Online Symposium: The Future of History from Below


In the fifty years since E.P. Thompson published ‘The Making of the English Working Class’, the idea of ‘history from below’ has inspired an amazing wealth of scholarship. However, rather than looking back and congratulating ourselves, we think it is a good time to look forward and think about the next fifty years. Specifically, we wanted to ask some difficult questions.

Has ‘history from below’, and perhaps social history more generally, outlived its usefulness? What, if anything, can it contribute to contemporary scholarship and the wider world? How should it be adapted or reoriented in the coming years? What new tools or techniques could strengthen it? Where will it fit in the wider academic and social landscape?

We are publishing a series of short pieces from ten early career historians that address these questions from a variety of angles over the coming weeks and we would like as many people as possible to join in the conversation. Please take a look and leap in with your comments, suggestions and critiques. We welcome comments not only from ‘fellow travellers’ but also – perhaps especially – from sceptics and critics of ‘history from below’.

All of the pieces will be appearing here throughout July:

The first post can be found here:

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