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.

Ronald Cant and the Establishment of Scottish History Teaching at the University of St Andrews

Blog post written by Sarah Leith, former Mlitt student and starting her PhD at St Andrews in September

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Photo reproduced with the kind permission of the Strathmartine Trust, CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Today, Scottish history enjoys its rightful place as part of the history curriculum at the University of St Andrews: first and second year modules delve into Scotland’s past; there are honours courses devoted to the nation’s history; a Scottish Historical Studies MLitt is offered, and there are numerous PhD students researching a wide variety of Scottish topics. However, it was not until around the mid-twentieth century that Scotland’s first university offered the serious and permanent study of this subject to its students. Flying the flag for Scottish history at St Andrews University during this time was the historian Ronald Cant. Having been appointed mediaeval history lecturer in 1936, the historian almost immediately began his mission to single-handedly secure the study of Scotland’s past at this university. Although characteristically modest and unambitious, Cant was a pioneer who fought a long and lonely battle to gain recognition for his subject, with a Scottish history chair finally being created in 1974, the year of the historian’s retirement. Read more of this post

Medievalists in Scotland Meeting

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Photo attrib. Neil Howard, CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

On the third of December, The St Andrews Institute for Medieval Studies welcomed almost a hundred medievalists from all over Scotland for a day of friendly chats and scholarly exchanges of ideas. Victoria Turner and Audrey Wishart organised this fantastic day in St Andrews, following the example of a similar event six years ago. The first Medievalists in Scotland meeting had been a great success, so the third of December had been widely anticipated by many!

The event was opened by a short speech, courtesy of the newly installed Principal Sally Mapstone. As a medievalist herself, she encouraged the participants to embrace all the new possibilities currently arising in medieval studies, without forgetting the material details of the sources everyone worked with. After these wise words, participants were free to mingle during the poster session. Not only senior lecturers from St Andrews were present: postgraduates and academics from all over Scotland attended, working on a wide variety of subjects.

Due to the high number of participants, there were two rounds of poster sessions. Everybody had been asked to craft posters beforehand, outlining their current research interests and projects. The geographical range spread from the Middle East to the far corners of Europe. Textile-oriented approaches were present alongside philosophical explorations, and the timeline of the Middle Ages was similarly approached from many different angles.

Following the poster session, participants were given the opportunity to meet in groups to discuss a variety of research interests. It will come as no surprise that a wide variety of interests exist among medievalists in Scotland: palaeography and manuscript culture, clothing/textiles, editing/philology, reception studies, spirituality/piety/relics, monasticism, gender, lordship/nobility/patronage, and governance/law. During these roundtable discussions, old and new approaches were all explored. After these workshops, participants met in groups again to discuss some of the latest trends in medieval studies, including: digital humanities, new materialism, emotions, academic/non-academic collaboration, interdisciplinarity, and palaeography. In certain panels, future collaborations were proposed, including workshops and conferences.

When the day ended, many medievalists had (re)connected with their colleagues elsewhere in Scotland. In the future, the Medievalists in Scotland Day will certainly be as successful in furthering research connections and bringing together scholars from all over the country.

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.

 

Monthly Round Up: November

Staff Activity

Dr Rory Cox gave a paper, ‘Waterboarding: “torture-lite” or “getting medieval on your ass”?’, at the University of Glasgow, School of Social and Political Sciences, Politics Seminar, 17th November.

Dr Emily Michelson gave a talk to the Parkes Institute, University of Southampton, on 22nd November. The talk was entitled, ‘Jewish Conversion and Catholic Networks in Early Modern Italy.’

Dr Sarah Easterby-Smith gave a public talk entitled ‘Boxes of Delight: Botanical Collecting in the Age of Sail’ to a packed audience at the D’Arcy Thompson Zoological Museum, Dundee, on 29th November.

On 30th November, Dr Alex Woolf spoke about ‘Harald Gille and Eysteinn Haraldsson: The Irish contexts’ at the Norse-Gaelic Interactions seminar, held at the University of Nottingham.

Recent Publications

Sarah Easterby-Smith, ‘On Diplomacy and Botanical Gifts. France, Mysore and Mauritius in 1788’, in Yota Batsaki, Sarah Burke Cahalan and Anatole Tchikine (eds.), The Botany of Empire in the Long Eighteenth Century (Washington, D.C., 2016).

Tomasz Kamusella, ‘The Idea of a Kosovan Language in Yugoslavia’s Language Politics’, International Journal of the Sociology of Language (Nov 2016), pp. 217-37.

Chandrika Kaul, ‘Need Fulfilment: Society and Community in the Age of Digital Communication, The Indian example’, in R.G. Picard (ed.), What Society Needs from Media in the Age of Digital Communication, Iberia XXI, Lisbon, 2016, Chapter 7.

Frank Müller and Heidi Mehrkens (eds.), Royal Heirs and the Uses of Soft Power in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016).

  • Frank Müller, ‘“Winning their Trust and Affection”: Royal Heirs and the Uses of Soft Power in Nineteenth-Century Europe’, pp. 1-19.
  • Maria-Christina Marchi, ‘The Royal Shop Window: Royal Heirs and the Monarchy in Post-Risorgimento Italy, 1860–1878’, pp. 23-4.
  • Richard Meyer Forsting, ‘The Importance of Looking the Part: Heirs and Male Aesthetics in Nineteenth-Century Spain’, pp. 181-200.
  • Miriam Schneider, ‘A “Sporting Hermes”: Crown Prince Constantine and the Ancient Heritage of Modern Greece’, pp. 243-261.


James Palmer
, ‘Martyrdom and the Rise of Missionary Hagiography in the Late Merovingian World,’ in R. Flechner & M. Ní Mhaonaigh (eds.), The Introduction of Christianity into the Early Medieval Insular World (Turnhout: Brepols, 2016), pp. 157-80.

Jacqueline Rose (ed.), The Politics of Counsel in England and Scotland, 1286-1707, Proceedings of the British Academy, 204 (Oxford University Press, 2016):

  • Michael Brown, ‘“Lele consail for the comoun profite”: Kings, Guardians and Councils in the Scottish Kingdom, c.1250-1450’
  • Claire Hawes (former St Andrews PhD student), ‘“Perverst counsale”? Rebellion, Satire and the Politics of Advice in Fifteenth-Century Scotland’
  • Roger Mason, ‘Counsel and Covenant: Aristocratic Conciliarism and the Scottish Revolution’
  • Jacqueline Rose, ‘The Problem of Political Counsel in Medieval and Early Modern England and Scotland’; ‘Sir Edward Hyde and the Problem of Counsel in Mid-Seventeenth-Century Royalist Thought’; ‘Councils, Counsel and the Seventeenth-Century Composite State’

Alex Woolf, ‘Plebs: Concepts of Community among Late Antique Britons,’ in R. Flechner & M. Ní Mhaonaigh (eds.), The Introduction of Christianity into the Early Medieval Insular World (Turnhout: Brepols, 2016), pp. 225-36.

Publication Spotlight: Royal Heirs and the Uses of Soft Power in Nineteenth-Century Europe

coverBlog written by Professor Frank Lorenz Müller

In 1877 Archduke Rudolf, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, reached his majority. To mark this happy day, Field Marshall Archduke Albrecht, the stern Éminence grise of the Habsburg family, sent the young man a set of “aphorisms”, which contained a whole list of strict injunctions and dire warnings. Above all, Rudolf should make sure to eschew the “softening” (Verweichlichung) Albrecht was observing at other courts. For that way lay dishonour and loss of prestige. For the old field marshal, the princely profession was all about the splendour of majesty, about sticking rigidly to court and dynastic rules and about distance from the banal normality of human life.

For Albrecht, our new volume Royal Heirs and the Uses of Soft Power in Nineteenth-Century Europe would probably have been as unedifying a choice of bedtime reading as his austere aphorisms were for the wayward Rudolf. For the historians contributing first to our conference in 2015 and then to the volume which grew out of it, however, the phenomenon of royal power “going soft” – or at least adding a “soft” string to the bow of monarchical power – in the nineteenth century is not a cause for despair.

Rather than seeing the increasing attempts made by Europe’s dynasties to win over politically relevant audiences, to attract, cajole and persuade instead of forcing or coercing them, was a central component of monarchical survival. That these old dynastic dogs learned a whole bag of new tricks as they journeyed from commanding hard power to exercising influence is a sign of their resourcefulness and astuteness and not, as Archduke Albrecht would have argued, a symptom of a flaccid loss or moral fibre.

Organising our case studies round the famous concept of “soft power” – as coined by the American political scientist Joseph S. Nye – we invited historians specialising in many different European monarchies to explore how their dynasties sought to acquire this new skills set, to consider the different means they used and to assess the success of these efforts. Both our conference and now the volume have ranged from Spain to Norway, from Greece to the UK by way of Austria, the Netherlands, Prussia and Sweden. Our authors have analysed sports and public diplomacy, good looks and sartorial style, news management and the political market – while not neglecting love and marriage, dynastic virtues and the power of the visual in imperial settings.

HeirstothethroneMarking, as it did, the high-point of the AHRC-funded project Heirs to the Throne, the volume showcases the work of three St Andrews PhD students: Maria-Christina Marchi, Richard Meyer-Forsting and Miriam Schneider. It also adds to the list of volumes already published within the “Palgrave Studies in Modern Monarchy”, a series founded alongside the project and co-edited by Heidi Mehrkens and Frank Lorenz Müller in co-operation with Axel Körner (UCL) and Heather Jones (LSE), who both contributed to last year’s conference volume “Sons and Heirs”.

As the project is drawing to its official end, we look forward to more published research and to continuing our co-operation with Palgrave Macmillan. Meanwhile, we invite everyone to get hold of a copy of “Royal Heirs and the Uses of Soft Power” – which, by the way, makes a terrific Christmas present – and to find out for themselves why Archduke Albrecht was wrong and “soft power” was not a bad thing for 19th-century heirs.