5. Favourite Article

Yes, we know this isn’t a book, but articles are so important in forming our thoughts and arguments that it seemed like a waste to leave it out. That and our director really wanted to include one…

Laura Beers: Gareth Stedman Jones, ‘Rethinking Chartism’ (1982)

I actually think that, in the final section, GSJ proves the opposite of his thesis, but I still love it.

Matthew Francis: E.P. Thompson, ‘Rough Music’ in his Customs in Common (1993) 

Like a lot of undergraduates I was sent away to read ‘The Moral Economy of the English Crowd…’ in the first year of my degree, and as far as I can remember I read ‘Rough Music’ entirely for the fun of it after finishing my assigned reading. And it was fun.

David Gange: Michael Saler, ‘’Clap if you Believe in Sherlock Holmes’: Mass Culture and the Re-Enchantment of Modernity, c. 1890-c. 1940’, The Historical Journal (2003)

Fun and powerful, and Sherlock Holmes.

Vanessa Heggie: Peter Hansen’s “Tenzing’s Two Wrist-Watches: The Conquest of Everest and Late Imperial Culture in Britain 1921-1953” Past & Present 157 (1997)

I find a pretty thoughtful and useful piece, and it stretches the borders of ‘British’ history somewhat.

Matthew Hilton: Peter Bailey’, ‘Will the real Bill Banks please stand up?  Towards a role analysis of Victorian respectability’, Journal of Social History (1978)

This is my old favourite, but more recently I think the following is a really accomplished piece of research and writing: Steve Smith, ‘Bones of contention: Bolsheviks and the struggle against relics, 1918–1930’, Past and Present, 204, (2009)

Matt Houlbrook: E.P. Thompson, ‘The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century’, Customs in Common (1993)

The Making of the English Working Class gets all the attention, but I think it has dated massively and lost much of its intellectual and historical (if not its political) force. Everything in Customs in Common still feels as fresh as when I first read it as an undergraduate twenty years ago.

Chris Moores: Stephen Brooke – “A New World For Women”? Abortion Law Reform in Britain during the 1930s’, American Historical Review

I love reading Stephen’s work – and I think this article is his best. Important, but also modest and subtle.

Sadiah Qureshi: Maya Jasanoff, ‘Collectors of empire: Objects, conquests and imperial self-fashioning’, Past and Present (2004), pp.109-135

Using this as a stand-in for her book Edge of Empire (2005). Her work helped me clarify many of my thoughts about collecting people in an imperial context as I started to turn my PhD into a book.

Jonathan Reinarz: E.P.Thompson, ‘Time, Work Discipline and Industrial Capitalism’, Past and Present (1967)

Thompson’s writing lured me to England to begin my graduate work in 1993, the year he died (bad timing), so it has to be this one.

Kate Smith: Constance Classen, ‘Foundations for an Anthropology of the Senses’ International Social Science Journal, 99:153 (1997), pp. 401-412

This made me think very differently about history.         

More MBS ‘Desert Island’ posts:

  • Book you have referred to most
  • Most thought provoking book
  • Most Controversial Book
  • Book you wish you had written

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