Category Archives: Interdisciplinary Studies

Hallowe’en Highlights from Ashgate Publishing

Posted by Hattie Wilson, Marketing Executive

Rather than donning costumes and engaging in some trick or treating, we thought that we would take you on a tour of some of our most ghoulish publications to date.

Literary and Cinematic MonstersTo start us off, this time last year we published The Ashgate Encyclopedia to Literary and Cinematic Monsters, a useful A-Z from J.K Rowling’s acromantula through to zombies. In a similar vein, The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous is now available in handy paperback format. A must-have for all beast buffs.

Staying in the supernatural world, the Sociology list launched The Ashgate Research Companion to Paranormal Cultures late last year. The companion explores internet phenomena (such as Slenderman and Creepypasta), mediumship, and the paranormal in subcultures and its role in social change to name but a few.

American Imperial GothicIn April, the Sociology list produced The American Imperial Gothic. The book contends that the peril faced by the world in popular culture is related to our current global instability. Kirsten Lacefield’s The Scary Screen discusses similar issues. She scrutinizes many interpretations of The Ring and how they express anxieties of new media and technologies. The horror genre is a popular field of academic research of late. Anne Hermanson investigates this topic in The Horror Plays of the English Restoration. She makes a comprehensive analysis of monstrosity, madness, disease and the macabre on the London stage in the 1670s.

Gothic, Horror and Gore genres are often related to the study of science and medicine. Wounds in the Middle Ages researches representations of broken bodies and charts the perceptions and treatment of wounds within religious belief, writing on medicine, and surgical practice. Surgical dissection and post-mortem is the subject of Piers Mitchell’s 2012 publication Anatomical Dissection in Enlightenment England and Beyond. He examines discoveries by biological anthropologists (alongside experts from British medical schools and the Royal College of Surgeons) who have unearthed new evidence about how bodies were dissected and autopsied in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Continuing within the nineteenth century, The Ashgate Research Companion to Nineteenth Century Spiritualism and the Occult covers the relationship between science and Victorian spiritualism, the occult and politics, and the culture of mystical practices.

To conclude our whistle-stop journey, we can’t neglect to mention witches! Marks of an Absolute Witch by Orna Alyagon Darr explores the crime of witchcraft in early modern England, and how we can observe the social and judicial attitudes towards crime and punishment through the witch trials and the ‘evidence’ presented at them. Moving swiftly to early modern Germany, H.C Erik Midelfort collects together some of his work on the history of madness, demonology, witchcraft and the social history of religious change in his 2013 Variorum title Witchcraft, Madness, Society, and Religion in Early Modern Germany. Finally, Sarah Williams explores the roles of broadside ballads in the early modern witch craze and the connections the music made between degrees of female crime, the supernatural and cautionary tales for and about women in Damnable Practices: Witches, Dangerous Women, and Music in Seventeenth-Century English Broadside Ballads.

Happy Hallowe’en!

Other titles of Interest:

  • English Catholics and the Supernatural, 1553-1829
  • Women and the Material Culture of Death
  • Domestic Murder in Nineteenth-Century England
  • Narratives of Women and Murder in England, 1680-1760
  • Women, Infanticide and the Press, 1822-1922
  • Supernatural and Secular Power in Early Modern England
  • The Late Victorian Gothic
  • Transnational Gothic
  • The Geneaology of Cyborgothic

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.

Recent reviews by the LSE Review of Books

The LSE Review of Books regularly features Ashgate titles. It’s a fantastic site for book reviews in general, and covers a wide range of social science topics, including sociology, politics and IR, architecture, planning, gender studies, to name just a few.

Recent reviews of Ashgate books include:

Dynamics of Political Violence: A Process-Oriented Perspective on Radicalisation and the Escalation of Political Conflict, edited by Lorenzo Bosi, Chares Demetriou and Stefan Malthaner

Unconventional Warfare in South Asia: Shadow Warriors and Counterinsurgency by Scott Gates and Kaushik Roy

The Greening of Architecture: A Critical History and Survey of Contemporary Sustainable Architecture and Urban Design, by Phillip James Tabb and A. Senem Deviren

Media and the Rhetoric of Body Perfection: Cosmetic Surgery, Weight Loss and Beauty in Popular Culture by Deborah Harris-Moore

The Impact of Racism on African American Families: Literature as Social Science by Paul C. Rosenblatt

The Greening of ArchitectureUnconventional warfare in south asiaThe impact of racism on african american familiesDynamics of political violence

For more reviews visit the LSE Review of Books

African Studies

Ashgate’s African Studies books span a range of subject areas, including:

  • Law and Business
  • Politics and International Relations
  • Sociology
  • Religious Studies
  • Art, Literature and Music
  • Geography and Architecture
  • History

View all our African Studies books online or download our 2013 catalogue from:

Will you be at ECAS2013? If so, you can pick up a copy of our 2013 catalogue and take a look at some of our most recent books on the Iberian Book Services stand.

More information about ECAS 2013 – the 5th European Conference on African Studies: African dynamics in a multipolar world

Africa Studies for web

African Studies from Ashgate

We publish a wide range of African Studies books, in the following areas:

  • African Art and Visual Studies
  • African Business and Economics
  • African Geography
  • African History
  • African Law
  • African Literature
  • African Music
  • African Politics
  • African Religious Studies
  • African Sociology and Social Policy

Why not browse what’s available through the African Studies page on our website?

Digital Transformations in the Visual Arts and Humanities event: Anna Bentkowska-Kafel, Hugh Denard and Drew Baker are panelists

At an event being held this Friday at King’s College London, experts in the Visual Arts and Humanities in KCL’s Department of Digital Humanities will display how digital visualisation and virtual worlds are transforming research, teaching and contemporary artistic practice.

Ancient Roman villas at Boscoreale and Oplontis, van Eyck’s Arnolfini Marriage, Dublin’s Abbey Theatre of 1904 and Mondrian’s Paris studios are subjects of some of the highlighted, innovative computer-based projects by staff from the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s and their postgraduate students.

The latest books published by members of the Department of Digital Humanities will be launched at this event, including Paradata and Transparency in Historical Visualization, edited by Anna Bentkowska-Kafel, Hugh Denard and Drew Baker.

The event is curated and presented by Drew Baker, Anna Bentkowska-Kafel, Martin Blazeby, Hugh Denard and Michael Takeo Magruder. For more information, visit the KCL Department of Digital Humanities events page.

Visit the companion blog for Paradata and Transparency in Virtual Heritage

Willard McCarty – “the Obi-Wan Kenobi” of Digital Humanities – wins the 2013 Busa Award

We are delighted to learn that Willard McCarty has won the 2013 Busa Award. The announcement was made on behalf of Matthew Jockers, chairman of the Busa Award committee, at the recent Digital Humanities conference in Hamburg.

The Busa Award is “named in honour of Father Roberto Busa and is given to recognise outstanding lifetime achievement in the application of information technology to humanistic research”.

From Matthew Jockers’ announcement:

“The winner of the 2013 Busa Award is a man of legendary kindness and generosity. His contributions to the growth and prominence of Digital Humanities will be familiar to us all. He is a gentleman, a scholar, a philosopher, and a long time fighter for the cause. He is, by one colleague’s accounting, the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” of Digital Humanities. And I must concur that “the force” is strong with this one. Please join me in congratulating Willard McCarty on his selection for the 2013 Busa Award. ”

Willard McCarty is Professor of Humanities Computing, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, and Professor, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney, Australia.

He is co-editor, with Marilyn Deegan, of Collaborative Research in the Digital Humanities, a book which celebrates the contributions of Harold Short to the Digital Humanities field.