Life Cycles: The Ephemera of Research

Parking tickets, library cards, recipes, notes, and adverts; I love second-hand books and the stuff that you can find tucked inside them. These little things seem to make the everyday nature of their reading resonate, reminding me of the material history of the book alongside the wider history that I’m researching. Coming across someone else’s expired parking tickets (or their idle doodling) calls to mind … Continue reading Life Cycles: The Ephemera of Research

Guarding the Limits: Voices & Memory in an Age of Narrative

Historians aren’t meant to see the future, though sometimes it feels like we’re expected to. We all know the adage that it’s meant to repeat itself, and know also that it doesn’t. Sometimes, however, the present can seem out of kilter with the past, or even over-whelmed by it. Debates about memory seem to confirm that the growing importance of ‘Identity Politics’ (which as a … Continue reading Guarding the Limits: Voices & Memory in an Age of Narrative

REBLOG: A History of Violence: Understanding Narratives of Terror

This post originally featured on the French History Network Blog. Visit their site for more great content. The violence which marred French streets last week cannot be understood outwith historical context. Its very horror lies in its spontaneity, in its mundane settings, and in the obscurity of its perpetrators. The shootings that occurred in Paris were not counter-hegemonic violence. They were not coherent political messages. … Continue reading REBLOG: A History of Violence: Understanding Narratives of Terror

Of Counter-Factuals and Contingency

“But when fundamentals are doubted, as at present, we must try to recover the candour and wonder of the child; the unspoilt realism of and objectivity of innocence. Or, if we cannot do that, we must try at least to shake off the cloud of mere custom and see the thing as new, if only by seeing it as unnatural.” – G K Chesterton I … Continue reading Of Counter-Factuals and Contingency