I want to talk about one mistake I think it is possible to make about the kinds of ‘creative’ approaches to writing history is that the #storypast group have discussed, and which will hopefully be addressed by the ‘Creative Histories’ event in Bristol in July 2017. This error is to think that talk of history […]Read more "Plot and History"
Do academic researchers spend enough time thinking? I know that – at least in the romance we spin of what we should be doing – thinking is perhaps priority number one, up there somewhere with teaching, writing, and discussing. I also know from my own experience that life as an academic leaves little luxury. Thinking – […]Read more "Making Time for Ideas"
The Call for Contributions has just come out for an event I’m organising at the University of Bristol next summer on ‘creative histories’. The idea behind the event is to explore some of the many ways that different groups are using and making history, especially beyond academia, but also in conversation with university researchers. Please […]Read more "Creative Histories Event, University of Bristol July 2017"
I remember first reading – and not understanding – Louis Chevalier’s Classes laborieuses et classes dangereuses as an undergraduate. The book is a classic, and Chevalier’s influence on later historians of crime and criminality is obvious. Foucault, for instance, is full of echoes of Chevalier’s ideas. But it’s also a very hard book to categorise. Not really a […]Read more "Style Notes: Louis Chevalier"
Who saw the US election result coming? Not many before it happened. A great many once it had. When I woke up and saw the result, I was angry, not simply at the result, not simply at the voters who elected Trump, but at the process that now sets in as Trump’s victory becomes part […]Read more "The Prophets’ Poison"
So I did something stupid yesterday. I suggested to a colleague that for a class on ‘writing style’ we should set students a quick exercise: write the start of a history of the 2016 US Election from the point of view of 2026, looking back. Why was this stupid? Well the class evolved into an impassioned […]Read more "To the Historians of the Future"
Have you seen this man? Eugène Vintras was – depending on who you believe – a fraudster or a prophet, and an inspiration for many of the heterodox religious movements of the fin-de-siècle and twentieth century. He was important enough to merit a walk-on part in Huysman’s La-bas (1891) and was also mentioned by Maurice Barrès. And […]Read more "Most Wanted"