Showing posts from January, 2015

1970s weirdness in a children's textbook: Multiworlds

Here it is - some pages from Multiworlds by Alec Allison, Beverley Allinson and John McInnes (Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ontario, Canada, 1971).

All very weird and alternative education from the 'Natural Language Stimulus Programme', designed to encourage creative writing and thinking.

some quick thoughts on the REF2014 overview report for History

Here are some quick thoughts about the overview report on REF2014 for History (link to pdf):

1. we've not seen the fabled death of the monograph yet:

One third of submissions for History were monographs - we are still a book discipline.
Also, despite the rise of digital history/humanities, as it says above, the number of submitted websites and databases has decreased (to a meagre total of 32 outputs). Does this reflect a shift to putting the websites and databases in the impact case studies? Or the lack of entries stem from a fearful worry about an innate conservatism of the REF panels about what constituted historical research? As the next quotation shows, this fear was not borne out in reality:

2. most scholars produce a range of * graded work, and the lower *'d work often acted as a 'springboard' for higher *'d work:

This serves as an important warning for internal or 'mock' REF processes done in the lead up to the real submission which sought to 'we…

'the historian will be a programmer or he will be nothing'

I've been given a brief for a chapter entitled 'the return of materialism?' for a new book series in cultural and social history, and doing some historiographical research, I read Lawrence Stone's 1979 essay in Past and Present on 'The Revival of Narrative: Reflections on a New Old History'.

In it, Stone bemoans a return to a narrative style of writing history in reaction to the social science methods of research prevalent in the 1960s.

Moreover, what intrigued me more were Stone's points about the then vogue for computational history or 'history and computers' or even 'cliometrics' strike an interesting precedent for the same complaints that are being raised about digital history today

(e.g. see for example, Deborah Cohen's critique and also a reflection by Emily Rutherford, and a mass set of blogs from Birmingham on the much-hyped History Manifesto by Jo Guldi and David Armitage).

Here are some choice quotations from Stone:

The latter…

Brutalgie - what's wrong with Scarfolk & this vogue for 1970s aesthetics?

Scarfolk and all that Recently, there's been quite a bit of publicity and discussion of the book Discovering Scarfolk by the designer and screenwriter Richard Littler, compiled from his blog 

As its blurb says:
Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. "Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay...."

Now the first thing that anyone who's got some idea about alternative music and 'hauntology' (I dislike the term) will think is: 'This is like Ghost Box, but taking the pee'. And yes, that's what I think. And I suppose I should lighten up, and appreciate it for what it is - comedy. An amusing book t…

new tumblr blog: wandering pics

I have made a new tumblr blog - - for my photos of my wanderings and walks, featuring interesting architecture and views.