This essay reconstructs the discourses concerning hunger, protest, punishment and paternalism that circulated during and after the Midland Rising, a series of anti-enclosure protests which spread across the counties of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire in the late spring and early summer of 1607. Through a reconstruction of the views of the rebel leader John Reynolds, of the monarch King James I, of the clergyman Robert Wilkinson and of the crown-lawyer Francis Bacon, it is suggested that, although though they disagreed about whether hunger might ever justify insurrection, those implicated in the Rising and its suppression shared a stock of common idioms - the scriptural critique of enclosure derived from the Book of Isaiah, the classical metaphor of the body politic, the hunger-pangs of the empty belly - with which to discuss the social problems of the day. These idioms, it is argued, were also deployed by a fifth observer of the Midland Rising, who in Act one Scene one of Coriolanus (first performed in 1608) represented a company of mutinous citizens standing up about the corn. Coriolanus is arguably Shakespeare's attempt to imagine insurrection by dramatizing it, and therefore constitutes a fertile source for the historian of early modern popular protest.
International women's organizations greeted the establishment of the League of Nations with enthusiasm, pledging their support for its social reform efforts and urging that women be appointed to its committees and commissions. This essay examines the work of the two Scandinavian women who served on its Permanent Mandates Commission, the body charged with overseeing the administration of the Ottoman and German territories seized during the war and distributed under League of Nations mandate among the allied powers. Anna Bugge-Wicksell and Valentine Dannevig worked hard in their role as (serially) the sole woman member of the commission, criticizing the inadequate educational and social services for women and children in many mandated territories and urging better provision. Yet, as this essay shows, they also shared the assumptions about civilizational hierarchies and the incapacity of many peoples for self-government on which the mandates system was based, and joined with their fellow commissioners to defend the mandatory Powers from nationalist claims and local rebellions. Their views and activities contrast sharply with those of another woman internationalist and League enthusiast, Winifred Holtby, whose late novel Mandoa, Mandoa! satirized the paternalism inherent even in humanitarian interventions and who tried to work out in her own life an alternative political practice.
The problem of where to place the German Empire (1871-1918) in a typology of European states has long troubled historians. Was it a nation-state, a colonial empire, or a continental empire? This article uses the example of the German Empire, in comparative context, to question the usefulness of such typologies for any of the European states before the First World War. They rest, it suggests, in part on reifications of terms like nation, empire, language, culture and even Europe that are not historically justifiable. A survey of the recent literature on European states before the First World War suggests that decoupling these terms from each other (for example nation, language, culture) can help generate a new and potentially fruitful trans-national (or trans-imperial) perspective on European history in the long nineteenth century.
This article explores two issues. The first is a problem in legal and social history: how did late medieval Londoners make use of the legal and archival powers of governing authorities in order to negotiate their lives? The second is a problem in historical methodology: how can thinking about the archives as historical agents rather than as inert repositories of evidence refine the way we use historical documents? My method is to juxtapose the methods of the archival turn - borrowing from Derrida, Farge, Steedman, Burton, and Stoler - with 'law in society', an approach to legal history deriving ultimately from E.P. Thomson, which underscores the workings of law through social interaction. A legal-history lens of this kind is particularly suited to examining pre-modern archives, as most pre-modern archival documents are records of legal proceedings and transactions. Legal documents were not just inert and transparent accounts of a legal proceeding or act. Such documents were meant to do something, to be, at least potentially, performative, or they were created because they might later be called upon, either by the recording authorities or by the parties involved, to demonstrate that particular people did something in a particular way at a particular time and place. Accordingly the way documents were recorded was subject to the various interests of the parties involved and the recording authorities. At the same time, legal archives also include documents that recorded what someone thought should happen, hoped would happen, wanted to pretend had happened - and yet sometimes had not happened at all, or at least not as recorded in the document. In being archived. However, those aspirational documents in a sense become what happened. These themes are teased out through a microhistorical examination of a late medieval English marriage case involving two Londoners named Joan Stokton Turnaunt and Richard Turnaunt. In the circumstances surrounding the Turnaunt case, someone manipulated the processes of law, using the authority and perceived truthfulness of the legal record - the power of the archive - to perpetrate a falsity. As historians, we pride ourselves on our empiricism: we derive our arguments from archival, textual, and material evidence. The epistemic problem for a discipline that relies on what can be documented, however, is that what is documentable is sometimes false, and indeed deliberately written and archived so as to deceive. Moreover, the possible scenarios for the Turnaunt marriage that we can derive from the surviving documents remind us that individuals sometimes acted in unpredictable or irrational ways. This creates further difficulties for us as historians, for we often depend upon our assumptions about rational strategies of social negotiation to make narrative connections between the scattered bits of evidence out of which we write our history. How can we account for the emotional and the irrational in our understanding of the past?
This essay pursues a double purpose. In its larger context, the essay follows up on a set of earlier, more theoretical investigations in which the idea of "distance" is advanced as a tool for analyzing the variety of ways in which historians have sought to mediate the "then" and the "now" of history. More particularly, the essay proposes that one of the characteristic features of recent historical writing (as well as other forms of representation) has been its strongly affective way of approaching the past. In fact, much historical thought since the 1960s has been devoted to exploring affective issues, not simply as an important thematic for historical writing, but more profoundly as a privileged way of constructing a relationship to the past. This historical sensibility is moved by a relatively novel curiosity since it is often less concerned with what happened and why, as with what it was it like to be there. Focusing on a few examples of this approach - especially Marion Kaplan's Between Dignity and Despair, Judith Walkowitz's City of Dreadful Delight, and Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men - the essay explores some of the ethical tensions inherent in empathetic engagement.
Nineteenth century commentators were agreed upon the momentous importance of the French Revolution, whether because of its cumulatively irreversible political and social results (the replacement of sacral monarchy by representative government, the ending of serfdom in the countryside) or else because of the unprecedented extent to which 'the people' as a collective entity had shaped the direction of revolutionary events. But how could the (generally agreed) achievements of the Revolution be detached from the popular violence which had at every stage had accompanied it. What prompted this violence? Could it be excused? How important was it in driving the Revolution forward? This essay analyses the responses to these questions by three London-based mid-nineteenth century writers - Thomas Carlyle, Karl Marx (and Friedrich Engels) and Charles Dickens. It stresses the formative importance of the association of the Revolution with violence and 'Sansculottism' found in Carlyle's The French Revolution (1837), and examines the impact of Carlyle's writings upon the treatment of violence found in Engels writings of 1844-5, and to a lesser extent, Marx. Finally it compares the interpretation of revolutionary violence found in Dickens' Tale of Two Cities with Carlyle's History. It argues that despite Dickens' outspoken admiration for Carlyle, Dickens does not follow Carlyle's irrationalist approach connecting violence with the loss of faith (deriving in part from Herder and German proto-romanticism, in part from French theocrats and Saint-Simonians); instead, he reiterated the themes and arguments of 1790s Whigs and Radicals (whether Mary Wollstonecraft or Arthur Young), who, despite Burke, associated the violence of the Revolution primarily with the previous injustice done to the French people by the Ancien Regime.
This article tells the story of a significant meeting in 1935 between the psychoanalyst Marie Bonaparte and the future President of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, then a student of anthropology under Bronislaw Malinowski at the London School of Economics. Their discussion centred on female 'circumcision', a topic being hotly debated in East Africa and in Great Britain among British colonialists and reformers and Kenyan cultural nationalists. Kenyatta became a key figure in the controversy. Bonaparte's interest in the matter came from her explorations of female sexuality: were all women bisexual as the two sites of the source of erotic pleasure - clitoris and vagina - seemed to indicate? Beyond her intellectual engagement, Bonaparte had a strong personal interest in clitoridectomy as she regarded herself as frigid and saw frigidity as an epidemic among Western women because of their exaggerated 'masculinity'. The meeting and the discussions surrounding it had implications for understandings of women's sexuality in Europe and Africa both then and today. Accounts resulting from it formed part of the knowledge constructions of anthropology and psychoanalysis - one discipline was central to both colonial oppression and emancipation, the other to both the consolidation of patriarchy and to movements of sexual liberation. Central themes were the universality of the Oedipus complex and the role of 'sublimation' in relation to the development of moral and intellectual capabilities in Europe and Africa. The article describes the meeting and its background in the context of social reform movements and African nationalism, and discusses the interchange between anthropology and psychoanalysis concerning women's sexual experience that surrounded it. A concluding section examines the relevance of historical accounts for present-day understanding of the problem of female genital cutting.
British laws which sought to control and prevent street prostitution in the early twentieth century all relied on the idea that a 'common prostitute' was a legally definable person, and, while prostitution itself was not an offence, that the action of street solicitation represented a special kind of public nuisance. This article explores some of the implications of this legal system, especially after prostitutes were added to the fingerprinting schedule of the London Metropolitan Police in 1917. Centred around one rare case-file concerning the mistaken identity of a street prostitute in 1920, the article explores the way in which women working as prostitutes experienced and negotiated the criminal justice system. In contrast to the historical attention given to the Contagious Diseases Acts, the solicitation laws are seriously under-examined. Yet these laws were put in place prior to the CD Acts, lasted long after their repeal, affected a far greater number of women, and were significantly more important to the police and the state in their control of prostitution than were the short-lived and geographically limited CD Acts. In the context of the CD Acts, historians have looked at the ways in which a prostitute identity was developed and assigned by medical discourse and medical registration. However, the far more common and long-lasting experience of prostitute women in Britain was governed by the solicitation laws and a legal, not medical, process of classification. Through Nellie Johnson's story, we can begin to explore the intricacies of a legal system of prostitution control peculiar to Britain at a crucial point in its development. This article argues that over the course of the early twentieth century, the criminalization of identity became the grounds upon which the entire system of street- prostitution control in England and Wales rested. The fingerprinting of prostitutes, and Nellie Johnson's personal experiences, fit into a larger story of modernization in early twentieth-century Britain and the early twentieth-century world. This period witnessed the development of particular, and technical, forms of identification which were applied to particular groups of people, an abstraction which turned the body itself into a text that had very real consequences for women like Nellie Johnson.
The Bermondsey factory women's strikes of August 1911 arose from the adverse economic and social conditions of the south London riverside borough. Poverty derived mainly from the low earning capacity of male and female unskilled labour in Bermondsey, where women were predominantly engaged in the food processing industries and the men in dock work. Demand for wage increases motivated the spontaneous outbreak of strikes by women factory workers with no previous experience of collective organization or militancy. Their action was stimulated to some extent by the London dockers' strike, and there was some background support from Ben Tillett, the dockers' leader. More significant were the guidance and co-ordinating skills of union organizer Mary Macarthur, who came in to support the strikers after they launched their protest. Marches and rallies, in which Mary Macarthur and her associates and the factory workers collaborated, helped to pressurize employers into granting the strikers' wage demands. The Bermondsey strikers have consequently been viewed as forming the vanguard of the militant unions. But the details of the factory workers' action suggest that the strikes represented an independent, localized protest, supported by women trade unionists, but still separate from the wider industrial unrest of the time.
What kind of responsibility does a novelist bear to the historical evidence? What gives him or her the authority to speak about the past? In the second half of the twentieth century historical novelists have worked between two strong, sometimes conflicting currents: modernism's recognition that all experience is subjective and every narrative partial, and the contention that the worst historical crimes are somehow unspeakable, so that only those who suffered them have the right to break the silence. This paper offers close readings of two novels - Ian McEwan's Atonement (2002) and Toni Morrison's Beloved (1987) - which both engage with the claims of storytelling as a means to assimilate and even atone for the past. While McEwan recreates in scrupulous detail the experience of British soldiers evacuated from Dunkirk, his treatment of his novelist heroine, Briony, underlines the selfish motives behind any such retelling. For Morrison, writing from and for her own community, the writer's subjective shaping of her material is not a point of entry for self interest but a necessary way of changing our relation to the past, and so creating possibilities for the future.
The longstanding transoceanic migration of people, ideas, things and practices in sailing ships (dhows) resulted in the constitution of plural societies along the Indian coast. This essay considers the sea journey that transformed Africans into Indian Ocean travellers referred to as Sidi. It addresses the ways in which uprooted Africans created a place for themselves in Gujarat through practices of music-making embedded in spirit cosmologies and 'cults of affliction' involving ritual practices to ease mental or physical affliction. Fieldwork research conducted in Zanzibar and Gujarat shows that there are links between ritual practices performed by displaced Africans in both sites, and that these practices emerge as important forces in the forging of moral communities. A comparison of the processes of identity formation of former slaves in Zanzibar and Gujarat reveals significant insights into agencies of Africans in the Indian Ocean world, and so contributes to a globalization of Indian Ocean sites from below.
During the interwar period, when the Indian masses came under the influence of Gandhian nationalism, some decisions of the colonial government in the international arena revealed that imperial concerns would willingly be subordinated to the demands of a nationalist leadership. The confidence which colonial military authorities in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century had brought to plans for the control and containment of venereal disease among British subalterns in India gave way to compromise claiming a more assertive national honour. If military authorities in India (and elsewhere) were earlier concerned with the medical threat posed to white subalterns by diseased 'native' women, by the interwar period the focus of colonial anxiety was on the moral threat to racial order, posed by the appearance (and representation) of the sexualized white woman in the colonies before an indiscriminate 'native' eye. This inversion can only be understood by relating imperial concerns to nationalist political initiatives. The article discusses four separate moments in a period of transition in the Princely State of Mysore from the late nineteenth century to the 1930s, when crucial questions of masculinity and national honour came to be resolved by both colonial authorities and Indian elites in the quest to recast or preserve family honour and racial purity. Throughout the late nineteenth century colonial anxieties about the sexual health of the British subalterns in India gave rise to a series of measures which promoted and regulated Indian prostitutes. In the late nineteenth century, Mysore bureaucrats set about limiting and finally prohibiting the practice of dance in Hindu temples in the name of protecting family and religious honour. In the interwar period, there was an ironic reversal of these positions, as British colonial authorities, hard-pressed to preserve racial honour through the prohibition of white slavery in India, were compelled to defend the 'trafficking' of women in India, even as the nationalist elite attempted to cleanse national honour and save the victims of prostitution.
This paper reflects on what archives at Boston University, the British Library, the University of Leicester and Islington Library can tell us about the legacy of the playwright Joe Orton, and in particular about how his infamous diary was shaped for the consumption of others first by Orton himself, and then by his agent Peggy Ramsay and biographer John Lahr. Ramsay and Lahr's stewardship of the diary, I argue, reflects the particular social and cultural climate in which they were operating.
This article explores the relationship between music and Holocaust memory, particularly the extent to which present-day conceptions of that relationship have shifted from those of the early postwar years, and considers the distinctive ways in which music might alternatively inform the process of memorialization. Music has from the outset been a key mediator of Holocaust memory, from the earliest commemorations amongst survivors until today; it is arguably one of the most important media through which ideas and attitudes about the past are constructed and shared. While collectors working in the immediate postwar years believed music to be integral to the project of documenting the Holocaust, in recent decades music has increasingly been seen as a seemingly natural opportunity for redemptive, hope-tinged discourse, emphasizing the faith, heroism, and resistance of Nazism's victims. In the context of increasingly diversified ideas about how and why we remember the Holocaust, the article argues that music's distinctive potential as a memorial object has been under-developed: potential both for enriching and deepening the scope of popular memorialization, and for challenging some of the unconstructive narratives that have dominated the memorialization process. The motivations of the early collectors, and their articulation of music's value, offer a helpful starting point for rethinking how this relationship might be conceived.
Private Life in Stalin's Russia: Family Narratives, Memory and Oral History For many years, we knew next to nothing about the private lives of ordinary Soviet citizens during Stalin's reign. Until very recently, the social history of the Soviet Union written by Soviet and Western historians alike was limited entirely to the public sphere - politics and ideology, and the collective experience of the 'Soviet masses.' The individual (insofar as he or she appeared at all) featured mainly as a letter-writer to the Soviet authorities - as a public actor rather than a private person or member of a family. Sources were the obvious problem. Apart from a few memoirs by great writers, there was practically no reliable evidence about the private sphere of family life. For ordinary people in the Soviet Union, for the tens of millions who suffered from repression, their family history was a forbidden zone of memory - something they would never talk or write about. This article addresses that difficulty by exploring the results of a large-scale project of historical recovery. With three teams of researchers from various towns in Russia, I have been recovering the family archives of ordinary Russians who lived through the years of Stalin's rule. In all, we collected approximately 250 family archives which had been in private homes across Russia, even more than a decade after the collapse of the Soviet regime. In each family extensive interviews were carried out with the oldest relatives, who were able to explain the context of these private documents and place them in the family's unspoken history. The interviews explore how families reacted to the various pressures of the Soviet regime. How did they preserve their traditions and beliefs, and pass them down to children, if they were in conflict with the public values of the Soviet system? How did living in a system ruled by terror affect intimate relationhips? How could human feelings and emotions retain their force in the moral vacuum of the Stalinist regime? What were the strategies for survival, the silences, the lies, the friendships and betrayals, the moral compromises and accommodations that shaped millions of lives?
The archive and journal collections of the Hall-Carpenter Archives (HCA) have been housed at the LSE since 1988. The archive, named in honour of novelist Radclyffe Hall and socialist writer, Edward Carpenter, was founded in 1982 to document the development of gay activism in the UK since the publication of the Wolfenden Report in 1958. The archive operated as an independent archive based at the London Lesbian and Gay Centre for several years before being transferred to the Archives of the London School of Economics. The archive is now a rich resource of archives, ephemera and printed materials documenting the development of gay activism and community in the United Kingdom since the 1950s.
This paper, which originated as the Raphael Samuel Memorial Lecture for 2005, casts Samuel as an organic intellectual, not conforming too closely to what's usually considered the Gramscian prototype of 'spokesman for the dominant class' - Samuel was never that, but, rather, a free spirit - but meeting Gramsci's criteria of 'connecting the bottom and the top' and 'continually feeling the demands of cultural contact with the "simple"'. The paper then takes its cue from Gramsci's intimations of such organic intellectuals in certain figures of the medieval Church. Here, four earlier medieval figures are offered as similarly representative: Gregory I (+ 604), Alcuin (+ 804), Dhuoda (+ ?843), and Burchard (+ 1025). Gregory's notion of condescensio, 'going down to be with', is extended by analogy to the later three. Each in turn is reconsidered as an intellectual who sought and made connections with a wider public, not just clerical but lay, in ways that aimed at social good.
Local tellings of oral history can complement but also radically challenge mainstream academic historiography. Ireland is renowned for its rich oral traditions, many of which were documented in the middle decades of the twentieth century by the Irish Folklore Commission and offer an invaluable repository of knowledge on social and cultural history. However, academic historiography has shown resistance to such unconventional sources and is therefore mostly ignorant of subaltern vernacular historical discourses. Looking at numerous oral traditions relating to an apocryphal episode in the larger body of folklore that recalls the French invasion of the West of Ireland in 1798 (popularly known as the 'Year of the French') and examining how this particular 'ahistorical' story was repeatedly told and retold locally, this article demonstrates the grass-roots dynamics of social memory in rural Ireland. Variation accommodated diverse meanings and served a range of functions in different contexts. The multi-dimensional social memory represented in provincial folk history, which offered regional communities an alternative to the machinations of national collective memory and the overbearing authority of official history, facilitated complex meaningful historical discourses that undermine prevalent assumptions regarding homogeneity, simplicity or inconsequentiality of local folklore.