Tuesday, 1 July 2014

History Carnival 135

If “Carnival” still makes you think of calypso or Bakhtin, you’ve been missing out.  The monthly History Carnival is a collection of – and showcase for – blog posts that say something about history.

This month we have a number of fantastic posts that question or consider how and why we “do” history. 
Clio the muse of history by Pierre Mignard (1689)

Matthew Lyons asks where is “truth” and argues for the value of studying the past in All Was Not Feigned.  This oral interview with David Armitage considers the “longue durĂ©e approach with a consideration of the experiences, emotions and representations of historical players.”  In a series of posts, Merlin Chowkwanyun and Daniel Goldberg explore the demarcations of historical fields and interdisciplinary in Diagnosis: Intellectual Historian, The Taxonomy Fetish, and Some Preliminary Thoughts.

Before launching into historical memory and representation, I’d like to highlight a few posts on the histories of feelings, emotions, and sensations.  Rob Boddice’s fascinating post The Arch of Hysteria discusses pain and the gendering of hysteria.  My own post on Melancholy touches on the ways seventeenth-century physicians thought of the disease.  Carolyn Rance explores the “new sensation” of Hair-brushing by Machine in Victorian England.

Laura Sangha’s five part series on Memorial and History discusses the memorial of sixteenth-century Protestants martyred in Exeter.  Part 1 begins with stumbling upon the memorial and takes us through why monuments are erected in Part 3, and culminates in a reflection on “feelings” and historical memory.  In a similar vein, TheHistorian asks Should Historians Should Feel Emotions in response to the revelation of the Tuam babies.   

Discussions of historical memory and feelings with large doses of modern politics featured in many posts this past month.  These posts call into question the very purpose of historical research.  Catriona Pennell and Ann-Marie Einhaus discuss 2014 as a year of anniversaries and commemoration in Teaching, Learning and Remembrance.  Richard Blakemore discusses British values in The Emperor’s New Whig while Jonathan Healey tackles the current debate about the Magna Carta.

Kristan Tetens’ Sack and Slaughter discusses memory through Victorian stage representations of the Crusades, Brenna Miller reflects on Gavrilo Princip and the Beginning of World War I, Chris Dietrich writes about the legacy of imperialism in Allende, the Third World, and Neoliberal Imperialism, and Kelly Hignett assesses The Legacy of Totalitarianism in central and eastern Europe.

How do you communicate history?  Does it matter?  The Appendix’s interview with Rachel Ponce, entitled Fever to Tell, discusses how she crafts the story of the 1793 Yellow Fever Outbreak and presents it in an interactive, Choose Your Own Adventure format.  The format, Ponce argues allows readers to “to speculate, to imagine, and to recreate and relive the emotional and personal experiences that conventional histories must necessarily shy away from.”

Katy Meyers emphasizes the importance of questioning how history is presented and questioning old interpretations in New Interpretations from Old Books.  Todd Braisted questions how Hollywood compares to “what actually happened” in The 1777 Garrison of Setauket while Sam Kinchin-Smith asks what happened to Dido Belle – the daughter of an African slave raised by Lord Mansfield – after the movie ended.

What is history and how do you "do" it?  Let me know what you think here or on Twitter - I'm @medhistorian.


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