Monthly Round Up: December and January

colinkidd.jpgNews

The Heirs to the Throne project has launched a podcast series: a selection of the finest ‘Heir of the Month’ essays will be made available as mini-lectures.

A Companion to Intellectual History, edited by Professor Richard Whatmore and Dr Brian Young, has been selected as an ‘Outstanding Academic Title’ by Choice Magazine and has been included in the magazine’s annual list in its  January 2017 issue. Dr John Clark also contributed a chapter to this volume.

Dr James Nott has been awarded a Royal Society of Edinburgh grant for a series of research workshops on how historians can best collaborate with artists, museums and others working in Scottish cultural institutions. The workshops will be held in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dundee.

Arthur der Weduwen has won the Elsevier/Johan de Witt Thesis Prize for his master thesis, titled ‘The development of the Dutch press in the seventeenth century, 1618 – 1700’. A two volume bibliography, Dutch and Flemish Newspapers of the Seventeenth Century, based on this same thesis will be published in May.

Anne Rutten was awarded the 2016 Dorothy Dunnett Academic History Prize for her essay ‘And There Was Proof: James II, the Black Douglases and the Fifteenth-Century Power of Documents’.

Staff Activity. 

On 2nd December Dr Nina Lamal gave a talk at the IHR Low Countries Seminar in London. The talk was entitled ‘The Low Countries in the news: Italian information networks on the Dutch Revolt’.

On 5th and 6th December Dr Shanti Graheli gave two guest lectures at the University of Udine, entitled, ‘Il mondo del libro antico in un guscio di noce: introduzione all’USTC’ and ‘Dove i libri sono tutti monadi. Benvenuti a The World’s Rarest Books.’

On 9th January, Dr Tomasz Kamusella talked on ‘The Normative Isomorphism of Language, Nation and State’ in the Institut für Osteuropäische Geschichte at the Universität Wien, Vienna, Austria. On 10th January, Dr Kamusella spoke on ‘The National Silesian Movement in Postcommunist Poland: Between Democracy and Nationalism’ in the Institut für Slawistik at the Universität Wien, Vienna, Austria. He also spoke on the same topic onn 13th January for the Ústav politických vied SAV (Institute of Political Sciences) and the Ústav etnológie SAV (Institute of Ethnography) in the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia.

Dr James Palmer contributed to the Radio 3 Sunday Feature ‘Apocalypse How’ on 15th January.

Dr Nathan Alexander gave a talk, entitled ‘Debating Nonreligious Identity: A Historical Perspective’ to the Dundee branch of the Humanist Society of Scotland on 16th January.

On 16h January, Dr James Nott delivered a talk on ‘The Dance Hall and Women’s Emancipation in Britain 1918-60’ at Shoreditch House, London.
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From 18 to 20 January Professor Elena Marushiakova and Professor Veselin Popov took part in the MigRom Final Conference as invited key note speakers with an opening presentation entitled “Migration vs. Inclusion: Roma Mobility from East to West”.

On 22nd January, Dr Emily Michelson published an article in the Times Higher Education blog, entitled ‘Historians make the best healthcare workers.’

On 27 January Sarah Easterby-Smith gave a paper entitled ‘Picturing Banks’s networks: patrons, scholars and botanical merchants’ at an AHRC workshop at the National Portrait Gallery, London, on ‘Science, Self-fashioning and Representation in Joseph Banks’s Circles’.

On 28th January Dr Konrad Lawson gave the talk “From the Regional to the Global: Pan-Asianism to World Federalism in the Aftermath of Japanese Empire” at a Leiden University symposium on Global Regionalism as part of the Contemporary History and International Relations Research Seminar.

Recent Publications

David Allan, ‘“Winged Horses, Fiery Dragons and Monstrous Giants”: Historiography and Imaginative Literature in the Scottish Enlightenment’ in R. McLean, R. Young and K. Simpson (eds.), The Scottish Enlightenment and Literary Culture (Bucknell University Press, 2016).

Colin Kidd, The World of Mr Casaubon: Britain’s Wars of Mythography, 1700-1870 (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Julia Prest and Guy Rowlands (eds.), The Third Reign of Louis XIV, c. 1682-1715 (Routledge, 2016).

Publication Spotlight: The Politics of Counsel in England and Scotland, 1286–1707

Blog written by Dr Jacqueline Rose

politicsofcounselIs it true that behind every successful ruler there is an exhausted adviser? It has certainly often been the case that ‘evil counsellors’ have been blamed for bad government. But if grumbling about special advisers looks like a distinctly modern phenomenon, think again.  Such figures have often operated in the shadowy world of political manoeuvring, whether characterised as benign mentors or cunning manipulators—or both.

For much of history, the role of the adviser was idealised. This was the case in much of the period covered by the contributors to the recent volume on The Politics of Counsel in England and Scotland, 1286–1707. This was an era in which good counsel was seen as the way to foster good rule; that is, where a monarch governed for the common interest and common good, and not tyrannically, for their own private benefit or wilful pleasure. Counsel evolved to meet the needs of this age of Anglo-Scottish warfare and unions, dynastic and religious upheavals, and developments in local, national, and colonial government—not forgetting the adaptations in advisory practices required to fit each new monarch’s personality.

Using the poetry, drama, government records, and political treatises of the period, contributors to the volume examine ideas about advice and the role it played. Some instances of political failure come up—James III of Scotland, killed during a rebellion in 1488, and Charles I, executed in 1649—are the most prominent. But there are also signs that rulers could be open to advice, at least on some points, some of the time.

Appropriately, contributors to this volume benefited from each other’s counsel through a workshop held in St Andrews in May 2014, which was made possible by the British Academy’s award of a grant from the Browning Fund and a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant; and by support from the School of History and the Institutes of Scottish Historical Research, Intellectual History, and Reformation Studies. Alongside the editor, the volume features chapters by St Andrews-based authors Michael Brown and Roger Mason, and one by Claire Hawes, at the time a PhD student here and now based in Aberdeen. This reflects how suitable a base St Andrews is for the larger Politics of Counsel research project from which the workshop and volume derived.

While substantial in its own right, the volume aims to create a framework for future research on political advice—past, present, and future. It provocatively suggests ways in which even ‘failed’ advice might actually contribute to political life. So the next time you hear on the news that the power and influence of ‘spads’ has been criticised, don’t assume it’s a symptom of the decline of modern politics. Bad advice may just be an age-old excuse: easy to make, but deserving of sharper analysis.

Early Modern and Reformation Studies Reading Weekend

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Photo attrib. Stu Smith, CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Blog written by Hannah Briscoe

In mid-November, Early Modern and Reformation Studies students and staff gathered around the warmth of a fire and the grandeur of a Scottish country house for our “Reading Weekend”—a favorite tradition and yearly highlight for the school.

After our first dinner together on Friday evening, Robert Frost (Aberdeen) kicked off the weekend with an impressively appropriate and mood-setting presentation, “Identity Doubtful: The Supposed Polish Portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie.” It was just the right setting for a bit of Jacobite intrigue. Afterwards, the evening continued for most with games, discussions ranging from philosophical to the ridiculous, drink and merriment. Saturday was a full day which included three meals together, three sessions, and a gorgeous afternoon for exploring.

The morning session was on the theme of printing and publishing. Marc Jaffre chaired what was a truly interesting panel of papers and following discussion. Andrew Pettegree, Arthur der Weduwen, and Jamie Cumby presented on the recovery of lost books, lost and found travel literature, and reasons for resistance to typographic change. After the all-important coffee and tea break, Jaap Jacobs (Dundee) chaired a session in which Edda Frankot and Jackson Armstrong (Aberdeen) offered insight into what it is like to work in a group on a funded research project. Claire Hawes (Aberdeen) then related her experiences in post-doctoral research and offered insights into how historians can engage with the community.

We reconvened after tea and coffee for an international panel discussion. Guy Rowlands was the moderator on “Crossing Continents. Two university systems divided by a common language (sort of).” Martine van Ittersum (Dundee), David Whitford (Baylor University, Texas), and Emily Michelson made up the panel which focused on comparing the American and British systems for undertaking a PhD as well as finding funding and the job interview process. In the evening, we enjoyed a fantastic pub quiz, courtesy of Jamie Cumby and Andrew Carter. Categories spanned early modern history, pop culture and movie trivia, US presidents and their moms, and many more!

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

After breakfast on Sunday, Prof. Karin Friedrich (Aberdeen) chaired a session in which Jessica Dalton, John Condren, and Lena Liapi (Aberdeen) spoke on the themes of conversion strategies of the Jesuits and Roman Inquisition, women as negotiators and political actors, and crime and the public sphere in London. Our final session was strictly ‘no staff allowed’. This panel was a chance for the MLitt students to hear from new and current PhD students about their experiences in choosing a topic, applying for PhDs, and to ask any questions they had about the process. There were a lot of great questions and insights offered, and it was a nice casual ending to the weekend before we all packed up the cars and headed back to the Kingdom of Fife.

The reading weekend has been a highlight for me in my first year-and-a-half at St Andrews. It is a great opportunity to get to know friends, colleagues, and lecturers in a relaxed environment. It offers exposure to academic presentations, the chance to get over the intimidation and just have a really great time—not to mention making the most of the incredible scenery and charms of Scotland.

 

Postdoc Spotlight: Sarah Greer

 

Sarah Greer joined the School of History at St Andrews in September 2013 as a Marie Skłowdowska-Curie Research Fellow while she completed her PhD on ninth- and tenth-century Saxon female monasteries under the supervision of Professor Simon MacLean. This was not what she expected when she started her tertiary education. After graduating from a high-school history curriculum which focused almost exclusively on twentieth-century history, Sarah was determined to take as wide a range of modules as possible when she arrived at the University of Auckland. Three years followed of courses ranging from Ancient Egyptian religion to modern Australian history, but when she enrolled in a paper on the Later Roman Empire and the ‘barbarian’ kingdoms of Western Europe in her final semester she was hooked. Her Honours dissertation was on the origins of female monasticism in sixth-century Gaul; this was followed by a research masters on the function of double monasteries under the Merovingians and Carolingians in the sixth to eighth centuries and she was lured even closer to the High Middle Ages during her doctoral research. She is now peeking over at the Salian and Capetian dynasties with interest, but still likes to describe herself as an early medieval historian.

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Hrotsvitha presenting her Gesta Ottonis to Otto I, photo attrib. Sarah Greer

Sarah was fortunate enough to be able to come to St Andrews on a fellowship through a research network called Power and Institutions in Medieval Islam and Christendom (PIMIC), which also included Professor John Hudson, Professor Caroline Humfress and Cory Hitt. As PIMIC was an EU-funded Innovative Training Network, this meant that in addition to working on her thesis, Sarah has spent the past three years also taking part in a variety of training workshops across Europe. She was also seconded to work at Brill Publishers in Leiden for three months in 2014; at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne for three months in 2015; and at the Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales in Madrid for two months in 2016. She also took part in a month-long documentary film school as part of PIMIC, and remains grateful to the PhD students from the Mediaeval department who stood in as various members of the Ottonian imperial family for her documentary on Mathilda of Quedlinburg.

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The city of Quedlinburg, photo attrib. Sarah Greer

Having submitted her doctoral thesis in September 2016, Sarah is delighted to be continuing her connection with both the School of History at St Andrews and the EU. She has been selected as the postdoctoral research fellow under the supervision of Professor MacLean as part of the new HERA-funded research network: ‘After Empire: Using and Not Using the Past in the Tenth Century’, which joins together historians from St Andrews, Exeter, Berlin, Vienna and Barcelona. Sarah will work on how tenth-century people interacted with earlier royal mausolea and used the memories of the past embedded in these sites in the post-Carolingian world. She is very happy to remain in Scotland for another three years on this fellowship, although she does at times miss New Zealand’s summers.

 

Gender and Transgression in the Middle Ages, 5 – 7 June 2014

img01Registration for the annual St Andrews postgraduate conference on Gender and Transgression in the Middle Ages is now open. The conference, running from 5 – 7 June 2014, focuses on issues of gender and/or transgression in the medieval period and has a strong interdisciplinary character.  The keynote lecture will be delivered by Dr Dion Smythe, Queen’s University Belfast. 

Now in its sixth year, the conference – hosted by the St Andrews Institute for Mediaeval Studies – aims to create a lively and welcoming forum for speakers to present their research, make contacts, and participate in creative discussion on the topics of gender and transgression in the Middle Ages.

The conference programme, featuring work from postgraduates and early career researchers from around the world, has now been finalised, and interested researchers can register here. Further updates are also available on the conference facebook page and twitter feed

Spotlight on Flavia Bruni

flaviabruniFlavia Bruni first arrived in St Andrews in September 2009 to work as an intern to the USTC project. After her Master’s degree in the ‘History of the Age of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation’ at the University of Rome La Sapienza, with a dissertation on the devotion to St Joseph between the 15th and 16th centuries, Flavia earned a doctoral degree in History and Computer Science at the University of Bologna in 2006, and a MPhil degree in Early Printed Book Studies at the University of Siena at the end of the same year. In 2009 she undertook a diploma in Library Science at the Vatican Library School, and is now on the verge of completing a second PhD in Book History at the University of Siena. After working on a number of extensive projects focussed upon the study and cataloguing of early printed books in Italy, Flavia returned to St Andrews as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the USTC in September 2012, to undertake work on the Italian arm of the project.

Her research with the Italian RICI project (Ricerca sull’Inchiesta della Congregazione dell’Indice) on 16th-century inventories of Italian monastic libraries, begun in 2001, led Flavia to bibliography and history of books and libraries, particularly of the Early Modern Age, with a main focus on forbidden books and censorship. She also has keen interests in the field of digital humanities, especially in the theory and practice of text encoding and modelling, digitisation of manuscripts and early printed books, digital libraries and digital preservation. Flavia has also taken part in research investigating itinerant printing in Italy between 15th and 17th century “Mobilità dei mestieri del libro in Italia fra Quattrocento e Seicento” and to the two conferences related to that project. She is now co-organising, with Andrew Pettegree (co-ordinator of the USTC project), the sixth USTC Conference on Lost Books.

Chained books at the Biblioteca Malatestiana, Cesena.

Chained books at the Biblioteca Malatestiana, Cesena.

In her first book, “Erano di molti libri proibiti”. Frate Lorenzo Lucchesi e la censura libraria a Lucca alla fine del Cinquecento, Flavia reassessed the case of a friar who acted as the official censor for the Bishop of the Republic of Lucca at the end of the 16th century, who has been erroneously considered by scholarship to be a “libertine friar” because of the number of forbidden books that he kept. After a series of articles on book inventories and physical markings on books, such as ownership inscriptions, bindings and labels, as sources for the history of libraries in the Modern Age, Flavia is now working to her second monograph. This will trace the history of the book collection of the Servite cloister of San Pier Piccolo of Arezzo (Italy) from the 16th century to today, and in so doing will suggest a new approach to the history of censorship throughout the Early Modern Catholic world.

On a visit to the Biblioteca Casanatense, Rome, with St Andrews students in May 2013.

On a visit to the Biblioteca Casanatense, Rome, with St Andrews students in May 2013.

Since 2012 Flavia has participated in the teaching of the M.Litt. Degree in Book History, in particular working with students on the core course ‘The Hand Press Book from Renaissance to Romanticism (MO5113), and the training module on ‘Technical Bibliography’ (MO5012).

Living in the UK is a dream come true for Flavia, a passionate fan of British indie rock bands, and whenever she is not busy with research she is apt to escape to Dundee or Glasgow to enjoy gigs and rummage around in record shops, waiting for the big event of the year – mud bathing at T in the Park!

ISHR Reading Weekend 2014, The Burn, 21-23 March

Dawn Jackson Williams, School of History communications intern and associate of the ISHR, attended the annual ISHR Reading Weekend. Below is her account.

The Burn. Photo by D. Jackson Williams.

The Burn. (Photo credit D. Jackson Williams).

The weekend of the 21–23 March saw members and guests of the Institute of Scottish Historical Research head to the Burn, just south of the Cairngorms National Park, where they enjoyed three days encompassing a variety of presentations, historical discussions, and a field trip to learn about Pictish stones.

Following a mid-afternoon arrival on the Friday the group was given plenty of time to get acquainted over tea in the Burn’s beautiful Drawing Room. After dinner, the MLitt students in attendance kicked off the weekend’s presentations with a ‘Three Minute Thesis’ session. The six gave brief introductions to their areas of research, which ranged from an exploration of the queenship of Margaret Tudor to a study of Scottish music halls in the early twentieth century. The postgraduate focus of the evening continued in a more light-hearted vein as Claire Hawes demonstrated herself to be not only a talented historian, but also a brilliant musician; she treated us to a musical exposition of the highs and lows of PhD life, set to the tune of ABBA’s ‘The Winner Takes It All’.

The next morning saw two fascinating panels, featuring PhD students Sean Murphy, Carol Bailey, Liz Hanna, and Claire Hawes, which covered a range of topics including ‘verbal tartanry’ and its role in Scottish diasporic culture, the language debates of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, James IV and his uses of chivalry, and the nature of fifteenth-century urban communities. After lunch the group ventured to Pictavia, a nearby attraction boasting a collection of Pictish stones, where they enjoyed the commentary of an extremely knowledgeable guide, and – perhaps less cerebrally – the interactive nature of the exhibit which encouraged visitors to run their hands over replica Pictish stones, and to play a reproduction Pictish harp. The ISHR was also pleased to discover a reference to the research of Dr Alex Woolf in pride of place on the wall beside one of the opening exhibits. The two articles of particular relevance to the displays at Pictavia can be found here: ‘Dún Nechtáin, Fortriu and the Geography of the Picts’, and ‘Pictish matriliny reconsidered’.

Inside the Drawing Room of the Burn. (Photo credit Darren S. Layne).

Hearing about the MLitt research topics in the Drawing Room of the Burn. (Photo credit Darren S. Layne).

On returning to the Burn the group reaped the benefits of a pre-dinner skills panel, with Matt McHaffie sharing his experience of finishing the PhD, and offering advice to those PhD students present to whom handing in still felt like a distant dream. Darren Layne gave a persuasive presentation regarding the virtues of Evernote and its potential benefits for historians. The schedule for the weekend (arranged by ISHR intern Amy Eberlin) had boasted ‘Prescribed Fun Time’ for the hour or so after dinner, and the inaugural ISHR pub quiz certainly provided both entertainment and some head-scratching. History as a potential category was deliberately avoided and the assembled staff and students were tested on their general knowledge, geography, and, in a picture round, their ability to recognise the logos of international organisations. The ‘Blue Owls’ helmed by ISHR Director Katie Stevenson won, although as they boasted a one-time St Andrews University Challenge team-member, this had been widely predicted. The team of ISHR’s Edinburgh guest, Steve Boardman, came joint last after forgetting that the Queen was Canada’s head of state.

The final day saw some erratic weather – bright sunshine interspersed with hail – but no change in the continuing high standard of presentations across the weekend. Piotr Potocki explored Catholic identity and the Catholic church in Scotland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, whilst Neil McGuigan took listeners on a journey to the ninth and tenth centuries with his account of the sons of Ivar and the medieval kingdom of Northumbria. The weekend was ably rounded off by Dr Steve Boardman, who gave a compelling paper on the depiction of Anglo-Welsh and Anglo-Irish relations as depicted in Scottish sources. After a final lunch, the group dispersed, perhaps a little more tired, but certainly more knowledgeable than they had been upon arrival.