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March 2016 Newsletter

I. Update on 2016 Britain and the World Conference: Venue and Date Change

The British Scholar Society would like to inform its newsletter readers that it has been found necessary to make a venue change for the 2016 Britain and the World Conference. Instead of Senate House at the University of London, the conference will now be held at King’s College London. The movement of our meeting place has necessitated a slight change in dates as well. The conference will now run from 22 to 24 June. All other aspects of the conference remain the same. This promises to be our biggest and most successful conference yet, and we are very excited about the better prospects for scholarly and social interaction that our movement to KCL promises.

Please continue to check the conference website for developments and updates:

http://britishscholar.org/conference-2016/

II. 2016 Britain and the World Accommodation Information Available

In anticipation of the rooming needs for participants in the 2016 Britain and the World Conference, we are pleased to announce that we have secured 100 rooms at the Royal National Hotel, Bedford Way, WC1H 0DG, just off Russell Square. The conference venue is 20 minutes’ walk (down Southampton Row/Kingsway), or 10 minutes’ on a constant stream of buses (numbers 68, 59, 91, 168, and 188) which is much quicker than the tube.  There are many other even closer hotels, although they are much more expensive.

Royal National rates are £98 for a single room and £123 for a twin room if booked by phone, £88 for a single room and £113 for a twin room if booked online: https://www.imperialhotels.co.uk/en/royal-national. Guests can also take advantage of their online BOGO Offer – complimentary dinner on the night of arrival for bookings of 2 or more consecutive nights. Early booking is advised, and any remaining rooms will be released on 28 May.

Additionally we have also arranged rooms from the LSE at their Bankside House, also 20 minutes’ walk, over the river. Prices for Bed and Breakfast per night: single room with shared bathroom £59; 2 single en-suite connecting rooms, £98, triple room en suite, £131, and quad room en suite, £147. Please visit  www.lsevacations.co.uk  or call (+44) 02079557676.

For more information, please visit the conference website:

http://britishscholar.org/conference-2016/

III. New Issue of Britain and the World Journal Now Out

The March 2016 issue of Britain and the World: Historical Journal of The British Scholar Society has now been published and is available in print and to view online. This is the first issue edited by our new Editor-in-Chief, Professor John M. MacKenzie, under whose guidance Britain and the World will, we have no doubt, further cement its key role in providing innovative insights into the history of Britain and its global interactions.

Please go to the following link to access the newest edition of the journal, as well as previous issues:

http://www.euppublishing.com/journal/brw

IV. Britain and the World Journal Now in ERIH PLUS Index

Another piece of good news related to the journal is that Britain and the World was recently accepted for inclusion in European Reference Index for the Humanities and Social Sciences (ERIH PLUS), which is highly respected for its initiatives to bring global attention to high quality humanities and social sciences research.

Interested parties can visit Britain and the World‘s listing on the ERIH PLUS website, where one can also find more information on the index more generally:

https://dbh.nsd.uib.no/publiseringskanaler/erihplus/periodical/info?id=484974

V. Society Director of Outreach on Thatcher, Delors, and European Integration

Society Director of Outreach Dr. Helene von Bismarck will be giving a talk shortly for the Contemporary British History Seminar (CBHS) at King College London’s Strand campus. Those interested can watch Dr. von Bismarck speak on 9 March on the topic of “Margaret Thatcher, Jacques Delors and the Relaunch of European Integration in the mid-1980s.”

For more information, please visit the following link:

http://www.history.ac.uk/events/seminars/105

VI. Society General Editor in the Media

Following Jeremy Corbyn’s stunning victory in the Labour Party leadership elections, Society General Editor Dr. Martin Farr has been called on to provide his understanding of this important event in the context of post-1945 British politics. Recently, Dr. Farr offered his assessment of the conditions that have allowed Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 US presidential elections, to succeed in making a radical impact even though previous firebrands have failed.

Read Dr. Farr’s interesting and important thoughts at the following link:

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/jeremy-corbyn-bernie-sanders-putting-10848741

VII. CFP: Conference on Postwar British-French Relationship

The University of Strathclyde and the Institute of Historical Research have issued a Call for Papers for a conference titled: “Relations between Britain and France at the End of World War Two: Cooperation and Reconstruction.” They invite proposals for 20 minute papers on any aspect of the workshop theme. Please send paper proposals with an abstract of 250-300 words and one-page CV to Dr Karine Varley at KarinedotVarleyatstrathdotacdotuk  (KarinedotVarleyatstrathdotacdotuk)   by 18 March 2016.

For more information on the conference, go to the following link:

http://events.history.ac.uk/event/show/15030

VIII. Book of the Month

October 2015: Western Maternity and Medicine, 1880-1990

Reviewed by Jane Adams, University of Otago

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March 2016: Western Maternity and Medicine, 1880–1990

Janet Greenlees and Linda Bryder, (eds). London: Pickering & Chatto, 2013. xiii, 214 pp. £60.00 (hardcover).

Reviewed by: Jane Adams, University of Otago

The late nineteenth and twentieth centuries constituted a hugely important period in the development of maternity services, policies and science in the Western world, Janet Greenlees and Linda Bryder argue in their introductory essay to Western Maternity and Medicine, 1880–1990. Of particular significance from the woman’s perspective was the dramatic shift in the location of childbirth (from the home to the hospital) as well as a steep decline in maternal mortality rates from the 1930s and later in perinatal mortality, and increased public and political attention upon the health of pregnant mothers and their newborn babies.

These historical developments have already received significant scholarly attention (as Greenlees and Bryder acknowledge), particularly as a result of
developments in social history and feminist politics from the late 1970s. As a result of these ideological shifts, they argue that the dominant interpretation of
childbirth history that has emerged has been one of progressive male domination and the corresponding oppression or disempowerment of women (Ann Oakley’s
influential 1984 work The Captured Womb is given as a key example of this ideological trend). But Greenlees and Bryder argue that the actual historical
records convey a far more nuanced story than this dominant historiographical approach might suggest and instead, women have sometimes had far greater
agency into their maternity experiences (an argument developed by the likes of Canadian scholar Wendy Mitchinson, for example).

Accordingly, Greenlees, Bryder and the other contributors to this multiauthored collection of essays aim to focus their readers’ attention upon the mothers’ agency in their interactions with other stakeholders in maternity services, including physicians, midwives, governments and the voluntary sector. They seek to achieve this by adopting a case study approach, drawing upon a rich variety of historical records in their respective studies. These sources include the medical casebooks of particular institutions (Janet Greenlees, for example, uses them in her essay on the Church of Scotland’s home for unmarried mothers, as does Allison Nuttall in her essay on maternity hospitals in interwar Edinburgh and Gayle Davis in relation to an Edinburgh infertility clinic); coroners’ reports into maternal deaths (used by Madonna Grehan to examine midwifery care in the home birth setting); submissions to government inquiries (used by Gayle Davis and Linda Bryder); oral history interviews (used by Angela Davis to consider women’s childbirth experiences); and court cases (used by Allison L. Hepler to trace the development of foetal protection labour legislation).

The modern history of Scottish maternity services is particularly well represented in this volume, with four of the nine contributors (Salim Al-Gailani, Janet Greenlees, Allison Nuttall and Gayle Davis) examining various aspects of Scottish medicine and maternity services spanning the first half of the twentieth century. The other five contributors take as their focus late nineteenth-century Victoria, Australia (Madonna Grehan), New Zealand in the first half of the twentieth century (Linda Bryder), twentieth-century Ireland (Lindsey Earner- Byrne) and the United States (Allison L. Hepler) and late twentieth-century Berkshire and Oxfordshire in England (Angela Davis).

Overall, the contributors make a strong case for their focus upon maternal agency and succeed in framing their case studies within their broader historical contexts, and in particular the underlying ideological and religious concerns. Given the variety of case records and time periods that the contributors consider, it is not surprising that some essays in this volume lend themselves more naturally to capturing women’s perspectives than others. In particular, Angela Davis primarily uses oral history interviews from women recalling their childbirth experiences in relatively recent times (the 1970s and 1980s) to conclude that women were actually less critical of the medical interventions that they received in hospital (such as ultrasounds and episiotomies) than of the culture of the maternity units in which the interventions took place. In relation to the move from home to hospital births in the twentieth century, Allison Nuttall shows that the move was ultimately successful because it was driven by women’s desires (for pain relief, rest opportunities and expert medical care) rather than being medically enforced. Likewise, Linda Bryder argues in the New Zealand context that the move to hospital births succeeded due to lobbying by women’s organisations working in alliance with obstetricians.

Some contributors acknowledge and discuss the difficulties and limitations of using a ‘patient agency’ approach. Salim Al-Gailani, for example, considers Scottish obstetrician John William Ballantyne’s development of antenatal services in early twentieth-century Edinburgh and examines the underlying medico-moral ideologies underpinning the care of pregnant women. He argues that although it is essential to take pregnant women’s agency into account, their experiences can be difficult to recover from the historical record – this type of honest reflection is useful for other historians seeking to emulate a ‘patient agency’ approach.

Western Maternity and Medicine is a robust, well-presented collection of essays that traverses a surprisingly broad range of topics within its umbrella of ‘maternity and medicine’. In particular, Gayle Davis’ essay on infertility (which examines Scottish medical responses to artificial insemination in mid-twentieth-century Scotland) and Allison L. Hepler’s essay on workplace health are both refreshing inclusions in this volume, showing the potential for further scholarship that this fascinating subject area offers.

 

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Holiday Greetings from The British Scholar Society

The British Scholar Society would like to wish its members, contributors, conference goers, and newsletter readers a very happy holiday season.

The Society had a productive and successful 2015, and we are excited to build on our accomplishments in the coming year. A 2015 retrospective and information on what we can look forward to in 2016 will be in the next edition of the newsletter.

We would also like to provide a quick reminder of the deadline for abstract submissions to the 2016 Britain and the World Conference in London. Submissions must be received by 4 January 2016 for a guarantee of consideration. More information on the submission process and on the planned conference events can be found at http://britishscholar.org/conference-2016/.

Again, from all of us here at The British Scholar Society, please accept our good wishes and hopes for your families, your work, and yourselves—now and in the coming year!

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November 2015 Newsletter

I. New Feature on The British Scholar Society’s Website: “Related Organisations”

The British Scholar Society has introduced a new outreach initiative, which will feature profiles of and information on organisations whose focus and methods are related to those of The British Scholar Society. Like our annual Britain and the World Conference, our journal Britain and the World, and the monthly British Scholar Newsletter, our hope is that this “Related Organisations” feature (http://britishscholar.org/outreach/related-organisations/) will bring scholars and groups of scholars from around the globe together in knowledge-sharing and collaboration. It is therefore with pleasure that we announce that the well-known and highly regarded Centre for Imperial and Global History (CIGH) at the University of Exeter will be the first profile in our Related Organisations feature. Read the full write-up about the CIGH at the following link:

http://britishscholar.org/outreach/related-organisations/the-centre-for-imperial-and-global-history-at-the-university-of-exeter-uk/

II. Reminder: Call for Papers for 2016 Britain and the World Conference in London

We would like to remind everyone of the Call for Papers for the ninth annual Britain and the World Conference, which will take place at Senate House at the University of London from 23 to 25 June 2016. Paper and panel proposals should focus on Britain’s interactions with the world from the beginning of the seventeenth century to the present.  Established scholars, scholars at the beginning of their careers, and graduate students are all equally welcome to apply and present at the conference.

The conference accepts both individual paper and complete panel submissions. Submissions of individual papers should include an abstract of 200 words as well as a few descriptive keywords. Panels are expected to consist of three to four papers and should be submitted by one person who is willing to serve as the point of contact.  Complete panels must also include a chair.  In addition to abstracts for each individual paper, panel submissions should also include a brief 100-150 word introduction describing the panel’s main theme. The conference does not discriminate between panels and individual paper submissions.

All submissions for inclusion in the Britain and the World Conference must be received by Monday, 4 January 2016. Submissions should be made electronically to editoratbritishscholardotorg  (editoratbritishscholardotorg)  . Updates regarding the conference will be periodically posted to the Society website. For additional details, please go to the following link:

http://britishscholar.org/conference-2016/

III. Comments from New Editor-in-Chief of Britain and the World, Professor John M. MacKenzie, on Next Issue of Journal

Last month we made the exciting announcement that John M. MacKenzie, Emeritus Professor of Imperial History at the University of Lancaster, had been named the new Editor-in-Chief of Britain and the World: Historical Journal of The British Scholar Society. The next issue of the journal, Volume IX (2016), will be the first under Professor MacKenzie’s guidance, and the Board of Directors were pleased to learn that he has made the following statement about the contents of that issue:

“This is the first issue of Britain and the World for which I have acted as Editor-in-Chief, thereby giving me the great privilege of writing this introduction. For me, it is a hugely auspicious beginning since the articles here are so rich in their content and so revelatory of significant common threads that run through them.”

The rest of Professor MacKenzie’s piece can be found in Volume IX of Britain and the World, which will be released in March 2016. For more information on the journal, including instructions for submissions, please visit:

http://www.euppublishing.com/journal/brw

IV. Society General Editor on Recent UK Political Events and Trends

General Editor of The British Scholar Society, Dr. Martin Farr, has contributed several articles and extended commentaries on recent and ongoing matters in UK politics and society. Please visit the following links to read Dr. Farr’s insights.

On the deaths of former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and former Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healey:

http://theconversation.com/helmut-schmidt-and-denis-healey-twin-titans-of-another-age-50609

On the history and significance of the Shadow Cabinet in UK politics:

http://www.historyandpolicy.org/opinion-articles/articles/the-shadow-cabinet

On the review of the Freedom of Information Act:

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/review-freedom-information-act-could-10438923

V. Society Assistant General Editor on Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Set in 1868 London

Society Assistant General Editor, Dr. Robert Whitaker, has used his expertise in British history and on history in video games to provide an analysis of Ubisoft’s new game Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, which is set in 1868 London. Speaking with Chris Suellentrop of Shall We Play a Game?, Dr. Whitaker (who is the creator and host of a web series on history and video games, History Respawned), describes the accuracies, inaccuracies, significance, and impact of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate in the following interview:

http://shallweshow.com/2015/10/halo-5-fact-checking-assassins-creed-syndicate/

Dr. Whitaker’s insightful interview with Mr. Suellentrop also merited an additional write-up on Kotaku, a premier outlet for gaming news.

http://kotaku.com/what-the-new-assassins-creed-gets-wrong-and-right-ac-1739489922

VI. The British Scholar Society on Social Media

The Board of Directors would like to take this opportunity to remind our readers of The British Scholar Society’s profile and activities on social media. The Society has an active and informative Twitter account as well as a public Facebook profile, which are used to communicate Society events and initiatives as well as provide details on articles and other web content that are of interest to scholars of Britain and the world. Links for the Society’s Twitter and Facebook profiles can be found below:

http://twitter.com/britishscholar

http://www.facebook.com/The-British-Scholar-Society-166699463379093/?fref=ts

VII. Call for Papers: British International History Group

The British International History Group (BIHG) has issued a Call for Papers for its annual conference, which will be held 8-10 September 2016 at the University of Edinburgh. The deadline for submissions of paper and panel proposals is 1 March 2016. More information on the BIHG, its conference, and instructions for submissions can be found at:

http://www.bihg.ac.uk/

VIII. Book of the Month

October 2015: Africa, Empire and Globalization: Essays in Honor of A. G. Hopkins

Reviewed by James R. Brennan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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November 2015: Africa, Empire and Globalization: Essays in Honor of A. G. Hopkins

Toyin Falola and Emily Brownell (eds). Durham NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2011. 657 pp. $65.00 (hardcover).

Reviewed by: James R. Brennan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The impact of Antony G. Hopkins’ life work as a historian of Africa, the British Empire, and globalization is on full display in this festschrift volume of thirty-two chapters by thirty-five different authors. This book is a result of a symposium held in 2011 at the University of Texas at Austin, where Hopkins had held the Walter Prescott Webb Chair in History since 2002 following a distinguished academic career based in Birmingham, Geneva, and Cambridge. The editors begin by summarizing Hopkins’ publication record of nearly one hundred works, which not only impresses for its ambition and productivity, but also for its flinty commitment to the questions and concerns of economic history, to understand ‘how economic forces shape political realities’ (44). Two central themes emerge from this tour of Hopkins oeuvre – a belief in the economic agency of historical actors, be they individuals, firms, societies, or classes; and a universalist conviction that such agency transcends structures of cultural difference. To Hopkins’ mind, culturalist historians, by dint of their large numbers and professional influence, have effectively seceded the study of African poverty and development to economists with little background or concern for African history. Hopkins’ hallmark themes, however, are demonstrated to be alive and well across the many contributions of this volume. Above all, the reader comes to appreciate Hopkins’ unrivalled knack for initiating productive scholarly debate.

The most satisfying part of this volume is its first (‘Africa and the Wider World’), which is composed of essays from African historians that revisit aspects of Hopkins’ seminal An Economic History of West Africa (1973). This book remains, over forty years after publication, the most cogent book- length economic interpretation of the continent’s history. It still seems vaguely radical today, both in its insistence that Africans were largely the makers of their own economic history, and in the confident way that it dismisses substantivists and modernization theorists alike for positing a traditional Africa characterized by anti-capitalist values. Gareth Austin offers a rich retrospective of the book’s arguments and impact, and judges that subsequent research on Africa’s economic history has vindicated many if not all of Hopkins’ claims, in particular the explanatory power of rational economic behavior. He highlights Hopkins’ attention to African agency, markets, and resource constraints that continue to constitute the key features of more recent scholarship on African economic history. Austin’s literature survey is done with great clarity, rigor and command, and in effect serves as a useful primer for this entire subfield.

Although An Economic History of West Africa is a book of African economic agency, its pulses of periodization are largely exogenous, such as the nineteenth- century ‘crisis of adaptation’ that African warrior-merchants faced following the decline of the Atlantic slave trade and shift to ‘legitimate commerce’ such as palm oil. This volume’s contributions by other West African specialists more sharply qualify or even refute Hopkins’ signature thesis. Ann McDougall’s chapter on the Sahara, though inspired by Hopkins’ work, ultimately demonstrates the persisting autonomy of the trans-Saharan caravan trade across this entire period. In their study of Katsina, Yacine Daddi Adddoun and Paul Lovejoy make clear that the interior’s slave trade and Muslim commercial system proved ‘relatively immune to change in Atlantic trade’ (111–112) throughout the nineteenth century. Robin Law engages the ‘crisis of adaptation’ thesis directly by revisiting an important proving ground of the argument, the Yoruba War of 1877–93. Law argues, contra Hopkins, that the profitability of slave trading remained high and that of palm oil remained low throughout this period, and that the war itself was driven not by pressures from the palm oil producers below but rather by entrenched divisions among ruling Yoruba elites. While Austin’s wide-ranging defense of Hopkins’ classic work and these subsequent criticisms are each quite stimulating, the reader is left unsure about which elements of Hopkins’ model are most in need of revision.

The book’s second part (‘Empire’) examines the legacy and future of the influential volume British Imperialism, which Hopkins co-authored with Peter Cain. Its famous and well-coined thesis – that British Imperialism from the late seventeenth to twentieth centuries was primarily driven by ‘gentlemanly capitalism’, i.e., the influence of the City of London and other service industries, rather than provincial manufacturing interests, on Britain’s imperial policy – undergoes similar scrutiny. In perhaps the volume’s most important contribution of original research, Joseph Inikori tests the influence of gentlemanly capitalists in the case of Britain’s largely forgotten ‘first’ African colony of the Senegambia (1765–83). Inikori examines critical moments of decision-making to demonstrate that manufacturing interests, namely textiles, wielded inordinate influence to secure gum exports. Other regions of ostensibly greater ‘gentlemanly capitalist’ interest further east and south along the African coast, where the slave trade was far more important, however received no comparably favorable reception from the ‘official mind’, which, at least in this instance of the Senegambia, ‘identified manufacturing concerns with national interest, while those of the service sector were identified with private interest’ (228). Anthony Webster’s outstanding contribution on the decline of the East India Company offers a trenchant critique of the Cain and Hopkins model by challenging the model’s key assumptions – that there was a sharp division between London-centered services and provincial manufacturers, and that they inevitably competed to influence government policy. Webster shows, at least in the case of Asian trade from the 1790s to the 1850s, that pressure groups are far better characterized by complicated and intertwined networks rather than by large blocs. The displacement of the East India Company over this period was not simply the work of more agile gentlemanly capitalists outside the company, but rather was a decades-long lobbying campaign carried out by ‘a transimperial network of interests across Britain’s Asian empire that linked London gentlemanly capitalists, provincial industrialists and merchants, and British merchants on the periphery of empire’ (289). Webster does acknowledge, however, that gentlemanly capitalism works far better to explain the shape of lobbying after 1850, when divisions between services and manufacturers considerably sharpened.

The book’s third part (‘Globalization’) ranges across a vast thematic and geographical terrain. There is a more pronounced ‘grab-bag’ quality to this section, perhaps because Hopkins’ writing on globalization has not (yet) constructed similarly controversial and testable models as has his work on Africa and the British Empire. But as throughout the book, the quality of writing and reflection in this section’s contributions remains consistently high, and there are a number of interesting gems. William Roger Louis revisits the fascinating maneuverings at the United Nations that led to the partition of Palestine in 1947 to highlight the postwar diplomatic vulnerability of the British Empire – not only from both Cold War titans, but also from within the Commonwealth itself, namely Canada and Australia, while a desperate Britain was left, ironically, to count on India, Pakistan, and the Arab world for votes. Other contributions on the Black Atlantic, Pan-Africanism, American anticommunist multilateralism, and the Nigerian Civil War all similarly demonstrate the profitability of globalizing units of analysis.

The book itself is big, heavy, handsomely produced, and includes a full index. The heft of its scholarship justifies its hefty price. This volume will serve as an important reference for scholars interested in the scholarship and principal debates concerning the economic history of Africa, the British Empire, and globalization.

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October 2015 Newsletter

I. Call for Papers: 2016 Britain and the World Conference

The British Scholar Society is pleased to issue a formal Call for Papers for the ninth annual Britain and the World Conference, which will take place at Senate House at the University of London from 23 to 25 June 2016. Paper and panel proposals should focus on Britain’s interactions with the world from the beginning of the seventeenth century to the present.  Established scholars, scholars at the beginning of their careers, and graduate students are all equally welcome to apply and present at the conference.

The conference accepts both individual paper and complete panel submissions. Submissions of individual papers should include an abstract of 200 words as well as a few descriptive keywords. Panels are expected to consist of three to four papers and should be submitted by one person who is willing to serve as the point of contact.  Complete panels must also include a chair.  In addition to abstracts for each individual paper, panel submissions should also include a brief 100-150 word introduction describing the panel’s main theme. The conference does not discriminate between panels and individual paper submissions.

All submissions for inclusion in the Britain and the World Conference must be received by Monday, 4 January 2016. Submissions should be made electronically to editoratbritishscholardotorg  (editoratbritishscholardotorg)  . Updates regarding the conference will be periodically posted to the Society website. For additional details, please go to the following link:

http://britishscholar.org/conference-2016/

II. Keynote and Plenary Speakers for 2016 Britain and the World Conference Announced

In addition to dozens of panels, the 2016 Britain and the World Conference will feature four general lectures. We are delighted to say that our keynote speaker for 2016 is Professor Catherine Hall (University College London), whose groundbreaking work on Britain and its empire is known to all in the field of British Studies. We also have scheduled three additional plenary speakers who are also leaders in the field: Professor Stephen Conway (University College London), Professor Margaret Hunt (Uppsala University), and Professor Philip Murphy (Institute of Commonwealth Studies).  Check the conference website in the coming weeks and months for more information on the subjects of our speakers’ presentation (http://britishscholar.org/conference-2016/).

III. Professor John M. MacKenzie Named Editor-in-Chief of Britain and the World

It gives us great pleasure to announce that John M. MacKenzie, Emeritus Professor of Imperial History at the University of Lancaster, Honorary Professor at the University of St. Andrews, Honorary Professor at the University of Aberdeen, and Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, has been named the Editor-in-Chief of Britain and the World: Historical Journal of The British Scholar Society. He is the Founding Editor of the Studies in Imperialism series (Manchester University Press), which has published more than 100 volumes over the past three decades. Professor MacKenzie is widely considered to be the foundational figure in the cultural study of British imperialism.

Volume IX (2016) of the journal will mark the beginning of Professor MacKenzie’s tenure. For more information on Britain and the World, including instructions for submissions, please visit the journal website at:

http://www.euppublishing.com/journal/brw

IV. New Volume in “Britain and the World” Book Series

A new volume, Angela Thompsell’s Hunting Africa: British Sport, African Knowledge and the Nature of Empire, has been released in The British Scholar Society’s “Britain and the World” book series published by Palgrave Macmillan, which intriguingly describes Dr. Thompsell’s book as “[recovering] the multiplicity of meanings embedded in colonial hunting and the power it symbolized by examining both the incorporation and representation of British women hunters in the sport and how African people leveraged British hunters’ dependence on their labor and knowledge to direct the impact and experience of hunting.”

For more information on this exciting addition to the “Britain and the World” book series, go to http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/hunting-africa-angela-thompsell/?sf1=barcode&st1=9781137494429. More details on the book series, as well as information on how interested authors can propose a title, can be found at:

http://www.palgrave.com/series/britain-and-the-world/BAW/

V. Promotion of Society Associate Editor to the Board of Directors

The British Scholar Society has welcomed a new member of the Board of the Directors, Helene von Bismarck. Dr. von Bismarck has served as an Associate Editor for the Society since May 2012, and has now taken up the post of the Society’s Director of Outreach. More information on Dr. von Bismarck’s work and accomplishments can be seen at:

http://britishscholar.org/dr-des-helene-von-bismarck/

VI. New Feature from The British Scholar Society

Among Dr. von Bismarck’s new initiatives as Director of Outreach is a new feature for The British Scholar Society’s website (http://britishscholar.org) on organizations and institutions related to the Society’s areas of interest and goals. Dr. von Bismarck describes this new feature below:

“It is the aim of The British Scholar Society to encourage conversation and intellectual exchange on the topic of Britain’s place, both historic and present, in the world. This is why, from now on, we will regularly portray other institutions and organizations on our website, whose work, events and publications could be relevant to our members. We will feature university departments, scholarly associations and other intellectual networks. Our hope is to foster international dialogue and encourage collaboration among colleagues by drawing the attention of our readers to the many interesting places where important research about Britain’s political, cultural and economic interactions with the wider world since the seventeenth century is being conducted. If you would like to see your institution portrayed on our website, please contact helenedotvondotbismarckatbritishscholardotorg  (helenedotvondotbismarckatbritishscholardotorg)  .”

VII. Society General Editor Comments on New Labour Party Leader

The General Editor of The British Scholar Society, Martin Farr, has recently been in the news for providing expert commentary on the recent election of the new Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Dr. Farr’s contributions to discussion and debate over Mr. Corbyn’s stunning victory, and that victory’s deeply significant implications, are available to read at the following links:

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/newcastle-university-professor-warns-corbyn-10140959

http://theconversation.com/explainer-just-how-exceptional-is-jeremy-corbyns-victory-47500

VIII. UK National Archives Seeking New Delegates for User Advisory Group

The UK National Archives has issued a call for new voluntary representatives to join their User Advisory Group (UAG). According to TNA, the UAG “aims to give people who use our services the opportunity to participate in The National Archives’ planning and decision making processes. Delegates represent ‘the voice’ of different sections of our user community, not only their own interests. As well as attending meetings, each delegate has a responsibility to engage with members of their user communities, to share information and to gather feedback.”

More information on this opportunity can be found at the following link:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/seeking-new-delegates-for-the-user-advisory-group/

IX. Book of the Month

October 2015: Victorian Bloomsbury

Reviewed by Susie Steinbach, Hamline University

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October 2015: Victorian Bloomsbury

Ashton, Rosemary. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2012. xiii, 380 pp. £25.00 (hardcover).

Reviewed by: Susie Steinbach, Hamline University

In Eminent Victorians, his scathing 1918 attack on the generations that preceded him and his contemporaries, Lytton Strachey confidently announced that ‘ignorance is the first requisite of the historian’ and that therefore ‘the history of the Victorian Age will never be written; we know too much about it’. Today we could say that by that standard the history of Strachey’s own circle, the infamous ‘Bloomsbury group’ of sexual radicals who were also experimental modernist writers, critics, and artists, need never again be written. We have heard far too much about it, mostly from members of the group itself, who are known for making Bloomsbury the intellectual centre of progressive London it is today.

Except – as Rosemary Ashton’s Victorian Bloomsbury makes it a pleasure to learn – that they didn’t. In this deeply-researched, well-written, and expansive book, Ashton demonstrates that Bloomsbury actually became ‘Bloomsbury’ not in 1904, when sisters Virginia and Vanessa Stephen – later Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell – moved in to the neighbourhood, but during the nineteenth century. Ashton shows us that between the 1820s and the 1890s, Bloomsbury ‘drew in…a conspicuously large number of reforming educational and cultural institutions [along with] enlightened, energetic, and in some cases eccentric people’ (13). ‘Bloomsbury’, it turns out, is an invention of the Victorians against whom the Bloomsbury group rebelled. Victorian Bloomsbury makes the case that however radical the work that Woolf and her circle produced, the neighbourhood in which they chose to settle was already congenial to their goals. In so doing, it contributes to a larger conversation in which scholars are reassessing just how radical early twentieth-century the modernists were.

In ten chapters (plus introduction and epilogue), Ashton presents a complex, multi-faceted history of the Bloomsbury area. We meet a wide variety of individuals: reformer Henry Brougham, eccentric Dionysius Lardner, theologian F.D. Maurice, education advocates Elizabeth Reid and Maria Grey, novelist, philanthropist, and Arnold family scion Mary Ward. Fascinating on their own terms, in Victorian Bloomsbury these people are part of larger histories of institutions and movements – some familiar, some less so, since to its credit the book covers not only those innovations that became permanent fixtures, but also those efforts that failed. We learn much about the British Museum, of course, and the University of London. But we also learn about the millenarian Catholic Apostolic Church and the Ladies’ College School for Girls. There are chapters on educational institutions from University College, London to the Working Men’s and Working Women’s Colleges to the Passmore Edwards Settlement (later the Mary Ward House) to the new ‘kindergartens’ for young children. There are also stories about science and medicine: Edinburgh-trained Scots who came to teach medicine at the University of London, specialist hospitals such as the Alexandra Hospital for Children with Hip Disease, experiments in mesmerism and anaesthesia and homoeopathy. Perhaps more surprising to the modern reader, there are also stories of faith: the juxtaposition of two Anglican churches, fashionable St George’s and its neighbour St Giles-in-the-Fields, set in the centre of one of London’s most infamous slums; the rise of the mystical Swedenborg Society; the lure of charismatic preacher Edward Irving.

As Ashton skilfully knits these diverse stories of people and places into a single compelling history, several aspects of her work stand out. The research on which the book is based is impressively broad and deep; Ashton uses the work of other scholars, as is necessary for a project that covers so much ground, but has also done an impressive amount of archival work that enables her to cite a wide variety of primary sources. She does an especially nice job of integrating sources about space such as maps and building plans with egodocuments such as diaries and letters. This makes the book a contribution to the growing shelf of historical works that focus on place and space, rather than taking them as unproblematic scenery in front of which history happened. Long quotations, often from rarely-cited sources, give the reader a real feel for the period and the people. The book’s length and depth may make it seem daunting, but it lends itself to being read either in whole or in part. Most chapters work well on their own, as the story of an institution or set of reforming impulses. It can be approached in a wide variety of ways; as a history of how the railways remade the metropole, of the British Museum, of medical training, or of education, among others. And the overall narrative also creates connections across chapters and subtopics, via persistent themes and professional and friendship networks that linked sometimes disparate initiatives. Ashton’s thick description supports her argument that ‘inasmuch as an area can be meaningfully characterised as “radical” or “progressive”, these adjectives applied to Bloomsbury’ (13).

Overall, this is fascinating work. It contributes to the rethinking of the Bloomsbury radicals as more Victorian than they would have cared to admit. It enacts the new ‘spatial turn’ in history by demonstrating how a neighbourhood can be the main character who brings all the other characters in the story together. It is sure to both please and enlighten a wide variety of readers.

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John M. MacKenzie named Editor-in-Chief of Britain and the World

John M. MacKenzie, Emeritus Professor of Imperial History at the University of Lancaster, Honorary Professor at the University of St. Andrews, Honorary Professor at the University of Aberdeen, and Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, has been named the Editor-in-Chief of Britain and the World: Historical Journal of The British Scholar Society.  He is the Founding Editor of the Studies in Imperialism series (Manchester University Press), which has published more than 100 volumes over the past three decades.  Professor MacKenzie is widely considered to be the founder of the cultural study of British imperialism.  Volume IX (2016) will mark the beginning of Professor MacKenzie’s tenure.

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Summer 2015 Newsletter

I. Save the Date: 2016 Britain and the World Conference in London

We are pleased to announce that the ninth annual Britain and the World Conference will take place at Senate House at the University of London from 23 to 26 June 2016. At this time, we would like to invite our newsletter readers to mark their calendars and make preliminary arrangements for attendance to what promises to be a fantastic event.  More information will be available in the coming weeks on http://britishscholar.org and in the next edition of the newsletter, including a formal Call for Papers.

II. Britain and the World Journal as Premier Outlet for Research

As the new academic year begins, we would like to invite our newsletter readers to consider the British Scholar Society’s journal, Britain and the World, as an outlet for their research. A biannual, peer-reviewed journal published by Edinburgh University Press, Britain and the World is recognized as one of the top resources not only in British history but in the field of history in general, with a 2012 impact factor rating in the Thomson Reuters SSCI index of .231 (giving it a rank of 34th out of 69 indexed history journals worldwide).

Britain and the World is an ideal place for articles whose focus is on Britain and its global interactions, whether carried out in an imperial, extra-imperial, or domestic space, from the early modern period to the present. Articles chosen for publication are sure to reach a wide audience and inspire further conversation on topics and issues important to the field. Those interested in submitting an article to Britain and the World should visit EUP’s website for the journal at http://www.euppublishing.com/journal/brw. Specific instructions for submissions can also be found at http://www.euppublishing.com/page/brw/submissions.

III. New Books in “Britain and the World” Book Series

The British Scholar Society is pleased to announce two new additions to its book series, “Britain and the World,” published by Palgrave Macmillan: Steven L. Keck’s British Burma in the New Century, 1895-1918 and Tancred Bradshaw’s The Glubb Reports: Glubb Pasha and Britain’s Empire Project in the Middle East 1920-1956. More information on these interesting and important volumes can be found at the following link, which also has instructions on how to contact the book series editors with a title to be considered for publication:

http://www.palgrave.com/series/Britain-and-the-World/BAW/

IV. Associate Editor’s Research Draws Praise in American Historical Review

Society Associate Editor Dr. Helene von Bismarck’s book, British Policy in the Persian Gulf, 1961-1968: Conceptions of Informal Empire (published in 2013 in the Society’s “Britain and the World” series from Palgrave Macmillan), has been praised in a recent review in the American Historical Review as “an admirable overview of the operations of informal empire in the Persian Gulf during the 1960s.” An extract from reviewer Spencer Mawby’s piece is available at the following link, which also contains citation information for those who would like to access the full review via organizational or institutional subscriptions to the AHR:

http://ahr.oxfordjournals.org/content/119/3/985.extract

V. Assistant General Editor on How Video Games Help Us Understand History

Society Assistant General Editor Robert Whitaker has published an essay on the UK video game website Rock, Paper, Shotgun, titled “How Thinking Like a Historian Can Help You Understand Games, from The Witcher 3 to Assassin’s Creed.” In it, Dr. Whitaker argues that understanding video games can help you understand history and the development of historical interpretation. Please visit the following link to read his thoughtful and compelling conclusions about the way video games reflect not only historical ideas and debates but also the way history, as a field, is understood on a social and cultural level:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/07/22/the-witcher-3-real-history/

VI. Associate Editor on British Imperialism and the Ionian Islands

Society Associate Editor and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors, Leslie Rogne Schumacher, has contributed a chapter on Britain’s Ionian protectorate to the book Imperial Expectations and Realities: El Dorados, Utopia and Dystopias (ed. Andrekos Varnava), to be published in September 2015 in Manchester University Press’ well-known “Studies in Imperialism” series edited by John MacKenzie and Andrew Thompson. Dr. Schumacher’s chapter, titled “Greek Expectations: Britain and the Ionian Islands, 1815-1864,” explores the history of one of Britain’s least-discussed imperial projects, noting the distance between the expectations the British government had of the islands and the material, political, and cultural realities the British confronted there. Information on the volume, which should be of broader interest to scholars of imperialism as well, can be found at the following link:

http://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/cgi-bin/indexer?product=9780719097867

VII. British Pathé Releases Over 85,000 Films on YouTube

The famous newsreel and documentary production company (now an archive of historical footage), British Pathé, has released all of its archival footage on YouTube. Over 85,000 film clips of significance to a wide range of historical topics can be found via British Pathé’s YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/user/britishpathe. A write-up on this rich resource for scholars, educators, and the public can be found at the following link:

http://www.openculture.com/2014/04/free-british-pathe-puts-over-85000-historical-films-on-youtube.html

VIII. Conference: Centre for Port & Maritime History

The Centre for Port & Maritime History (CPMH) will hold its annual conference in Liverpool, UK on 18 September 2015. This year’s theme is “The Environmental History of Ports and Ocean Trade,” and we invite our newsletter readers to consider attending this event, which should see a fascinating conversation on the intersection between maritime studies, economic and sociocultural history, and environmental history. More information can be obtained by emailing Simon Hill (click to email)  (SdotJdotHill1at2011dotljmudotacdotuk)   or by visiting the following link:

http://portcitylives.wordpress.com/

IX. Call for Papers: International Conference of Europeanists

We would like to draw our readers’ attention to the following Call for Papers for the 23rd Annual International Conference of Europeanists:

Call for Papers: “Resilient Europe?”
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. • April 14-16, 2016
Organized by the Council for European Studies

Resilience is the capacity to survive, to bounce back and to innovate in the wake of extraordinary stress or unexpected crises. Psychologists view resilience as a character trait. Today, researchers and scholars of all stripes are beginning to understand resilience as constitutive of societies as well as of individuals.

The Program Committee for the 23rd International Conference of Europeanists invites participants to consider contemporary Europe’s capacity for resilience. Since the financial crisis began in 2008, stresses and shocks of various sorts have posed dilemmas that challenge Europe’s resilience in economic, political, and cultural domains. How will European economies confront slow growth and austerity, as well as the atrophy of “social Europe” and the growth of inequality? How will demographic decline combined with immigration and assimilation affect the ethnic composition of Europe? Will the protracted Eurozone crisis and waning public support for European institutions and policies alter the viability of the European project? How will secular Europe confront the challenges of religious mobilization? How will European democracies confront the rise of nationalist parties and the valorization of “illiberalism” as viable political practice? Can Europe remain a “Normative Power,” a force for liberalism, democracy and the rule of law in the world, in the face of rising powers and resurgent authoritarianism?

The Council for European Studies (CES) seeks proposals that explore these questions and the quality of resilience in Europe. It encourages proposals from the widest range of disciplines and, in particular, proposals that combine disciplines, nationalities, and generations. CES invites proposals for panels, roundtables, book discussions and individual papers on the study of Europe, broadly defined, and strongly encourages participants to submit their proposals as part of an organized panel. Full panel proposals will be given top priority in the selection process. To form panels, participants may find it useful to connect with like-minded scholars through the many CES research networks.

Deadlines:
Proposals may be submitted from August 17 to October 1, 2015. Participants will be notified of the Committee’s decisions by December 10, 2015. Information on how to submit will be posted on the Council’s website and disseminated through its newsletter. To subscribe to the CES newsletter, join the CES mailing list today.

For more information, please visit:

http://councilforeuropeanstudies.org/conferences/2016-ces-conference/call-for-proposals

X. Call for Papers: Urban History Group 2016

The Urban History Group will meet for its annual conference at the University of Cambridge from 31 March to 1 April 2016, with attendees discussing the theme of “Re-Evaluating the Place of the City in History.” The conference organizers have invited proposals for both individual papers and panel topics related to the central theme of the meeting. The deadline for abstract submissions is 2 October 2015. More information on this exciting event, including proposal instructions and opportunities for funding, can be found at the following link:

http://www.ehs.org.uk/events/urban-history-group-2016-re-evaluating-the-place-of-the-city-in-history/

XI. Book of the Month

Summer 2015: The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution

Reviewed by Satu Lidman, University of Turku

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Summer 2015: The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution

Faramerz Dabhoiwala, Oxford University Press, 2012. 483 pp. $US 34.95 (hardback)

Reviewed by: Satu Lidman, University of Turku

This is one of those history books one does not want to put down, as it deals so smoothly with a subject that inevitably touches every human being; sexuality. The author is a gifted storyteller, who has a lively, well-readable way to popularize history without losing the scientific accuracy. The Origins of Sex discusses the limits of accepted, tolerated and criminalized sexual behavior and acts in the context of English culture after the Reformation until the end of the early modern period.

For those who are familiar with the history of discipline and punishment in early modern Europe, the first eighty pages may not offer much entirely new. Although this episode is crucial for understanding perceptions on sexuality in the Western past, it is rather the following entities of the book that offer the most to think about. Especially interesting are the questions concerning the relations of religious and sexual toleration, and the conflicts that they inflicted within the legal sphere.

The main focus of the book lies on the liberalizing and secularizing culture of the Enlightenment, beginning from its early phases in the late seventeenth century. At that time a new understanding concerning the rights of an individual, personal freedom and privacy sprang to life. Voices that had earlier been silenced now became noisier, yet these belonged to the privileged in the society, to educated classes. They also almost entirely represented male attitudes and conceptions towards sexuality. This means, that a historian in many ways has to be content in demonstrating only some sides of the multifaceted past reality.

Dabhoiwala clearly admits that history writing always has the effect of viewing the past through some kind of glasses; a researcher decides to concentrate on something and ignores something else. To my mind this is also the beauty of it, as it guarantees the impossibility of putting history into just one mold. Nevertheless, I still think that some more emphasis on the aspect of gender would have added the value of the book.

The Origins of Sex analyses many dimensions of sexual life such as seduction, polygamy, perceptions of chastity in relation to social standing, prostitution in the perspective of philanthropy, as well as the contemporary philosophical approaches to masculinity and femininity. The argument on “politeness” as a marker for new interpretations of male-female-relations in the eighteenth century is worth highlighting. In the puritan era women had been seen as the weaker sex in the sense of a natural calling for promiscuity. Now men became lustful seducers, who should improve their manners against the opposite sex. However, as Dabhoiwla states, in practice this seems to have merely resulted in strengthening the sexual double standard.

The aspects of sex life that steered contemporary discussions were, of course, not only linked with the illegal dimensions. The heterosexual monogamous marriage of the eighteenth century was seen to be in crises for people seem to often only marry for money. An interesting notion is that upper class men even published guides with information on unmarried wealthy women for their fellow bachelors. At the same time, the idea of marriage as a personal choice, free from demands of the family or even economical facts and more based on romantic attraction, slowly gained strength.

An especially thought giving part in the book that also offers much to ponder over in relation to our own time, is Dabhoiwala’s analyses of the increasing impacts of the mass culture. Prostitution in particular seems to have inspired the eighteenth and nineteenth century’s print both to labeling propaganda on fallen creatures of lewdness and to popular stories about the well-off courtesans, partly also to a more objective discussion on social challenges of poverty. These newspapers, pamphlets, novels and engravings left permanent marks in the cultural understanding, and it seems to me that their traces still color the attitudes among others towards victims of human trafficking.

The Origins of Sex is based on a vast amount of source material, and every body who has been into archives in order to find and use historical sources knows, that there is a lot of work behind any satisfactory end result. However, I would have very much appreciated a list of the literature and sources, at least of the most central ones. Now this information can only be found within the endnotes, which is not a very useful way if one would like to grasp an overview or aims at further research.

A special thanks has to go for the excellent index, which enables the use of the book for more detailed subject questions. There are nearly eighty illustrations to unwrap the world of ideal, desired, feared and disapproved representations of sexuality. Clearly, pornography was not invented during modern times – a fact that might even make teenagers more interested in history through this research.

As the basic theme of the book – controlling and enjoying sexuality – is no English invention but rather an all-European if not global phenomenon, it would have been a possibility to add some more comparative aspects. However, the writer now has succeeded in mastering his voluminous sources and avoided the quite likely danger of a too massive or detailed presentation. Actually, when coming to the end of book, one might wish for a second volume that would focus on the Victorian era and on the more resent developments of the 20th century.

As it seems, and as Dabhoiwala argues, the growing openness towards sexuality and its societal and legal implications in the course of the eighteenth century, could be called “the first sexual revolution”. Unquestionably this was mainly a masculine celebration of increasing heterosexual freedom. That there was need for a second “revolution” in the 1960’s is related to the developments of the nineteenth century and the gender inequality that the Enlightenment had left unsolved.

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