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New reviews: US human rights, women and pre-modern law, strategy and latest VCH

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lgbtq_protest_480We start this week with Reclaiming American Virtue: The Human Rights Revolution of the 1970s by Barbara Keys. Umberto Tulli and the author discuss a book which offers a new interpretation and will pave the way for future historical scholarship (no. 1757, with response here).

Next up is Women, Agency and the Law, 1300-1700, edited by Bronach Kane and Fiona Williamson, and Sparky Booker finds these essays break new ground in the history of women, law and agency in the pre-modern period (no. 1756).

Then we turn to Lawrence Freedman’s Strategy: a History, which Marcel Berni believes belongs with the classics in the field of strategic studies (no. 1755).

Finally James Bowen reviews Victoria County History: Shropshire VI Shrewsbury, edited by William A. Champion and Alan Thacker, a beautifully presented addition to the VCH series, of interest to both local and national historians as well as urban historians (no. 1754).

Director’s Seminars – Junior Research Fellows, Spring 2015

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This spring we will be holding a series of Extended Director’s Seminars, with papers given by Junior Research Fellows from the Institute. These will be held on Tuesdays, 11am-1pm, on the following dates: 21 April, 28 April, 5 May, 12 May, and 26 May. The full programme is below.

These seminars are an integral element of the Junior Research Fellowships programme at the IHR. They provide our Fellows with the opportunity of presenting before, and discussing their work with, their peers. They also offer the audience the chance of listening to engaging research being undertaken by a new generation of scholars.

We do hope you will be able to attend some of these seminars, which are open to all.

 

Junior Research Fellows’ seminar series

All seminars will be held in Wolfson II, on the lower-ground floor of the IHR. Coffee and tea will be served.

 Tues 21 April 11am – 1pm

Róisín Watson – Lutheran piety and visual culture in the Duchy of Württemberg, 1534–c.1700

Carolyn Twomey – Living Stone: Early Norman Baptismal Fonts of the Yorkshire East Riding

Tues 28 April 11am – 1pm

Courtney Campbell – ‘The 1954 Miss Universe Pageant, the City of Salvador, and the Tale of the Famous Two Inches’

Jordan Claridge – Managing Milk, Making a Living: Dairying and Dairypeople in Medieval England c.1250–1450

Caroline Nielsen – Disabled by the state: the pensioners of the Chest at Chatham and their communities, 1660–1807

 Tues 5 May 11am – 1pm

David Baillargeon – Slaving on the “Imagined Frontier”: Britain, Burma, and the Political Economy of Empire, 1795–1900

Will Pooley – Magic and the Law in France in the Long 19th Century

Tues 12 May 11am – 1pm

Kate Imy – Spiritual soldiers: masculinity and the body in the British Indian army, 1900–1940

Joshua Bennett – Baron Bunsen as historian

Tues 26 May 11am – 1pm

Catherine Arnold – Objects of charity: Britain and the development of a humanitarian politics, 1680–1748

May issue of Historical Research: vol. 88, no. 240

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Contents:

An unrealized cult? Hagiography and Norman ducal genealogy in twelfth-century England. Ilya Afanasyev

Two oaths of the community in 1258. Joshua Hey220px-William_Laud

Bishop William Laud and the parliament of 1626. Mark Parry

‘Now the mask is taken off’: Jacobitism and colonial New England, 1702–27. David Parrish

Religion, politics and patronage in the late Hanoverian navy, c.1780–c.1820. Gareth Atkins

Through French eyes: Victorian cities in the eighteen-forties viewed by Léon Faucher. Philip Morey

Representing commodified space: maps, leases, auctions and ‘narrations’ of property in Delhi, c.1900−47. Anish Vanaik

Herbert Read and the fluid memory of the First World War: poetry, prose and polemic. Matthew S. Adams

The creation of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance as seen from the Romanian archives. Elena Dragomir

 

 

Bismarck and the Wars of German Unification

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Next month, as you may have already heard, there will be a number of events held at the IHR to mark the bicentenary of Otto von Bismarck’s birth including an exhibition on the statesman and a lecture given by Prof. Jonathan Steinberg.

This is naturally, therefore, an opportune time to highlight some of the resources to be found in the library’s collections for those researching Bismarck and his impact on German and European politics. Given the central position Bismarck played in many different political arenas it would be feasible to write substantial guides on a number of different subjects (e.g. the nature of his relationship with Kaiser Wilhelm I, Friedrich III and finally Wilhelm II, the Kulturkampf, his attitude to the growth of German party politics, etc.). Yet here we concentrate on the three wars of the 1860s and early 1870s which would bring about the creation of a politically unified German state.

Text of Bismarck's famous "Iron and Blood" speech.

Text of Bismarck’s famous “Iron and Blood” speech.

Editions of speeches, letters and telegrams form the core of the library’s holdings on Bismarck where, understandably, one would find his words and thoughts on the prospect and viability of German unity and Prussia’s role within this process as well as the course of the wars with Denmark, Austria and France. The main editions include:

Die gesammelten Werke

Die politischen Reden des Fürsten Bismarck

Anhang zu den Gedanken und

Erinnerungen von Otto Fürst von Bismarck

Moving on from the library’s extensive German collection one can find works of relevance in the Diplomatic History and Military Collections, especially regarding the Franco-Prussian War (the library now has over 250 published works on the conflict thanks in part to a large bequest from Dr. Vincent Wright). Other relevant works in the Diplomatic and Military collection include:

Die auswärtige Politik Preussens 1858-1871

Quellen zur deutschen Politiks Österreichs 1859-1866

Der Feldzug von 1864

Der Feldzug von 1866

Les origines diplomatiques de la guerre de 1870-1871

Gesammelte Schriften und Denkwürdigkeiten des…Helmuth von Moltke

Additional material can also be found in some of the other national collections within the library. In the Scandinavian collection works on the war with Denmark currently include an account of the Battle of Dybbøl, the general work and source collection Manuel historique de la question du Slesvig and Den Danske Regering og Nordslesvigs geforening med Danmark by the Danish historian Aage Friis; a work about the repercussions of the war in Denmark. Besides the works already mentioned from the Diplomatic and Military collections additional material on the Austro-Prussian War can also be found in the Austrian collection, especially from the period of Richard Belcredi’s chancellorship. Additional sources on the Franco-Prussian War can understandably be found in the library’s French collection including a collection of the writings of Émile Ollivier, Prime Minister of France during the first few months of the war, as well as editions of Le Moniteur Universel from the years 1870-71.

 

For more information on the library’s German holdings see our guide on the collection or feel free to browse the shelves on your next visit (the German collection can be found on the second floor in the Peter Marshall and Past & Present rooms)

New reviews – Emotions, the end of the Iron Curtain, and Turkish heroin

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Darwin-expressionThis week we have a real treat for you, as we focus on Jan Plamper’s exciting new work The History of Emotions: An Introduction. There’s a lengthy review by Rob Boddice (no. 1752, with response here) and then a fascinating interview between Professor Plamper and our very own Jordan Landes (no. 1753).

Then we turn to another German work, and Eliten und Zivile Gesellschaft: Legitimitätskonflikte in Ostmitteleuropa by Helmut Fehr. Steven Jefferson believes this to be an impressive volume of detailed empirical research and careful analysis (no. 1751).

Finally, we have Ryan Gingeras’s Heroin, Organized Crime, and the Making of Modern Turkey, and Egemen Bezci reviews a remarkable contribution that paves the path for further studies on the topic (no. 1750).

Spiritual Soldiers: Masculinity and the Body in the British Indian Army, 1900-1940

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 Indian troops during a physical training. Copyright IWM (Q52701)


Indian troops during a physical training. Copyright IWM (Q52701)

This post has kindly been written for us by Kate Imy, Mellon Dissertation Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research.

Contemporary debates about “religion” often emphasize that which is supposedly “irrational,” metaphysical or anciently doctrinal, ignoring the intimate, ever-shifting, disciplined and resolutely global ways in which beliefs develop in certain places at certain times. In order to investigate these complexities, I examine the meanings and uses of the word “religion” within the British Indian Army—a resolutely cosmopolitan, multi-linguistic, interracial, multicultural and overwhelmingly “religious” force. This massive military establishment—which played a decisive role in most of the major armed conflicts of the first half of the twentieth century—is perhaps one of the most potent symbols of faded European empires. Despite being a paragon of disciplined, secular, and imperial rationality, the army used “religion” for everything from recruiting soldiers, to encouraging men to fight and die, to occupying “holy” lands. My project therefore attempts to see how the army used the concept of “religion” to assign value to certain bodily performances of masculinity at a definitive moment in late-colonial British and South Asian history. By focusing on the intimate encounters between British and South Asian men, and the ways in which soldiers and civilians made meaning of, represented and interpreted soldiers’ bodies, this project hopes to better understand the processes through which soldiers’ bodies—as both “religious” and “martial” beings—helped give birth to contemporary notions of masculinity and violence in the late and postcolonial world.

Memories and popular perceptions of the British Indian Army are often defined by imperial nostalgia or post-colonial regret. Both narratives hinge upon shifting concepts of masculinity and perceptions of British and South Asian bodies. For the former, the proud and glistening British and Indian men in impeccable dress, and the paternalistic relationship between British officers and Indian soldiers, was at once intimate and familial, while also laying important groundwork for India’s postcolonial army. The latter interpretation, however, focuses on the imbalances of colonial power and the restrictive theory of “Martial Races” which deemed some men worthy of becoming warriors, at the expense of those “emasculated” men who were not. This perspective locates service to the empire somewhere between slave-like servitude, necessitated by limited job prospects, or a mercenary labor force that begrudgingly sold its martial prowess to the highest bidder. My study falls within the purview of more recent interpretations which have moved beyond these powerful yet restrictive interpretations by focusing on the complex networks of ideas guiding attitudes toward spiritual beliefs, bodies and “selfhood” that made the British Indian Army a powerful international force until the Second World War.

During war and peace, “religious” concerns were central to the efficient functioning of the colonial army in India. British army officials recruited South Asian soldiers based on a matrix of region, caste, and religion, for instance praising Sikhism as having “martial value” because it discouraged so-called “caste prejudices” while celebrating martial strength and disciplined living. Meanwhile, British soldiers marched into church armed every Sunday to receive the divine wisdom from chaplains who encouraged them to live their lives free from sin—especially the debilitating and fiscally costly conditions of venereal disease and alcoholism. Fears of anti-colonial “sedition” among South Asian soldiers meant cultivating allies among “religious” leaders and appointing religious teachers to exert an educational, social and ceremonial influence among the men to prevent them from seeking wisdom and guidance from the outside world. During wartime, army officials played an active role in regulating soldiers’ bodies, shaping the performance of even pillars of Islam such as the fast of Ramzan (Ramadan) and the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj). Each of these bodily interventions played a crucial role in demarcating which types of bodies and beliefs were most conducive to military order and discipline, limiting financial and social opportunities to certain subjects of the British Empire.

One of the most widely debated aspects of daily life in the British Indian Army was the relationship between food and “religion.” While military officials hoped to build strong bodies and encouraged recruitment through the promise of stable rations, many officials condemned “the contagion of Hinduism” for impeding military discipline by making group messing more difficult. In the twentieth century, this was largely dictated by the limited and faulty memories and stories of the 1857 Uprising, which was widely regarded as stemming from improperly adhering to “Hindu” and Muslim dietary practices. However, arrangements for a diverse range of British and South Asian soldiers required considerable attention. Military officials strongly discouraged British soldiers from consuming numerous goods, including bazaar fruits and non-packaged drinking water, and often condemned and ridiculed them for contracting “preventable” maladies such as enteric fever and diarrhea. Similarly, many Muslim soldiers worried about finding food that was prepared “halal,” or carrying out the fast of Ramzan, while Gurkha soldiers’ food was often subject to considerable scrutiny including inspection of water tanks on ships and the use of exclusively Brahmin cooks. While military officials were willing and able to cater to such dietary needs of the “Martial Races,” they condemned the so-called “prejudices” of Indian Hindus. These dietary debates revealed the unstable boundaries between science, health, “religion,” custom and personal preference. They solidified the importance food in defining martial masculinity and the unequal application of what was “religious” and what was merely “rational.”

By placing British and South Asian bodies and beliefs in conversation with one another, my project hopes to create a more varied portrait of the relationship between belief, martial prowess, masculinity and violence in the making of the modern world. By looking at a disciplined and highly centralized military force and the ways in which “religion” shaped and was shaped by a diverse range of British and South Asian actors, my dissertation suggests that concepts of masculinity and the body were both global and local—spiritual and secular—and forever influenced by the uncertainties, opportunities, inequalities and instabilities of the imperial world.

New Historical Research articles published online

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Recovering Charles I’s art collection: some implications of the 1660 Act of Indemnity and Oblivion. Andrew Barclay

After 1660 Charles II attempted to recover those royal goods which had been sold off by parliament following his father’s execution. The assumption has been that this was straightforward confiscation. The 1660 Act of Indemnity, however, contained a deliberate loophole protecting the rights of royal servants granted goods in lieu of arrears. A review of the legal cases arising from that act confirms that this was understood and accepted at the time. Yet many of those exempted goods are known to have re-entered the Royal Collection, raising the possibility that a significant number of them were returned voluntarily.

‘Such nonsense that it cannot be true’: the Jacobite reaction to George Lockhart of Carnwath’s Memoirs Concerning the Affairs of Scotland. Daniel Szechi

This article is a response to the critique of the Jacobite George Lockhart of Carnwath’s, Memoirs Concerning the Affairs of Scotland published by Christopher Whatley and Derek Patrick in the Journal of Scottish Historical Studies in 2007. Whatley and Patrick argued that Lockhart’s influential account of the Union has for too long been uncritically accepted by historians. This article builds on their use of contemporary whig reactions to its version of events by reviewing the text in light of critical Jacobite sources (Lockhart’s acerbic narrative also antagonized many of his comrades-in-arms). It nonetheless, concludes that neither whig nor Jacobite critics of the Memoirs diminish its usefulness as a source. Ultimately both bodies of criticism focus on particular moments, rather than on the Memoirs as a whole, and far from all the criticisms were valid. Thus if the text is handled according to the regular canons of historical evidence it more than retains its value for the historian.

Notable protests: respectable resistance in occupied northern France, 1914–18. James E. Connolly

This article introduces the notion of ‘respectable resistance’ as a way of conceptualizing French notables’ protests against German policies during the occupation of the département of the Nord in the First World War. It argues that this did constitute a form of resistance that was relatively widespread, occasionally organized, and legalistic. Although this opposition was largely unsuccessful in practical terms, it sometimes worked as a stalling tactic. Its real success was as a performative demonstration of the notables’ defence of compatriots, reinforcing their social/political status, and it was born of patriotism, a sense of duty, but also fears of future judgment.

 

 

Historical Research – Election Special

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singometerNew virtual issue on Elections: a collection of previously published articles from Historical Research and podcasts from the IHR research seminar series. Content freely available until the end of May 2015

Parliamentary Elections in the Reign of Edward I.  J. S. Illsley

 The Coventry Parliament of 1459: a Privy Seal Writ concerning the Election of Knights of the Shire.  S. J. Payling

The Origins of the Nottinghamshire Whigs: an Analysis of the Subscribers to the Election Expenses of Sir Scrope Howe and John White.  P. R. Seddon

Radicalism and Public Opinion in the General Election of 1784
. Paul Kelly

Electoral violence in mid nineteenth-century England and Wales. Justin Wasserman and Edwin Jaggard

Uniting the whole people: proportional representation in Great Britain, 1884–5, reconsidered
. Ted R. Bromund

Joseph Chamberlain, the Conservative party and the Leamington Spa candidature dispute of 1895
. Ian Cawood

The Parliamentary Electoral System, the ‘Fourth’ Reform Act and the Rise of Labour in England and Wales. Duncan Tanner

‘Rival foundlings’: the Ross and Cromarty by-election, 10 February 1936.  Ewen A. Cameron

Rethinking a progressive moment: the Liberal and Labour parties in the 1945 general election. Peter Sloman

Voluntary Action History podcastCampaigning the vote.  Elizabeth Crawford (Voluntary Action History podcast)

 

Oral History Spring School

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MicrophoneWe’re gearing up for this year’s Oral History Spring School: a unique chance to spend three days getting stuck into some in-depth discussions about oral history.

We’re especially excited this year to have Professor Paul Thompson starting off with discussion of oral history worldwide, while other tutors and topics include Professor Joanna Bornat on analysis and reuse of oral history archives, and Professor Jenny Harding on emotion and intersubjectivity. For more information you can see the full programme which is now available here.

The three day course covers the theory and practice of oral history at an advanced level, and is aimed at students with some prior experience in recording and knowledge of oral history (excellent introduction courses are provided at the British library).

This is the fourth year the course has run, and we always learn something new and enjoy discussing everyone’s unique projects and experiences. Previous student comments include the following:

‘There was an enormous amount of fascinating discussion. I was particularly pleased to get a basic grounding in the theoretical developments and turns in oral history’.

‘There is a general lack of training related to using oral history in an academic context. This course was a very welcome development’.

The course has always recruited well so if you’re keen then we recommend booking up promptly to ensure a place. Hope to see you there!

New reviews: Magna Carta, Lady Antonia, memory and French Army

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The slippers of Archbishop Walter on loan from Canterbury Cathedral on display in Magna Carta Law Liberty Legacy, British LibraryWe’re delighted to be able to present to you a review of the new BL exhibition on Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy. John Sabapathy reviews a wonderful exhibition which is as much about Magna Carta’s 800 year reception as its immediate 13th-century matrix (no. 1749).

A further treat is a new Daniel Snowman interview, in which he talks to Lady Antonia Fraser about her work as a historian and biographer (no. 1748).

Next we turn to The Memory of the People: Custom and Popular Senses of the Past in Early Modern England by Andy Wood. Brodie Waddell believes that the author has produced a study that proves the centrality of custom and popular memory across more than three centuries (no. 1747).

Finally, Mario Draper recommends The French Army and the First World War by Elizabeth Greenhalgh, on the grounds of the quality of the extensive research, the clarity with which it is delivered and the insightfulness on offer (no. 1746).

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