Welcome to the History Carnival for November 2015. It’s more than five years since I last hosted the Carnival and nearly 11 years since I first hosted it. In fact, I managed to miss its 10th anniversary in January altogether. So, this is a rather belated opportunity to reflect on the last decade-and-a-bit of the history blogosphere. Other history-related blog carnivals have come and gone since then; many of the blogs and bloggers of 2005 and even of 2010 are now inactive or moved away or defunct. We used to lament the passing of history blogs; and yet it seems to me now that there is something cyclical in their very nature. They reflect the changing needs and priorities of their authors; the blog that endures has been the exception.
But is that changing? There is a whole new history blogosphere that is institutionally approved, sometimes even mandated, which can feel quite odd to those of us who remember “Ivan Tribble” (google it, and marvel). The motives behind these developments may be viewed by older blogging curmudgeons like me with a degree of cynicism (at least in the UK where our academic leaders’ enthusiasm for “impact” frequently has more to do with generating REF case studies and funding imperatives than the joy of communicating research to the great unwashed masses). But nonetheless, blogging has gained a new degree of legitimacy and with it, new cohorts of academic bloggers of greatly varying shades of enthusiasm.
And I think one key trend in this context has been the rise of the group blog, including the project blog, the departmental/faculty blog, the scholarly society or journal blog, and the less institutional subject blog. Group blogs are far from new, of course; and, conversely, even though it has been supplanted somewhat by Facebook and Twitter et al, the personal academic blog is still going strong (and has yet to be tamed by the bureaucrats). But there is something a bit different about many of these younger group blogs. The very fine Notches blog, on the history of sexuality, may typify the genre: a small core of editors, a large floating circle of guest bloggers, and a tight academic focus. (Compare this to something like Crooked Timber: more mixed and informal content, but I think a much stronger group identity.) As such, they provide new opportunities for academics who don’t want to blog regularly, and may well have a longer lifespan than the average personal blog and even the older style group blog.
I discovered some blogs that were new to me in the course of hosting this edition, as well as revisiting some very old friends, and I hope there will be new finds for readers too. I’m grateful to those who sent nominations, and to all who share their knowledge and ideas with us via blogs, of whatever kind.
And so, enough preambling!
History beyond the Academy
Two cracking posts from the History Matters blog on a favourite topic of mine, the relationship between history and historical fiction: Historical fiction and alternative truths and Historical Fiction and Fictional History.
Online Journalism Blog: How The Telegraph liveblogs historical anniversaries
Reluctant Internationalists explore connections between past and present, history and policy: Mnemonic battles on 23 October: the 1956 revolution and the refugee crisis in political discourse
Do You Have a Cherokee in Your Family Tree? Gregory Smithers at HNN examines why many Americans believe they do, even when it flies in the face of the facts.
Can we date revolutions in the history of literature and music? Ted Underwood looks at some big claims and crunches a few numbers of his own.
At dh+lib, Thomas Padilla and Matthew Lincoln discuss the potential of Data-Driven Art History: Framing, Adapting, Documenting
Edwired reflects on a decade of teaching digital history: Back to the Future
Crime, Rebellion and Punishment
At the many-headed monster, Mark Hailwood on 500 years of rebelliousness in Cornwall and the south-west of England: West Country Rebels
The Prosecution Project blog: Alcohol abuse and criminal offending
A family historian explores her own ancestors’ experiences in the history of riot and popular protest (Victorian Supersleuth): My Relative was a Swing Rioter
Juvenile offenders transported to Australia as ‘apprentices’ in the mid-19th century (Carceral Archipelago): Juvenile Immigrants: An Experiment in Convict Labour?
David Churchill in the Social History journal blog traces the changing relationship between social historians and criminologists over the last half century in Rediscovering Historical Criminology
October was Black History Month in the UK and there has been some great blogging to mark the event.
Launching the new Runaway Slaves in Britain project: Runaway Slaves
National Museums Liverpool: Forgotten? Black Soldiers in the Battle of Waterloo
At the Notches blog, on using Tumblr in teaching the history of gender, race and empire: Teaching with Tumblr: Building a Digital Archive of Gender, Race & Empire
October saw the release of the film Suffragette, which got plenty of attention from the media and film critics.
History Today: Suffragette: Film Review
At Woman and Her Sphere, a more historical take in one of a series of Suffrage Stories: ‘Shooting Suffrage’: Films That Suffrage Activists Would Have Seen
Ana Stevenson critiqued ongoing analogies comparing suffragettes to slaves: The suffragettes were rebels, certainly, but not slaves
At the many-headed monster, Amanda Herbert provided us with a History of Femininities Reading List.
It’s harvest time! Women’s Work in Early Modern England: Workers of the Week: Autumnal Gatherers and Cider Makers
Georgian Gentleman introduces us to Hester Bateman, a brilliant silversmith, clever in business
Yvonne Seale discusses the intricacies and significance of medieval nuns’ clothing: Clothes Make the Premonstratensian Sister
Sarah E. Bond, a new discovery for me, is that rare thing: an ancient history blogger. I could have chosen one of several splendid recent posts, but went with this one: Code Switching: Courtesans, Clothing, and Crossdressing in Antiquity
JHI Blog brings us A Case of Androgynous Gender-Bending in Early Modern Radical Religion
Joanne Begiato: How Stuff Helps Make a Man
I love pies. And Doing History in Public is Thinking with pies (mince pies, to be exact). Food for body and mind. Yum.
At Airminded, one of those very old friends: The peril in the air. Not the usual peril in the air, though: this is about airborne germs and lurid Edwardian advertising.
Conciatore on a late 16th-century book of recipes, including some you definitely don’t want to try: The Duke’s Mouthwash
Magic and Mysteries
Medieval Manuscripts Blog:Things That Go Bump in the Night
Public Domain Review: The Key of Hell: an 18th-Century Manual on Black Magic
Enchanted Histories: Malleus Maleficarum
streets of salem: Turnip Ghosts
Turbulent Priests: How to deal with a vampire attack
Art and Architecture, Mainly: Lasseter’s Gold: fool’s errand or con artistry?
In addition, although this news is a few months old, I didn’t want to end without a mention of Ralph Luker, who died in August. He will be an unfamiliar name to many newer bloggers (he retired from blogging a few years ago), but he was a pioneer in, and advocate for, history blogging who supported the History Carnival from its earliest infancy.