The 1860 Japanese Embassy and the Antebellum African American Press

What did samurai and African Americans in 1860 have in common? Quite a lot, according to the Weekly Anglo-African, Douglass’ Monthly, and other African American and abolitionist publications.


The motley crews of free and unfree laborers in Atlantic and Indian Ocean port cities (1700 – 1850)

Colonial and post-colonial port cities in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions functioned as crucial hubs in the commodity flows that accompanied the emergence and expansion of global capitalism.


Mobile armed mobs in deadly riots

Experts on ethnic riots agree that the ethnic composition of localities affects their susceptibility to violence. They are however divided on which are more prone to turmoil between ethnically segregated and diverse settings.…


‘I had enough last war’: Remembering the First World War during the Second World War

My article for the Historical Journal examines how the memory of the First World War shaped morale at the start of the Second World War.


One British Thing: A Bottle of Welfare Orange Juice

What does an empty bottle of concentrated orange juice have to do with colonialism? Some of you may remember the Welfare Orange Juice that the British government provided to pregnant women and young children from the middle of the Second World War until 1971.…


Labour History and the Case against Colonialism

The public influence attained internationally by such revisionism requires historians to expose the deep methodological flaws, misreading of historical facts, and misrepresentations of prior scholarship that it entails.


Women Investors and the Virginia Company in the Early Seventeenth Century

Unfolding the histories of women who invested in the Virginia Company was the starting-point of this research, but as I began tracing Romney and Hueriblock through the archives, I learned that their involvement in the Virginia Company was part of a wider story.


On Not Recognizing Kadu: Russian place naming in the Pacific Islands, 1804–1830

Our umbrella theme is the poorly known contributions of early nineteenth-century Russian navigators and mapmakers to global cartographic knowledge of the far-flung Marshall, Caroline, and Tuamotu archipelagoes. A particular focus is the varied extent to which Russian place names registered local agency during encounters or drew on navigational knowledge divulged by expert Indigenous practitioners.


Contemporary European Historians on Brexit

The upshot of this roundtable cannot be easily reduced to a political headline, and that is precisely the point. Serious history rarely works that way.


Why (not) Feathers? Period Hands and Material Encounters in Colonial Peru

My article on feather-work in colonial Peru shows, above all, that we should no longer differentiate between non-literate (material) Native Americans with feathers on their heads and literate Europeans with feathers in their hands. Far more important should be the historian’s distinction between non-literacy and knot literacy as this separates or connects cultures in the stories that we tell about the past.


Reassessing the First Red Scare of 1919-20 at its Centennial

The time has come to take stock of both our historical understanding of the First Red Scare and what it means for us today. The January 2019 issue of The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, which I had the honor to guest edit, is the first substantial scholarly collaboration entirely focused on the Red Scare of 1919-20 and marks the onset of its centennial by uniting exciting and recent, but previously disparate, perspectives.


Profile: Professor Margot Finn, President of the Royal Historical Society

Professor Margot Finn is an historian of Britain since 1750 and the current President of the Royal Historical Society. Her work has ranged from the history of Victorian popular politics to the gendered legal, social and cultural histories of debt and credit in England.  She is currently working on a monograph entitled Imperial Family Formations: Domestic Strategies and Colonial Power in British India, c.1757-1857.…