Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Courage and cowardice in wartime

March 12, 2013

Special Issue

From War in History 

From the ancient period to the present, courage and cowardice have been central to the experience and interpretation of war. Arguably no virtue, attribute, or quality has a greater impact on the outcome of military endeavour than courage. The evolution of weapons technology and tactics over the centuries and the sort of violence soldiers have faced on the battlefield has varied a great deal from con­flict to conflict. Representations of battlefield courage, or lack thereof, have similarly changed significantly over time.

Identifying and investigating the sort of battlefield conduct that is either valorized as courageous or castigated as cowardly is a complex business that raises a series of challenging questions for the historian of war. The articles gathered together in this special issue consider European armies at war from the first century BC to the Second World War and attempt to go some way toward answering these questions. Each author approaches the subject from a different angle and, understandably, given the very broad chronological framework, a diverse range of methodologies has been employed. In each case, of the groups of combatants under review, courage and cowardice were central to their experience of combat and to the military and civilian interpretation of that experience.


The evolution of atheism scientific and humanistic approaches

July 11, 2012

From History of the Human Sciences

Atheism has achieved renewed vigor in the West in recent years with a spate of bestselling books and growing membership in secularist and rationalist organizations. The publication of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion in 2006 was a major cultural event. It signaled the beginning of a phenomenon now commonly known as the ‘New Atheism’. This article sets the context for the emergence of the movement. The author recognizes two streams of thought, scientific atheism and humanistic atheism. The first closely associated with Darwinism and Enlightenment rationalism, the second aligned with the rise of the social sciences and pioneered by Marx and Feuerbach. The study presents historical analysis to contextualize and enrich understanding of the trends. It outlines the growing tension between the two distinct streams within the movement and considers how the relationship between the two should be a focus of future research.


Children having children? Religion, psychology and the birth of the teenage pregnancy problem

April 5, 2012

From History of the Human Sciences

In recent years the phrase ‘children having children’ has been used by politicians, academics, policy focussed NGO’s and Children’s charities to describe the worrying trend in the UK of rising teenage parenthood. This expression is not exclusively British and has been a recurring theme in the public discussion of ‘teenage pregnancy’ in the USA. Five decades after London County Council officers began separating ‘pregnant children’ from older women who conceived out of wedlock, governmental concern with ‘children having children’ persists.  This article explores government work with ‘unwed mothers’ and identifies the shifts associated with the ascent of governmental concern with ‘teenage motherhood’. There is much debate regarding young people’s bodily and mental ‘maturity’ in relation to parenthood. Much consideration fails to acknowledge the historical and cultural contingency of contemporary western notions of ‘teenage’. This article suggests as long as contemporary scientific claims regarding young people’s maturity go unchallenged, the ‘problem’ of teenage parenthood will persist.


At the crossroads of past and present — ‘contemporary’ history and the historical discipline

November 1, 2011

Special Issue

From Journal of Contemporary history

More than forty years ago, this journal was created with a distinctive mission: to study and discuss Europe’s recent past, even if this stirred up controversy in contemporary political debates. This special issue charts the debate of what qualifies as contemporary, and recognizes through the internet, strong transnational identifications and communities exist alongside national and regional identities. In the twenty-first century the challenge for contemporary historians lies in analysing power, community and culture, in state and locality in an inherently transnational, globalized context.

Exploring the links between media and the changing memories of the 2005 London bombings

July 26, 2011

Special Issue: Remembering the 2005 London bombings: Media, memory, commemoration

From Memory Studies

This month marks the sixth anniversary of the ‘7/7’ bombings. The attack was unprecedented and was the deadliest act of terrorism the UK has suffered since the Lockerbie attack in 1988. By investigating the 2005 London bombings through the dual lenses of mediation and com­memoration, this special issue offers insights into the very practices through which past catastro­phes are remembered in both personal and collective contexts. As media technologies continue to evolve and to pervade our daily lives at an astonishing rate, the profound interconnections between media and memory are becoming ever more entwined.


Collaboration between officials and civilians in Franco’s post-civil war Spain surpassed that found in Nazi Germany

June 1, 2011

Singling out victims: denunciation and collusion in the post-civil war Francoist repression in Spain, 1939–1945

From European History Quarterly

This article considers the Franco regime in post civil warSpain to reveal how it was not only imposed on society but that its supporters at the grassroots played an important role in consolidating it from below. Although historians in recent years have done much valuable work to unearth the long hidden brutal Francoist repression it is clear that much remains to be learnt about the complicity that lay behind the mass killing and incarceration.

This study outlines farcical prosecutions in military tribunals and reveals how in a significant number of cases the authorities followed the lead of their civilian collaborators who singled out potential victims for them. Repression became so aggressive because both local officials and ‘ordinary’ Francoist inhabitants shared a deep ideological loathing for supporters of the Republic and worked easily and effectively together to pummel and destroy neighbours that they both detested. In this regard the scale of collaboration in some areas of Franco’s Spain surpassed that found in Nazi Germany.

**This article won the 2010 European History Quarterly prize for ‘Best content from young scholars**


New approaches to the Nazi concentration camps

December 1, 2010

Special issue

Before the holocaust: new approaches to the Nazi concentration camps, 1933-1939 


From Journal of Contemporary History

The Nazi concentration camps are a potent symbol for the destructive power of modern state. Some two million prisoners lost their lives, including around one million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, in Auschwitz, the largest and deadliest of all the concentration camps. The roots of the early camps prior to the Nazi capture of power are just one of many open questions of research. There are still many areas of the pre-war camps that remain unexplored. This special issue examines some of these aspects, both in terms of the development of the pre-war concentration camps as well as their broader significance for the Nazi dictatorship. The camps were art of a wider network of Nazi terror. Articles have been grouped together thematically and cover: the formation of the Nazi party, the role of influential  Commandant Hans Loritz Lorit, the arrest and imprisonment of German Jews, the significance of  music and musical practice’s in camps as an expression of solidarity and survival, suicide, Nazi Propaganda and the complex meaning of the pre-war Nazi concentration camp as a management strategy for female prostitutes. Camps emerged as the most violent and destructive expression of the Nazi policy of exclusion, laying the foundation for systematic mass murder during the Second World War.


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