Showing posts from April, 2013

Effigies in protest

Last week I was writing up my research on the use of effigies in popular protest.

This proved serendipitous timing given the events of the past week. Here is the Yorkshire Post's report on the burning of effigies of Margaret Thatcher in the former mining town of Goldthorpe.

According to Charles Tilly's typology of the development of protest, effigy burning was an 18th century form of local customary and rural protest that should have died out by the 19th century, with its more 'modern', bureaucratic, less violent collective action directed at parliament.  Yet effigy burning was very much a part of 19th century urban popular protest, and as we have seen this week, continues today.

Effigy burning was of course part of the regular customary calendar on 5 November, but it also featured regularly during elections and increasingly in the early nineteenth century, in a wide range of protests and campaigns.

Why do people make and burn effigies in protest?
There are, I think,…

The Making of the English Working Class commemoration, People's History Museum, 13 April 2013

A beautiful spring morning at the People's History Museum in Manchester, 13 April. This was the first of many events this year commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Making of the English Working Class by E. P. Thompson. Organised by the PHM, the Working-Class Movement Library, and put together by Craig Horner, the conference was a good mix of scholars who had personal anecdotes about meeting or being taught by Thompson, trade unionists, younger academics and students who never met him but are still influenced by his work, and representatives from radical history groups.

Highlights of the day included readings from The Making by surprise guests Christopher Eccleston and Maxine Peake, who brought the text to life in a much more compelling way than did the overacting of Thompson's diary extracts on the Luke Fowler film last year. Someone has recorded a few of Eccleston and Peake's readings here.

Alex Hutton from Darwin College Cambridge started off…

mapping over 300 political meetings on moors & fields, 1763-1848

I've finally got round to mapping the data I used for my article 'Moors, Fields, and Popular Protest in South Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire, 1800–1848' (Northern History, 46:1. March 2009).

Here's over 300 political, religious and military meetings, mapped automatically with BatchGeo.

View Moors meetings 1763-1848 in a full screen map

NB: I can't guarantee the accuracy of the locations as yet because Batchgeo did it automatically and doesn't always get the right location. Sorting these errors and finding the exact co-ordinates of the meetings is the next stage of the mapping. Also I don't have all the exact dates - where I was unsure, I put the date as the first day of the month. The categories are necessarily broad too, and all the data is meant to be inconclusive, unsystematic and representational rather than total.

What I need to do next is work on a site for crowdsourcing more data. Suggestions welcome.