Friday, July 31, 2009

Carriages as Status Symbols

Full details of the Museum of London's conference in November

Pomp & Power – Carriages as Status Symbols

are now available on the Museum's website

Quote: 'The conference brings together experts from around Europe and the USA who will explore different aspects of the coachbuilding trade in London and examine particular coaches made in Britain and Ireland from the 17th to the 19th century. The social history of carriages will be discussed as well as French and British influences on British carriage design.'

But sadly, a singular lack of horses in the programme!

John Clark

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Group library available for Zotero users

Those who use Zotero 2.0 to manage their research and bibliographic citations may be interested in the collaborative group library I've set up for us. Anyone can click through and view items in the library, but to get the most out of it, and to contribute items of your own, you will need to set up a Zotero profile and be using Zotero 2.0. If you're not familiar with it, Zotero is a free add-on to the Firefox web browser. It is a bibliographic tool (like Endnote but free) designed by and for academics (George Mason University & the Mellon Foundation). I highly recommend it.

I have started the group library by adding several items, but I have not systematically gone through my library for every horse-related source, so the results are still a little eclectic. I'm eager to see what sources others might be able to add.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Hi All,
Several of you have been asking about progress regarding a publisher for the collection of essays of the conference. I started to think about it this week and have drafted out a proposal to send to Brill. I have sent a copy to Elspeth Graham, the co-editor, who will be back from a conference tomorrow (I am on my fifth in less than a month at the moment). If you have not sent me in an updated abstract, I would be grateful if you could email it to me ... even if it is the same as the one in the programme. Sara is away on holiday and so cannot send me her electronic copies. Courtesy of Gavin Robinson, we now have a blog foal.

Best wishes,
Pete Edwards

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dig the New Breed

One of the many interesting things to come out of the conference seemed to be a general agreement that the concept of the breed as we know it today didn't exist in the early-modern period. This is something that I briefly hinted at in my PhD thesis in 2001 so I feel vindicated there. I also remember Kerry Cathers exposing British native breeds as a myth in a paper on Anglo-Saxon horses (and someone in the audience getting extremely stroppy about it!). But now I'm wondering when and why the idea of the breed did emerge. Was the founding of breed societies somehow linked with eugenics and anxieties about racial purity? Did this depend on Darwin changing people's understanding of biology? The idea of pure bloodlines doesn't seem compatible with geohumouralism, for example. I expect Sandra might be able to tell us a lot about these things (if you can overcome your Luddite tendencies ;)). Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

New Book: _Horses in Asia: History, Trade and Culture_

William Clarence-Smith reports this new book (he's having trouble with his Google log-in)

FRAGNER, Bert G. - KAUZ, Ralph - PTAK, Roderich - SCHOTTENHAMMER, Angela (Hg.)

Pferde in Asien: Geschichte, Handel und Kultur
Horses in Asia: History, Trade and Culture

Abstract: Horses, horse-breeding and horse-keeping, as well as the trade in these animals played an important role in the history of Asia´s pre- and early modern civilisations. However, horses were unequally distributed over the Asian continent and their acquisition was usually associated with different expectations. When the knowledge spread that horses could be profitably used in warfare as well as for overland transportation and for agriculture, this did not only promote trade relations, but also led to the emergence of new cultural links, often between distant sites, both by land and by sea. The contributions to this volume, twenty-one articles in all, are based on a conference entitled "Horses in Asia" that was organised by the Institute of Iranian Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in October 2006. The articles are arranged into four regional sections: (1) Iran and West Asia, (2) Central Asia, (3) the Indian Ocean, (4) and China. They are complemented by a preface and two introductory essays. Each article takes its own approach, while, at the same time, opening doors to related academic fields, the main interest lying in the transfer of horses between different regions.