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History and mystery: The Face of Jane Austen

A few weekends ago I visited Bath. Naturally, as an admirer of Jane Austen, I went to the Jane Austen Centre. With the bicentenary of her death approaching, this was an exciting experience for me and my patient friend who came around with me – and, might I add, thoroughly...

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An exciting egg

Material culture enables historians to consider critically how courts engaged with diverse audiences. The court existed in multiple forms: as a familial home, social space, and political construct. Rulers were often less concerned with propaganda and more with their ‘fama’, namely their long-term glory and reputation, as opposed to outright...

Teaching 0

Teaching Summer School Students

This summer I am helping to teach a university-level class on the history of medicine in America. Such a broad class necessitates large topics for each session such as “hospitals,” “disease,” and “diagnosis.” The class is small, fourteen students, and is largely composed of advanced high school students around age...

Marathon runner 0

A Historian’s Reflections on writing up, editing, and finishing your PhD

I have not formally announced anything about finishing my thesis draft on social media. My family, whenever they call or message me, hesitantly ask, “So…how’s your thesis?” I grumble a non-committal response with a sigh. Many of my friends, who are also writing up, have written enthusiastic statuses about having...

A rebellious tea pot from the collections of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institute 0

Sugar, Tea and Liberty: Material Consumption and the American Revolution

On 22nd February 1770, an eleven-year-old boy was shot dead by a British customs official on the streets of Boston during an altercation about imports. Young Christopher Sneider’s death was glorified as nothing short of martyrdom by the Boston Gazette, and his funeral was one of the biggest processions colonial...

Extract from Ximenez Inventory Source: http://ximenez.unibe.ch/ 0

Early Modern Inventories and Identities

Usually undertaken following the death of a family member, inventories record the immovable goods within a household, as part of the transmission of property. Historians have used early modern inventories to pursue several angles of research in relation to domestic interiors, focusing on the changing nature of decorations, the use...

Visitors at the gate of the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum in Oswiecim, Poland 0

Dark Tourism: Concept and Limitations

Recently, there has been a surge in interest in the phenomenon of dark tourism. A large upcoming conference in Glasgow along with many recent publications on the subject provide ample evidence of this phenomenon. Those studying the subject would argue this is a response to the growth and development in...

A typical shopping street in the GDR, 1969. 0

‘Hamster shopping’ in East Germany: The Open Border and its Problems

The introduction of visa-free travel on the border between the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and Poland on 1 January 1972 was met with scenes of optimism and celebration in communities throughout the border region. As mentioned in a previous post, the border between these two communist states had been established...

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The Sources Don’t Exist: What to do When your Primary Research Doesn’t Go to Plan

When I started my PhD in January 2015 I had no illusions that it was going to be straightforward – I knew it would be challenging, stressful and downright frustrating, yet also intellectually stimulating, motivating and, above all, worth it. Many PhD students encounter problems during their research; it’s part...