Cultural Studies

The Druze and al-Hakim: The Religion with No Converts
10 July 2020

Residing within an issue of Victory: The Weekly for the India Command, from Service Newspapers of World War Two, is an intriguing article on the ‘Secret Societies of Islam’. While the article explores three ‘sects’, we shall be delving into the information provided on the Druze and al-Hakim.

“Save the Amazing Scribbler!” Using primary sources in a library escape room game
01 July 2020

This special librarian guest blog was written by John Cosgrove and Johanna MacKay of Lucy Scribner Library at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

What does a stuffed squirrel, an escape room and Adam Matthew’s Victorian Popular Culture have in common? At Skidmore College’s Lucy Scribner Library, we combined all three – and a scavenger hunt to boot – to provide a fun, interactive library orientation for First Year Experience students.

What’s on telly tonight? Guilty pleasures from Mass Observation Project: 1980s
26 June 2020

After 18 weeks of lockdown, many of us are missing the regular pastimes of life before the pandemic. Having exhausted Netflix, I turned to the recently published Mass Observation Project for ideas on what to watch next.

Early Reading Trends of the Second World War: An Industry Perspective
19 June 2020

Book Reading in War Time offers insights into the impact the first few months of the Second World War had on the book publishing industry, our libraries, and the books we were scrambling to read.

‘“Clothes maketh man”… in part, I have to agree’: Clothing in the Mass Observation Project
10 June 2020

In the age of Covid-19, those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to work from home have still had to deal with a minor, though recurrent, concern: what to wear after making the five-foot trek from bed to desk (or kitchen table, pile of cushions, etc).

Unfamiliar Letters: Annotations in an Early Modern ‘Epistolary Novel’
20 May 2020

As an enthusiast of all things medieval and early modern, working on Adam Matthew’s newly-published resource, Early Modern England: Society, Culture and Everyday Life, 1500-1700, has been a wonderful experience. Among many personal highlights was the opportunity to visit the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and assess their collection of early modern printed books, thirty of which have been digitised for the resource. Many of these books are annotated, revealing much about how their readers engaged and interacted with their books.

Publishing history, or On the Origin of Pigeons
09 April 2020

Every day we live history, yet only very occasionally does it become apparent we are living through times that will one day be written into the history books. 

When hard-drinking former marine John McMurray invested his wife's fortune in a bookselling business in 1768, he could hardly have known he would be kickstarting a publishing dynasty that would span more than 200 years, countless bestsellers and seven generations - all named John. How could he possibly comprehend, then, the mark his fledgling business would leave on literary history?

From Vegetarianism to Veganuary: January’s not so recent trend
24 January 2020

Mid-January is often regarded as the most miserable time of the year. The indulgences of Christmas have passed, everyone is skint and Dry January is in full swing. In recent years, the UK has witnessed a growing trend towards ‘Veganuary’ for both ethical and environmental reasons.

A Taste of Chocolate's History
23 January 2020

Guest author Dr Beth Forrest explores the primary sources digitised in Adam Matthew’s Food and Drink in History resource, looking at how cultural attitudes towards chocolate have evolved over time.

Beyond the Birds and the Bees: A reflection on Adam Matthew’s Sex & Sexuality resource
08 January 2020

In a world where Love Island shenanigans and “celebrity” sex exposés dominate headlines, and where “Netflix and Chill” requires no explanation, it’s difficult to imagine that the “Birds and the Bees” conversation continues to stand the test of time.

Meet Me at the Fair: A Christmas Controversy
20 December 2019

At Adam Matthew headquarters, the annual debate over what constitutes a Christmas film has been raging. Does it have to be Christmas throughout the narrative? Does Christmas have to be integral to the plot? Does Die Hard count? Vincente Minnelli’s 1944 musical Meet Me in St Louis is a personal favourite, but one that I have struggled to convince my Editorial colleagues is a bone fide Christmas classic, taking place as it does throughout a whole year, but featuring Judy Garland’s iconic and undeniable rendition of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'.

Publishing the Archive: a launch celebration at the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive
02 December 2019

As Development Editor for Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings, I was fortunate to attend recent events celebrating the launch of our online resource at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

The Queen, The Crown and Mass Observation
21 November 2019

What did the British public think of the Royal Family in 1966? As Olivia Colman takes over the role of Queen Elizabeth II from Claire Foy in the new season of The Crown, documents from Mass Observation Online show how the public viewed their monarch's transition to middle age.

Way out West but still in frame
11 November 2019

With the focus of a new semester, it’s always an exciting time to hit the road and talk to academics across the country about all things humanities and social sciences. The fact that it’s also conference season again means I have the privilege of exposure to fascinating lectures, great conversations with the academic community, and the opportunity to share the latest news from Adam Matthew Digital.

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