“We tread enchanted ground” Celebrating Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon through the years

By Karen Harker, Gale Ambassador at the University of Birmingham
Karen is a Gale Student Ambassador and PhD student at the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute. Her work focuses on digitally reconstructing and reconsidering the role of incidental music used in nineteenth-century Shakespeare productions, a project which is rooted in archival research and utilises many of Gale’s digital resources. Other research interests include operatic adaptations of Shakespeare, digital humanities, tableaux vivant, and Shakespeare performances during times of war. Karen also enjoys hiking, yoga, singing, and spending time with her cat, Monkey.

Around the 23rd of April every year, Stratford-upon-Avon becomes a different place. Flooded with tens of thousands of tourists from across the world, this small Warwickshire town pauses to pay homage to the most recognisable name, and for some, the greatest writer in all of English drama: William Shakespeare. The tradition of celebrating the life and work of Shakespeare has arguably placed Stratford-upon-Avon on the map. Even on a typical day, it is not uncommon to see throngs of school children touring Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Henley Street; patrons heading to see a show at one of the Royal Shakespeare Company theatres; or groups of visitors making their way to Holy Trinity Church to get a look at Shakespeare’s grave. For folks (such as myself) who call Stratford home, seeing Shakespeare remembered in this way, witnessing the twenty-first century style pilgrimage taken by millions of people each year, is a part of our daily life.

Read more“We tread enchanted ground” Celebrating Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon through the years

George Macartney, Kashgar and the Great Game

By Dr Alexander Morrison, Fellow & Tutor in History, New College, University of Oxford

The exciting new archive China and the Modern World: Diplomacy and Political Secrets launches this month. This will be the third instalment in the China and the Modern World programme, which covers many aspects of nineteenth- and twentieth-century China, including its international relations, trade, and domestic and foreign policy. Diplomacy and Political Secrets is sourced from the India Office Records at the British Library, and presents a wealth of rare records, gathered by the British, pertaining to the relations among China, Britain, British India, British Burma, Central Asia, Russia and Japan. Below, academic advisor Dr Alexander Morrison discusses one of the influential characters whose career can be traced through these files.

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It’s Time to Share the Spotlight: Exploration of Trans Visibility Over the Years

By Emily Priest, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth
Emily, otherwise known as Emily the Writer, is a Creative and Media Writing (BA Hons) student at Portsmouth University with interests in travel writing and creative marketing. She is also a freelance writer and performance poet. After her degree, she plans to take a Digital Marketing MA and pursue a career in marketing or journalism.

Today, 31st March, is Trans Visibility Day and, although it is a day to celebrate, it is also a day to reflect on the past to appreciate how far we’ve come. Looking back on trans history and how much visibility the community used to have can be hard swallow at times but it is easy to research using the archives Gale’s Primary Sources. To put things into perspective I used Archives of Gender and Sexuality to compare how society has previously treated trans people with how they’re treated now.

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Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld – A Great Arctic Explorer of the Nineteenth Century

By Pauli Kettunen, Gale Ambassador at the University of Helsinki
I am a second-year student in a programme ambitiously titled ‘Society and Change’ – there is not enough space to describe it here, if you had started wondering! At the University, my main interests are in Political History, in addition to all the other things concerning the History of Civil Society. In my free time I like cooking, reading, exercising, complaining about politics, and gaming. My latest addiction is reading science fiction by Alastair Reynolds.

One hundred and forty years ago, the world was speculating about the survival of a significant arctic exploration party. One can read, for example this article in The Western Daily Press, one of the periodicals included in Gale’s British Library Newspapers. With Professor Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld leading the expedition, the steamer Vega had departed on August 27th, 1878 for the Northeast Passage, the shipping route to the Pacific Ocean along the Arctic Ocean coasts of Norway and Russia. As radio technology had not yet been developed, there were no means for the press to get in touch with Nordenskiöld and his crew. In the reporter’s words, “More than seven and a-half months have…now elapsed and nothing more has been heard of him.” Nevertheless, the newspaper firmly believed that the expedition would be safe, possibly having stopped to spend the winter at “the sheltered bay of Kulynchinska.” Without faster means to confirm this, organisations that had invested in Nordenskiöld’s expedition, or were otherwise interested in the Northeast Passage, were planning to send out search parties to look for the Vega.

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Sir Bertram Ramsey – Britain’s Unsung War Hero

By Matt Chivers, Gale Ambassador at the University of Liverpool
I am in my third year studying History at the University of Liverpool. I am obsessed with golf and regrettably even more obsessed about football. But at school, History took my interest; throughout sixth form and university I have loved studying the Cold War and, for my dissertation, the nuclear arms race. I am keen to pursue a career in sports writing and journalism – I couldn’t think of anything better than being paid to watch and write about the biggest sporting events in the world! I like film and tend to binge-watch a series or two.

If you hear the phrase ‘War Hero’ names such as Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower would naturally come to mind, as they were the key leaders in the Second World War that were instrumental in coordinating the Allied victory. I feel there is another leader who deserves recognition for his vital work during these significant years; Sir Bertram Ramsay.

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The History of International Women’s Day and the Origins of Women’s History Month

By Rachel Holt, Acquisitions Editor for Gale International
Rachel has worked in a variety roles across the publishing industry and joined Gale Primary Sources in 2017 where she became responsible for the Women’s Studies Archive programme.  Although women’s history is a personal passion her other area of focus is fringe-politics and Rachel is also in charge of Gale’s Political Extremism & Radicalism series.  

Happy International Women’s Day (#BalanceforBetter) and may your Women’s History Month 2019 be an enlightening one!

Every year March marks the month where several countries around the world celebrate female contributions to society by recognising their achievements throughout history. However, the origins of how both these events came into being are themselves fascinating episodes in feminist history. If “history is written by the victors” then who decides which people and events from the past deserves our attention?[1]

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Exploring news coverage and media discussion of sexual violence

By Grace Mitchell-Kilpatrick, Gale Ambassador at the University of Exeter
I am a fourth-year student at the University of Exeter. I studied BSc Politics and International Relations with proficiency in data analysis at undergraduate level. As a Masters student studying Conflict, Development and Security, my interests lie in conflict zones but I am also an advocate of sustainability and feminism. Besides studying, when I’m not snowed under with work, I like to run and binge watch Netflix.

What constitutes ‘feminism’ and to class oneself as a feminist is highly contentious and politicised. It is, however, a concept which does not fall solely in the private or public sphere, and for that reason it is necessary to consider what the cause defends. I thought it would be interesting to use Gale Primary Sources to aid an investigation into the issue of rape and sexual violence, an issue which feminist sentiment advocates to eliminate.

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The Myth of the Rhinoceros

By Lyndsey England, Gale Ambassador at Durham University
I am a second-year student at Durham University, studying a joint degree in English Literature and History. My main areas of interest are African history and post-colonial literature, but when I’m not tucked away behind a stack of books in a corner of the library or promoting Gale, I’m busy with Durham Student Theatre, working backstage and on the production team for a number of performances each year. In amongst all this, I also try to find the time to write, because I am currently juggling a shamefully large amount of works in progress.

In 1769, writing his ‘Description of Three Hundred Animals’, a document included in Gale’s Eighteenth Century Collections Online, Thomas Boreman presented the rhinoceros as follows:

“He has two girdles upon his body, like the wings of a dragon, from his back down to his belly … his skin is so hard, that no dart is able to pierce it, and covered over with scales, like the shell of a tortoise.”

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Queer Progress on the High Seas: Exploring LGBTQ Naval Experiences with the Global Encyclopedia of LGBTQ History

By Jo Stanley, academic contributor to Gale’s Global Encyclopedia of LGBTQ History
Dr Jo Stanley FRHistS, FRSA, is a creative historian who is internationally acclaimed for her work exploring seafaring minorities. A Senior Visiting Research Fellow at Liverpool John Moores University, her blog is http://genderedseas.blogspot.com and her website is at www.jostanley.biz. She lives very happily in a Pennine mill village, where she is a part-time textile artist and gym bunny.

Having a rainbow at your fingertips is more than handy – it’s a luxurious necessity. So the publication of Gale’s Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History is something I celebrate. It will be extremely satisfying for those who want to quickly find out what so many reference works have previously omitted about LGBTQ history.

Read moreQueer Progress on the High Seas: Exploring LGBTQ Naval Experiences with the Global Encyclopedia of LGBTQ History

‘Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century’ – a new archive packed with EXTREMELY useful sources which can RADICALLY change your thinking!

By Lily Cratchley, Gale Ambassador at the University of Birmingham
I am a second-year student at the University of Birmingham currently completing a joint honours degree in English Literature and American and Canadian Studies. This multidisciplinary course allows me to study varying aspects of modern American literature, history and culture as well as old English writing, including poetry by Wyatt and plays by Shakespeare. In term-time I love to keep myself busy by volunteering for a society that helps local, disadvantaged children, preparing for a year abroad in North America, visiting the attractions that England’s second city has to offer with friends, and, of course, working as a Gale Ambassador.

Are you a budding politician or historian, intrigued with all things politically radical and extreme? Or perhaps you’re just faced with the need to write a lengthy dissertation, and are worried by your seemingly limited quantity of primary sources? Either way, Gale’s new archive, Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century, may be of extreme (pardon the pun!) interest to you.

Read more‘Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century’ – a new archive packed with EXTREMELY useful sources which can RADICALLY change your thinking!

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