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Information about the latest books and articles published by UCL History staff.

Class, Politics, and the Decline of Deference in England

Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite, Class, Politics, and the Decline of Deference in England (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2018)

Using self-narratives drawn from a wide range of sources - the raw materials of sociological studies, transcripts from oral history projects, Mass Observation, and autobiography - this book examines class identities and narratives of social change between 1968 and 2000, showing that by the end of the period, class was often seen as a historical identity, related to background and heritage, and that many felt strict class boundaries had blurred profoundly since 1945. Class snobberies 'went underground' as people from many backgrounds began to assert that what was important was authenticity, individuality, and ordinariness. Sutcliffe-Braithwaite argues that it is most useful to understand the cultural changes of these years through the lens of the decline of deference, which transformed people's attitudes towards both class and politics.

East India Company at Home

Margot Finn and Kate Smith (eds), The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857 (London: UCL Press, 2018)

The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857 explores how empire in Asia shaped British country houses, their interiors and the lives of their residents. It focuses on the propertied families of the East India Company at the height of Company rule. From the Battle of Plassey in 1757 to the outbreak of the Indian Uprising in 1857, objects, people and wealth flowed to Britain from Asia. As men in Company service increasingly shifted their activities from trade to military expansion and political administration, a new population of civil servants, army officers, surveyors and surgeons journeyed to India to make their fortunes. These Company men and their families acquired wealth, tastes and identities in India, which travelled home with them to Britain. Their stories, the biographies of their Indian possessions and the narratives of the stately homes in Britain that came to house them, frame our explorations of imperial culture and its British legacies.

Imagining Chinese Medicine

Vivienne Lo and Penelope Barrett (eds), Imagining Chinese Medicine (Leiden: Brill, 2018)

A unique collection of 36 chapters on the history of Chinese medical illustrations, this volume will take the reader on a remarkable journey from the imaging of a classical medicine to instructional manuals for bone-setting, to advertising and comic books of the Yellow Emperor. In putting images, their power and their travels at the centre of the analysis, this volume reveals many new and exciting dimensions to the history of medicine and embodiment, and challenges eurocentric histories. At a broader philosophical level, it challenges historians of science to rethink the epistemologies and materialities of knowledge transmission. There are studies by senior scholars from Asia, Europe and the Americas as well as emerging scholars working at the cutting edge of their fields. Thanks to the generous support of the Wellcome Trust, this volume is available in Open Access.

Royal Reponsibility in Anglo-Norman Historical Writing

Emily A Winkler, Royal Responsibility in Anglo-Norman Historical Writing (Oxford: OUP, 2017)

In this monograph, Emily Winkler examines how eleventh-century kings were portrayed in the writings of four post-conquest historians: William of Malmesbury, Henry of Huntingdon, John of Worcester, and Geffrei Gaimar. In doing so uses a modern literary-critical approach to substantially revise the current historical picture of eleventh-century England, showing that twelfth-century historians' chronicles are products of a shared agenda that makes them unreliable as evidence about the eleventh-century past. 

The Stormy Present

Adam Smith, The Stormy Present: Conservatism and the Problem of Slavery in Northern Politics, 1846-1865 (Durham, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2017)

This history of Northern communities in the Civil War era offers a new interpretation of the familiar story of the path to war and ultimate victory. Smith looks beyond the political divisions between abolitionist Republicans and Copperhead Democrats to consider the everyday conservatism that characterized the majority of Northern voters. A sense of ongoing crisis in these Northern states created anxiety and instability, which manifested in a range of social and political tensions in individual communities. In the face of such realities, Smith argues that a conservative impulse was more than just a historical or nostalgic tendency; it was fundamental to charting a path to the future. At stake for Northerners was their conception of the Union as the vanguard in a global struggle between democracy and despotism, and their ability to navigate their freedoms through the stormy waters of modernity. As a result, the language of conservatism was peculiarly, and revealingly, prominent in Northern politics during these years. The story this book tells is of conservative people coming, in the end, to accept radical change.

We Do Not Have Borders

Keren Weitzberg, We Do Not Have Borders: Greater Somalia and the Predicaments of Belonging in Kenya (Columbus: Ohio UP, 2017)

Keren Weitzberg's monograph, We Do Not Have Borders: Greater Somalia and the Predicaments of Belonging in Kenya (Ohio UP, 2017), explores the position of the Somali population living in Kenya. Despite their long history in the country, Somalis are often ostracised by Kenyan officials and citizens and in recent years, allegations of civil and human rights abuses against them have increased. We Do Not Have Borders examines the factors that led to this state of affairs, challenging notions (such as 'tribe', 'race', and 'nation') that have traditionally shaped African historiography and sitting at the intersection of history, political science, and anthropology.

Britannia's Auxiliaries

Stephen Conway, Britannia's Auxiliaries: Continental Europeans and the British Empire, 1740-1800 (Oxford: OUP, 2017)

Britannia's Auxiliaries provides the first wide-ranging attempt to consider the continental European contribution to the eighteenth-century British Empire. The book explores the means by which continental Europeans came to play a part in British imperial activity at a time when, at least in theory, overseas empires were meant to be exclusionary structures, intended to serve national purposes. It looks at the ambitions of the continental Europeans themselves, and at the encouragement given to their participation by both private interests in the British Empire and by the British state. Concluding that the empire seems to have changed the Europeans who entered it more than they changed the empire, it qualifies recent scholarly emphasis on the transnational forces that undermined the efforts of imperial authorities to maintain exclusionary empires and suggests that those foreign Europeans who involved themselves in or with the British Empire, whatever their own perspective, acted as Britannia's auxiliaries.

Patrick Glen, '"Exploiting the Daydreams of Teenagers": Press reports and memories of cinema-going by young people in 1960s Britain', Media History, published online August 2017, doi 10.1080/13688804.2017.1367653

During the 1960s, young people were subject to intense scrutiny. Their lives differed from previous generations and as a consequence, they were portrayed as being at the forefront of social change and representative of Britain's national health. By comparing oral history interviews of those who were young and visited the cinema with media reports, this article evaluates the conversation around 'teenagers.' Newspapers' reports of youth arguably reflected their selection principles and journalistic practices. Oral history narratives, however, complicate press discourse by bringing to the fore a diversity of experiences and understandings: some felt the 'cultural revolution', while others felt bored. This demonstrates how studies of reception materials are incomplete and could benefit from being combined with ethnohistorical approaches.

Britain's Political Economies

Julian Hoppit, Britain's Political Economies: Parliament and Economic Life, 1660 - 1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2017). 

The Glorious Revolution of 1688-9 transformed the role of parliament in Britain and its empire. Large numbers of statutes resulted, with most concerning economic activity. Julian Hoppit here provides the first comprehensive account of these acts, revealing how government affected economic life in this critical period prior to the Industrial Revolution, and how economic interests across Britain used legislative authority for their own benefit.

Rebecca Jennings, 'Lesbian Motherhood and the Artificial Insemination by Donor Scandal of 1978', 20th Century British History hwx013, published online April 2017

In January 1978, the London Evening News informed its readers of its shocking discovery that British lesbians were conceiving babies by artificial insemination by donor. This article explores the scandal that this news occasioned, analysing the stories of some of the women concerned to consider shifting ideas and practices of lesbian motherhood at this period.

Trust in Early Modern International Political Thought

Peter Schröder, Trust in Early Modern International Political Thought, 1598-1713 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2017)

Can there ever be trust between states? This study explores the concept of trust across different and sometimes antagonistic genres of international political thought during the seventeenth century. The natural law and reason of state traditions worked on different assumptions, but they mutually influenced each other. How have these traditions influenced the different concepts and discussions of trust-building? Bringing together international political thought and international law, Schröder analyses to what extent trust can be seen as one of the foundational concepts in the theorising of interstate relations in this decisive period.

America in Italy

Axel Körner, America in Italy: The United States in the Political Thought and Imagination of the Risorgimento, 1763-1865 (Princeton: Princeton UP, 2017)

America in Italy examines the influence of the American political experience on the imagination of Italian political thinkers between the late eighteenth century and the unification of Italy in the 1860s. Showing how Italian political thought was shaped by American political debate, Axel Körner shows that European interest in developments across the Atlantic was more than just blind admiration. America became a sounding board for the critical assessment of societal changes at home.