Launching Paper Trails: Second-hand book to living book (with sandwiches in between)

This story started with a second-hand book I had ordered from a bookseller in Toulouse. Exploring its uncut pages and recontextualising its material history led me to reflect on the idea of research stories and sparked creative ideas about our affective relationship with archives and collections. Later, in the classroom, the story continued as students reacted creatively to items from Special Collections, challenging my own … Continue reading Launching Paper Trails: Second-hand book to living book (with sandwiches in between)

‘Uprooting Identity’: Recording of IHR Paper

A summary of my paper at the IHR is now available over at the French History Network Blog. Head on over to the FHN site to have a listen to a recording of the paper. Link: http://frenchhistorysociety.co.uk/blog/?p=2026 Here’s the content reposted for the meantime: Date & Place: Monday 29th April, in the IOE Bedford Way, Room 784. Speakers: Dr Andrew WM Smith (Chichester) Paper Title: Uprooting identity: European … Continue reading ‘Uprooting Identity’: Recording of IHR Paper

Paper Trails Conference, 4th July 2019, University College London

Often there is more than research inside the books we read. Bookmarks, train tickets, receipts, and menus tucked into pages offer clues about the life of the book itself. Yet the lives of our research material often go unmarked, lost between the gaps in disciplinary boundaries and narrow definitions. The biographies of books and documents can illuminate their contexts, as printed matter that is sold, … Continue reading Paper Trails Conference, 4th July 2019, University College London

The Gilets Jaunes Protest: A Grand Refusal in an Age of Commuter Democracy

I wrote up some thoughts on the recent Gilets Jaunes protests taking place in France. You can read the article across at the ‘Age of Revolutions’ blog here: https://ageofrevolutions.com/2018/12/13/the-gilets-jaunes-protest-a-grand-refusal-in-an-age-of-commuter-democracy/ Image credit: By Thomas Bresson – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74933095 Continue reading The Gilets Jaunes Protest: A Grand Refusal in an Age of Commuter Democracy

Resistance by Moonlight

There’s always a slightly awkward moment when you talk to a room full of history enthusiasts about your favourite item in a Military Aviation Museum. For me, it’s not the Hawker Hunter in which Neville Duke broke the Air Speed Record, nor even the wreckage of a Hawker Hurricane shot down in the Battle of Britain. My favourite item, as I nervously admitted, is a … Continue reading Resistance by Moonlight

Macron’s Appeal: Resistance and Myths

In March 1942, the trade-unionist Christian Pineau secretly flew to London from Nazi Occupied France, seeking to connect his resistance network with the broader efforts of the Free French based in London. Upon arriving, he was granted an audience with General Charles De Gaulle, and they dined at the Connaught hotel in Mayfair. There he discovered the difference between the internal resistance being carried out … Continue reading Macron’s Appeal: Resistance and Myths

How a Ladies’ College Played a Vital Role in Operation Overlord

On 16 August 1940, the Stuka raid on Tangmere was one of the most serious yet to have struck England. This surgical strike against the station destroyed 13 aircraft and resulted in the tragic death of 10 RAF servicemen and three civilians. On top of this, almost all of the pre-war hangars, the station workshops, stores and the water pumping station were destroyed, with widespread … Continue reading How a Ladies’ College Played a Vital Role in Operation Overlord

Paper Trails: Workshop Roundup

I’ve never been happier to be asked, “What does ‘privy’ mean?” Along with five schoolchildren, I pored over reports on sanitation (or lack thereof) in nineteenth century London, before we then compared maps of drains in Whitechapel to get a sense of how they fitted into the rhythms of daily life (ahem). On that map, we noted the Public House on nearly every corner, the … Continue reading Paper Trails: Workshop Roundup

Paper Trails: Conference Roundup

Paper is tied up with so much of what we do as historians that it’s sometimes easy to forget about it. Likewise, our research stories are some of the first things we reach for when talking with colleagues, but they seldom make it into our published work. What happens, then, when we put these things at the heart of our history? This conference, which I … Continue reading Paper Trails: Conference Roundup