Long Weekend

Long as in difficult, not chronologically.

I think, if I had spent a little longer thinking about the consequences, I would have seen all of this coming and I would have avoided it. I made the mistake of writing in haste, and with a level of casual criticism that is beneath me. But, like I told the offended authors, I wrote only because I actually care about their work. If I didn’t I would have ignored them from the start. I think I have patched things up, but I did get my name dragged through some mud and that was unexpected, even if I started it. I am aware that there is a deep vein of conflict in the non-academic community of historical martial arts. I did not know its full depths or how nasty they can be to each other. That was turned on me this weekend and it was not pleasant. There were entirely valid counterpoints to my review, counters to criticism I levelled without sufficient support. I’m not used to counters written with that level of invective (although I admit an admiration for their rhetorical flair. I did call them careless with sources, I didn’t and won’t call them poor writers).

Continue reading

A 14th century policy for a 21st century America

Once again, I find myself violating my ‘no current-affairs’ guidelines but this just fell into my lap. Some obscure American political hopeful said some surprisingly ignorant things in public and although it deserves all the ridicule it can handle, I was surprised to see that his opinion on rape and conception is entirely consistent with fourteenth century English legal doctrine. Continue reading

Get thee published

New academics in history don’t get much advice on publishing. I have the better part of one shelf packed with guides to academic publishing but most of them are aimed at the social sciences, general non-fiction, or academic writing treated as a single genre.1 Some of these are good, some are very good, but outside of guides for student research, I have yet to find a guide to publication aimed directly at historians, until today. And the best part, it’s free.

Continue reading

Forensic Bibliography #5

The Problem of the Poetic Pellas or, What’s in a (Wrong) Name?

Is this a stake I see before me?

London, BL, MS Sloane 2430 (f.2v)

The study of martial literature, like any other topic with few followers, is prone to errors of citation and sourcing. These errors can persist to the point that they become their own sort of source. Repeated use makes them historical. I think the genre of historical martial arts is the easy target because much of the material that enthusiasts work with is well outside the typical scholarly territories anyway and few of these students have the source fetish that academics develop. The case-study today is the “poem of the pell.”

Continue reading

August company

Back in May I answered a call for papers (cfp). I sent in a abstract based on the conference paper I delivered at K-zoo. One of the editors behind the cfp convened my session so he was able to judge my submission on more than a 150 word synopsis. Back in June I got word that my proposal was accepted and a few days ago I got an initial style-guide for submissions with May 2013 deadline for finished drafts. And, because I’m like that, I looked up the other contributors based on the cc addresses. It’s an impressive list.

Continue reading