The internet of historical things

The end of October has seen some historical revelations in the media. On the historic date of 21 October 2015, the very day on which Marty McFly arrived in a future USA full of hover boards and self-tying shoe laces (even though mobile phones and iPads are conspicuous by their absence…) in “Back to the Future Part 2”, a more prescient detail was revealed by the movies’ writer, Bob Gale. The movie franchise’s baddy, Biff, was apparently based on Donald Trump, who in 2015 uses his commercial and political power for evil purposes (see The Guardian). Sorry, which one are we talking about?

October was also the month in which women in the UK may have been made aware for the first time that having periods is considered a luxury pursuit. “The Great Tampon Insurrection has been a long time brewing”, according to Helen Lewis, who gleefully discussed the ins and outs of the parliamentary debate about abolishing VAT on sanitary products.

A tax system that lets someone dine on crocodile steak on their private jet without paying a penny, when we cannot survive a period without the Treasury taxing us for it, cannot be a fair one. (Paula Sherriff, MP)

Needless to say, historical inequities have been upheld, and one half of the population will continue to pay tax on golden tampax and other such luxury items.

Turning to more academic pursuits, I only recently came across Dr Scott Taylor’s blogs on The Conversation, which comments on a lot of aspects of organizational politics  and inequality in some of Britain’s “institutions” – from University Challenge to the NHS. I can’t say that I am that well-versed in the blogosphere, but this is one of a number of blogs that I like. In organizational history, a great blog is The Past Speaks, run by Dr Andrew Smith, about all things historical – and Canadian! For those interested in global and imperial history, colleagues at Exeter University run the excellent Imperial & Global Forum. And for those with a more economic history bend, there is NEP-HIS, a discussion service for historical papers distributed through the NEP list. Another interesting network is a Canadian project called the Sociology of Management Knowledge, which, among other things, looks at Canadian identity and history in management theorizing.

But this is probably not all there is out there that is of interest to organizational historians. So if you are aware of other resources, do let us know!

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