Cultural Studies

Anyone for a Guinness?
17 March 2015

A global phenomenon, few patron saints are as enthusiastically celebrated as St. Patrick. Credited for bringing Christianity to Ireland’s pagans in the fourth century, he has since become a symbol of Irish patriotism. And it doesn’t seem to matter much where you are in the world on 17 March ¬– chances are you’ll be encouraged to wear green, don your fanciest shamrock brooch and gulp down gallons of Guinness.

Close-up, fade-out clinch; the world’s greatest kiss!
23 January 2015

When American innovator, Thomas Alva Edison, and his British predecessor, Eadweard Muybridge, set themselves the grand task of inventing a device that could capture movement on film, they surely could not have predicted the social, ethical and moral repercussions that would surface and surround moving pictures from that point onwards.

It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas
28 November 2014

Intense debate has broken out among sections of the Adam Matthew staff this week following the decision to open our box of Christmas decorations. A number of employees have steadfastly refused to go near the festive items before December 1st. Others have insisted that the extra cheer they bring justifies their appearance in November, though suspicions remain that this is a ruse in order to get first call on the choicest tinsel.

Aliens, Conspiracy and Abduction: UFO tales from the 1950’s Underground Press
24 October 2014

After a BBC story about a UFO today, it got me thinking about how the UFO phenomenon was handled in the 1950’s and onwards.

Nelson Mandela the ‘Champion of African Nationalism’ and a Changed South Africa
02 October 2014

As many of us have been gripped in recent months by the ongoing trial of Oscar Pistorius, a little over fifty years ago the eyes of the world were again trained on a high profile South African court case. At the height of the Apartheid era, in 1964, ten leaders of the African National Congress (ANC) stood accused of a number of charges, including acts of sabotage, which was, in extreme cases, punishable by death. In what was known as the Rivonia Trial, one of the accused was a man called Nelson Mandela.

He-Men and Homemakers: Gender in Mid-20th Century Advertising
24 September 2014

Unfortunately Emma Watson throwing down the UN HeForShe gauntlet this week came too late for the male-dominated mid-20th century advertising industry. They were well aware that 75% of the buying power in America was held by homemaking women, so actively reinforced gender inequality, in fear that their industry would crumble without it.

29 August 2014

Unless you have been living on another planet this week you will have at some point witnessed friends and family dousing themselves in icy water to raise money for ALS (Motor Neurone Disease in the UK) and, increasingly, some other charities. Many of you will have braved the Arctic bath yourselves.

Felines: Friend or Foe?
20 June 2014

Cats: love them or hate them, they’re here to stay. In fact, cats in Britain seem to be more popular than ever, as a survey by one of the mobile phone networks recently revealed; apparently we post 3.8 million photos or videos a day onto the internet. Indeed, over 350,000 cat owners have even set up social network accounts on behalf of their beloved furry friends.

A Very Regal Rejection of Tobacco
12 May 2014

It’s not exactly a common occurrence these days that the mere mention of tobacco is met with an audible gasp of wonder. But this was precisely the reaction I encountered recently whilst delivering a webinar showcasing our resource Global Commodities: Trade, Exploration & Cultural Exchange

The Power of Celebrity
18 March 2014

The Institute for Motivational Research often employed ‘depth interviews’, an approach to consumer surveys that asked quasi-psychiatric questions to expound the sub-conscious motivations behind consumer choice. In the reports for Quality Bakers, Dichter and his team asked their pool of respondents to describe the qualities they associate with famous actors, with the final report ranking the considered endorsers in terms of appropriateness for the wholesome, energy-giving qualities they wanted Sunbeam bread to embody.

The Children's Guide to Harpooning Whales
06 February 2014

Anyone exploring the many maritime logbooks in our resource China, America and the Pacific will know how gruesome and perilous whaling voyages could be in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (I refer you to Paul’s grisly and fascinating post from November). Lots of blood, lots of screaming, lots of death… Definitely post-watershed stuff, I’d have said, wouldn’t you?

Food: Accept No Substitute
16 January 2014

Every January without fail, I am inevitably left feeling the pinch – not just of an empty purse but of my favourite pair of jeans that take a little extra ‘persuading’, shall we say, to fasten (usually holding onto the waistband and jumping a few centimetres into the air whilst breathing in will do it). Therefore, every January without fail, I resolve to do something about it.

Victorian vacations and some unusual city sightseeing
15 January 2014

January is the busiest month of the year for travel agents. Once the glow of Christmas has worn off, and the cold winds of the New Year begin to bite, our thoughts inevitably turn to summer holidays. Accordingly, I thought I’d go in search of travel guides in Adam Matthew’s digital collections…

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