Cheese Is Not the Answer

There are many ways to be small. But when historians talk about little history, it strikes me that they often mean the village study, the regional history, the family, individual, building, or object. They mean ‘micro-history’, which finds its opposite in ‘macro history’. On the other hand, they might even mean chronologically small. See the […]

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The Singing Postman

I spent a lot of time during my PhD research tracking down individuals. It was all part of a scheme (that looks increasingly foolish with hindsight) to identify the people who sang songs and told stories for the folklorist Félix Arnaudin from about 1870-1914. There were a lot of them. And some were only identified in […]

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Life After the PhD

This is the (lightly edited) text of a talk I gave for History Lab Plus at a really useful day on ‘Getting Grants, Getting Published and Staying Sane: Life After the PhD’ which was held at the Institute of Historical Research on Friday 15th July. My panel was called ‘Making the Transition’, so I talked […]

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Cognitive Dissidents

This week the Modern British Studies program at Birmingham launched their first paper towards a discussion of #MBS2017. It included the question “As we enter a moment of genuine crisis, are some kinds of history more important than others?” The question is more controversial among historians than I would have assumed. This is my attempt […]

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I am European

Since last Friday, I have been thinking about all sorts of clever things to write about history and Europe, and my despair at the referendum result here in the UK. But I can’t even get them out. I am numbed, intellectually. I am not a constitutional lawyer, nor an economist, nor even a historian of […]

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Dangerous Territory

It’s a busy time of year in the universities. As I near the end of an intense period of marking and related work, I’ve been saving myself a treat: more work on French witchcraft, 1791-1939. Well, ‘French’ in its broadest sense. Like many historians over the past few years, I’ve been forced to engage with […]

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