How might history and historians enhance human flourishing, if at all? In this post – the first of three considering ‘History and Human Flourishing’ – Darrin McMahon considers the historical study of happiness as an approach to the past. Histories of happiness are more than the pursuit of perpetual good feelings and they exist alongside the ubiquitous suffering of the world, in the past and the present alike. As editor of a new volume, ‘History and Human Flourishing’ (2023), Darrin proposes important questions for a discipline about which some are sceptical: to consider how the study of history can promote happiness and wellbeing in the present, and the value of history for life, that is, for human flourishing.
In her new article, published in ‘Transactions of the Royal Historical Society’, Subhadipa Dutta offers a historiographical review of the history of Western sport in colonial India. In this post, Subhadipa explains how she came to her subject as a PhD researcher, and how her research broadens understanding of sport in colonial India beyond the establish focus on adult male participants. Her article is one of the first essays in the journal’s new ‘Common Room’ section: a space for topical commentary on all aspects of historical research, to which submissions are warmly welcome.
The latest volume in the Royal Historical Society’s Camden Series is published in June: ‘La Prinse et Mort du Roy Richart d’Angleterre, and Other Works by Jehan Creton’, translated and edited by Lorna A. Finlay. Jehan Creton accompanied Richard II on his expedition to Ireland in 1399 and witnessed the king’s capture by Henry Lancaster, who usurped the throne to reign as Henry IV. Lorna Finlay’s new translation and edition is the first since that of John Webb, published in 1824. This new Camden edition also includes Creton’s other known writings: the two epistles and four ballades.
22 June 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks in Essex. The ship brought to Britain just over 800 passengers who had left the West Indies, the great majority of whom sought to settle and begin new lives in the UK. The Windrush 75 anniversary is being marked in 2023 with events, exhibitions and broadcasts. This post offers a selection of history-related events. They include academic conferences, lectures and seminars, alongside exhibitions, community history events and performances, from organisations large and small. They are a small selection of what’s available.
Each year, the Royal Historical Society awards its Alexander Prize alongside the Gladstone and Whitfield Book Prizes. The RHS Alexander Prize is awarded for an essay or article based on original historical research, by a doctoral candidate or those recently awarded their doctorate, published in a journal or an edited collection of essays. The 2023 Alexander Prize Shortlist of six articles or book chapters – published in 2022 – was announced on 1 June. The winner of this year’s Alexander Prize will be announced in late June / early July.
Each year, the Royal Historical Society awards two book prizes for a first solely authored monograph. The RHS Gladstone Prize is for first books by historians writing an an aspect of European or World History beyond the British Isles. The RHS Whitfield Prize is for first books in the field of British or Irish History. The 2023 Gladstone Prize Shortlist of six books – published in 2022 – was announced on 31 May. The winner of this year’s Gladstone Prize will be announced in late June / early July.
Each year, the Royal Historical Society awards two book prizes for a first solely authored monograph. The RHS Whitfield Prize is for first books by historians writing an an aspect of British or Irish History. The RHS Gladstone Prize is for first books in the field of European and World History beyond the British Isles. The 2023 Whitfield Prize Shortlist of six books – published in 2022 – was announced on 30 May. The winner of this year’s Whitfield Prize will be announced in late June / early July.
In February 2023, the Royal Historical Society launched its ‘Mid-Career Conversations for Historians’ series. This initial series includes five themed events, hosted by Professor Julian Wright, the Society’s Secretary for Professional Engagement.The series provides a small and confidential forum for historians to discuss topics of particular relevance to them at the mid-career stage. It allows historians to share their problems, interests, priorities and solutions, and to consider new avenues for developing their career and professional networks. In this post Julian reflects on these initial discussions and what he’s learned from colleagues during these events.
In this post, Matthew Smith considers the challenges of applying for research funding to pursue historical research. The current environment of winner-takes-all large grants is hugely time-consuming and uncertain. In its place, Matthew proposes a Universal Basic Research Income (UBRI). He explores the positives outcomes such a move could bring — for individual historians and the wider research culture. Matthew is Professor of the History of Health and Medicine at the University of Strathclyde and Director of the MSc in Health History.
To coincide with publication of his new book, ‘Anti-Communism in Britain during the Early Cold War: A Very British Witch Hunt’, Dr Matthew Gerth considers the anti-communist credentials of the post-war British prime minister, Clement Attlee. Matthew’s book, published on 13 April, is the 16th title in the Royal Historical Society’s New Historical Perspectives series for early career historians, published in association with the Institute of Historical Research and University of London Press.
As with all books in the series, A Very British Witch Hunt is available in print and as a free Open Access download.
Social History From the Global South: New Voices from Southern Africa. Reflections on British Academy Funded Writing Workshop, University of the Free State, South Africa.
In February 2023, the University of the Free State, South Africa, hosted the workshop ‘Social History from the Global South: New Voice from Southern Africa’, funded by the British Academy. This workshop was organised to address the issue of research output in the humanities from the African Continent. In a series of six sessions, the participants focused on the topic of journal publishing. They identified certain limitations, discussed writing techniques, and established new approaches to the publishing process. In this blog, historians Kate Law, Andrew Cohen, Matt Graham and Alfred Tembo highlight the workshop’s aims, objectives and principal outcomes.
The Trouble with Text Mining: And why some projects take a long time, and future projects might take less time
In the sixth and final article in our current blog series, ‘Historical Research in the Digital Age’, Jo Guldi reflects on her long experience of working with digital sources and tools as a historian, with particular focus on the opportunities and challenges inherent within text mining for historical research. As historians, Jo argues, we need to remain open to changes of direction, prompted by digital innovation, while also remaining grounded in the physical archive that digital may enhance but not replace.