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Managing madness in early nineteenth-century asylums

An archaeology of lunacy examines the historic lunatic asylum from an interdisciplinary perspective, employing methods drawn from archaeology, social geography, and history to create a holistic view of the built heritage of the asylum as a distinctive building type. In the popular imagination, historic lunatic asylums were dark, monolithic, and homogenous, instruments for social confinement and punishment. This book aims to redress this historical reputation, showing how the built environment and material worlds of lunatic asylums were distinctive and idiosyncratic – and highly regional. They were also progressive spaces and proving grounds of architectural experimentation, where the reformed treatment practices known as moral management were trialled and refined. The standing remains of the nineteenth-century lunatic asylum system represent a unique opportunity to study a building-type in active transition, both materially and ideologically. When they were constructed, asylums were a composite of reform ideals, architectural materials, and innovative design approaches. An archaeological study of these institutions can offer a materially focused examination of how the buildings worked on a daily basis. This study combines critical analysis of the architecture, material remains, and historical documentary sources for lunatic asylums in England and Ireland. Students and scholars of later historical archaeology and built heritage will find the book a useful overview of this institutional site type, while historians of medicine will find the focus on interior design and architecture of use. The general public, for whom asylums frequently represent shadowy ruins or anonymous redevelopments, may be interested in learning more about the buildings.

Author: Laura Varnam

The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building, idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English texts.

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Eric Klingelhofer

–15 in Susan Lawrence (ed.), The Archaeologies of the British (London, 2003); and ‘Edmund Spenser at Kilcolman Castle: the archaeological evidence’, Post-Medieval Archaeol . 39 No. 1 (2005), pp. 133–54.

in Castles and Colonists
A conceptual history 1200–1900

This collection explores how concepts of intellectual or learning disability evolved from a range of influences, gradually developing from earlier and decidedly distinct concepts, including ‘idiocy’ and ‘folly’, which were themselves generated by very specific social and intellectual environments. With essays extending across legal, educational, literary, religious, philosophical, and psychiatric histories, this collection maintains a rigorous distinction between historical and contemporary concepts in demonstrating how intellectual disability and related notions were products of the prevailing social, cultural, and intellectual environments in which they took form, and themselves performed important functions within these environments. Focusing on British and European material from the middle ages to the late nineteenth century, this collection asks ‘How and why did these concepts form?’ ‘How did they connect with one another?’ and ‘What historical circumstances contributed to building these connections?’ While the emphasis is on conceptual history or a history of ideas, these essays also address the consequences of these defining forces for the people who found themselves enclosed by the shifting definitional field.

Thomas A. Prendergast and Stephanie Trigg

researching medievalism. We may also identify a renewed sophistication in much of the cultural and literary theory that informs many recent publications in medievalism studies. No longer is the dominant mode of medievalism studies simply the identification and description of medievalist elements in post-medieval culture, or arguments for the depth and breadth of medieval allusion. The most sophisticated and

in Affective medievalism
John Beckett

Manchester University) to mark the formation of the society. Some 400 people also heard a lecture by Dr John Evans entitled ‘The Seven Ages of Man’ covering the Palaeolithic to the Medieval, which was subsequently published as the first article in the newly commenced local history marginalised—75 Transactions. Early lectures were mainly on archaeological matters, but the society’s aims included the examination, preservation and illustration of ancient monuments and records, the study of history, literature, arts, customs and traditions and, more generally, the antiquities

in Writing local history
Space, power and governance in mid-twentieth century British cities

Reconstructing modernity assesses the character of approaches to rebuilding British cities during the decades after the Second World War. It explores the strategies of spatial governance that sought to restructure society and looks at the cast of characters who shaped these processes. It challenges traditional views of urban modernism as moderate and humanist, shedding new light on the importance of the immediate post-war for the trajectory of urban renewal in the twentieth century. The book shows how local corporations and town planners in Manchester and Hull attempted to create order and functionality through the remaking of their decrepit Victorian cities. It looks at the motivations of national and local governments in the post-war rebuilding process and explores why and how they attempted the schemes they did. What emerges is a picture of local corporations, planners and city engineers as radical reshapers of the urban environment, not through the production of grand examples of architectural modernism, but in mundane attempts to zone cities, produce greener housing estates, control advertising or regulate air quality. Their ambition to control and shape the space of their cities was an attempt to produce urban environments that might be both more orderly and functional, but also held the potential to shape society.

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Gervase Rosser

the half-millennium between 700 and 1200 witnessed one of the most experimental and creative periods in the history of the post-classical city. But the last medieval centuries of the English town, from 1200 to 1500, are also rich in interest; and it is an interest which in this period can be deepened not only by the finds of archaeology but in the new light of a great wealth of surviving documentation. It is the

in Towns in medieval England
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Artefacts and disciplinary formation
Samuel J.M.M. Alberti

key curators such as Thomas K. Penniman at the Pitt Rivers Museum (which from 1958 comprised Oxford University’s ‘department of ethnology and prehistory’).65 This union reflected a widespread post-war rapprochement between archaeology and anthropology as the emphasis on material culture that had never left the former slowly returned to the latter.66 The differences between Willett’s and Burton-Brown’s territories were marked. With no classical archaeologists associated with the collection, after a wave of ‘pilfering’ just before the war, the third-floor gallery had

in Nature and culture
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The site of New Place from the prehistoric to the early medieval period
William Mitchell and Kevin Colls

: Longmans, Green ). Harrison , J . ( 2014 ). ‘Changing Approaches to the Analysis and Interpretation of Medieval Urban Houses’ , The Post Hole , 42, available at (accessed 19 February 2016). Hurst , D . ( 2011 ). ‘Middle Bronze Age to Iron Age: A Research

in Finding Shakespeare’s New Place