History of the Dragon Boat Festival

Reading Time: 2 minutes

By Cathy Huang
I joined Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, in August 2015, as a new member of our China team. I’m very happy to work together with the team and it feels like a family. I’m very willing to contribute my skills to help increase awareness of Gale resources and hope more and more researchers worldwide discover Gale’s rich Primary Source collections.

Today marks the annual Dragon Boat Festival, commemorating the dead, observed primarily in central and southern China. It occurs on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month and falls between 28 May and 25 June in the Western calendar. During this festival, people along the sea coasts and major rivers compete in races in boats made from wooden planks and carved with dragon heads and tails.

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Here Comes the Sun King: finding Louis XIV in State Papers Online

Reading Time: 2 minutes

On Wednesday night the BBC premiered Canal+’s lavish new period drama, Versailles. Always a sucker for period dramas, I looked forward to this one especially as I had no idea of the plot beforehand so the drama was a complete surprise, and I had very fond memories of a trip to the real Versailles as a student. Home of Louis XIV, the Sun King, Versailles was the seat of French government for most of the 18th Century, and if the TV show is to be believed, was the centre of much political intrigue.

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In Secret Kept, In Silence Sealed: revealing the hidden texts in Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

As an archivist, I firmly believe that preservation and access are two sides of the same coin; one cannot happen without the other. This is particularly true during digitisation projects, and on collections such as Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library where a large body of material is being made widely accessible for the first time, we have worked closely with a conservator from the British Library to ensure material is protected during scanning.

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“The Great Binge”

Reading Time: 2 minutes

by Seth Cayley
Seth Cayley is the Director of Research Publishing at Gale International, a part of Cengage Learning. He and his team are responsible for commissioning and creating Gale’s award-winning digital archive products.

Can cocaine really cure sea-sickness? Something tells me that very little peer-reviewed research has been done on the subject in recent years. But that didn’t stop the Victorians. From around 1870-1915 a large number of narcotics, including heroin, were widely and legally available, and often packaged as medicines. Historians have dubbed this period before the first international drug control treaties as “The Great Binge”.

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Race & Gender in the Carceral State

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Jen Manion
Jen Manion, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of History and Director of the LGBTQ Resource Center at Connecticut College. Manion is author of Liberty’s Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) and co-editor of Taking Back the Academy: History of Activism, History as Activism (Routledge, 2004). Jen has also published essays in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Journal of the Early Republic, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, and Radical History Review. 

Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture, 1790-1920 is a trove of material for scholars and students interested in the history of gender, gender expression, and sexuality. Criminal accounts provide an illustrative window into the culture of the time by highlighting the lives, actions, and motives of those who crossed the line of so-called acceptable behavior. Women’s participation in illicit activities such as theft, robbery, assault, or murder were generally sensationalized in both trial and newspaper records, giving such accounts a sexual tinge no matter how seemingly mundane. The range of source material—from newspaper accounts to trial manuscripts to organizational records to sensational dime novels—allows readers to approach a singular topic from different perspectives. Historians can examine the treatment of people along lines of race, class, and gender, or chart changes in such regulations over time.

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Happy Birthday Charlotte Brontë!

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

April 21st would be Charlotte Brontë’s 200th birthday. As Jane Eyre is my favourite book and as a fan of Brontë’s in general, I jumped at the chance to do a little research on her and her work. I knew that some letters of Brontë’s had been published in The Times in the early 20th century, so I used those and Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography (both available via Gale Artemis: Primary Sources) to do a little digging. Having read Jane Eyre every year for the past 20 or so years I thought I knew everything there was to know about its history, but I was a little surprised by some of the things I found out…

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