Category Archives: Authors

Ashgate authors Iain J. M. Robertson and Richard A. Marsden shortlisted for the Saltire Society Literary Awards

Posted by Beth Whalley, Marketing Executive

Ashgate authors Iain J. M. Robertson and Richard A. Marsden were among those honoured at Scotland’s prestigious Saltire Society Literary Awards on Tuesday, 11th November 2014. Robertson and Marsden were shortlisted for the Research Book of the Year Award and History Book of the Year Award respectively, in the company of acclaimed academics and famed fiction writers, all of whom reside in Scotland, are of Scottish descent, or take a Scottish figure, historical event, or issue as their subject.

In a true celebration of Scottish literary talent, the Awards ceremony took place at Dynamic Earth, an iconic visitor attraction set at the heart of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site, and was supported by the British Council Scotland, Waterstones, the Scottish Historical Review and the National Library of Scotland, amongst others.

Cosmo Innes and the defence of Scotlands pastBoth authors enrich our understandings of crucial moments in Scotland’s history. Marsden considers the work of the influential antiquarian Cosmo Innes (1798-1874) to answer the question of how Victorian Scots reconciled an independent history with a unionist present. Innes, a prolific editor of medieval and early modern documents relating to Scotland’s parliament, universities and church, operated within an elite network, had access to the leading intellectuals and politicians of the day, and had significant influence on a contemporary understanding of Scottish history. Marsden’s ‘masterly scholarly monograph’ (Stefan Berger, Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum, Germany) therefore provides a window onto the ways in which the Scots viewed their own ‘national past.’ You can read more about Cosmo Innes, and its relationship with Scotland’s contested identity in the 21st century, here.

Lanscapes of Protest in the Scottish HighlandsRobertson’s ‘critical landmark in protest history’ (Carl Griffin, University of Sussex, UK) draws on oral testimony and individual case studies to provide a lens through which to explore the fluid and contingent nature of protest performances. He turns to the Scottish Highlands in November 1918. Agrarian change threatened a wave of unemployment and eviction for the land-working population, and those who had served during the First World War found themselves returning to social and economic conditions that should have been left behind. Widespread social protest rapidly followed. Robertson navigates these events in order to illustrate how a range of forms of protest demanded attention (unlike the earlier Land Wars period, these protests were successful) and illustrate the formative role of landscape in people’s lifespaces.

We’d like to extend our congratulations to Richard, Iain, and all the other winners and shortlisted authors honoured at the awards.

Richard A. Marsden works for Cardiff University where he teaches History and coordinates a foundation pathway enabling adults without formal qualifications to progress onto degrees in the historical disciplines. More information about Cosmo Innes and the Defence of Scotland’s Past c. 1825-1875

Iain J. M. Robertson is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Gloucestershire. More information about Landscapes of Protest in the Scottish Highlands after 1914: The Later Highland Land Wars

New series: Sexualities in Society, edited by Helen Hester – call for proposals

Posted by Claire Jarvis, Senior Commissioning Editor

Ashgate Publishing is delighted to announce the launch of a new series: Sexualities in Society. Edited by Helen Hester (Lecturer in Promotional Cultures at Middlesex University, UK and author of Beyond Explicit: Pornography and the Displacement of Sex (SUNY Press, 2014) and co-editor of Fat Sex (Ashgate, 2015), it will offer a dedicated and much-needed space for the very best in interdisciplinary research on sex, sexualities, and twenty-first century society.

Its contemporary focus, methodological inclusivity, and international scope will provide a distinctive vantage point in terms of surveying the social organization of sexuality. It critically addresses numerous aspects of sex and sexuality, from media representations, to embodied sexual practices, to the sometimes controversial issues surrounding consent, sexual fantasy, and identity politics. It represents a critically rigorous, theoretically informed, and genuinely interdisciplinary attempt to interrogate a complex nexus of ideas regarding the ways in which sexualities inform, and are informed by, the broader sociopolitical contexts in which they emerge.

For further information about the series, including details of how to submit a proposal, please email Senior Commissioning Editor for Sociology Claire Jarvis (cjarvis@ashgatepublishing.com).

New series: Image, Text and Culture in Classical Antiquity – Call for proposals

We are currently seeking book proposals for a new series Image, Text and Culture in Classical Antiquity edited by Michael Squire, King’s College, London

Since the Renaissance – and arguably much earlier – European culture has looked to the Classical world for inspiration and enlightenment, and measured its own achievements by the standards of the classical world.

In order to better comprehend this culture, both on its own terms and in light of subsequent generations, this new series provides an innovative and interdisciplinary forum for original research into the arts, literature and cultural history of the Classical World. Attuned to the ways in which different cultural forms mediate different understandings of the Classical past, the series explores both the problems and opportunities of reconstructing classical culture from its surviving archaeological and literary traces. By crossing traditional disciplinary and subdisciplinary boundaries within and beyond the field of Classics, and drawing on approaches developed outside its historicist parameters, the series engages a broad readership from a range of academic perspectives.

As the series title suggests, one defining interest is the intersection (no less than divergence) between Classical visual and verbal media. In what ways do images and texts construct different records of the past, and how did ancient artists and writers themselves theorise the relations between the readable and the visible? Drawing on recent comparative literary and visual cultural studies, the series explores how interdisciplinary approaches can illuminate different aspects of ancient cultural and intellectual history, whilst also showing how Classical materials can in turn nuance more modern theories of visual and verbal mediation.

The Classical world offers a unique opportunity for such study, not only due to its influence on subsequent western literary and artistic traditions, but also because its art is matched only by the sophistication of contemporary written and inscribed texts (and vice versa). The simultaneously collaborating and competing relationships between different media raise broader questions about both historical method and the history of western reading and seeing.

Publishing monographs concerned with all periods of Classical and Graeco-Roman history, from Archaic Greece all the way through to late antiquity, the series is particularly interested in projects structured according to theme, medium or methodological problem rather than chronological timeframe. By studying relations between different media, it offers new historical perspectives on the cultural contexts that gave rise to them; probing, interrogating and provoking scholarship across a wide range of academic disciplines.

For more information on how to submit a book proposal to the series, please contact Tom Gray, at tgray@ashgatepublishing.com.

Series Advisory Board:

Professor Jas’ Elsner, University of Oxford / University of Chicago

Professor Jonas Grethlein, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg

Professor François Lissarrague, l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris

Professor Katharina Lorenz, University of Nottingham

Professor Clemente Marconi, New York University

Professor Susanne Muth, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Professor Richard Neer, University of Chicago

Professor Verity Platt, Cornell University

Dr Jeremy Tanner, University College London

Professor Jennifer Trimble, Stanford

Professor Tim Whitmarsh, University of Oxford

Professor Froma Zeitlin, University of Princeton

The Long Shadows of War: The Aftermath and Legacies of Conflicts in Europe – a guest post from Tim Haughton

Tim HaughtonThis is a guest post by Tim Haughton, Reader (Associate Professor) in European Politics at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies, at the University of Birmingham.

This year is full of poignant anniversaries; none more so than the outbreak of the First World War. Whilst the century of the outbreak of ‘the war to end all wars’ has focused attention on the causes of the conflict, as the contributions to the forthcoming edited volume, Aftermath: Legacies and Memories of War in Europe, 1918-1945-1989 highlight, the sight of poppies in the first half of November should also give us pause to reflect on the long shadows cast by that war.

The First World War was the defining conflict of modern European history. Empires were swept away, new states created, social relations were transformed, and old orders were defeated or weakened, bringing in some cases new forces to power, galvanized and legitimized by radical ideological agendas.

Although a century has passed since the guns fell silent and we have lost the last living connections to those battlefields, the aftermath of the First World War, particularly the redrawing of the borders through the Peace Treaties of 1919–1923, continues to matter. Versailles, St. Germain and Trianon bequeathed demographic legacies which shape domestic politics and colour relations between countries, such as Hungary and Slovakia, long after the last casualty fell on the battlefield.

The shadows of war, however, not only matter for countries. We should not underestimate the impact of war and its immediate aftermath on ordinary citizens. Young men were forced to fight in the dirty, noisy and cramped trenches of the First World War, periodically putting their heads above the parapet and advancing into volleys of machine gun fire when asked to go over the top for the sake of a few metres of muddy Flanders fields. For them the war was a profoundly formative experience. The sense of loss and sacrifice felt by the returning soldiers marked them out and isolated them from others in their societies, and this inevitably created divisions.

Indeed, wars create multiple divisions: not just between different countries and empires, and not just between different ethnic groups and regions within a country, but also, as one of the contributors to the volume Mary Fulbrook argues, between generations. War is a transformative experience, which affects generations in different ways. Different generations draw different conclusions and find it difficult to relate to other generations whom they see as obsessive or fundamentally detached from the conflict.

Stress on the individual underlines that there are both private and public aftermaths of war which may sometimes stand in stark contrast. The reified historical narratives of the public may grate and be at odds with the painful personal aftermaths of soldiers and civilians.

Nonetheless, the dark clouds of war can have their silver linings. As Stephen Forcer’s chapter in the volume highlights, such tensions between the personal and the public can provoke – or at least contribute to ‒ innovative cultural trends like the emergence of Dada and Surrealism both of which emerged in part as a reaction to officials and national narratives about the First World War. Indeed, it seems appropriate that from the most absurd of modern conflicts emerged schools of thinking which reify the absurd.

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Tim Haughton is Reader (Associate Professor) in European Politics at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies, at the University of Birmingham. He is author of ‘Constraints and Opportunities of Leadership in Post-Communist Europe’ (Aldershot & Burlington, 2005) and editor of ‘Party Politics in Central and Eastern Europe: Does EU Membership Matter?’ (London, 2010); and ‘The JCMS Annual Review of the European Union’ (Oxford, 2009-present). He was Director of the Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies from 2012 to 2014.Aftermath

Aftermath: Legacies of War in Europe – 1918, 1945, 1989, edited by Nicholas Martin, Tim Haughton and Pierre Pursiegle is published by Ashgate in December 2014.

Strange coincidence and strange fact: an Ashgate book title featured last week as the answer to a question in the popular US game show Jeopardy

Posted by Sarah Stilwell, Senior Marketing Executive

Prize-winning Ashgate author Richard Weisman recently contacted us to tell us of his astonishment at a strange coincidence and a bizarre connection that took place last week after his son happened to mention to his friend the title of his Dad’s book.

Later that day, October 28th, randomly and by coincidence, the son’s friend was watching the game show Jeopardy on TV and reported that the answer to one of the game show questions was the title of Richard Weisman’s book!

Showing remorseHappily, the contestant got the right answer: Showing Remorse: Law and the Social Control of Emotion. Even the Ashgate series Law, Justice and Power, of which this book is part, got a mention.

To quote Richard Weisman: “once you enter the public domain, you never know what’s going to happen. I have no idea how the book got referenced, but maybe one of the producers of the show is a lawyer going for his PhD.”

You can watch the October 28 episode here. The book is mentioned at 2.38…

General Sir Henry Horne and the renaissance in British military thought during the First World War – a guest post from Simon Robbins

Simon RobbinsThis is a guest post from Simon Robbins, Senior Archivist at the Imperial War Museum and the author of British Generalship During the Great War: The Military Career of Sir Henry Horne (1861-1929) (2010)

This year, 2014, has seen the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, which offers an opportunity to re-examine the performance on the Western Front of the armies led by Douglas Haig, which remains one of the most controversial eras in the history of the British Army. The public still regards the German Army as the model of military excellence during the First World War while disdaining the British Army as the exemplar of military incompetence and inefficiency.  In reality, the British Army had undergone a profound, often painful, change between 1914 and 1918, becoming remarkably efficient by 1918.  It had progressed from being a small professional force organised for colonial policing to a mass army of volunteers and conscripts which fought a large-scale, high-intensity continental war against a first-class enemy.

The British performance on the battlefield improved considerably between 1915 and 1918. The Last Hundred Days campaign between August and November 1918 was one of the most brilliant offensives of the First World War.  For far too long, the historiography of the British Army during the Great War has focused on the personality of Douglas Haig, who has been a lightning rod for discontent about the performance of the British High Command and given an undue significance.  Insufficient attention has been paid to other senior military figures, notably the army and corps commanders, who led the troops on the battlefield.

The career of Henry Horne who commanded XV Corps and then First Army between 1916 and 1918 provides insights into the learning process on the Western Front and hard evidence of how effective the British Army was. Horne was a highly professional artillery officer and his career contradicts many of the commonly held assumptions about the British High Command.  He was not a chateau general but regularly visited his troops, supervised their training, looked after their comforts and minimized their casualties.  Horne was an outstanding example of the group of senior officers who rose to high command during the final two years of the war.

A renaissance in British military thought in 1916-18, which has been overshadowed by the horrific casualties of the Somme and Ypres, provided not only the basis for the achievement of a British victory in 1918 but also for military development for the rest of the century. In 1917-18 Horne was at the forefront of these developments and his assaults on the Scarpe, the Drocourt – Quéant Line and the Canal du Nord in August and September 1918 were models of combined operations, which broke through the German defences on key sections of their front, inflicting heavy casualties on the Germans and forcing them to retreat.  As an Army Commander Horne would employ the vast fire-power which was available to British commanders as a result of tactical development and innovation during 1916-17.  Along with Birdwood (Fifth Army), Byng (Third Army), Plumer (Second Army) and Rawlinson (Fourth Army), Horne deserves to be remembered as one of the major architects of victory in 1918.

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British generalship during the great warSimon Robbins is Senior Archivist at the Imperial War Museum and is the author of British Generalship During the Great War: The Military Career of Sir Henry Horne (1861-1929) (2010). Robbins’ book follows the career of Sir Henry Horne to challenge long-held assumptions that the First World War was a senseless bloodbath conducted by unimaginative and incompetent generals. He presents a new model in which men like Horne developed new tactics and techniques to deal with the problem of trench warfare, and in so doing seeks to re-establish the image of the British general.

Military Historian David French on British Generalship During the Great War in The Journal of Modern History:

‘Anyone picking up this book might be forgiven for asking whether we really need another study of the British army during the First World War, and, if we do, whether a biography of a general known to very few besides specialist military historians is the right way to approach the subject. The answer to both questions is an emphatic yes… [Robbins] has now written a study of Sir Henry Horne that not only helps to rescue his career for posterity but also sheds a good deal of light on how the army went about its business between 1914 and 1918.’

 

Announcing a new interdisciplinary series, Sanctity in Global Perspective – a guest post from Alison Frazier

Alison FrazierThis is a guest post from Alison Frazier, President of The Hagiography Society

The Hagiography Society is proud to join Ashgate in sponsoring Sanctity in Global Perspective, a series dedicated to multidisciplinary explorations of the concept of sanctity.

Not every global tradition venerates “saints,” as such, but all identify people of extraordinary virtue—of radically ambiguous “power”—whose lives and actions demand to be admired, honored, and imitated.

That veneration marks a potent site of cultural work, a place at once special and quotidian where a community’s ambitions and nightmares settle, where comedy nests with tragedy in the group’s identification of the “saint” and ritual elaboration of cult.

Cult thus finds expression in repetition and improvisation, in luxury and deprivation, in peace and violence, in humble obedience and arrogant defiance, in the chthonic, reliquary body and the ethereal, mystical one. The scholar of sanctity addresses evidence that ranges from the visual, musical, and literary, to the architectural, pedagogical, and political. Cults stretch over many centuries and across disparate geographies. Their stories elicit every emotion, and invite comparison.

As a cultural locus, the “saint” both condenses and challenges a tradition’s beliefs and devotional practices. Sanctity may be put to serve cynical strategies as easily as noble aspirations, may reflect both a community’s optimism and its despair. The saint enfolds a tradition’s attitudes to birth and death, to family and kinship, as well as to institutions and rulers.

Sanctity in Global Perspective welcomes critical scholarship that brings new texts, images, spaces, and ideas into the world’s long conversation about extraordinary virtue. We seek to foster the crosspollination of ideas across traditions, regions, and academic disciplines.

About the series editors: Shahzad Bahir is Lysbeth Warren Anderson Professor in Islamic Studies (Department of Religious Studies) at Stanford University, USA. Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski is Professor of French at the University of Pittsburgh, USA. John Stratton Hawley is Professor of Religion at Barnard College, USA.

For more information on how to submit a book proposal to the series, please contact Erika Gaffney, or see http://www.hagiographysociety.org/?page_id=80