The survey that didn’t surprise us

Some surveys shock us, others fill us with a sense of relief that it’s not just us. The recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) survey undertaken by the University and College Union (UCU) does both. The summary of key findings  states that nearly two thirds of the 7,000 respondents said they thought the REF had ‘a… Continue reading The survey that didn’t surprise us


Why transnational history doesn’t work quite yet

Most historians would agree that transnational history is a good thing in theory. Yet, as an article by Jeroen Duindam of Leiden University in the European History Quarterly (2010) has reminded me, many of the same historians would also agree that it doesn’t quite work in practice. There are a number of reasons for this… Continue reading Why transnational history doesn’t work quite yet

The Library Basket

The Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB) in The Hague has solved all my problems – with the library basket! The coveted item looks like any old shopping basket you get in Tesco’s or in Boots, and it holds everything you might need inside a library reading room: a laptop, a purse/wallet, a notepad, pencils, a memory stick,… Continue reading The Library Basket

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The Queen and Magna Carta

I’ve just been writing a lecture on ‘Transatlantic ideas of liberty’ for an Erasmus exchange with Potsdam University in a week’s time. Going through the ideals and principles of seventeenth-century English republicans which would later come to influence the American colonists in the War of Independence and inspire the US constitution, such as political and… Continue reading The Queen and Magna Carta

Foreign Languages and the Historian

If you don’t have any foreign languages as a historian you’re stuffed. This is not just true for those of us who decide to undertake research on a foreign country or do any sort of comparative or transnational study. My own work on a seventeenth-century English republican thinker took on its very own dynamics when… Continue reading Foreign Languages and the Historian