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Past & Present
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  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0031-2746 - ISSN (Online) 1477-464X
Published by Oxford University Press Homepage  [409 journals]
  • Voicing Dissent: Heresy Trials in Later Medieval England*
    • Authors: Arnold J.
      Pages: 3 - 37
      Abstract: Recent work on medieval heresy has emphasized the ‘constructedness’ of heresy by orthodox power, thus undermining the coherence of heretical sects and tending to suggest that those tried as heretics were essentially unwitting victims. This article examines the evidence from the entire range of surviving Lollard trials, and argues that we can see consciously ‘dissenting’ speech alongside the standard theological positions associated with (and perhaps imposed upon) Lollardy. In each area of dissent anticlerical, sceptical, disputational and rebellious a wider cultural context is explored, demonstrating that the language of dissent is not limited to ‘Lollardy’; at the same time however it is argued that it is precisely through the voicing and reception of such wider referents that a heretical movement comes to exist. The article traces trends in medieval speech through which specific opinions and beliefs are voiced as a challenge, and the linguistic and social contexts within which they give rise to wider meanings—including collective identifications. Thus, whilst we may wish to foreground the impositions of power and orthodoxy that ‘made’ heresy, we should not make ‘heretics’ disappear completely. Through the records of prosecution, we can still hear something of the voices of those who chose to voice dissent; and we can give recognition to that choice as a form of dissenting agency—dependent also however on the reception and interpretation of those voices by neighbours, witnesses and inquisitors.
      PubDate: Mon, 29 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gtz025
      Issue No: Vol. 245, No. 1 (2019)
  • Climate, Ecology and History in North America’s Tallgrass Prairie
    • Authors: Morrissey R.
      Pages: 39 - 77
      Abstract: In the late 1600s, one of the largest population centres in North America — the so‐called Grand Village of the Kaskaskias in the upper Illinois River Valley — suddenly dissolved as various factions among its indigenous inhabitants split apart. While historians have often explained the resulting migrations as a response to the beginnings of colonial history in this region, this article argues that a greater factor may have been climate change. The region of the Illinois Valley was one of the most important ecological transition zones in North America, a biome-scale ecotone between the grasslands of the West and the woodlands of the East. New studies suggest that a major drought in this period had a drastic effect on the special ecological mosaic here, causing interruptions in dynamic ecosystem processes which likely impacted indigenous ways of life. This article provides not only a better understanding for one of the most consequential turning points in late seventeenth-century North American indigenous history, but also a model of the potential benefits of bringing ethnohistory, deep history, climate history and ecology together in a single cross-disciplinary narrative.
      PubDate: Mon, 29 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gtz018
      Issue No: Vol. 245, No. 1 (2019)
  • Love and Money in The Informal Empire: The British in Argentina,
    • Authors: Cohen D.
      Pages: 79 - 115
      Abstract: Debates about Britain s ‘informal empire’ range from how it ought to be defined to whether it even really existed. But for all the heat these arguments have generated, we still know very little about what the people at the heart of British-owned enterprises thought they were doing in regions outside formal imperial control but where British capital and markets proved crucial. Drawing upon a recent deposit in Argentina of a substantial set of Anglo‐Argentine familial and business records, this article investigates British capitalism on the periphery. Anglo‐Argentines, even those whose families made their living from the cross-Atlantic trade for a century or more, did not think about their enterprises as building territory or extending Britain’s influence in the world. Money-making was their aim and their loyalties did not extend much beyond their own front door. There is a crucial — but often overlooked — distinction to be made here between national identity and economic interest. Just as Britain’s greater glory took a back seat to commercial success, so too did meeting the material and emotional needs of family members take precedence over money‐making. They prioritized family harmony over profits and stability over the possibility of expansion.
      PubDate: Tue, 23 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gtz021
      Issue No: Vol. 245, No. 1 (2019)
  • Forensic Medicine And Female Victimhood In Victorian And Edwardian
    • Authors: Bates V.
      Pages: 117 - 151
      Abstract: Mistrust of women has been an enduring feature of trials for sexual offences, both historically and in the present day, but is not a transhistorical phenomenon. This article explores the late-Victorian and Edwardian courts, in which there was a renewed tendency to question female respectability and to judge complainants for failing adequately to resist a man’s sexual advances. Scholars have identified broad social trends that led to greater interrogation of female sexual behaviour during this period, but there remains limited understanding of the mechanisms by which these concerns entered the courtroom. This article focuses on the rise of a medico-legal framework for investigating sexual violence as one such mechanism. Drawing upon newspaper reports and court cases from Middlesex, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Devon in the period 1850–1914, it shows that medical witnesses often implicitly reinforced social models of ‘real’ victimhood — which excluded many complainants — through their testimony on female chastity and resistance. Forensic medicine operated as an important, and increasingly unique, bridge between English social change and local courts.
      PubDate: Sun, 04 Aug 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gtz019
      Issue No: Vol. 245, No. 1 (2019)
  • Kazan Tatar Teacher School: The Global Entanglement of A Local Imperial
           Institution in The Late Russian Empire
    • Authors: Tuna M.
      Pages: 153 - 185
      Abstract: This article examines the ‘global life’ of a teacher school that Russian imperial officials opened in 1876 to Russify the tsarist empire’s Turkic-speaking Muslim subjects in the Volga-Ural region. Interventions and transformations at the local, imperial and transregional scales over the next several decades altered the context in which this imperial institution the Kazan Tatar Teacher School operated. The school’s effectiveness in achieving its pedagogical goals turned into a political problem for the tsarist center as a result. A Berlin-born German Turkologist in Russian government service designed the school’s curriculum to offer European-inspired secular knowledge. He called it ‘Russian knowledge’ and introduced it to his superiors as a gateway to Russification. He also incorporated Islamic studies and some Muslim daily practices into the school programme to avoid a backlash from the local Muslim population. Over time, a small but vocal cohort of progressivist Muslims took advantage of this programme to acquire conversance in the language and culture of the empire’s evolving cosmopolitan public. As Eurocentric transregional movements from socialism to nationalism permeated that culture, however, the Kazan Tatar Teacher School served as an incubator for politicization among Russia’s Muslims to the ire of the tsarist regime’s centrist advocates and agents.
      PubDate: Wed, 10 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gtz022
      Issue No: Vol. 245, No. 1 (2019)
  • Jodh Singh, The Ghadar Movement and the Anti-Colonial Deviant in the
           Anglo-American Imagination*
    • Authors: Singh G.
      Pages: 187 - 219
      Abstract: This article is a study of an early Indian anti-colonial revolutionary movement (the Ghadar Movement) through the life and testimonies of Jodh Singh. Jodh Singh straddled the worlds of official imaginaries and revolutionary realities. He was a Punjabi Sikh and had been a migrant labourer, revolutionary, turncoat and approver before being imprisoned for refusing to give evidence in a courtroom in San Francisco in 1917 and suffering a psychotic breakdown in the early weeks of 1918. The detailed interviews and analyses of Jodh Singh’s madness offer some measure of intimacy with the rank and file of the Ghadar Movement about whom very little was ever recorded or preserved. It also becomes a prism through which an understanding can be reached of the neuroses that plagued both the United Kingdom and the United States. The desire to prosecute a trans-national and trans-Pacific conspiracy about which they knew very little, resulted in Ghadar assuming a fictive, nightmarish quality in the Anglo-American imagination. And Jodh Singh, diagnosed as possessing all the degenerative qualities of the ‘homosexual type’was one such victim.
      PubDate: Sun, 04 Aug 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gtz023
      Issue No: Vol. 245, No. 1 (2019)
  • The Turn to Sabotage by The Congress Movement in South Africa*
    • Authors: Stevens S.
      Pages: 221 - 255
      Abstract: Why did leaders of the Congress movement in South Africa abandon their exclusive reliance on non-violent means in the struggle against apartheid, form an armed unit (Umkhonto we Sizwe), and launch a campaign of spectacular sabotage bombings of symbols of apartheid in 1961' None of the earlier violent struggles from which Congress leaders drew inspiration, and none of the contemporaneous insurgencies against white minority rule elsewhere in southern Africa, involved a similar distinct, preliminary and extended phase of non-lethal symbolic sabotage. Following the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, Congress leaders feared the social and political consequences of increased popular enthusiasm for using violence. Nelson Mandela, Joe Slovo, and the other founders of Umkhonto we Sizwe did not launch their sabotage campaign because they believed it would prompt a change of heart among white South Africans, nor because they believed urban sabotage bombings were a necessary prelude to the launch of rural guerrilla warfare. Rather, the sabotage campaign was a spectacular placeholder, a stopgap intended to advertise the Congress movement's abandonment of exclusive non-violence and thus to discourage opponents of apartheid, both inside and outside South Africa, from supporting rival groups or initiating ‘uncontrolled violent action themselves.
      PubDate: Thu, 03 Oct 2019 00:00:00 GMT
      DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gtz030
      Issue No: Vol. 245, No. 1 (2019)
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