The Editorial Team
Without much hesitation or sentiment, we drew 2020 to a close. Spring is lifting some of the murk that still idles in the air after a year of the COVID-19 pandemic. While it seems passé to rely on metaphors of revitalised growth for a spring issue, academia provides so few opportunities to embrace the cliché. We are not a crowd predisposed to pass up an opportunity; so, permit us to stretch the allegorical potential a little further.
The vernal equinox, when the sun sits directly over the equator, will mark the movement into a period of prolonged sunlight (or impending hibernation for those in the Southern Hemisphere) on 20 March. Such associations between March and impending transition have a long history- certainly longer than we can adequately summarise - but we would be remiss if we didn't offer a little context. Medieval prayer books, called books of hours, included a calendar at the beginning that noted all the feast days for the reader. These pages were often richly decorated with illustrations of the zodiac and the various rural activities associated with that time of year, called labours of the month. In March, unsurprisingly, one should be prepared to prune to make room for the upcoming growth.
There are a great number of articles in this issue that touch on the idea of intellectual growth, innovation , and adaptation. While not all associations draw on optimistic views of the future, the theme of transition and adaptation is an important one as we keep looking forward to the rest of 2021, considering what will be pruned away to encourage further growth. As with our other issues, the articles span across all periods and places, and touch on themes of all sorts. Read excerpts from correspondence from Indian soldiers in the First World War, long history of the landscape around the River Severn, and the Round City of Baghdad. In our interview with Dr Miranda Kaufmann, author of Black Tudors: The Untold Story, Early Modern Editor, Sophie Merrix, discusses the Colonial Countryside Project and Black British history.
We would also like to thank our outgoing Deputy Coordinating Editor and Late Antiquity Editor, Jacob, O’Neill, who is moving into the next phase of his research. Our Modern History Editor, Karianne Robinson, is assuming that role in the upcoming issue, which will be released in June.
The Editorial Board