Monthly Archives: November 2023

Family matters: reflections on the intersection of the personal and the scholarly by John Sanders

Listening to a History Extra podcast recently (this is what historians do on their days off!), I was struck by the truism reiterated by one of the contributors that all historical writing is to some extent autobiographical.[1] Our beliefs, lives and world view inevitably seep into the work we produce. This led me to reflect on the genesis of my piece (on the early labour movement’s turncoats and traitors) in the latest issue of Social History and on the mainspring of three earlier articles on different aspects of working-class leadership and agitational activity in reform-era Yorkshire. All four studies focus on the lesser-known local leaders of working-class agitations rather than their more famous, often metropolitan or gentlemanly, figureheads, thereby raising questions about why my research interests have tended to skew towards the undercard rather than the main protagonists of historical investigation. Continue reading