Gender and Sexuality

Pish-Posh, Or The Most Important Book Of Our Century
04 January 2018

Perhaps no book of the mid-twentieth century would prove as divisive as Betty Friedan’s seminal 1963 tome, The Feminine Mystique. Invited to conduct a survey on the satisfaction of fellow female graduates at a college reunion, journalist Friedan began an intent investigation into ‘the problem that has no name’, that is, a growing malaise amongst women who were seemingly living the American Dream. Credited with sparking the “second wave” of American feminism, the book proved a publishing phenomenon and became a flash point in the war over gender politics.

The Men's Movement
15 November 2017

The 1960s and 1970s saw Second Wave Feminism sweep through the Western World, engaging women with issues such as sexuality, the workforce, domestic abuse, the family and reproductive rights. And whilst feminists were debating with themselves and the world, there were small collectives of men who wondered what this new definition of femininity meant for their understanding of masculinity.

No Sex Please, We’re British: Stemming The Tide Of STDs During WWI
10 November 2017

Global conflict naturally incurs all manner of hardships and challenges, but one that rarely permeates modern discussions of the First World War is the exponential spread of sexually transmitted diseases, or the effort made to curb them. However, preventing venereal disease wasn’t just a matter of good medicine. In fact, medicine was sometimes the last thing on people’s mind when trying to avoid these debilitating infections.

“Ever Yours”: The Florence Nightingale Papers and Handwritten Text Recognition Technology
13 October 2017

Medical Services and Warfare: 1850-1927 is a major new resource that examines the history of injury, disease, treatment and medical development within and around conflicts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.Collecting more than 4,000 documents from archives and libraries from the UK and North America, this resource includes the outstanding Florence Nightingale Papers from the British Library, comprising correspondence, notes and reports written between 1847-1889.

Pictures of Some Things You Want
04 October 2017

Trade Catalogues and the American Home is a fascinating resource which published in early 2017 that allows you to see the changes in American consumerism over the twentieth century. The collection highlights many aspects of American daily life from around 1850-1950. One such aspect: our (and I’m lumping us Brits in with the Americans, here) great love of Stuff.

16,306 Convicts
21 September 2017

Between 1788 and 1868, the British government transported more than 160,000 convicts to Australia. A popular punishment since the early seventeenth century, transportation was second in severity only to execution. Following the War of Independence, however, the defeated Crown could no longer banish undesirable elements of society to their American colonies. Conditions in overcrowded gaols and prison hulks began to deteriorate following the outbreak of war, and continued to slide until some bright spark suggested the establishment of a penal colony far, far removed from English shores.

Love in the time of the USSR
07 July 2017

Today is the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles’ classic single All You Need Is Love. This blog, however, isn’t about the Beatles, but it is about love with a little socialist industrialism thrown in. I’ve recently been working on Module II Newsreels & Cinemagazines of Adam Matthew’s Socialism on Film: The Cold War and International Propaganda resource, and thought I’d share one of my favourite clips (so far)!

The Kinsmans: Love and Loss in Nineteenth-Century Macau
03 July 2017

The words that Nathaniel Kinsman hastily penned to his “dearly beloved Wife” aboard a fast boat that carried him against the current of the Pei-ho River, from Macao (Macau) to Canton (Guangzhou) in China, reveal how Americans experienced China in the nineteenth century. They are emblematic of stories that reveal the human side of the Old China Trade, and lie beneath the conventional narrative that regales in opium sales and opium wars, pirates and typhoons, and, of course, tea, porcelain and silk.

Wonder Women
22 June 2017

Wonder Woman has kicked down doors for female superheroes everywhere this summer with her Lasso of Truth, steely commitment to peace and wholly impractical wardrobe – raking in $600 million in the process. ... While working on Adam Matthew’s upcoming resource Medical Services and Warfare, I stumbled across a biographical collection charting the real-life women who dedicated their lives to the war effort.

‘Fame, puts you there where things are hollow…’
09 May 2017

The images above are of the eighteenth-century actresses, Mrs Anne Cargill and Mrs Mary Wells; they have been taken from scanned copies of, Dramatic Annals: Critiques on Plays and Performance and an anthology of performers' letters. They are represented here in their famous stage personas of ‘Clara’ and ‘Cowslip’, characters from The Duenna, and The Agreeable Surprise respectively, performed consistently during the last quarter of the eighteenth century.

The Power of Protest
27 January 2017

Last week millions of people across the world joined peaceful demonstrations protesting the inauguration of Donald Trump and marching in support of causes widely feared to be under threat in his new administration.

Cross-Dressing Actresses: Into the Breeches: A Special Guest Blog by Felicity Nussbaum
21 November 2016

Felicity Nussbaum, Distinguished Research Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles and Editorial Board member for Eighteenth Century Drama: Censorship, Society and the Stage, discusses female cross-dressing in eighteenth-century theatre.

Cement, Chemicals, Bricks and Beer: Women in Industry During the First World War
18 October 2016

When we think of the role of women on the Home Front during the First World War, the images which spring to mind are inevitably those of fresh-faced city girls perched precariously on fence posts, wellies on and pitchfork in hand. Think harder and you might also have a vague recollection of countless rows of twenty-somethings handling and packing shell cases in London munitions factories; but what other jobs did women do during the First World War?

Further Adventures of the Intrepid East India Company Women: A SPECIAL GUEST BLOG BY AMRITA SEN
29 September 2016

The three intrepid women, Mariam Begum, Frances (Webbe) Steele, and Mrs Hudson who managed to travel on board East India Company ships in the early seventeenth century, flouting Company prohibition, continued to cause trouble even after the much harried English ambassador, Sir Thomas Roe, no longer had to directly deal with them. Unfortunately for Roe, the journey back to England was not as tranquil as he might have hoped, for Frances and Mrs Hudson were travelling with him.

Early Women Travellers and The East India Company: A Special Guest Blog by Amrita Sen
27 September 2016

In 1617 three unlikely travelers, Mariam Begum, Frances Steele (nee Webbe), and Mrs. Hudson, arrived at the busy port of Surat onboard an East India Company ship called the Anne. What made their journey so exceptional was that during the early years of its operation the Company expressly forbade women from traveling out to the East Indies, despite numerous pleas from its factors and sailors who did not wish to leave their wives behind.

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