2016-10-no5-angela-merkel

MONTHLY BLOG 70, WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION’S HYBRID CONSTITUTION?

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2016) I voted REMAIN in the great Europe-referendum of June 2016, and was sorry (though not distraught) to find myself in the minority. At the same time, I had reservations about the European Union, not least for its lack of clear political accountability. In particular, […]

2016-09 No1 Very-well-alone-David-Low-Evening-Standard-1940

MONTHLY BLOG 69, BRITAIN AND MAINLAND EUROPE VIEWED LONG: FROM CONCERT OF EUROPE TO COUNCIL OF EUROPE

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2016) Britain has long had a yoyo-relationship with mainland or continental Europe. Its fluctuating nature has many well-known roots. One is geography, which maintains a maritime barrier between the British Isles and mainland Europe; or at least has done so since sea levels last rose […]

2017-08 No1 Adams Telegraph_cartoon

MONTHLY BLOG 68, REFERENDA VIEWED LONG

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2016) Referenda seek to answer big questions with big answers: let the people speak. But they also constrain voters. They are called upon to choose between simple either/or alternatives. In practice, however, referenda are not always easy to answer. There are plenty of cases when […]

2016-07 No1 1564 Baptism of W Shakespeare

MONTHLY BLOG 67, WHAT NEXT? INTERROGATING HISTORICAL EVIDENCE

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2016) First find your evidence and check for provenance; reliability; and typicality.1  But what next? Here are three golden rules; and three research steps. Rule One: Approach every source with a keen mixture of critical excitement. That is, embrace new evidence whilst being prepared to […]

2016-07 No1 Dancing House Prague

MONTHLY BLOG 66, WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT HISTORICAL EVIDENCE?

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2016) ‘Evidence, evidence: I hate that word’, a vehement colleague in the English Department once hissed at me, when I had, all unawares, invoked the word in the course of an argument. I was surprised at his vehemence but put it down to a touch […]

2016-06 No3 Woman not inferior to man titlepage

MONTHLY BLOG 65, HOW DID WOMEN FIRST MANAGE TO BREAK THE GRIP OF TRADITIONAL PATRIARCHY?

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2016) Talking of taking a long time, it took centuries for women to break the grip of traditional patriarchies. How did women manage it? In a nutshell, the historical answer was (is) that literacy was the key, education the long-term provider, and the power of […]

2016-04 No2 Despard and Women's Freedom League

MONTHLY BLOG 64, WHY IS IT TAKING SO LONG TO NORMALISE THE ROLE OF WOMEN AT THE TOP IN POLITICS?

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2016) Women can certainly make it to the top of the political greasy pole. Indira Gandhi (India), Margaret Thatcher (UK), Angela Merkel (Germany) and Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar) are just four among several eminent examples, in very different political systems. Nonetheless, such women are […]

2016-03-Election-placard1784

MONTHLY BLOG 63, THE VALUE OF VOTING – AND WHY THE PRACTICE SHOULD NOT BE MOCKED

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2016) Many more voters than previously realised cast their votes in local and national elections in eighteenth-century England.1  They were thereby creating – sometimes riotously and casually, but generally decorously and seriously – a culture of constitutionalism. It amounted to an emergent proto-democracy. It was […]

2016-02 No1 Frohawk_Dodo-1905

MONTHLY BLOG 62, IS THE PAST DEAD OR ALIVE? AND THE SNARES OF SUCH BINARY QUESTIONS.

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2016) Is the past dead or alive? Posing such a binary question insists upon choice; but the options constitute a false dichotomy. Nonetheless, the death of the past is often proclaimed. This BLOG examines the arguments for and against; and highlights the snares of binary […]

2016-01 No1 city on Hill C Alcuin 2005

MONTHLY BLOG 61, DOES THE STUDY OF HISTORY ‘PROGRESS’? AND HOW DOES PLURILOGUE HELP?

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2016) Does the study of History ‘progress’? That verb is cited cautiously in inverted commas, because we are all wary of over-simplified claims for historical Progress which can be deceptive, even cruelly so. But the study of History is a highly pluralistic discipline. It’s undertaken […]