This article explores the phenomenon of internationalist public ritual between 1919 and the mid 1950s. It aims to fill a notable gap in the existing literature on interwar peace activism by demonstrating how British supporters of the League of Nations made extensive use of public ritual to communicate to a mass electorate key liberal-internationalist ideas concerning global interdependence, international government and world citizenship. More ambitiously, it argues that through public ritual these ideas became part of the symbolic resources available to British people as they sought to make sense of their relationship to the imperial nation-state and to the broader geopolitical transformations set in train by the Second World War. Demonstrating how League-themed ritual became embedded within existing civic traditions across the political spectrum, the analysis argues that the belief that Britain belonged to - and owed certain duties towards - an imagined international community became more central to popular representations of national identity than at any time previously. Internationalist public ritual was in its heyday between 1920 and 1936; thereafter domestic controversies over foreign policy led to the loss of much of the tradition's 'civic' character and League-themed ritual became increasingly implicated in the oppositional political theatre of the left. As the final section of the article shows, the internationalist tradition experienced something of a revival immediately after the Second World War, bolstered by idealism surrounding the establishment of the United Nations. Yet by the mid 1950s this tradition was once more displaying distinct signs of decay, a consequence of further shifts in the meaning of national identity brought about by the new global polarities of the Cold War.
This article analyses the home pages of the two dominant weekly agricultural periodicals of interwar Britain - Farmer and Stockbreeder and Farmers Weekly - in order to examine the roles and representations of British farmwomen in the 1920s and '30s. It shows that although these home pages replicated the content of contemporary women's magazines, focusing largely on domesticity and motherhood, they did so within the framework of a rural agenda which recognized the distinct environment of farm women's lives. This could lead to contestation, in that the traditional and the modern, the city and the countryside, produced competing images of rural women's social and economic roles. Ultimately, however, the agricultural press offers an optimistic vision of the farmwoman - or the modern countrywoman as they often labelled her - portraying her as an integral part of household, farm and community.
This article takes as its starting point a speech made in 1976 by the television presenter Hughie Green at the end of the Christmas edition of Opportunity Knocks, a talent show on the UK commercial channel ITV. Green's speech was a personal take on the political and economic crisis of the mid 1970s. In this article it is read against other events of late 1976 so as to illuminate the peculiar collective mentalities of that moment. My aim is to bring together different strands of the low-cultural and high-political in order to show how they form part of a unique historical conjuncture, one which cannot necessarily be tied to a uniform understanding of 'the 1970s'. By focusing on a largely forgotten moment in the cultural history of that decade, I want to set some of the historically contingent elements of the 1970s against the simplifications of popular memory and political mythology. Green's speech forces us to look at the events of the mid 1970s through a cultural-discursive as well as an economic-political lens, and specifically to see in the crisis at the end of 1976 the beginnings of a symbolic renegotiation of the postwar social-democratic settlement and the relationship between social democracy and consumer capitalism.
The History Workshop movement grew out of the same social, cultural and political context in the early 1970s as second-wave feminism and the lesbian and gay movement. It's not surprising that they shared key assumptions, about the importance of 'history from below', new forms of agency, and political commitment. The new history of sexuality, including lesbian and gay history, was born at that moment. Since then the history of sexuality has grown enormously in volume and status. Sexuality is now rightly seen as an essential category of analysis, without which huge tracts of our history become meaningless. At the same time the focus of radical sexual history has become mistier, and the categories that once seemed so fixed - the meanings, for example, of heterosexuality and homosexuality - have blurred under the forensic eye of contemporary historians. What is the value of sexual history today? In the Raphael Samuel Memorial lecture 2009, Jeffrey Weeks traces the history of sexual history, an intellectual journey that is both personal and collective, then relates it to wider questions about the meanings of social justice in a globalized and conflicted world.
The idea of cosmopolitanism continues to attract many scholars concerned with the mutual responsibilities of an increasingly global world. But there is no agreed definition of cosmopolitanism, and indeed some difference of opinion about the relative importance of ideas about world citizenship, on the one hand, and of questions about culture and identity, on the other. One of the theorists who attaches most importance to the ethical and aesthetic issues involved in cosmopolitanism is Kwame Anthony Appiah. This essay explores some of his ideas about cosmopolitanism, looking particularly at the importance of stories and of his own family in the way he defines and explains it. In drawing on his family, and particularly on the autobiography of his Ghanaian father, Joe Appiah, he immediately moves beyond the Eurocentrism that continues to cling to the idea of cosmopolitanism. At the same time, the social privilege of the Appiah family raises questions about how widely applicable their experiences are, while the gender blindness evident in the writing of both father and son make some of Appiah's arguments extremely problematic.
This essay examines the multiple politics of home in the archive left by James Douglas (1803-77). Born in Demerara, Douglas had a long and powerful career in the North American fur-trade, married into an elite Metis family and served as governor of the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. There is little documentation of his early life, but the letters and journals that he wrote after retiring from the colonial service in the 1860s and & rsquo;70s provide a revealing window on how this bourgeois Creole man reckoned the politics of nation, empire and domesticity. This analysis draws on recent social histories of empire, feminist analysis of the gendered and national politics of home, and the contention that archives make meaning rather than simply preserving it. Reading James Douglas's episodic and uneven archive through these insights, this essay contributes to ongoing discussions about the critical role played by gender and domesticity in constituting the politics of nations, colonies and empires, and about the connections between colonized spaces and metropoles in Britain's nineteenth-century empire.
This essay is concerned with a simple tool, the pin, and two persons named Smith. In conjunction, they highlight a surprising view of European economic, social and cultural history. It is a tale of how this tiny tool became a necessity of life in early modern Europe, an object lesson in early English economic planning in the thinking of Thomas Smith, a constituent part of Adam Smith's capitalist theory on productivity and the division of labour, a sharp symbol of European social criticism on the degradation of industrial life (the production of pins and the promise of progress became a hotly debated issue), a literary metaphor for female oppression and subordination and, last but not least, a weapon in the campaign for women's liberation. In French literature of the later nineteenth century in particular, female insubordination became intertwined with references to needlework. There are of course many examples of virtuously stitching women, but allusions to pins and needles, sewing and knitting, tended to bear a negative relationship to the picture of domestic bliss which they appear to evoke. At the same time, the story of the pin points to some complex patterns in the embroidery of European, i.e. Anglo-Dutch and Franco-Scottish interaction and communication.
Historiography of the Spanish Civil War was for years impossible inside Spain, and outside the country it was dominated by sweeping, synthetic works that said little about the lived experience of the conflict and its aftermath. Even in the decades after Franco's death, Spain was slow to begin writing the story of the vanquished, having accepted the terms of the transition: to move forward and forget. Today, history and memory and their relationship have become topics of daily newspaper articles as mass graves are dug up and the descendants of the combatants at long last discuss the war. This article addresses the problem of how to create a new historiography of an event that has been saddled with oblivion, repression, ideological baggage, and, now, personal reminiscence.
In the course of its diverse deployment, interpretations of what it depicts have ranged widely. In the earliest depiction which the author has managed to trace, it illustrated a story of post-partum rape by detachments of French soldiers under Prince Rupert's command; subsequently, the image was slightly doctored, tailoring it to illustrate tales of Henry Marten's 'Leveller' troops; and finally in the Commonwealth period, it formed part of the 'anti-Ranter literature published following the Blasphemy Act. The events depicted were reputed to have taken place in Dorset, Leicestershire and York respectively. The disparate employment of the image in the seventeenth century points to the interpretative interdependence of image and text, and makes possible a discussion of the nature of news - propaganda or reportage; 'curiosity and reality' as a contemporary journalist had it - in the depiction of truth and fiction when recounting violence and criminality.