The History Woman's Blog

Transnational Subjects: Calls for Papers

Posted in CFP, Eighteenth Century, History, literature by thehistorywoman on September 20, 2011

I am on the editorial board of a new journal, Transnational Subjects: History, Society and Culture. Our first issue will be appearing in October 2011. The journal is print and online, and fully peer-reviewed.

Currently we have two open calls for papers. For our second issue, which will be published in May 2012, we invite essays on all aspects of  transnational and cultural history (4,000–7,000 words) and shorter report-type articles (less than 3,000 words) demonstrating transnational history work.

We also particularly welcome digital submissions, including audio/visual work that would not be suitable for a traditional journal. Digital content will also be peer-reviewed and published on our website. Send proposals to transnational@gylphi.co.uk. The deadline for issue 2 is 31 October 2011.

Issue 3 will be a themed issue: Gender, Sexuality, and the Transnational Subject, to be guest edited by Gregory Smithers.

For well over a generation, historians have enriched our understanding of the history of gender and sexuality in a variety of historical contexts. Insightful works by Anne McClintock, Ann Stoler, Philippa Levine, Robert Aldridge, and many others, have presented a vivid picture of how the “state” endeavoured to control, channel, and at times manipulate gendered behaviour and sexual activity. Despite an impressive body of scholarship, we still know relatively little about the individuals who were the objects of the state’s policies, laws, and policing. Transnational Subjects calls for essays that will shed historical, anthropological, and/or sociological light on the experiences of individuals as they navigated the socially and legally constructed concepts of gender and sexuality from the eighteenth century to the present. We welcome submissions that include, but are not limited to, small case studies, methodologically and theoretically innovative essays, digital work, and personal reflections on gender and sexuality in a transnational context. Essays should not exceed 7,000 words, and reflective pieces should not be more than 3,000 words.

Submissions will be peer reviewed and should be sent electronically to transnational@gylphi.co.uk. Deadline for submissions is 15 January, 2012. Selected papers will appear in the October 2012 edition of Transnational Subjects.

Direct inquiries about the special edition to Dr. Gregory Smithers Department of History, Virginia Commonwealth University.

Horace Walpole and Strawberry Hill at the V&A

Posted in Art, Eighteenth Century, Reviews by thehistorywoman on March 9, 2010

The little blue-enamelled toothpick case left quite an impression. Not because it was so remarkably beautiful, but because it seemed so random, useless even – in a good way. Many of the items currently on display in the V&A’s exhibition on Horace Walpole and Strawberry Hill are of that quality, and that’s their attraction. There are little boxes and caskets, finely painted china, vases, a C16th cardinal’s hat, a rosewood cabinet full of miniatures, and a wooden cravat Walpole apparently wore for a party at his home.

Strawberry Hill, Walpole’s summer villa by the Thames at Twickenham where all these items come from, was in itself more than a little bid odd. Designed as ‘a little gothic castle’ it revived the style of the Middle Ages and allegedly inspired the first Gothic novel, Walpole’s very dark and improbable Castle of Otranto. A number of items in the collection either directly or indirectly relate to that novel, such as John Carter’s painting of ‘The Entry of Frederick into the Castle of Otranto’, displaying a scene from the end of the book, or the Gothic lantern that was intended to contribute to the general mood of “gloomth” Walpole was so fond of. (more…)

The fun of deceiving your readers – and being found out

Posted in Early Modern, Eighteenth Century, literature, Reviews, Seventeenth Century by thehistorywoman on January 30, 2010

It must have been so much fun being a C17th wit hanging around your favourite tavern or coffee-house thinking up tall stories, scribbling them down and waiting to see how your readers reacted. Would they really believe that shepherds had found the remains of Moses his Tombe (1657) on Mount Nebo, or that Dutch sailors had discovered a new island in the Pacific Ocean – shortly after the Anglo-Dutch war – that was populated by various tribes of savage English people? Some would, others would not. The questioning, the incredulity, the surprise and the discovery of the hoax was all part of the fun of ‘shamming’. In particular for opposition authors after the Restoration, it was also a way of expressing political and religious dissent without falling foul of the government censors.

However, it would be naïve to believe that the public just took these stories at face value. Early modern readers were ‘sceptical readers’, who knew well how to question the texts they were being offered and who had as much fun discovering hoaxes as their authors had writing them. ‘(T)he complexity of readers’ responses should not be underestimated’ (p. 197) is the key message of Kate Loveman‘s exciting ‘investigation into deception and reading habits’ (p. 175) in early modern England. Reading Fictions, 1660-1740 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008) offers a number of case studies of literary and political deceptions in roughly chronological order, from the Interregnum, via the Popish Plot Crisis to the mid-C18th. Looking at a range of authors from the lesser known republicans Thomas Challoner and Henry Neville to celebrated satirists and canonical authors such as Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift, Samuel Richardson and Henry Fielding, Loveman analyses shams and readers’ responses, explores strategies and motives for hoaxing, grappling with the  unstable category of ‘truth’ and the relationship between political lying and the rise of the novel. (more…)

French Revolutionaries & English Republicans: A bridge to the Continent

Posted in Eighteenth Century, Reviews by thehistorywoman on November 8, 2009

As its subtitle announces Rachel Hammersley’s French Revolutionaries and English Republicans (Woodbridge, 2005) is a study of the Cordeliers Club in Paris between 1790-1794. It traces the Club’s radical policies and associated writings in the years following the rebellion of 1789 and its attempts to influence the National Assembly as it forged a new constitution for France.

What makes the Cordeliers so interesting for scholars of early modern English political thought, however, is their use of C17th English authors in the shaping of their political arguments. In his attempt at advocating republican structures in C18th France, the Cordeliers’ secretary Théophile Mandar, for instance, translated Marchamont Nedham’s The Excellencie of a Free State (1656) – assembled from editorials of the Commonwealth newsbook Mercurius Politicus – into French. This translation is not only remarkable for what it transmits into French, but in particular for what it changes and decides to omit.

Thus, Mandar, who was an admirer of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s republicanism, used Nedham to promote Rousseau’s ideas of liberty and popular sovereignty, making Nedham in the process much more radical and democratical than he actually was. So Mandar decides to turn Nedham’s advocacy of relative equality into a call for the ‘greatest equality among all the citizens’ (p. 73); and while Nedham clearly didn’t aim to include the rabble or the ‘confused promiscuous body of the people’ into the number of active participants in political life, Marat simply cut the respective passage from Nedham ‘thereby suggesting that he entertained no such restrictions on who was to be included among “the people,” ‘ (p. 74).

Besides Nedham, Marat also employed arguments from Algernon Sidney for his purposes, translating into French and publishing the last six chapters of Sidney’s Discourses concerning government in his own Des Insurrections of 1793.

(more…)