Monthly Round Up: September


Congratulations to Dr Emily Michelson, who has won an AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellowship (2017-2019) and a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2016-2017) for activities relating to her research on Jews, Catholics, and religious minorities in early modern Rome.

Staff Activity

On 12th September, Dr Tomasz Kamusella delivered a keynote talk on ‘Between National Teleology and Self-Identification’ at the conference on Identities In-Between: East-Central Europe, c. 1900-present in Wolfson College, Oxford University.

On 17th September, Dr Alex Woolf gave the plenary speech ‘From the Outside In: Agency and Attraction in Antique Maritime Networks’ at the Emerging Governance: Political Landscape in Early Mediaeval Atlantic Europe Conference at University College Dublin.

Dr Riccardo Bavaj organised a conference on Nation, Culture and Civilisation: Talking about and beyond ‘the West’ (1860-1940). While the first part of the workshop, held at the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich, focused on Germany, Britain, France, Russia and the US, the second part, held at the University of St Andrews and co-organised by Dr Konrad M. Lawson, shifted the geographical focus to Japan, Korea, China and the Ottoman Empire.

Dr Riccardo Bavaj, Dr Bernhard Struck, and Dr Konrad M. Lawson organised a workshop on Spatial History and Its Sources, which engaged with analytical approaches, themes, and sources in the emerging field of spatial history.

Recent Publications

Dr Riccardo Bavaj, Der Nationalsozialismus. Entstehung, Aufstieg und Herrschaft (be.bra, 2016).

Dr Riccardo Bavaj, ‘Pluralizing Democracy in Weimar Germany: Historiographical Perspectives and Transatlantic Vistas’, in Paul Nolte, ed., Transatlantic Democracy in the Twentieth Century: Transfer and Transformation (R. Oldenbourg, 2016), 53-73.

Professor Colin Kidd, ‘The Fergusson affair: Calvinism and dissimulation in the Scottish Enlightenment’, Intellectual History Review, 26.3 (2016), 339-354.

Dr Kate Ferris, Imagining ‘America’ in Late Nineteenth Century Spain (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Dr Aileen Fyfe and Noah Moxham, ‘Making public ahead of print: meetings and publications at the Royal Society, 1752–1892’, Notes & Records of the Royal Society 70 (2016).

Professor Richard Whatmore, “A lover of peace more than liberty.’ The Genevan response to Rousseau’s politics’ in Avi Lifshitz, ed., Engaging with Rousseau: Reception and Interpretation from the Eighteenth Century to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2016), 1-16.

Professor Richard Whatmore, ‘Introduction‘, J.G.A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment:
Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton University Press, 2016), xii-xxii.

Professor Richard Whatmore, ‘Calvinism and Enlightenment: an Introduction’, Intellectual History Review, 26.3 (2016), 319-322.

Professor Richard Whatmore, ‘Geneva and Scotland: the Calvinist Legacy and After’, Intellectual History Review, 26.3 (2016), 391-410.


Postgraduate Seminar Series


Photo attrib. Ryan, CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

The History postgraduate community at St Andrews is especially vibrant, with many
opportunities for students to present their research, acquire new skills, and meet other postgraduates. In this blog post, PhD students Kimberly Sherman and Timothy Owens introduce the two postgraduate seminars series of the School of History.

Kimberly Sherman

Over the past few years, the Early Modern and Modern History (EMMH) Postgraduate Forum has become a fixture among the early modern and modern history cohort of PhDs and MLitt students. The forum aims to provide a comfortable and relaxed environment for postgraduates to present their research, workshop ideas, receive feedback, and generate discussion among their peers. Our sessions include postgraduate paper presentations, student-run skills sessions, and generally, a fun community for new ideas. Some papers presented at the forum have gone on to be published in peer-reviewed journals or have become the capstones of thesis projects. From digital history initiatives and staying organized with one’s research, to visiting archives and preparing for the job market, the EMMH has attempted to provide an atmosphere where students can learn from and encourage one another. Last spring, we ran a session designed for MLitts in which current St Andrews PhDs who earned their MLitts at the university gave advice on researching and writing the dissertation. The great response to the session guaranteed its recurrence on this year’s schedule.

The EMMH Postgraduate forum meets on scheduled Mondays during the academic year in St Katherine’s Lodge Room 1.10 at 17:15. Drinks and nibbles are provided and attendees are invited to join in our traditional pilgrimage to St Andrews Brewing Company for post-forum drinks and discussion. Keep up with news and events, listen to audio of past papers, or even propose a paper at our website or by contacting forum conveners Richard Daglish (rsd3) or Kimberley Sherman (ks222) for more information.

Timothy Owens

The postgraduate Mediæval History Seminar Series provides an opportunity for postgraduates at every level, from the most junior of MLitts to late-stage PhD students, to give an academic paper to an audience of their fellow postgraduates as well as any interested faculty members and the wider university community. The atmosphere is relaxed, friendly, and collegiate, offering a great chance for postgraduates to practice papers that they are going to present at conferences, or simply to try out ideas for their research. Most of the time, the papers are focused on the scholarly interests of the postgraduate, but we also occasionally host speakers who instead offer their personal insight into the world of academia: whether that be a look at the pitfalls of trying to forge a career in a highly competitive sector, the idiosyncrasies of academic publishing, or issues of mental health in academia.

There is also a strong social aspect to the seminar series, which take place on Wednesdays at 5:15, in the New Seminar Room at St John’s House. Refreshments are provided at each event and after every paper the speaker and audience retire to a local pub to continue discussions in a more relaxed setting. Over the course of the year, the seminar series also hosts a number of special postgraduate parties, including the now (in)famous Halloween party! If you want to present, come along or simply know more, please visit the website to stay up to date!

PhD Induction Day 2016


Photo attrib. Agnieszka Mikolajczyk

Blog written by Amy Eberlin

On an overcast Thursday in September, the School of History’s new PhD students were bundled off to a day of ice breakers, information, and a tasty lasagne lunch at the beautiful Cambo House in Kingsbarns, Fife. For the third year in a row, Cambo House and Estates was the location for the annual ‘School of History PhD Induction’, providing a warm and inviting setting for incoming doctoral students to learn about the School of History and the PhD experience.

The day started off with some general introductions before we jumped into ‘speed meeting’. Similar to speed dating, but with significantly less romance, new and old students alike were encouraged to get to know their partner through five minutes of conversation. With the age old (and overused) questions ‘Where are you from?’ and ‘What is your research topic?’ banned from use, the students were given alternative question suggestions to spark conversations. Everyone was up to the task, throwing themselves into swift conversations before being told to switch partners and start all over again.

Next on the day’s agenda was a guide to the School of History given by Elsie, Riccardo Bavaj, and Dawn Hollis. Elsie and Riccardo went over the School’s postgraduate student handbook, providing the new PhD students with essential information about the School of History’s facilities, the yearly progress review, research funds, and the support provided by postgraduate and faculty mentors. Dawn spoke about PGR representation and the function of PGR representatives.

We then broke for tea, coffee and quite an impressive selection of cakes. Armed with caffeine and sugar, we quickly returned to conversations about the PhD. After giving some advice to the new doctoral students about writing a thesis, Riccardo had them break into groups and think about what it means to produce ‘an original contribution to knowledge’. This was a valuable question, which, hopefully, will stick with these students as they progress through their doctoral experience. Each group responded to the question with interesting and thought provoking answers, leading to a wider group discussion considering the question.

Following from that, Agnieszka Mikolajczyk and Matthew Ylitalo, second year PhD students in the School of History, and Dawn Hollis spoke about ‘being a PhD student’ and the thesis-related activities that they were involved in. Agnieszka told us about the conference papers that she has presented and the summer language course that she attended in Iceland. Matt described the talks that he has given to school children, local history societies, and local museums, and the SGSAH workshops that he has attended. dsc03102Finally, Dawn spoke about the opportunities to become involved in the School of History and the wider university, representing the interests of PGR students, and the international conferences. This session reflected the myriad of exciting opportunities available to PhD students in the School of History outwith writing their thesis. However, each student also emphasised the life that they have outside of their PhD, speaking about their hobbies, families and wider social life as providing balance in their doctoral experience.

The last session of the day (and the last before lunch) was mine. Having submitted my thesis just over a month ago, Dawn asked that I speak on ‘the view from the top’ and provide some insight into the PhD as a whole. Reflecting on my four years at St Andrews, I tried to give the new students advice that I got in my early years and some that I would have liked to have had. Emphasising the need to have a life outside of the PhD, I also spoke about establishing a relationship with your supervisor, organising yourself and your work, and responding flexibly to challenges.

After my very brief session on the whole experience of the PhD, we ended the day’s events with a delicious lunch of lasagne, salad and garlic bread, followed by a dessert of crumble and cream. Continuing on from the organised sessions, conversation bubbled over as we finished off our lunches and headed back to St Andrews.

All in all, the annual PhD induction day for the School of History’s newest PhD students was quite a success!

The ILCR and ‘Talking Law’

Blog written by Dr Will Evestalkinglaw

In February 2016 the ILCR received an AHRC 10th Anniversary Public Engagement Grant for a project entitled ‘Talking Law’. The aim was to unite scholars and legal professionals with members of public in a discussion about the role of law in our society.

This goal was achieved through a dramatisation of the trial of Patrick Hamilton, who was tried and executed for heresy in St Andrews in 1528, followed by a public debate about the legal issues raised by the trial which are still relevant today.

talkinglaw2The sell-out event took place at the Byre theatre in St Andrews on 6 May 2016. Hamilton’s trial was re-enacted by student actors, and a panel comprising a judge, a barrister and a retired assistant chief constable then discussed the issues which resonated with their own experience of the legal profession. Questions were then invited from an audience of both academic and non-academic attendees and matters such as freedom of speech and the impact of the death penalty on society were discussed.

A companion website has been created which contains background information, guides to further reading, virtual reconstructions of the key locations involved in the trial, quizzes and other interactive material. The project also received national media coverage through a feature on the BBC News website. A pitch for a follow-up radio series, bringing the ‘Talking Law’ format to a wider audience, is currently being developed.

Monthly Round Up: July and August


Professor John Hudson of the School of History and Professor Lorna Hutson of the School of English have been elected Fellows of the British Academy

Staff Activity

Professor Rab Houston has launched the podcast series The History of Psychiatry in Britain since the Renaissance.

Dr James Palmer has written ‘Crossing the Continent’ for History Today, about pro-European historiography and political exiles after the Second World War

Members of the Universal Short Title Catalogue attended the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing annual conference, this year held at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. They presented their current research connected with a new initiative entitled ‘Preserving the World’s Rarest Books’. Supported by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, this new programme seeks to help libraries identify and conserve their rarest items. Professor Andrew Pettegree discussed ‘Survival and Loss in the Early Modern Book World’, Dr Graeme Kemp spoke on ‘Jacques Charles Brunet’s Manuel du libraire et de l’amateur des livres and the World’s Rarest Books’, while Dr Shanti Graheli discussed ‘Italian Books in French Libraries: Bibliophilie, Rarity and Survival’.

Recent Publications

Dr Tomasz Kamusella, ‘Nations in the Bubble of Social Reality: Language and all That’, Sprawy Narodowościowe, (2016), 48, pp. 1-21.

Several of Dr Tomasz Kamusella’s former undergraduate students also published articles in the same journal:

Maria Isabella Reinhard, ‘“An isolated case”: the Slovene Carinthians and the 1920 Plebiscite’

Hana Srebotnjak, ‘Tracing the decline of Yugoslav identity: a case for ‘invisible’ ethnic cleansing’

Michael Julian Emanuel Volkmer, ‘No Austrians in South Tyrol? Why the German-speaking community in Italy’s South Tyrol (Alto Adige) province is not usually called an Austrian minority’

Living with the Law: Society and Legal Disputes c. 1200-1700 Conference Report


Photo attrib. Teddie Bridget Proctor, CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Blog post written by PhD student Sarah White

The Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research at the University of St Andrews hosted a conference over June 27-29, entitled “Living with the Law: Society and Legal Disputes, c. 1200-1700.” The goal of this conference was to provide a number of perspectives on how the practice of both secular and church courts was aided or hindered by the involvement of wider society. The second, perhaps overlapping question, is the effect of social relationships on the actual conduct of the parties to a dispute, both inside and outside the courtroom. The conference took an interdisciplinary approach to these questions by inviting papers on from the perspectives of law, legal history, constitutionalism, literature, and social history over a relatively broad period of time, in order to facilitate wide-ranging discussion.

The conference was organised by two PhD students at St Andrews, (now Dr) Will Eves and Sarah White, and papers were given by research students, early career researchers, and established and senior scholars. Papers covered the medieval and early modern periods, and concerned both the common law and ius commune. The two plenary lectures were given by Professor Paul Brand (“The Law and Social Mobility in Thirteenth-Century England: The Case of the Weyland Family”) and Professor Sir John Baker (“1616: ‘A Year Consecrate to Justice’”). Panels covered “The Manipulation of Legal Process in High Medieval Europe” (Felicity Hill, Kenneth Duggan, and Cory Hitt, chaired by William Ian Miller), “Legal Interpretation and Theory” (Danica Summerlin, Joanna McCunn, and Lorenzo Moniscalco, chaired by Emanuele Conte), “Edinburgh Law School Session” (Hector MacQueen and John W. Cairns, chaired by Colin Kidd), “Law and Legal Practice in Early Modern Europe” (Kelsey Jackson-Williams, Julia Kelso, and Saskia Limbach, chaired by Magnus Ryan), “Lordship, Loyalty and the Law” (Matt McHaffie and Josh Hey, chaired by George Garnett). On the final day of the conference, John Hudson, William Ian Miller, and Magnus Ryan led a roundtable discussion, with a closing summary by Caroline Humfress.

The conference was designed to bring together postgraduate students, early-career researchers and established academics who are working in the field of legal history. The goal was to allow delegates to discuss their work with other historians and legal scholars, and to make connections and draw inspiration from the broad range of research that is presented. The second goal, following from the first, was to promote a sustainable network of support and communication between scholars and research institutions at a number of universities across the UK.

The mix of junior and senior researchers led to interesting discussions and established new connections between the various universities represented by the attendees. Both the panels and the breaks created a good environment for communication and connections between scholars and attendees from outside St Andrews expressed interest in continuing the conference in two years’ time.

The conference also included a chance to see the Marchmont MS of Regiam Majestatem recently acquired by St Andrews, as well a number of interesting legal-themed items from Special Collections in a thoughtful and well-curated display organised by Rachel Hart and Maia Sheridan.

Rab Houston’s ‘History of Psychiatry in Britain since the Renaissance’ Podcast Series

rabhouston.pngThe ‘History of Psychiatry in Britain since the Renaissance’ is the first of two series of weekly podcasts beginning in July 2016. The author of these podcasts is Professor Rab Houston: a social historian of Britain who has published extensively on the history of mental disorders and their cultural, political, legal, and economic context, especially during the period 1500-1850.

This is the first of two series of weekly podcasts beginning in July 2016. The first series of 44 podcasts covers England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland during the last 500 years, looking at continuities and changes in how mental illness was understood and treated, and at the radical shifts in systems of caring for those who were either mad or mentally handicapped during the last two centuries. The coverage is broad, ranging from how mental problems were identified and described in the past through changing ideas about their causes and developing therapeutic practices to important themes such as the reasons behind the emergence of psychiatry as a profession and the rise and fall of asylums as a location of care. The series explores the history of suicide, madness in the media, psychiatry and the law, relations between medical practitioners and patients, and it assesses evidence that the incidence of mental illness has changed over time. It begins and ends with discussion of the value of history and the vital lessons that can be learned by studying the past, not only for psychiatrists, but for all healthcare professionals, welfare policy makers, and indeed anyone with an interest in mental health.

The aims of the podcasts are to provide a balanced and historically reliable account of the development of both medical and social understandings of madness, against a background of dramatically changing political, scientific, economic, legal, and cultural environments. In addition, it wishes to inform all branches of medicine and social work about the history of one increasingly important branch of their profession: mental health. The podcast also hopes to raise awareness of attitudes towards mental health and the care of those suffering from mental disorders or disabilities, not only among the caring professions, but also the general public, including sufferers and those close to them. The significance of a knowledge of history to the makers of policy on social welfare will be emphasised, through an exploration of what lay and professional people did to help the mad over the last five centuries. History provides concrete questions, comparisons, and alternatives, and helps us to arrive at workable solutions.

The second series of 26 podcasts will start broadcasting early in 2017. These podcasts will be entitled ‘The voice of the mad in Britain from the Renaissance to the present day’. The series will feature extracts from the autograph writings of those with mental problems or from podcasttheir reported speech, to explore a range of mental disorders ranging from autism and depression to schizophrenia and obsessive stalking. Through transcribed original historical manuscripts and printed sources, the series documents individual, family, and social crises related to mental disorders, including suicide, crimes of violence, protection of vulnerable adults, religious mania, and admission to lunatic asylums and the experience of living in them. These podcasts will give a sense of what it was like for sufferers to cope with being mad or being thought mad. Moreover, they will show how those who came into contact with mad people coped in their turn with words, moods, and acts, which they struggled to understand.

Every week, new episodes of the podcast series will be released. You can visit the website or follow the project on Facebook and Twitter for the weekly podcast updates and more information on the history of psychiatry since the Renaissance.