Abstract In 1921 the English iron and steel manufacturer, John Lysaght Ltd, opened mills in East Mayfield, Newcastle, Australia. The company built a housing estate adjacent to the works to accommodate the seventy-five men (and their families) brought from Bristol and Newport to operate the new works. The focus of this essay is on the myths, memories and lived experiences of the residents of the former estate, who were poorly received, not least because they arrived at a time of acute job and housing shortage. Thus, the estate was dubbed ‘Pommy Town’, a negative label denoting it as English despite the fact that more than half the residents were Welsh, and the speech and habits of the newcomers were regarded as suspiciously ‘foreign’. The essay offers a portrait of the social dynamics of an Australian industrial city in the first half of the twentieth century. It seeks to recall the lives of industrial workers and their families, figures increasingly not given their due in a post-industrial age.
Abstract The pamphlet Seven Months in the Kingston Lunatic Asylum, and What I Saw There detailed the experiences of Ann Pratt, a mixed-race Jamaican woman, during her months-long commitment to the facility. Seven Months portrayed the asylum as an institution failing its mission to care for some of the island’s most vulnerable inhabitants. A text produced in colonial Jamaica by a woman most likely born in enslavement, the pamphlet had an unusual career, moving from local island circuits to limited circulation within London’s political and philanthropic elite. There, in the metropole, it transformed Colonial Office bureaucrats’ understanding of a local scandal that had been brewing in Jamaica for two years over conditions in the asylum and adjoining hospital. Once they had read it, metropolitan officials demanded investigations into asylum conditions in Jamaica and, more broadly, across the empire. That Seven Months transformed imperial opinion to this degree was testament both to its fusion of life-writing genres and to the bureaucratic practices that elevated a specific version of this text to the attention of the Colonial Office. Seven Months was thus a bureaucratic artifact as much as a literary text. Drawing on historical and anthropological studies of paperwork, especially ‘the file’, and on literary analyses of nineteenth-century life-writing, this essay argues that the bureaucratic practices of collating and filing that colonial governors used produced a more powerful edition of the pamphlet, one that primed the Colonial Office for a positive reception of Ann Pratt’s claims.
Abstract W.B. Yeats’s question ‘Did that play of mine send out/Certain men the English shot?’ from ‘The Man and the Echo’ (1938), speculatitively postions his play, Cathleen ni Houlihan (1902), as the driving force behind the Easter Rising of 1916. While theatre was a powerful factor in creating the cultural-politial climate which gave birth to the Rising, Yeats’s question disingenously gives his play an exclusive influence on events when other playwrights, specifically Patrick Pearse and Thomas MacDonagh, who actually led the Rising, had a far better claim to being its dramatic inspiration. This article considers the theatrical influences on the Rising, examining Cathleen ni Houlihan and other plays of the period, and outlines the production history of Yeats’s play as an indication of its post-Rising status, comparing it to that of Sean O’Casey’s play about the Rising, The Plough and the Stars (1926).
Abstract Over the course of the 1970s, feminists in Britain and elsewhere in the West came together to expose the hidden labour involved in caring for men, for the home, and for dependents. This paper explores how the activists of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Britain forged a multifaceted politics of care. While highlighting the drudgery of and exploitation underlying women’s caring work, activists also appealed to a positive notion of caring as the basis for a new feminist sisterhood. By the late 1970s, the reconfiguration of the labour market and state services in Britain had lent questions of women’s work a new resonance. Tracing how feminists sought to capture and communicate the conditions of women’s caring work sheds light on both the transformation of Britain’s political economy in this period and a neglected area of second-wave feminism.
Abstract This article takes the story of the New Village, a Japanese intentional community founded in 1918 by novelist Mushanokōji Saneatsu, as a starting point for exploring non-state visions of politics in twentieth-century East Asia. Modern East Asian political thought is often seen as highly state-centred, but the history of the New Village (which still exists today), and of similar experiments in community living, highlights the diversity and influence of alternative political ideas in the region. Placing this history in context of recent debates about spaces of autonomy and everyday utopias, the article examines the influence of the New Village idea and its resonances with similar movements in other parts of the world. These resonances complicate the distinction between ‘indigenous’ and ‘foreign’ and subvert the chronological dichotomy between ‘modernizers’ and ‘traditionalists’, since the dreams of a better world explored in the article drew elements of past and future together in ways that challenged both tradition and modernity. Placing these dreams in their cross-border context, I argue that they contain ideas that are worth re-examining in the context of the contemporary crisis of democracy, not just in Asia but worldwide.
In this article I assume that denial is particularly marked in settler societies since their very foundations lie in the dispossession, destruction and displacement of aboriginal peoples and they have never experienced any event like those that have forced other nations to repudiate the oppressive discourses that lie at their heart. Examining the case of Australia I argue that there are intriguing connections between historical denial and contemporary denial and suggest that the former has been especially marked in this case because of the nature of the latter. I contend that the nature of remembering and forgetting depended a great deal on the nature of the cultures of memory, historical discourses, and the disciplines or genres that story-tellers chose to relate their stories about the past, paying particular attention to the peculiar manner in which these conceived of the relationship between the past and the present in such a way as to render Aboriginal people as though they were out of time and so out of place in Australia. Finally, I trace a revolutionary change in the nation's culture of memory in recent decades, which has seen Aboriginal people and culture assume a central place in the nation's history-making.