Encountering Medieval History

Although I haven’t updated the blog in nearly a year, I have not been idle. The responses to COVID-19 have caused substantial changes to my work life, as they have for so many others. I am one of the lucky ones with stable employment, but the pandemic has redistributed work in strange ways, taking it … Continue reading Encountering Medieval History

Words matter

Both ‘work’ and ‘job’ are key words today. Neither had its prominence three hundred years ago. Both are still untranslatable from European languages into many others. Most languages never have one single word to designate all activities that are considered useful. Some languages happen to have a word for activities demanding pay. This word usually … Continue reading Words matter

Is it Bedrock All the Way Down?

I was only a few pages into Max Weber’s influential 1930 work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, when I came across this sentence: “The modern rational organisation of the capitalistic enterprise would not have been possible without two other important factors in its development: the separation of business from the household, which … Continue reading Is it Bedrock All the Way Down?

Is a History of Work a History of Everything?

In the second year of my PhD one of the reviewers at my annual review queried the metastasizing scope of my thesis. As it started to slip from a transnational history of Australian protest into a sort of weird agglomeration of case studies touching on everything from 19th Century vaccinations in Britain to the Boer … Continue reading Is a History of Work a History of Everything?