collections of essays reflective of the broad themes and ethos of the journal itself. One volume will appear every year,
which will be sent out free to subscribers, but which can also be purchased by non-subscribers as a book. This will also be available online and will be, like the journal, fully searchable.
Beyond Truth: Fiction and Disinformation in Early Modern Europe
Edited by Emma Claussen and Luca Zenobi
Fake news and fabrications have always both intrigued and alarmed. Over and above this ubiquity, at particular historical junctures, awareness — and wariness — of fakery have reached such prominence in public consciousness as to turn it into a cultural phenomenon in its own right. This was the case in the early modern period when, similarly to today, a combination of new technologies and new audiences (with the rise of novels and newspapers and the exponential expansion of the reading public) brought about various crises of communication as well as opportunities for some of the people who lived through them. The telling of tall tales loomed large, both in terms of sheer quantity and in the level of concern raised about them, sparking new ways of thinking about truth and the literary and critical skills required to identify it.
Drawing on a series of papers first presented at a conference in 2018, this Supplement examines fiction, disinformation and the intersections between the two in early modern Europe. The volume brings together literary and historical approaches to these topics, going beyond the novel and the newspaper to look for intersections across a variety of genres: from short stories and legal arguments to biographies and medical reports. Its authors conduct close readings of falsehoods and fictional writings, considering choices of both style and content in light of issues such as creativity, veracity and authenticity. In addition, they highlight how such falsehoods and fictions reveal the agency of readers and writers in reimagining the world around them, by reinforcing existing balances and belief systems or bringing forth new ones. In this sense, the volume is fundamentally a contribution of method, one which showcases a range of interdisciplinary investigations; but it is also a contribution to our understanding of the ideas and exchanges that shaped people’s views and experience of early modern life.
Mothering’s Many Labours (2020 Supplement)
Edited by Sarah Knott and Emma Griffin
What is the history of maternal labour: the range of mothering figures, the variety of activities, the social and economic importance? With the significant exception of Black women’s history, the history of mothering work has been relatively overlooked. Maternity has more typically been associated with emotion: a result of the long western history of ‘motherlove’ and of the influence of attachment theory, with its focus on the bonds of the mother–baby dyad. Mothering’s Many Labours addresses the topic by borrowing concepts and questions from feminist theory, sociology and economics and from an archive of feminist activism. Set aside the presumptive mother–baby dyad, and what emerges are many forms of dispersed mothering. Othermothering — the term originates with Black theorist Patricia Hill Collins — involved kin and community, while delegated mothering entailed commodified or coerced service of some kind. Maternal labour may long have been dismissed as unchanging or mundane, but the contributions here underline its social, cultural and economic importance and reposition it as a cornerstone of human societies. This labour, meanwhile, was strikingly various in its activities and demands. The contributors here draw attention to the wide range of physical, emotional and organizational work undertaken by those mothering, as well as to their role in archiving and remembering family histories. The volume seeks to push our boundaries of understanding beyond what happens inside the nuclear (and typically white, western) family. Authors consider how different forms of mothering operated — among for example the polygamous families of West Africa, the slave-holding households of the antebellum American South, the enslaved people of Caribbean plantations, andBritons of elite and ordinary classes. Undertaken by scholars of a variety of generations, this new research on maternal labour suggests an invigorated feminist history attentive to the past and to the changing circumstances of our own day. Both the variety of family forms in our current moment, and capitalism’s undervaluing of caregivers and caregiving, have deep historical roots.
2021 was a “fallow” year for the Past & Present Supplement series
Global History and Microhistory (2019 Supplement)
Edited by John-Paul A Ghobrial
From its advent at the turn of the twenty-first century, global history has been a field in search of its soul. Reading Patrick O’Brien’s contribution to the inaugural issue of the Journal of Global History in 2006, one cannot but be struck by the optimism expressed in his vision of global history. Here, O’Brien called for the restoration of a ‘modern’ form of global history that promised to ‘construct negotiable meta-narratives, based upon serious scholarship that will become cosmopolitan in outlook and meet the needs of our globalizing world’. Only a year later, Dominic Sachsenmaier — writing in the much older Journal of World History, founded at the University of Hawaii in 1990 — struck a cautionary note when he wondered whether global history could really become the sort of ‘ecumenical history’ envisioned by O’Brien. What hope was there for a truly global history, particularly if historical writing remained structured around a ‘nationally organised scholarly community’ that was ‘ill equipped to handle transnational or even global research agendas’? His prophecy still strikes a chord today: ‘The question of whose world history, what perspectives, and what historiographical traditions are being applied will become even more pertinent than in the case of more localized research’. Anglophone scholarship was not alone in feeling this initial unease. In the pages of the French journal Annales, in May 2000, Roger Chartier posed an important question: ‘To think the world’, he wrote, ‘but who thinks it? Men of the past or historians of the present?’ Whatever the case, the editors of the Annales were sure of one thing: writing such a global history ‘would be very difficult’ indeed.
The Society has a long history of publishing books and collections of essays reflective of the broad themes and ethos of the journal itself. Encompassing a range of scholarly and original works primarily concerned with social, economic and cultural changes, their causes and consequences, these volumes endeavour to communicate the results of innovative historical and allied research in readable and lively form to a wide audience. The Past and Present Publications series was established in 1976 and comprises more
than 70 books by both established and early career scholars. Transcending chronological and geographical boundaries, the purpose of the series is to publish high-quality, cutting-edge work that has an appeal outside the specialist area of the author. The series was originally published with Cambridge University Press.
In 2009, the monograph series was re-launched with Oxford University Press as the Past and Present Book Series. Collections
Matthew Hilton writes: In May 2013 Rana Mitter and I published the Past & Present Supplement, Transnationalism and Contemporary Global History. We were aware of a growing interest in the subject and wished to bring together some of the most exciting new research being undertaken around the world. Through a series of essays ranging from wartime China to decolonising Africa we wanted to explore the global spread of ideas, institutions and peoples, especially those that travelled along unexpected paths: hence articles on Indian influences on Kenya or on black Americans in China. Our period was confined to the middle decades of the twentieth century, though we were aware of much other work being conducted on modern history where scholars were exploring the notion of transnationalism.
Certainly, if the download statistics are anything to go by, there is clearly a growing demand for these types of histories. To mark the two years since the supplement was published, we have decided to make the entire volume freely available for a further three months. In addition, we have also made available in this virtual issue a number of other pieces on modern history that have been published in Past & Present over the last few years that might, in other circumstances, have found their way into such a supplement. As with the supplement itself, these will be available free of charge for a period of three months. This virtual issue marks the latest in a series of initiatives in which Past & Present will make parts of its extensive ‘back catalogue’ freely available through the exploration of various historical themes and subjects.
We welcome new submissions for the journal in all areas. More information for authors, and detailed submission guidelines, can be found here. The online submission website is here and queries can be directed to the editorial office.
Viewpoint articles: with great success Past & Present recently re-introduced Viewpoint articles to the journal and we particularly invite submissions of Viewpoints. These should seek to provoke or advance debate, to open up new questions, to define the state or direction of a particular field, to shape trends in historiography at a more general level — always in a way that is comprehensible to non-specialists. They might be relatively specific/substantive with respective to area and period or more theoretical. Viewpoint articles would generally have a less formal character than journal articles. The scholarly apparatus of research articles need not be applied so rigorously: polemic could have a place, there might be less need for careful nuance or qualification, or for comprehensiveness of coverage, footnoting could be light, and style could be more individual. These pieces could be flexible in form. Two people (or more) might wish to collaborate on an exchange of views. (We think the difference between such exchanges and our Debates would be that they would not focus on one article). We are flexible in relation to length, but our preference is for Viewpoint pieces which are shorter than articles so that they stand apart.
Please note that we are now practising double-blind reviewing. Submitted texts should therefore be rendered anonymous (you may, if you wish, also submit a separate title page giving author details and acknowledgements).
We hope to reach decisions on most submissions well within four months (and certainly no longer than six), and we will contact you if the refereeing process takes longer than this. We also offer advance access publication, which allows for swift online publication in advance of the print issue.
Open Access Policy
We know that many authors will want to make their work freely available online and we would like to support this. Authors may deposit the ‘accepted manuscript’ version* of their articles in institutional and centrally organized repositories, with an embargo period of 24 months from publication. UK authors should note that articles published in Past & Present are therefore eligible for the post-2014 REF. Further details about self-archiving can be found here. We also offer authors the option of paying an APC (article processing charge) to publish their work freely online immediately on publication.
However, we wish to emphasise that no author is obliged to pay any charge in order to publish in P&P. All our decisions about publication will be taken regardless of whether an author chooses to pay an APC or not. The quality of the work is the only criterion for publication.
* The ‘accepted manuscript’ version of an article is the final draft author manuscript, including modifications based on referees’ suggestions but before it has undergone copy-editing and proof correction.