In this third post of the ‘What is History for?’ series, Dr Lucie Ryzova explores how the Covid pandemic has shaped our understanding of crisis, how it relates to crises of the past, and how these events mark significant transitory moments in history. What does historical understanding reveal about the structure and development of crises such as revolution or pandemic? How original are our own ‘unprecedented times’?
What is History For? is a short series of articles in which historians explore the purpose and value of their research and craft. In this second post, Tionne Parris considers the example set by mid-20th-century Black radical women in their struggle for change. What might historical study of their approach to, and framing of, activism teach us about engaging with present-day challenges, of which the climate emergency looms largest? A version of Tionne’s article was first presented at the ‘What is History For?’ conference held at the University of Birmingham, in May 2022.
In their new article, now published in ‘Transactions of the Royal Historical Society’, Stuart McManus and Michael T. Tworek offer a new approach to early modern global history. What they dub ‘(dis)entangled history’ is a way to combine the conventional focus on the history of connections with a necessary appreciation of the elements of disconnection and disintegration. By tracing how discourses on cannibalism did and did not travel around the globe, they offer a theoretical statement and a concrete approach to writing about intermittent connectedness in the period 1500–1800.
Each year, the Society awards four Fellowships to students enabling them to complete a History PhD. The RHS Centenary and Marshall Fellows for 2022/23 will shortly be appointed. Here Dan Armstrong, one of current Centenary Fellows, reflects on his research in 2021/2. Dan’s study is of Anglo-Papal relations between the reigns of William the Conqueror and Henry I. In this post he considers how a single source — a letter sent to Archbishop Lanfranc from Pope Calixtus II — frames and informs his thesis.
‘What is History For?’ is a new series of posts in which historians reflect on the value, purpose and potential of their craft. Each of the contributors took part in a day-conference — What is History For?’ — held at the University of Birmingham in May. The series begins with presentations from two of the day’s speakers. Tom Cutterham points to tensions in the purposes of historical study, making the case for vision over fragmentation. We begin with conference organiser, Professor Karen Harvey, on why ‘What is History For?’, and why now.
Each year the Royal Historical Society holds elections to appoint three current Fellows as new members to its Council. The Council is the Society’s governing body, with responsibility for the objectives and work of the RHS. If you’re a Fellows, and interested in standing for election, this brief commentary offers an insight into the Council, and the activities and experiences of current Councillors.
The Society’s annual Alexander Prize is awarded for a journal article or book chapter written by an early career historian, and published in 2021. The 2022 Alexander Shortlist of ten articles is published on Tuesday 7 June. The shortlists for the Society’s two annual book awards – the Gladstone and Whitfield Prizes – are also now available. The winners of all three prizes will be announced on Friday 22 July.
In the latest post in our ‘Writing Race, 2’ series, Warren A. Stanislaus considers the potentiality of Black British History: one more porous and expansive than is currently imagined. In doing so, Warren engages with extra-territorial zones that don’t comfortably fit with an establish framework of the Empire Windrush and its Atlantic voyage.
The Society’s annual Gladstone Book Prize is awarded for a first monograph in the field of European or World History. The 2022 Gladstone Shortlist of six titles is published on Wednesday 1 June. The shortlist for the Society’s second book award, the Whitfield Prize, is also now available. The winners of both prizes will be announced on Friday 22 July.
The Society’s annual Whitfield Book Prize is awarded for a first monograph in the field of British and Irish history. The 2022 Whitfield Shortlist of six titles is published on Monday 30 May. The shortlist for the Society’s second book award, the Gladstone Prize, will be released on Wednesday 1 June. The winners of both prizes will be announced on Friday 22 July.
A number of UK History departments have recently been faced with, or are experiencing, cuts to programmes and staff. As part of its advocacy role, the Royal Historical Society works with historians who face significant change to their professional lives. This includes the provision of resources to support teachers and researchers, as best we can. This post brings together these resources and contacts. It is a ‘work in progress’ and we welcome proposals from colleagues for additional information.
How do we undertake a major historical research project for the first time? In their new book, ‘Becoming a Historian’, Penelope J. Corfield and Tim Hitchcock consider the steps and skills required, and how to manage the challenges of research. Supportive, pragmatic and ‘informal’, this is a guide shaped by its authors’ long-standing commitment to scholarly community and to training the next generation of historians.