Wednesday 1 September 2021

Looking Back: The Story so Far…

a message from outgoing Chair David Churchill

It’s been a pleasure to chair #HCNet over the past few years. The Network was founded on the hunch that, besides the various networks of crime historians already in existence, a Network organized around historical scholarship in criminology might serve a useful purpose.

Formed originally of just a dozen people, the Network now has almost 100 members. Its reach is international, taking in scholars in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and elsewhere. Similar networks have since sprung up in other parts too, including the Australian and New Zealand Historical Criminology Network, the American Society of Criminology Division of Historical Criminology and the revival of the European Society of Criminology Historical working group.

We have come together for events of various kinds – from the 2-day Plymouth conference in 2019, to the thematic workshops in 2020, to this year’s international networking event (jointly organized with the ANZ Network). Each has forged connections and sparked new conversations in its own way – and new collaborations and joint projects have resulted.

It also seems to me that criminology at large is becoming increasingly receptive and responsive to historical research. Historical articles are becoming somewhat more common in major criminology journals. There are more historical papers at the BSC Conference than there were a few years ago. Joint projects are more a feature of the research landscape.

All in all, things look well for #HCNet moving forward. My deepest thanks to all those (you know who you are!) who have helped to keep the show on the road over the past few years. And I wish Esmorie every success in taking the Network on to the next stage.

David Churchill (University of Leeds)

Decorative image. Shows a page from a sepia photograph album with four oval apertures, each containing a posed portrait of a woman in Victorian dress, her name and offense written in inked cursive beneath.
Extract from Samuel G. Szábo’s Rogues, A Study of Characters (1857) (c) Public Domain.
Read the article at Public Domain Review.


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