In general, I think I have a laid back attitude to grammar. I believe good writing can break rules, as long as it respects the basics: spelling, making sense, clarity. I enjoy writing in a more informal style for my blog. I love me a fragment. But if there’s one thing that gets me going, […]
Read more "Passive History"
A week ago I went to an excellent one-day conference: ‘A Life as a Lens: Using Individuals in Wider Historical Research’ (see: http://alifeasalens.wordpress.com/). A range of speakers talked about their research into individuals such as doctors, politicians, antiquaries, and civil servants. We also heard details from the lives of a fifteenth-century preacher, a Ming dynasty […]
Read more "Loving “My” Nazi… And Other Problems With Studying Individuals"
(See parts one and two of this research journal here: http://wp.me/p3QdQ9-1y and here: http://wp.me/p3QdQ9-1A) Are microfilms the worst technology ever invented? The idea was to scan documents onto negatives, which could then be read with a machine that looks like a cross between something you’d find in a hair salon and something from the bridge […]
Read more "The Origami Labyrinth (Part Three of Three)"
On the face of things, historical research involves travelling away from the here and now. The archive is to historians what Pacific Islands and sub-Saharan tribes were to a previous generation of anthropologists. But anthropologists have been much more alive to the fact that going away is also a journey inwards: their books have also […]
Read more "Into the Archive (Part Two of Three)"
‘”You mean, Dick,” a plumber said to Richard Sennett, “you mean you make a good living by sitting around and thinking? By what right? Now don’t take that personally- I mean, I’m sure you’re a smart fellow and all that- but that’s really the life, not having to break your balls for someone else.”’ I’ve […]
Read more "Archive Work (Part One of Three)"