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Posts tagged ‘social history’

Homosexuality in the ‘Enlightenment’?

By Nailya Shamgunova

Nailya is working on European conceptualisations of sexual diversity in South East Asia and Japan in the 17th century.

France was the first European state to repeal its sodomy laws as far back as 1791. The event, which is now hailed by LGBTQ+ groups as a landmark, at first glance seems like a culmination of a century of Enlightenment and reason in the midst of a Revolution proclaiming liberty. Read more

Beach reading for historians (or why simple writing makes your argument smarter)

by Marta Musso

Summer reading is always tricky for young academics. On the one hand, the summer holidays are the perfect and unique time of the year to relax and read all the pleasant, light novels that you never have time for. On the other hand, summer is also the time to catch up with all the serious reading that is not directly related to your research project but you know you should read sooner or later.

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World Factory: fabricating a digital quilt

by Katy BondJess Hope and Anne Alexander

Cambridge historians were recently invited to contribute research to World Factory, an interdisciplinary performance project exploring the global textile industry through the lenses of nineteenth-century Manchester and present-day China. A collaboration between Zoë Svendsen and Simon Daw of performing arts company Metis and Shanghai-based theatre director Zhao Chuan, it works by ‘stitching’ together research in a ‘Digital Quilt‘, placing nineteenth century sanitation reports and photographs of old Manchester cotton mills alongside twenty-first century labour laws and strike reports from industrial China. Read more

History and United States prison policy: An interview with Dr Heather Ann Thompson (Part II)

by Jess Hope

Last week we published the first of a two-part interview with Dr Heather Ann Thompson, whose research on the history of mass incarceration has frequently contributed to debates about prison policy in the United States. Addressing post-war urban crisis, the decline of the labour movement and the rightward shift in political power over the last few decades, her work illustrates the damaging impact of a punitive prison policy on a purportedly democratic political system. Its appearance in publications such as The Atlantic also demonstrates how popular media can give voice to historical research in a way that broadens its purposes beyond the academic.

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History and United States prison policy: an interview with Dr Heather Ann Thompson (Part I)

By Jess Hope

As a glance at the profiles of this blog team will show, ‘doing history in public’ reflects a goal of making our practices as historians more transparent, collaborative and accessible. Many historians I’ve spoken with also hope to demonstrate that their research matters to the public, and that it has important political, economic or social implications for the way the world works today. Still others—and I would count myself in this category—feel that there has occasionally been a breakdown in communication between historians and those whose work might be informed by historical knowledge, including journalists, activists and policy-makers.

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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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