MONTHLY BLOG 22, TO TRUST OR NOT TO TRUST?

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2012) When choosing Blog topics, I draw from my professional experiences as an academic historian and my grass-roots life as a long-term party activist and former Labour councillor. But today’s theme of Trust/or No trust comes from both fields of endeavour. Can society trust people? […]

MONTHLY BLOG 21, HISTORICAL PERIODISATION – PART 1

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2012) It was fascinating to meet with twenty-three others on a humid June afternoon to debate what might appear to be abstruse questions of Law & Historical Periodisation. We were attending a special conference at Birkbeck College, London University – an institution (founded in 1823 […]

MONTHLY BLOG 20, IN PRAISE OF DISTINCTIVE CITIES – AND AGAINST THE MARCH OF HIGH-RISE ANYWHERE-CITY

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2012) Okay, so not everywhere can look like Venice. Cities have to adapt and change. Venice itself is not immune from innovations. Yet, in the relentless processes of urban development, much more effort is needed to save each place’s distinctive identity – and to introduce […]

MONTHLY BLOG 19, IN PRAISE OF PUBLIC INFORMATION, AND DISPRAISE OF SUGARED PUBLIC RELATIONS

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2012) On the subject of accuracy, there’s no doubt that concerned citizens need access to good public information. But how can we get it straight? Without the sugared gloss of PR? Take the artists’ illustrations that are commonly presented as part of the brief for […]

MONTHLY BLOG 18, IN PRAISE OF MEMORY

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2012) Try living without it. In healthy humans, memory works non-stop from birth to death. That means that it can work, unprompted, for over a century. Memory automatically tells us who we are (short of mental illness or accident). It simultaneously supplies us with our […]

MONTHLY BLOG 17, EVENTS LIVED THROUGH – PART TWO: 1971

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2012) Can you take decisions? Including tough ones that don’t please everyone? I discovered that I can, by doing it intensively as an elected councillor. At the same time, I learned that, having made a decision, it’s important to defend it when the going gets […]

MONTHLY BLOG 16, EVENTS LIVED THROUGH – PART ONE: 1968

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2012) Another way of thinking of influences (whether positive or negative) is to think of events lived through. There’s nothing like direct experience for augmenting or revising or contradicting the impact of books and people. By contrast with my parents, I haven’t lived through a […]

MONTHLY BLOG 15, TWO HISTORIANS WHO INFLUENCED ME

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2011) Thinking of influences, two very different historians influenced me not only through their originality but through their intellectual ‘bite’. They were nothing if not challenging. In that they were very alike, although otherwise they were very different. I tend to think of them as […]

MONTHLY BLOG 14, AN UNKNOWN BOOK THAT INFLUENCED ME

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2011) Writing my father’s obituary recently, I began to muse about people who have influenced me, who emphatically include my parents. And then, in parallel, I began to think about books which had an impact on me; and decided to write about one unknown tome, […]

MONTHLY BLOG 13, CROSS-CLASS MARRIAGE IN HISTORY

If citing, please kindly acknowledge copyright © Penelope J. Corfield (2011) People often imagine that class barriers were more rigid in the past, notwithstanding historical fluctuations in social attitudes. As a result, it is always assumed that cross-class marriages were especially rare. Yet matters were never so simple. Among the many individuals in the past, […]