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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Forthcoming talk

Compared to this time last year, when I seemed to be on an endless treadmill of giving talks on a wide variety of topics in different venues, I don't have much on my dance-card at the moment. However, I shall be giving the following talk to the Queer Studies Forum at the University of Westminster on 9th Feb at 6.30 pm: 

‘‘‘Bearded Fruit-Juice Drinkers” : the Queerness of Interwar Progressives’
There was a significant mass of individuals and organisations in Britain between the wars, concentrated in the metropolis, who were widely perceived as ‘queer’ both in the contemporary popular sense of generally eccentric and cranky and also on account of their contravention of gender and sexual norms. This paper will look at the ways this somewhat amorphous group destabilised prevalent assumptions of the day, with particular attention to the ways in which they were felt to be violating hegemonic masculinity, whether through belief in pacifism, a dedication to vegetarianism, unconventional personal fashion style, or enjoyment of such unmanly forms of exercise as yoga and folk-dancing, alongside their liberal attitudes towards homosexuality and on other matters of sexual conduct.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Year message: The bizarre timescales of academic publishing

Last year I didn't have anything published, which makes it the first year in getting on for 20 that I haven't been able to add something to my bibliography by the year's end. However, I do currently have 2 journal articles, 4 book chapters, and a couple of fairly substantial encyclopedia entries somewhere along in the publication process, and indeed, one of the books in which I have a chapter should finally make its appearance, having been nearly 6 years in the pipeline, early this year.

I also recall that there is another chapter, in the proposed proceedings of an archives conference which took place in the spring of 2007, about which I have heard nothing for a very long time, and assume that the project has quietly expired. Not that one can always count on this; it is not beyond the reach of probability that there will be a sudden and urgent call for final editorial revisions due the day before yesterday, after which there will be another lengthy hiatus.

The year, however, when everybody started saying to me 'Wow, you are so prolific' was probably 2001, in the course of which I saw finally reach the light of day one chapter in a volume generated by a conference in the summer of 1994 (and fortunately there had not been massive advances in the historiography of the topic since then) along with other things which had been turned around in considerably less time. The apparent prolificness was entirely an artefact of the publishing processes involved and not because I had spent the previous 12 months madly writing.

What you see can be quite misleading.