Across the early modern period actors at all levels of European society expressed fears of imminent 'wood scarcity' with potentially catastrophic social and economic consequences. Debates as to the 'reality' of this risk have subsequently been pursued in many national historiographies with little international comparison. This article provides a cross-national synthesis of this work, along with novel perspectives on the causes of such debates; an examination of the condition of European woodland and the regulation thereof; and reflections on whether Europe was approaching a state of ecological exhaustion around the time of the Industrial Revolution. It is argued that the framework for regulation and debate was set in the fifteenth and early sixteenth century with the widespread development of state oversight of woodlands. Quantitative evidence of the level of supply and demand for wood suggests however that a general, as opposed to a localized, shortage of wood was not plausible before the later eighteenth century. Earlier fears were generated by a combination of an emerging governmental sense of responsibility for resource management, local pressures exerted by urban growth and industry, and above all competition among different users of the woodland. Genuine shortages had emerged by the Napoleonic period but were largely remedied during the nineteenth century by the widespread application of scientific forestry, though at the cost of serious social conflict. This suggests that Europe was not close to an ecological frontier at this period.
The aim is to reopen a question over which there seems to be substantial agreement among rival schools of thought about the English revolution. Although scholars remain divided over how far the liberty of subjects was being encroached upon by the end of the 1630s, they generally agree that, if liberty was indeed being undermined, this was because subjects were being illegally deprived of their rights. The article first examines a different view of civil liberty, stemming from Roman law as well as common law sources, according to which it is possible to forfeit the status of being a free-man even if your rights are not being interfered with at all. This possibility is held to arise from the fact that you count as a free-man if and only if you are not dependent on the will of another. If you live in dependence you count as a slave, even if you remain capable of exercising your rights. After illustrating this argument, the article goes on to suggest that, if we were to give it due prominence, we might gain a better understanding of two puzzles about the politics of the 1640s. One concerns the nature of the principles in the light of which the Levellers as well as their opponents excluded certain social groups from the right to vote. The other concerns the nature of the grounds on which Parliament attempted in 1642 to legitimize its decision to resist the king by force.
Recent histories of twentieth-century heterosexual behaviour have tended to place the practices of young people centre-stage in accounts of social change. Trends in premarital intercourse have been presented as evidence of changing sexual mores: the varied experiences of married people, beyond the realm of fertility, have less often been interrogated. Yet in the years after the Second World War, extended access to fault-based divorce, a state-sponsored determination to remake family life and an increasing emphasis upon the relational aspects of marriage ensured that marital infidelity was prominent in public discussions of sexual and emotional life. This article therefore investigates illegitimate sexual and emotional intimacies involving married rather than single heterosexuals, unpacking the social meanings and significance of adultery in post-war England. It explains why attitudes towards adultery hardened across the period, even as the practice became apparently more common, by exploring the growing centrality of love and sex to discursive constructions of marriage. In so doing this article offers an account which destabilizes a 'golden age' characterization of post-war marriage and challenges linear models of sexual and emotional change.
Few parts of London attracted so much attention as did Limehouse between the Great War and the 1930s. In popular novels, films, hit records and sensationalist newspaper reports, Limehouse (and its ghostly double 'Chinatown') figured as one of the most exciting and dangerous places in Britain. This article explores the Chinese presence in Limehouse and the ways in which it was represented. It utilizes census and other kinds of data to attempt an assessment of the numbers of Chinese in the district, numbers which were often inflated by contemporaries. It then looks at the ways in which a fantasy Chinatown of opium dens, dangerous Chinese underworld masterminds, and suborned white girls was projected on to the district. And finally it looks at how the evident discrepancy between exotic fantasy and drab reality was negotiated in contemporary representations of Limehouse.
Josephine Butler's campaigns against the state regulation of prostitution have been studied almost exclusively in the anglophone and imperial context. Research on the International Abolitionist Federation, which she founded in 1875 and supported until her death in 1906, places these campaigns in a new perspective, demonstrating the importance she attached to the issue in Europe. This article reports on findings at the half-way stage of a project funded by the Leverhulme Foundation under its 'International Academic Networks' programme. The strains and contradictions revealed in the correspondence and proceedings of the Federation illuminate cultural and social differences between countries often summarized simplistically as 'the west'. The influence exercised by Butler, especially over a new generation of French and German feminists in the 1890s, throws new light both on her own career and on the work which these women undertook in the League of Nations in the period between the two world wars.
For the last five years, remarkably, Germans have been fighting the war all over again-in illustrated magazines, television documentaries, the feature sections of their newspapers, big-box-office films, fat books with many, many footnotes and still others with many, many pictures. In Germany, the Second World War is 'in'. This essay examines one key aspect of what historian Norbert Frei has called the 'battle for memory'-the renewed interest among many Germans in the consequences of the Allied bombing campaign in the Second World War. It focuses in particular on an immensely popular account of the bombing war, Jörg Friedrich's Der Brand: Deutschland im Bombenkrieg 1940-1945, Munich, 2002 ('The Conflagration: Germany in the Bombing War 1940-1945', English translation forthcoming). The essay locates the current discussion about the bombing war in the 'memory landscape' of contemporary Germany and it offers suggestions of how it might be possible to write a history of the bombing war that moves beyond the binary of victims and perpetrators framing Friedrich's account.
This article documents the emergence, in recent years, of a prominent discourse on queer history in the public sphere. Focusing especially on LGBT History Month, an events programme launched in February 2005 that sets out to 'mark and celebrate the lives and achievements of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people', as well as reviewing an exhibition at the Museum of London called 'Queer is Here', which opened in February 2006, I consider the potential exclusions generated in these contexts by a rhetoric of outness and repression. Stressing the significant role that transgender identification has played historically, as well as the shaping effects of race and place on experiences of sexual and gender dissidence in urban environments, I argue that models of 'sexual orientation' leave certain dimensions of queer experience and desire untold. Drawing on recent efforts to theorize the relationship between publics and queer counterpublics, I conclude that the translation of queer history into the language of public culture ideally entails a contestation of the very norms of presentation and consumption in which museums and other popular history narratives are currently embedded.
This essay explores the 'underground' queer culture of London, as mapped assiduously by the pseudonymous author, Rodney Garland, in his 1953 novel, The Heart in Exile. The novel charts the progress of its narrator, Dr Anthony Page, a psychiatrist, as he investigates a former lover's mysterious death. His investigation draws him into the 'strange half-world of the homosexual', as a 1961 paperback edition of the novel announces; it is a world which Page maps in detail. The novel was reissued in 1995 with a preface by novelist and playwright Neil Bartlett, who claimed that Garland offers contemporary readers 'a perfect crash course in the prehistory of British gay culture', a 'systematic exploration of our twilight world'. This essay takes issue with that claim and suggests that we need to view Garland's London as radically unfamiliar territory - a queer world, but not a gay world as we now understand the term. It suggests that the task of recuperation - of finding 'our' hidden history - is an inadequate paradigm within which to read Garland's text. It defamiliarizes the London of 1953, mapping the ways in which the queer subject was then constituted, and demonstrates how The Heart in Exile is central to the project of destabilizing those categories of identity taken for granted today.
The article offers a conjunctural analysis of three 'moments' in the post-war black visual arts in the UK. The main contrast identified is between the 'problem space' of the artists-the last 'colonials'-who came to London after World War Two to join the modern avant-garde and who were anti-colonial, cosmopolitan and modernist in outlook, and that of the second generation-the first 'post-colonials'-who were born in Britain, pioneered the Black Art Movement and the creative explosion of the 1980s, and who were anti-racist, culturally relativist and identity-driven. In the work of the former, abstraction predominated; the work of the latter was politically polemical and collage-based, subsequently embracing the figural and the more subjective strategy of 'putting the self in the frame'. This generational shift is mapped here in relation to wider socio-political and cultural developments, including the growth of indigenous racism, the new social movements, especially anti-racist, feminist and identity politics, and the theoretical 'revolutions' associated with them. The contemporary moment-less politicized, and artistically neo-conceptual, multi-media and installation-based-is discussed more briefly.
The events of the plague epidemic that afflicted Eyam, a small village in Derbyshire, in 1665-6 have made the village famous. It attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, making it an epicentre of Europe's plague heritage. The story of Eyam's plague is told as an exemplary narrative of heroic self-sacrifice, in which the villagers suffer in self-imposed isolation in order to save the county from the disease. It is, however, largely a fiction, a romantic tragedy constructed on a slender basis of evidence in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This paper examines the process by which this narrative emerged and was subsequently adapted and revised over three centuries. It shows how the plague story became a prominent part of English heritage, a basic element in understanding the space and past of the village, and the foundation of its tourist trade. The construction of the plague story offers an unusually clear case study in the social and intellectual dynamics of the creation of heritage and history, and the transformations that have occurred in the epistemic and disciplinary foundations of academic and popular literary and historical production over this period. The influence of changing ideas of social order and discipline, of familial duties and emotions, and of communal responsibility can be clearly traced through the various iterations of the plague story. It also allows us to explore the more specific interactions of epidemiology, disease and histories of disease.
This paper examines recent debates over national history in post-colonial East Timor. It is argued that beneath a broadly unifying theme of 'national' resistance to colonial occupations lies a more complex and ongoing postcolonial struggle over the ownership of core historical narratives, identities and symbols.
This paper holds a lens to the politics of marriage in South Africa's urban African townships, by way of a study of so-called 'house marriages': marriages transacted for the sake of a house. This was a mode of marriage that flouted all the established norms of Christian and customary marriage; yet it proliferated, and by the late 1960s, accounted for a significant proportion of partnerships in South Africa's cities and towns. The paper shows that this trend marked in the first instance the increasingly interventionist role played by the South African state in producing the sphere of African domesticity, along with the conditions of sexual and emotional intimacy. But the profusion of house marriages was also bound up with cultural shifts within urban African communities. While house marriages were persistently condemned as immoral and inauthentic by some, other township residents took a different view. Over time, the meaning of these partnerships was refashioned, so that house marriages were increasingly normalized as a legitimate, even respectable, mode of partnership.
The film Billy Elliot (dir. Stephen Daldry, 2000) brings supposed working-class assumptions about masculinity into confrontation: it is 1984, the miners are on strike and fighting the police, while young Billy has this unfathomable need to be a ballet dancer. 'It's not just poofs, Dad', he insists. What is scarcely questioned is the conventional gendering of ballet as feminine. Billy Elliot alludes purposefully to Kes (dir. Ken Loach, 1969), which presents another boy, Billy Caspar, with an aptitude and an obsession that marks him out in an industrial working-class town. The two films offer specifically different stories about class, the state, gender and agency. Elliot's individual talent removes him to London in a consolatory fantasy of personal escape. For Caspar and his like there is no idea of leaving Barnsley; the viewer is left to intuit prospects for changing it. The two films are separated by distinct attitudes toward social transformation. As Cora Kaplan remarks, in the mid seventies many on the left took it for granted that significant new advances were possible. That is difficult in the present context.
The article shows the ways in which an idiom of marriage became normative in early modern English translations of the Hebrew Bible. Focusing on successive biblical versions (especially from Tyndale's translation, published in 1530/1 and the first based on the Hebrew original, to the Authorized Version published in 1611), it shows how Hebrew terms relating to a variety of domestic and sexual union were rendered in English biblical versions in a language pertaining to monogamous matrimony. This was further amplified in adjacent textual commentaries and notes. The use of a contemporary language of marriage in early modern biblical translations was not unlike the ways in which early modern commentator perceived social relations in other remote cultures and filtered them through their own world view. Translators and readers were also relying on long-standing and strong traditions which anchored Christian notions of matrimony in the ancient Hebrew text. However the early modern English biblical idiom of marriage should also be seen in the context of contemporary efforts on behalf of both religious and secular authorities to regulate the institution of marriage. Textual readings and social history are brought together to suggest links between histories of marriage, the church, print culture, and the English bible.
On the night of 24 February 1956, the Moscow headquarters of the Communist Party's Central Committee was humming with activity into the early hours, with the great black limousines of the Party elite parked all round it. This puzzled westerners in Moscow such as journalist John Rettie, since the Twentieth Congress of the Soviet Communist Party (CPSU) had formally ended that afternoon. Soon, Rettie recalls, rumours began to circulate, fuelled by western diplomats with good connections to their Central European communist colleagues and by western correspondents of communist newspapers. It was whispered that Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, First Secretary of the CPSU, had made a sensational speech denouncing Stalin for heinous crimes including murder and torture. As it was a mere three years since Stalin's death, this seemed barely credible. Nothing appeared in the Party or government press. The unsubstantiated rumours were nevertheless so insistent that Sidney Weiland, Rettie's colleague in Reuters news agency, filed a brief report. He fully expected it to be censored and indeed it vanished into the censor's maw and was never heard of again. The following week one of Rettie's local contacts, Kostya Orlov, set up a meeting in which he confirmed and expanded the story of the speech. He also reported that in Georgia reading of the speech had provoked riots against the 'insult' to their national hero, and a number of Georgian civilians and Soviet soldiers had been killed. Rettie was about to leave for Sweden, where he wrote up his notes from this meeting and filed the report (with strict instructions to disguise its origins) which broke the story to the world. In Britain it appeared in the Observer in March 1956. After recounting these events Rettie goes on to explore the question who told Orlov to leak the speech, and why to Rettie. He points to the strong evidence that Khrushchev wanted the speech to be known in the rest of the world as well as in the Soviet Union, and suggests why he had been a logical person to select as the conduit.
It was during the Civil War that political allegiance came to be conceived of as a problem or category in its own right, distinct if not divorced from confessional identity. This paper uses the narratives offered by 'delinquents' to the Committee for Compounding with Delinquents to interrogate discourses of allegiance in the civil war. Rather than try to determine the 'true allegiance' of individuals, this paper explores the claims within these narratives about inner conviction, outward behaviour, and financial circumstances to elucidate what contemporaries thought allegiance was, and how they thought it could be known. The problem of defining and determining allegiance itself has a history, and factors ranging from religious mentalités to the financial needs of the state determined how allegiance could be narrated at particular historical moments.
This article examines the wartime diaries of a left-wing middle-class couple living in a small market town in the Durham coal-field. In the late 1930s Peter and Maggie Brittain were both active in Popular Front politics, but the diaries they wrote for Mass-Observation between 1939 and 1946 reveal sharply contrasting trajectories. Peter, English teacher and intellectual, became disillusioned with politics (though retaining a touching faith in the Soviet Union), and sought solace in cultural pursuits. Meanwhile Maggie, who had given up teaching when they married in 1929, blossomed as a shop steward in a local engineering factory. Following her inevitable victimization she persevered doggedly as a Labour Party activist in a notoriously corrupt local Party run in close collaboration with the capitalists who had sacked her. The fact that these bosses were German Jews, and that both Peter and Maggie had found relief from the philistinism of their lower-middle-class neighbours by befriending the well-educated young German Jewish refugees working in the local factories, throws an intriguing light on the way in which these particular middle-class socialists managed to combine democratic commitments with their own acute sense of cultural distinction.