It’s been a crazy couple of months with record orders, two renaissance festivals, and our ongoing work to train in our new employees, but this weekend was also the Western Martial Arts Workshop (WMAW), one of our favorite events of the year.
In addition to selling swords Oakeshott Institute board members Dr. Nathan Clough and Brandon Foat presented six antique swords from the Oakeshott Institute Collection for attendees to carefully handle and experience the joy of holding real antiquities as Ewart Oakeshott mandated when he co-founded the institute and donated his seminal collection of swords.
Ewart Oakeshott and Arms and Armor president Chris Poor prior to founding the Oakeshott Institute
Dr. Clough also gave a lecture on the relationships between Western European swords and those of surrounding cultures in North Africa, the Ottoman Empire, and Eastern Europe. The lecture draws on Nathan's previous life as a professor of human geography when he researched and taught about geopolitics and colonialism. His talk, entitled “The West, its Others, and Their Weapons” examines how we can more fully understand the West through its interconnections with its neighbors throughout history. The abstract for his talk is below. If you are interested in having a presentation by Arms and Armor and the Oakeshott Institute at an event you are organizing please contact us for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Title: The West, its Others, and Their Weapons
Historical European Martial Arts, or Western Martial Arts, however you care to term the practice, relies on an imagined geographical distinction between the West and the rest. In this presentation Dr. Nathan Clough, a cultural geographer and a member of the governing board of the Oakeshott Institute, discusses how the concept of the West developed, what forms of thought and action this geographical identity made seem natural, and how the meanings behind this seemingly innocuous term can obscure the real interconnections between Europe and it’s neighbors. Rather than positing a set of differences that make the West unique and separate it from the rest of the world, Dr. Clough will present a variety of original antique weapons in the Oakeshott Institute Collection from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia to argue that we can better understand all of these places through their intermingling connections rather than by drawing lines that emphasize their differences. The lecture will include sufficient time for attendees to handle and examine the antiquities.
Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography. He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.
Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985.