Category Archives: History

Call for Papers: Playthings in Early Modernity: Party Games, Word Games, Mind Games (edited collection)

Posted by Erika Gaffney, Publishing Manager

Contributions are sought for an interdisciplinary collection of essays to be edited by Allison Levy and published by Ashgate Publishing in the new book series, Cultures of Play, 1300-1700 (series editor Bret Rothstein). Dedicated to early modern playfulness, this series serves two purposes. First, it recounts the history of wit, humor, and games, from jokes and sermons, for instance, to backgammon and blind man’s buff. Second, in addressing its topic – ludic culture – broadly, Cultures of Play also provides a forum for reconceptualizing the play elements of early modern economic, political, religious, and social life.

Within this framework, PLAYTHINGS IN EARLY MODERNITY: PARTY GAMES, WORD GAMES, MIND GAMES emphasizes the rules of the game(s) as well as the breaking of those rules: playmates and game changers, teammates and tricksters, matchmakers and deal breakers, gamblers and grifters, scripts and ventriloquism, charades and masquerades, game pieces and pawns. Thus, a ‘plaything’ is understood as both an object and a person, and play, in early modern Europe (1300-1700), is treated not merely as a pastime, a leisurely pursuit, but also as a pivotal part of daily life, a strategic psychosocial endeavor: Why do we play games – with and upon each other as well as ourselves? Who are the winners, and who are the losers? Desirable essays will also consider the spaces of play: from the stage to the street, from the pulpit to the piazza, from the bedroom to the brothel: What happens when players go ‘out of bounds,’ or when games go ‘too far’? We seek new and innovative scholarship at the nexus of material culture/the study of objects, performance studies, and game theory. We welcome proposals from a wide range of disciplines, including gender studies, childhood studies, history, languages and literature, theater history, religious studies, the history and philosophy of science, philosophy, psychology, and the history of art and visual culture.

PLAYTHINGS IN EARLY MODERNITY: PARTY GAMES, WORD GAMES, MIND GAMES will be an illustrated volume, with individual contributors responsible for any permission and/or art acquisition fees. Final essays, of approximately 8,000 words (incl. notes), and all accompanying b&w illustrations/permissions will be due no later than January 15, 2015. For consideration, please send an abstract (max. 500 words), a preliminary list of illustrations (if applicable), and a CV to Allison Levy (allisonlevy2@gmail.com or playthingsvolume@gmail.com) by September 15, 2014. Notifications will be emailed by the end of September.

Ireland’s 1916 Rising shortlisted for the Geographical Society of Ireland’s Book of the Year award 2014

Posted by Fiona Dunford, Marketing Executive

Irelands 1916 RisingCongratulations to Mark McCarthy, whose book Ireland’s 1916 Rising, was short-listed for the 2014 book of the year award from the Geographical Society of Ireland.

The Judges’ comments:

‘immaculately researched and a lively engagement with the key critical debates surrounding issues of memory, commemoration and historical legacies surrounding the revolutionary period in modern Irish history ‘  Nessa Cronin, Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway

‘In this definitive work on the topic, Mark McCarthy traces the political, ideational, identity and iconographic impacts of the Easter 1916 Rising in Ireland… This is required reading for scholars in the field and beyond’   Pádraig Carmody, Dept of Geography, Trinity College Dublin

Mark McCarthy’s book explores why, how and in what ways the memory of Ireland’s 1916 Rising has persisted over the decades? It breaks new ground by offering a wide-ranging exploration of the making and remembrance of the story of 1916 in modern times, which is not only of historical concern, but of contemporary political and cultural importance.

More about Ireland’s 1916 Rising

What did Australian soldiers read during the Great War?

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

This is a guest blog post in the First World War Centenary series, written by  Amanda Laugesen, author of Boredom is the Enemy: the Intellectual Lives of Australian Soldiers in the Great War and Beyond

While letters from home were the most cherished reading material for Australian soldiers serving far from home during the Great War, soldiers read a wide range of books, newspapers, and periodicals. Such reading served various purposes for soldiers, from connecting them to home, to education, to allowing for a brief escape from the realities of military life and the horrors of war.

Other than letters from home, soldiers eagerly anticipated receiving newspapers and periodicals from friends and family. One Australian soldier, Bob Bice, wrote home to thank his family for sending him newspapers from his home town of Nowra: ‘[a] person far from home finds even the advertisements of his home town very interesting reading.’ Newspapers from home informed soldiers about life back there and helped them endure the time abroad. Australian periodicals like The Bulletin were also very popular, with one soldier warning his cousin who was sending them to him: ‘it would be advisable to take cover off. The Bulletin is the most popular here and is sought after by about every man.’

Books were highly prized by many soldiers. Books were provided to soldiers through charitable organisations like the Camps Library. Books ranged from escapist fare such as the work of writers like Nat Gould, John Buchan, and William LeQueux, to more serious educational works such as Darwin’s Origin of Species and a range of popular political texts. For soldiers, escapist fare served an important psychological function in allowing a respite from the realities of war. Educational and political works connected soldiers to civilian occupations and aspirations as they planned for a life after the war. Reading was not confined to silent reading, either. There are many mentions of soldiers reading aloud to one another.

Reading was important to many Australian soldiers during the Great War, and this reminds us that soldiers continued to seek entertainment and opportunities to educate themselves even in the context of war.

Layout 1For more on soldiers’ reading and other experiences of education and entertainment in wartime, see Amanda Laugesen, Boredom is the Enemy: the Intellectual Lives of Australian Soldiers in the Great War and Beyond (2012).

Claire Jowitt and John McAleer introduce their new book series Maritime Humanities 1400‒1800: Cultures of the Sea

‘… whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world .’ (Sir Walter Ralegh)

So wrote Ralegh, probably from his quarters in the Tower of London during his admittedly luxurious incarceration there after spectacularly falling out of royal favour (he was condemned for treason in 1603, but reprieved from execution and lived, legally dead, in the Bloody Tower for many years). From the Tower, Ralegh would have been able to see just how busy a thoroughfare the arterial river the Thames had become, with ships and boats great and small bringing an enormous and exciting variety of commodities from Africa to China, from the East to the West Indies, and, of course, from all across Europe, as well as exporting men and goods all over the world. Oceans had a lot to offer even to a disgraced courtier and adventurer: finally, in 1617, Ralegh was allowed to return to sea by James I to travel to Guiana to attempt to reestablish his own and English mining interests there after a gap of twenty years or so. Of course for Ralegh this time, unlike in his earlier career, the sea did not provide a route to preferment and riches: the voyage resulted in violent clashes with the Spanish in Guiana. He was accused of piracy by them, and the king had his previously commuted sentence enacted on 16th October 1618 in Old Palace Yard in the Palace of Westminster. But viewing oceans as spaces and places of opportunity, risk, and challenge is as true for scholars today as it was for sailors and merchants, monarchs and governments, and writers and artists, in the days of the sailing ship.

For Ralegh and his European contemporaries, wealth and power were found at sea. Or, more precisely, they were to be found in controlling the world’s oceans and their maritime routes. Overseas trade went hand in hand with the development of global empire in the Age of Sail, a period of history particularly marked by increased exploration, travel, and trade. But the early modern maritime world offered much else besides: it facilitated the movement of people and ideas as well as the violence and exploitation of encounter and, in so doing, it opened up a whole host of new cultural and artistic exchanges as well as material ones. Early modern oceans not only provided temperate climates, resources, and opportunities for commercial transactions, they also played a central role in cultural life. Early modern seascapes were cultural spaces and contact zones, where connections and circulations occurred outside established centres of control and the dictates of individual national histories. Likewise coastlines, rivers, and ports were all key sites for commercial and cultural exchange.

Fresh investigation of these processes, encounters, interactions, and their implications is needed. We are delighted to announce a new book series Maritime Humanities 1400‒1800: Cultures of the Sea, to be published by Ashgate. Our aim is to produce a series of books that explore the cultural meanings of the early modern ocean by scholars working across the full range of humanities subjects.

Maritime Humanities 1400‒1800: Cultures of the Sea welcomes books from historians, archaeologists, literary and language scholars, art historians, philosophers, and music scholars, and invites submissions that conceptually engage with issues of globalization, post-colonialism, eco-criticism, environmentalism, and the histories of science and technology. The series puts maritime humanities at the centre of a transnational historiographical scholarship that seeks to transform traditional land-based histories of states and nations by focusing on the cultural meanings of the early modern ocean.

It is a daunting but exciting task, and we will be helped in it by an international series advisory board that includes scholars at the forefront of interdisciplinary maritime studies: Mary Fuller, Fred Hocker, Steve Mentz, Sebastian Sobecki, David J. Starkey, and Philip Stern. The series will cover events in various oceans, several centuries of history, thousands of vessels, tens of thousands of voyages, and millions of people. But we believe that there are lots of scholars, at every stage of their careers, who are interested in putting the sea into perspective: if you are one of them, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Claire Jowitt & John McAleer, May 2014

For more information on how to submit a book proposal to the series, please contact Emily Yates, Commissioning Editor.

About the series editors:

Claire Jowitt John McAleer

Claire Jowitt is Professor of Renaissance English Literature, and John McAleer is Lecturer in History, both at the University of Southampton.

Clare Rose talks to Claudia Winkleman on “The Great British Sewing Bee”

Posted by Beth Whalley, Marketing Executive

Reality television fans may have recently caught an episode or two of the BBC’s programme, ‘The Great British Sewing Bee,’ in which contestants compete to be named Britain’s best home sewer.

We were delighted to see that Episode 4 featured expert insight from none other than author Clare Rose, who published Making, Selling and Wearing Boys’ Clothes in Late-Victorian England with Ashgate in 2010, as part of the History of Retailing and Consumption series.

In the episode, which focuses on children’s clothing, Clare invites presenter Claudia Winkleman into the heart of her home institution, the Royal School of Needlework, to chat about little boys’ sailor suits. She explains that by the 1870s, tailors were mass-producing the outfits. They were simple to make, robust for daily wear and, importantly, a democratic fashion – every class of child, 9 out of 10 boys, wore sailor suits on a daily basis. Clare also refers to an 1897 Chas Bakers & Co. catalogue, a portion of which was used for the cover of Making, Selling and Wearing Boys’ Clothes. You can watch the episode here for a limited time (Clare appears 13 minutes in).

Making Selling and Wearing Boys Clothes in late Victorian EnglandClare’s book makes use of thousands of unpublished visual documents – including manufacturer’s designs, advertising from shop catalogues, and Dr Barnado’s Homes archives – to link the design and retailing of boys’ clothing with nineteenth-century social, cultural and economic issues. It is a significant piece of research for nineteenth-century historians, but, as this feature on the BBC proves, also ‘has many resonances for twenty-first century debates about children and the consumer market’ (Hugh Cunningham, University of Kent, UK).

Learn more about fashion, textiles and childhood in modern Britain on Clare’s website.

Richard L. Greaves Award Honourable Mention for Tim Cooper’s book: John Owen, Richard Baxter and the Formation of Nonconformity

Posted by Bethany Whalley, Marketing Executive

The Nonconformist church leader and theologian, John Owen (1616-1683), and the Puritan church leader, poet and theologian Richard Baxter (1615-1691) had much in common, but their differing experiences of the English Civil War drew them into a long debate fuelled by mutual dislike.

Author Tim Cooper uses this relationship in his book John Owen, Richard Baxter and the Formation of Nonconformity (Ashgate, 2011) to explore the shaping of nonconformity during the Restoration. He makes the argument that individual experience and fraught private relationships had the power to determine the future of much wider movements – and sometimes hamper their progress.

John Owen Richard Baxter and the formation of nonconformityThe book recently received an ‘Honourable Mention’ in the Richard L. Greaves Award 2013, awarded by the International John Bunyan Society for an outstanding book-length work of scholarship devoted to the history, literature, thought, practices and legacy of Anglophone Protestantism to 1700.

‘This is a dramatic and highly readable account of a poisonous feud between two thin-skinned giants of evangelical protestantism. This dual study not only gives us many new insights into the beliefs and actions of Baxter and Owen but (without taking sides) significantly deepens our understanding of the stress fractures within puritanism that led to the defeat of its hopes and expectations.’   John Morrill, University of Cambridge, UK

Tim CooperAbout the Author: Tim Cooper is Senior Lecturer in the History of Christianity in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

More about the Richard L. Greaves Award

More about John Owen, Richard Baxter and the Formation of Nonconformity

The History of Learning Disability

chris-goodey1This is a guest post from Chris Goodey

A group of academics from five separate disciplines – Education, Ancient History, Social Work, English Literature, and a stray teacher of mature students (myself) – have put together a WordPress site which is based on our common interest in conceptual history but which also invites immediate engagement with politics and public affairs. The topic is intellectual disability, or learning disability, or developmental disability, or cognitive disability, or mental handicap, or mental retardation. And that’s just the current usages.

No wonder the conceptual history is deeply problematic – and therefore of deep interest to those involved. For the rest of you, perhaps not. So far. But I do assure you that if you value your status as intelligent people, you will need to know how to defend yourself against the notion that both intellectual disability and “intelligence” itself are not natural kinds but historically contingent ways in which human beings represent themselves to themselves and to each other, and no more. We can’t advise you how to defend yourselves, but at least our shocking notions will reveal the massive nature of the challenge.

My original idea was to create a personal website that would, among other things, reinforce the excellent job Ashgate had done in publishing and marketing my book A History of Intelligence and ‘Intellectual Disability’: The Shaping of Psychology in Early Modern Europe. It soon became clear, though, that a collective effort was both needed and possible, the number of people with a historical research orientation in this field being very small. Tim Stainton, Murray Simpson, Lynn Rose, Patrick McDonagh and I think we have started something that will radically alter present directions in the critical analysis of psychological concepts. WordPress seems the ideal means. Time will tell.

Chris Goodey has held teaching posts at Ruskin College, Oxford, the Open University and the University of London Institute of Education, and is currently an independent consultant working for national and local government services on learning disability in the UK. He is the author of A History of Intelligence and ‘Intellectual Disability’: The Shaping of Psychology in Early Modern Europe

Goodey case_Goodey case‘This timely, daring and challenging book… a phenomenally ambitious, interesting and reflective interdisciplinary history of ideas… assembles some convincing evidence for the processes by which changing sets of ideas, or an accident of historical contingencies, have come to shape allegedly incontrovertible universal truths. At the risk of turning a tautological phrase, this is a highly intellectual history of intellectual disability.’ Medical History

Thomas F. Mayer

Posted by Tom Gray, Publisher (Early Modern History)

It is with great sadness that Ashgate learnt of the death last month of Professor Thomas F. Mayer. As well as publishing several books with Ashgate (notably his editions of Cardinal Pole’s correspondence), Professor Mayer also established the Catholic Christendom 1300-1700 series in 2001, which he edited for over ten years. In this time the series published 36 books, and under his stewardship helped fundamentally reshape and reconceptualise the way we think about late-medieval and early-modern Catholicism. Everyone who worked with Professor Mayer here at Ashgate will miss both his incisive scholarship and dry, concise wit, and we offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends.

A Celebration of Life service was held 11 a.m. Sat., Feb. 1, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities in Davenport, Iowa. Professor Mayer’s obituary and a place for online condolences can be found here. Memorial donations can be directed to the World Wildlife Fund or The Nature Conservancy.

Ashgate Studies in Evangelicalism – a call for proposals

David Ceri JonesThis is a guest post from David Ceri Jones, Aberystwyth University

It with great pleasure and excitement that I can announce the launch of the ‘Ashgate Studies in Evangelicalism’, a brand new academic monograph series, to be edited by Andrew Atherstone (Wycliffe Hall, Oxford) and myself.

Our vision for the series is that it will quickly become the natural home for monographs and other works on every aspect of the history and theology of the global evangelical movement from its beginnings in the 1730s until the present day. The first two volumes which will launch the series are already commissioned. There will an Ashgate Research Companion on the History of Evangelicalism, containing over twenty chapters covering most aspects of the evangelical movement, summarising existing research, and flagging up those areas where the light of serious historical research has yet to shine. It will hopefully be a book that summarises the current state of the discipline.

A first monograph has also been accepted for publication. More details of that book will follow in due course.

So if you have a recently completely doctoral thesis, or a completed manuscript of a work on any aspect of the history or theology of the global evangelical movement then please get in touch.

Further details of the series can be found on the Ashgate webpage, here:

Visit David Ceri’s blog

Visit Andrew Atherstone’s blog

The Processes of Remembering the First World War

During the First World War centenary years, Ashgate’s blog will play host to a series of blog entries – contributed by Ashgate authors – that reflect upon the Great War’s impact upon history and culture over the last one hundred years, and explore issues raised by the latest research in war studies.

ross j wilsonThis first entry is contributed by Ross J. Wilson, author of Cultural Heritage of the Great War in Britain (2013).

With the advent of the hundredth anniversaries of the First World War, questions have been raised as to the ways in which the conflict is remembered in Britain. Over the last few decades, concerns have been expressed that media representations of the ‘mud and blood’ of the Western Front have dominated popular understandings of the war.

However, rather than assume the public passively consume film and television, perhaps it would be better to ask why particular ideas of the conflict persist? What do these visions of the past do for those who honour them today?

To answer this issue, the ‘meanings’ of the war of 1914-1918 within contemporary society across Britain can be examined. These meanings can be identified through the manner in which the conflict is still used as a mode of conveying ideas and values.

For example, expressions associated with the war, such as ‘over the top’, ‘in the trenches’ or ‘no man’s land’, punctuate everyday language, not just as a means of vivid illustration, but to communicate ideas about responsibility, blame and collective identity.

For example, dissenting groups might describe themselves as ‘in the trenches’ over government reforms or ‘in no man’s land’ after the withdrawal of funding. These concepts are employed purposefully to highlight neglect or to assign blame.

These terms are used in a wide variety of contexts in political, media and public discourse, to describe a range of issues, as the First World War is employed as a means of understanding contemporary society.

Similarly, the suffering of the troops on the battlefields has become a feature of modern British identity politics, as communities associate themselves with the trauma of the war. To state a connection to this sense of victimhood provides a point of identification.

In this sense, to bear witness to the victims of the past provides contemporary individuals with a means to highlight current fears and anxieties. Whilst most frequently associated with the memorialisation of the Ulster Volunteers in Northern Ireland, this is not a unique phenomenon.

Distinctive narratives of suffering and victimhood in the war have been utilised by Scottish, Welsh and northern English communities in recent years, as well as political groups of all persuasions, to assert their rights and interests.

The critique of the ‘popular memory’ of the First World War in Britain is an act which obscures the complex processes of remembering that occurs within groups, communities and individuals.

The First World War is a symbolic resource enabling current generations across Britain to ‘return to the trenches’, not as the result of a vapid viewing of Blackadder Goes Forth, but as a means to shape contemporary ideas, debates and identities.

Cultural Heritage of the Great War in BritainCultural Heritage of the Great War in Britain, published in the series Heritage, Culture and Identity, addresses how the war maintains a place and value within British society through the usage of phrases, references, metaphors and imagery within popular media, heritage and political discourse. Wilson explores why wider popular debate within historiography, literature, art, television and film draws upon a war fought nearly a century ago to express ideas about identity, place and politics.

Ross J. Wilson is Senior Lecturer in Modern History and Public Heritage at the University of Chichester.