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Golden Fever in the 1920s–30s and the Soviet Reception of Medieval Alchemy

The reception of alchemy in the early USSR remains a completely unknown field. This is despite the fact that many historians now work extensively on the history of alchemy more broadly. However, there were many mentions of alchemy both in the occult and the science literature in Russian in the 1920s and 1930s. In this blog entry, PhD student Sergei Zotov discusses how transnational connections in the beginning of the twentieth century shaped the reception of alchemy in the USSR.

Rendering the Surface: Representing Lacquerware in Early Modern European Paintings

The art of lacquer involves a glue-like material applied in layers to the surface of objects to make them visually dazzling. From the early sixteenth century, lacquerwares made in Asia were increasingly brought to Europe and highly valued for their quality. Later they were also included in European paintings. How did artists choose to represent this precious and mysterious material? In this blog post, Cheng He shows that a liquid substance like lacquer could be expressed on canvas with different emphases. It was at the same time assimilated into different genres and contexts in paintings, which conversely enriched the cultural meanings of lacquer.

Global Microhistory Salon 3: Entering the V&A Stores

On Friday 7 June 2019 the last of three V&A Salons took place as part of the AHRC-funded Global Microhistory network, with the theme of 'Information, Writing, and Cultures of Correspondence'. Organised by Maxine Berg along with Warwick-colleagues Jo Tierney and Guido van Meersbergen, this third salon session took place at the V&A stores at Blythe House, London, under guidance of the V&A's curator of South Asian textiles, Avalon Fotheringham. In this blog post, Guido van Meersbergen reports on the event accompanied with a slide show of spectacular photos by Adrianna Catena.

Diplomacy and Gifts: Global Microhistory in ‘The Globe’ at the V&A (2)

The AHRC Network: A New Global Microhistory Pathway (Warwick, Oxford, EUI and V&A) held the second of three late evening public discussions in ‘The Globe’ at the V&A on Friday 8 March 2019. Organised by professor Maxine Berg and focused on the theme 'Diplomacy and Gifts', this event brought together curators and (art) historians on a spectacular tour of the museum's South Asian, Islamic Middle East, and Medieval & Renaissance Galleries. The evening was concluded by way of a roundtable discussion in the 'Globe' space in the Europe 1600-1815 gallery, a recording of which can be found here.

Workshop Report: “The War of the Locust, 1940-45”

At the height of WWII, the British Empire launched an ambitious campaign to eradicate locusts in East Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. The The War of the Locust workshop which took place at Warwick on 8 December 2017 brought together an historian, an entomologist, an artist and an ecologist to discuss their collaborative research on this campaign. A collaboration between Dr Robert Fletcher (Warwick, History), Dr Katherine Brown (Portsmouth, Forensic Entomology), Dr Greg McInerny (Warwick, Ecology), and Dr Amanda Thomson (Glasgow, Art), the The War of the Locust project seeks to understand the twentieth-century campaign to monitor and eradicate the desert locust. In this blog, Sophie Greenway reflects on interdisciplinarity and the intersection of history and environmental issues pertinent to both The War of the Locust workshop and her PhD research.