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Historians and correspondence: The case of Jews’ letters to the Fascist Ministry of the Interior

by Florence Largillière

First some historical context: in the 1930s, Italian Jews were considered as being well integrated into Italian society. They had supported the independence movements of the 19th century, they were heavily decorated during the First World War, and they participated in the political and social life of the country which had emancipated them in 1848. More than 700 Jews joined the fascist movement before the March on Rome in October 1922[1] and the first fifteen years of Fascism were relatively peaceful for the Jewish community. However, in November 1938, everything changed.  Read more

A. Roger Ekirch, At Day’s Close: A History of Nighttime (2005)

by Ella Hollowood

The premise of A. Roger Ekirch’s At Day’s Close is a relatively simple one: what was nighttime like in Western society before industrialisation and modern lighting? Yet the result is a rich and fascinating study of ‘the forgotten half of the human experience’ and of a fundamental shift that took place between the late 17th and early 19th centuries in Europe. Drawing from evidence in diaries, correspondence, memoirs, court records, plays and illustrations, Ekirch highlights the stark contrast between our own experience of nighttime and that of our ‘pre-industrial’ ancestors.

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Agnes of Poitou (c.1025-1077) and ‘Medieval’ Attitudes to Women in Power?

by Emily Ward

Popular interest in medieval queenship was sparked by the recent television dramatization of the novel, The White Queen, and its portrayal of the relationship between a queen mother and her young sons, the ‘princes in the tower’. This triggered thoughts for me about my own research period, the eleventh and twelfth centuries.  Can the example of one eleventh century empress, Agnes of Poitou, inform our views about the power held by mothers of child kings and attitudes towards these women?

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First Visit to an Archive

by Tiia Sahrakorpi

I recently had my first, real archive visit to a foreign country. I had just started doing research on Hitler Youth magazines from c.1933-1938 for my dissertation and the only place to get the material I needed was in Germany. Before I had really even begun my project I had spent some time googling around where I could find primary sources for my potential project. I found the website for the German national archive and they had a list of all of their holdings, through which I found what I was looking for. It was rather easy, but it took some time to find out where everything was held.

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Reflections on Doing History in Public

by Anne Alexander

A few months ago the Cambridge Doing History in Public project was just the glimmer of an idea. As we launch our collective blog, this article will hopefully provide a starting point for much fruitful discussion. It is meant as an opening shot in a debate, rather than as a polished perspective.

The title for our project was inspired by Sharon Leon’s talk of the same name in 2010, in which she argued in favour of “a version of digital work – “Doing history in public” – that places inquiry questions front and centre”.

What attracted me to Leon’s approach is her articulation of a distinctive methodological approach to “Doing History in Public” which is more than a digitised version of “doing history” or even “doing public history”.

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