Monster Symposia

The many-headed monster blog pioneered the online symposium format with a series of short pieces by historians on the theme of ‘History from Below’ in 2013. Since then, we have hosted many similar online events: here we briefly introduce each and provide a link to the symposia homepages.  

Reflecting on Imtiaz Habib’s Black Lives in the English Archives (May-June 2023)

This series of posts is part of Rebecca Adusei and Jamie Gemmell’s multi-event symposium, which brings together scholars working at the forefront of early modern Black history and premodern race studies to discuss the vital importance and continuing legacy of Habib’s text.

What to expect: critical and creative responses to the challenge of locating and interpreting the lives of Black people in English archives.

Monster Carnival: Why Early Modern History Matters Now (2022)

Responding to critical global and national challenges to Higher Education and Arts and Humanities subjects, this series of posts articulates the vital necessity of studying, explaining and understanding events or phenomena from our deeper past.

What to expect: the history of Russian and Ukrainian history, colonialism, disability, Black mermaids, the Anglo-Scottish Union, fake news and much more

Early Career Researcher Takeover (2021)

In early 2021 large parts of the globe were in still lockdown during the covid-19 pandemic and in person events were on hold. To fill the gap, we handed control over to our early career readers, enabling them to showcase their research and air views on academic life.

What to expect: sparkling cutting-edge research, including love, death, fish, Jumbo, jars, wills, plague, ghosts, child loss and much more

#SchOnline: Scholarly Communities Online (2020)

In the spring of 2020, as much of the world was plunged into ‘lockdown’ by the advance of a pandemic, regular forms of face-to-face interaction were swiftly replaced by online alternatives. This series reflects on what we learned when building communities online.

What to expect: time zones, trolls, asynchronous excitement, zoom fatigue.

Alice Clark’s ‘Working Life of Women in the 17th Century’ at 100 (2019)

In 2019 a stellar line up of guest bloggers came together for an innovative online reading group that revisited Alice Clark’s pioneering contribution to the history of women’s work.

What to expect: leading historians of women’s work reflecting on the origins & development of the field

Integrating Histories of London c.1500-1800 (2019)

A series of posts from postgrad and early career historians of London reflecting on the trajectory of their field.

What to expect: capital posts; historiographical reflections

After Iconophobia (2017)

A series of posts investigating Patrick Collinson’s thesis about the relationship between visual, dramatic and musical cultures and the English reformation, drawn from a conference marking the thirtieth anniversary of its publication.

What to expect: iconoclasm, iconophobia, single-sheet prints, hell and the supernatural, parish churches, future directions

Addressing Authority (2016)

In 2016 Brodie organised a symposium exploring petitions and supplications in early modern society.

What to expect: lots of great guest posts looking at petitions

The Voices of the People (2015)

A follow-up to ‘History from Below’, this Online Symposium includes 20 posts each exploring the challenges and rewards of recovering the voices of ‘ordinary people’ from the historical record.

What to expect: sophisticated methodological reflection and remarkable archival discoveries

The Future of History from Below (2013)

This symposium asks what, if anything, can history from below contribute to contemporary scholarship? How should it be adapted or reoriented in the coming years? Where will it fit in the wider academic and social landscape? Contributors include Brodie and Mark, as well as 15 other scholars.

What to expect: E P Thompson, ordinary folk, class, material culture, soul searching