History Carnival #1

And so, here it is. A clear example of the proposition that in order to see through a project that begins with a surge of enthusiasm before the scale of the thing begins to dawn on you, it’s crucial to have told large numbers of people that you’re doing it so you can’t wriggle out again. Because it’s also proof that the blogosphere is crammed with fine writing about history. (Even when everything else stops for Christmas.) Thanks to everyone who sent links, especially links to blogs I’d never seen before and to posts that I’d managed to miss first time around.


As always, historians have been patiently combing through and thinking about our source materials, so let’s start from the beginning. Jeremy Boggs (Clioweb) found himself Imagining History from the 1870 US Census.

Jonathan Dresner (Cliopatria) writes about some of the not-so-benign ways in which archives have come to exist in Violent Archives.

KM Lawson (Muninn) has been thinking seriously about the vexed question of ‘objectivity’ in history and brings us the fruits of those labours in Populating the Past.

Tim Burke (Cliopatria) had to bite his lip on overhearing a conversation after the AHA meeting in which African history was written off as the history of Pointless Little Countries. Yet, he wonders, how should we measure ‘significance’ in history?

Mark Grimsley (War Historian) challenges common preconceptions of military history as reactionary and a tool of imperialistic elites, in The Rebel Jesus: yes, it often is, he says, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Brandon (Siris) considers Historical Jesus and Historical Inquiry and points out that good historical Jesus scholarship is bound by the same rules as other historical disciplines.

Edward Staines (one more cup of coffee) criticises the priorities of popular history books and TV in War, Women and Waffle.

Before becoming almost entirely consumed by the final stages of writing up her PhD thesis, Claire (early modern material culture) offered some responses to those who ask: What’s the Point of History?

And Another Damned Medievalist (Blogenspiel) has some thoughts about what we should be expecting from history students in Past Done….

The New Kid on the Hallway has A Dark Confession to make about her teaching, and the difficulties of assigning reading to history students especially given the trend in history scholarship towards increasingly narrow specialisation.


Evan Roberts (coffee grounds) considers the topics of children’s clothing and women’s work in Families Between the Wars, arguing that changes in both of these areas provide significant evidence of a key period in the development of the modern American nuclear family.

Jonathan Edelstein (Head Heeb) has been finding Jews at the Bar in early 19th-century London, the latest of an occasional series of fine articles on Jewish history in London using, among other sources, the Old Bailey Proceedings Online.

Steve (Snarkout) examines explanations what happened to the Scandinavian settlers of medieval Greenland in All-consuming: did they simply starve? (And make sure you follow at least some of the many links.)

Dave (The Picket Line) has been reading about the British abolitionist movement, and was particularly struck by the sugar boycott.


Turning more biographical, David Beito (Liberty and Power) writes about the remarkable Zora Neale Hurston, novelist, folklorist and anthropologist.

I had some thoughts here at EMN about An English Lady in 19th-century Wales, Lady Charlotte Guest.

Rob (detrimental postulation) brings us the Bhadralok Blues, part 1 and part 2, on the friendship between the Orientalist H H Wilson and Ram Comul Sen (who, Rob argues, deserves more historians’ attention).

Ralph Luker (Cliopatria) discusses Martin Luther King’s Plagiarism. What Luker has to say about “tensions between valuing knowing what the authorities have said about a subject and producing a work of original thought” should provide much food for thought.

Caleb (Mode for Caleb) proved again that blogging can produce outstanding scholarship, with his twoparter on The Lives of Frederick Douglass, an exploration of the less well known of Douglass’ two autobiographies, and his relationship with the Garrisonian abolitionists.


Pete (Before Dawn) has a sombre post on World War One: mutiny and war weariness during 1916 and 1917 as the war failed to end and put increasing strain on the countries involved.

Nathanael Robinson (Rhine River), in Denationalization of the Masses, examines the attitudes of Germans in the closing days of the Second World War.

As a Brit, all I really knew about filibustering was the little I gleaned from The West Wing. Robert KC Johnson (Cliopatria) puts Filibustering in Historical Context. Democracy sometimes needs minority trouble-makers.

Sepoy (Chapati Mystery) puts The Baluchistan Issue into the historical context of the “acrimonious central-regional relationship in Pakistan”.


Chris Brookes (The Virtual Stoa) corrects some misunderstandings of Hobbes on the Web

Dennis Hidalgo (Hidalgo) has some preliminary thoughts after reading David Cannadine’s attempt to respond to Edward Said, in his recent book Ornamentalism.

Before Christmas, I managed to sneak into the scientists’ carnival, The Tangled Bank, by pretending to be a historian of science. Now it seems only fair to return the favour, so here are PZ Myers’ (Pharyngula) comments on the history of that stereotypical image of the scientist peering into a test-tube: Science as the contemplation of a bottle of pee.

Now, back to higher things. Misteraitch (Giornale Nuovo), as always, brings us beauty and enlightenment in equal measure, with Aldrovandi’s Watercolours of real and legendary beasts and birds. It’s the 400th anniversary of Aldrovandi’s death this year.

Natalie (Philobiblon) takes us a lot further back, with a look at early fossil hunters in Those Ancients weren’t Dumb.

John Emerson (Idiocentrism) writes on Ressentiment and Schooling, and is evidently feeling ambitious, as he offers us “a new theory of Western civilisation”, ranging from St Augustine to Rimbaud (with mentions of Thoreau, Nietzsche and several early modern thinkers).

And last but certainly not least, Robert MacDougall (Roblog) is as entertaining and thoughtful as ever in Turk 182, about ‘Enlightenment automata’, including the delightfully named automata-maker John Merlin (who made automata for the East India company – would that include Tipu’s Tiger?) and ‘The Turk’. All because he likes robots.


It’s over. Phew.

The next Carnival will be hosted by Ralph Luker (ralphluker AT mindspring DOT com) at Cliopatria, on or around 4 February.


24 thoughts on “History Carnival #1”

  1. Pingback: ClioWeb | Home
  2. Almost entirely consumed? You can only see me my frantic wriggling feet sticking out of its gaping maw!

    Seriously though you’ve done a great job! I look forward to hosting the 3rd or 4th one. :)

  3. Wow, what a haul! Thanks on behalf of everyone (I should think!) for all the effort. It’s turned out wonderful.

  4. Glad you’re liking it!

    ADM: that’s great! Thank you! (I must make a list of the volunteers before I forget anybody…)

  5. Thank’s for the inclusion Sharon. This will keep me happily busy and diverted from some other research I should be doing, and thank you for that as well!

  6. Congratulations – looks brilliant. And I know what you mean about the “tell everyone” technique – I call it “self-blackmail”.

  7. Consider this a trackback, since ours was rejected.

    Great idea! After all the support I got starting Carnival of the Capitalists, I like to be sure to point out other good memes of that variety.

  8. Great work guys! Last week I opined that, except for job interviews, modern communications has rendered professional meetings obsolete. I was right. This is the future of the past.

  9. I don’t know about that. Where would we be without all the sociability and gossip? This sort of thing adds to the richness of our lives as academics, it means new opportunities to spread the word beyond our usual narrow circles, but it doesn’t simply replace face to face encounters or the oral presentation and reception of scholarly research.

  10. Re your post at Clioweb, Jeremy, I’ll be delighted if one of the side-effects of the Carnival is to encourage bloggers to write more great history posts. Especially as I shan’t be having to host for a while with all these selfless volunteers. *cackles evilly*

  11. Thanks for the link to my amateurish rant. Good to see a Ph.D. student working on the 1920s disarmament process can infiltrate the early modern notes site!

  12. You’d be surprised what gets in here. (1920s disarmament, not too often.) That’s one of the many reasons I love doing it!

  13. Pingback: Chapati Mystery

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