Monthly Archives: August 2013

Summer holiday

Cliff explains why there haven’t been many blog posts recently:

Fifty years old and still as fresh as a daisy, ladies and gents.

Further reading.


Making waves

Oliver LodgeThis just in from our colleagues at the Centre for the Study of Cultural Modernity:

Call for Papers
Workshop 1: Civic Science: Oliver Lodge, Physics, and the Modern University
University of Birmingham
Saturday 9 November 2013

The physicist Oliver Lodge spent most of his scientific career at the newly founded University College Liverpool before joining the University of Birmingham as its first Principal in 1900, retiring in 1919.  This workshop, the first in a series of four organized by James Mussell and Graeme Gooday’s AHRC Research Network ‘Making Waves, Oliver Lodge and the Culture of Science, 1875-1940’, will investigate both the place of science within the university and the place of the university in the city.  Hosted by the Centre for the Study of Cultural Modernity at the University of Birmingham, we invite papers that consider Lodge’s legacy for the University and Birmingham, as well as those that consider the place of science in the civic university at the end of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth.

Proposals are invited for papers of 40 minutes that explore any of the following themes:

·         Oliver Lodge’s career at the University of Birmingham
·         The creation of the civic university
·         The place of science in the civic university
·         The relationship between pure and applied science within the university
·         Oliver Lodge’s influence on the city of Birmingham
·         University science education in the late 19th / early 20th century
·         The creation of the University of Birmingham at Edgbaston
·         Oliver Lodge’s complementary careers within and beyond the university
·         Science communication and popular science in the late 19th / early 20th century
·         Oliver Lodge’s wife and family and their respective lives, careers, and legacies

Please send proposals (500 words) to <oliverlodgenetwork [at]> by 13 September 2013, replacing [at] with @, of course.

This project is funded by an AHRC Research Networking Grant.  Further details, including forthcoming symposia about Lodge, can be found here.  Follow us on Twitter @oliverjlodge.

You can download this call for papers here.

Click image for source

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Thank the FBI

Title page vignette from the 'Arrest mémorable du parlement de Tolose...'The remarkable Natalie Zemon Davis published a post on the New York Review of Books blog recently about how FBI harassment changed her approach to doing history:

The year was 1952. I had spent six months in France doing the first research for my PhD thesis on “Protestantism and the Printing Workers of Lyon.” I was trying to explore the Reformation from the vantage point of artisans, rather than just that of the theologians like Luther and Calvin and the great princes. To find evidence about working people, many of whom are illiterate, you have to go to archives: to government lists, and church records, to criminal prosecutions and marriage contracts. I came back to Ann Arbor with packets of three-by-five cards filled with the names of Protestant pressmen and typesetters and other artisans—people who were finding ways to disguise Protestant tracts so they could get by the eyes of the Inquisitors and mocking the Catholic clergy in popular songs. I planned to go back to France after I took my general exams.

Not long after my return, two gentlemen from the US State Department arrived at our apartment to pick up my passport and that of my husband. A publication event had brought them to our door. Early in 1952, I had done the research for and been major author of a pamphlet entitled Operation Mind, which reviewed past interrogations of the House Committee on Un-American Activities and urged readers to protest as unconstitutional its announced visit to Michigan. (In 1954, when the Michigan hearings finally took place, students did in fact protest on campus.) The pamphlet was issued in photo-offset, without the name of author, but simply listing two University of Michigan campus groups that had sponsored it. Whatever local readers thought, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was not pleased with Operation Mind and sent its agents to the printer, who obliged with the name of the treasurer of the campus organization that had paid the bill—that is, my husband. The seizure of our passports was one of the consequences.

To find out what happened next, read the rest of the (short) post here.

The image is a vignette from an early printed account of the story of Martin Guerre,
subject of one of Zemon Davis’s most famous books.
Click for source

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