Looking Back: The Story so Far…

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)


Looking Forward: The Path Ahead…

As #HCNet moves forward, it is worth remarking that this can best be guided by footprints firmly established, thus far. Over the past few years, for instance, our increased membership has inevitably enriched our events as the diversity of topics presented offered some clarity on the diverse paths historical criminology can take. Examples include a broad concern with historicization, to more specific thematic explorations on areas like decolonization and indigenization of knowledge and practice. Thus, the network’s move forward into the next phase, so to speak, seems best guided by what members want.

I use this question as my starting point to emphasize what can be gained from a historical approach, in general, and historical criminology, more specifically. What do members want? The notably growing receptivity to historical criminology has manifested, thus far, in two identifiable areas: the first concerns pedagogy—how to normalize and integrate historical criminology, in the classroom; meanwhile, the second concerns epistemological—how to normalize and integrate historical methods, in criminological research.

Listening to colleagues, in recent events, has helped to give a sense to us all of how we might approach developing and concretizing our individual approaches. Listening has contributed greatly, giving more clarity (with much room to grow) about how to move from ambition to practice. The possibilities for concretization have become more probable as #HCNet forms wider contacts with other historical networks and members have the possibility for discussing and sharing ideas and approaches.

More of this is anticipated. I look forward to continuing rich and diverse interaction. Thank you for having me onboard.

Esmorie Miller (London South Bank University)