Researching the History of Shanghai Between the 1830s and 1950s

|By Liping Yang, Senior Manager, Academic Publishing, Gale|

November 2023 marks the 180th anniversary of Shanghai being opened to foreign trade in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of Nanjing and the Treaty of the Bogue, which were signed after the First Opium War between China and Britain.

Coincidentally, in the same month, Gale Primary Sources rolled out a thematic digital archive that features the history of Shanghai. Titled China and the Modern World: Records of Shanghai and the International Settlement, 1836–1955, this new archive provides an extraordinary primary source collection vital to understanding and researching the social, political, and economic history of the Anglo-America-dominated yet highly globalised International Settlement in Shanghai, as well as the history of modern China.

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The Literary Archive in the Artificial Intelligence Era

│By Heather Colley, Doctoral Student at the University of Oxford│

The history of technological development is synonymous with a history of cultural criticism that questions the applications and ramifications of that very tech. The work of Walter Benjamin is perhaps some of the most significant and perennial in the realm of technology criticism; and, in the age of artificial intelligence, some ideas from his seminal “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”1 offer a useful lens into ever-present – and increasing – concerns about relationships between art, authenticity, criticism, and “mechanical production.”

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Using Literary Sources to Research Late Nineteenth-Century British Feminism

│By Lucy McCormick, Gale Ambassador at the University of Birmingham│

Using literary sources – such as newspapers, journals, pamphlets, and periodicals – to research feminism in late nineteenth-century Britain is a valuable way to enrich historical scholarship. Regarded as intellectually inferior to their male counterparts, women’s voices had long been deemed unimportant and thus excluded from mainstream media. However, by the second half of the nineteenth century, the intensification of debates pertaining to the ‘Woman Question’ rendered women not merely objects, but also participants, in arguments about the rightful role of women in British society.

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Down To The Wire: The Impact of the Newswire in the Post-World War Two Period

│By Charlotte Steffen, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth│

One of the greatest revolutions in journalism was the introduction of the newswire which allowed the sending of information around the world at a much faster pace than ever before. As a History PhD student, and a frequent user of Gale Primary Sources, I have come to heavily rely on newspapers for information in my research but also use them to get an insight into public opinions or changes in opinion. Using Gale’s Associated Press Collections, I investigated how these historic documents give an insight into the civil population’s daily life during the post-war period and its importance for the present-day historic discourse. 

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Re-imagining Assignments in the DH Classroom: StoryMaps

│By Sarah L. Ketchley, Senior Digital Humanities Specialist│

It’s back-to-school season, and the next two ‘Notes from Our DH Correspondent’ blog posts will focus on non-traditional assignments in the DH classroom. Often, Humanities classes culminate in a final paper or essay which is a worthwhile exercise in sifting through relevant information to answer a question or propose a thesis. A syllabus that incorporates Digital Humanities methodologies, however, often blends subject content with technical and analytic proficiencies, meaning an essay may not be the best medium to showcase student learning in this scenario. Below we consider tools for digital storytelling which blend text, image, and analysis results to create engaging and interactive assignment outputs.

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Top 10 Tips for Researching with British Literary Manuscripts Online

British Literary Manuscripts Online interface

│By Ben Wilkinson-Turnbull, Senior Gale Ambassador at the University of Oxford│ Researching literary manuscripts is difficult. In the years following their production, primary sources have often been spread across different institutional libraries around the world. This makes accessing them complicated and expensive, particularly for early career researchers and those conscious of the impact that travelling … Read more

Developments in the Fashion Industry Post-WWII

Montage of images from blog post of fashion in The Telegraph

│By Nonkoliso Tshiki, Gale Ambassador at the University of Johannesburg│

Do you find writing for academic purposes challenging? I did too. However, I have recently discovered and started implementing a new and exciting trick to improve my writing skills, which also ignites greater interest in my writing. I write short essays about topics which I come across and find interesting. For instance, when I was going through lecture notes about writing a research proposal a couple of months ago, I stumbled upon an article exploring the evolution of global fashion trends between 1945-1965, and I thought to myself, “this is quite interesting, I would like to know more about this topic!” Then all I needed was a research database that offers accredited, valuable and interesting sources. Luckily for me, I did not have to look too far because, as a Gale Ambassador, Gale Primary Sources is one of my very first go-to and most favourable research databases. Thus, the following blog post uses Gale Primary Sources to explore some of the fashion trends that made fashion headlines 1945-1965.

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Groups and Notebooks: Using Gale Digital Scholar Lab’s latest features in the DH classroom

Notes from our DH Correspondent

│By Sarah Ketchley, Senior Digital Humanities Specialist│

The field of digital scholarship tends to be collaborative, since any given project may involve disciplinary experts, developers, librarians, archivists, and students. Management of workflow and data can be challenging unless there is careful planning from the outset about record-keeping, group working practices, the sharing of information and goals for project sustainability and longer-term archiving. These practical considerations are the same for research projects and for those built in the classroom.

The ability to create Groups was recently added as a feature to the Gale Digital Scholar Lab platform, along with a flexible ‘Notebook’ tool for documenting decisions and outcomes. This blog post will consider how Group spaces can be used to facilitate classroom project-building by students in an undergraduate classroom, using a recent course I taught in the Information School at the University of Washington as a case study. The practicalities of using the Groups/Notebook features were discussed in my previous blog post, including details about how a teacher might go about adding students to new groups within the Lab, then managing classroom workflow via record-keeping in the team’s Notebook.

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Decolonising the Literary Curriculum: A Close Examination of Derek Walcott’s Omeros

Skyline of Cape Town, South Africa

|By James Carney, Senior Gale Ambassador at King’s College London|

Decolonisation refers to the process of attempting to undo the social, political, economic and cultural effects of imperialism on former colonies. Having just completed my undergraduate degree in English and Classical Literature at King’s College London, I have come to appreciate language and the written arts as potent mediums to contemplate, respond to and even resist the weight of colonial history.

My dissertation on Derek Walcott’s 1990 postmodern epic Omeros most thoroughly illustrated to me the nuances and creative potential of colonial victims to negotiate their present and historical standing in response to imperial agents. My exploration of this theme in Walcott’s work was particularly interesting as he ostensibly views colonisation as continuous, from nineteenth-century British and French empires to modern American capitalism, as the same force underlies both processes for the benefit of the typically white aristocracy, eclipsing native identity and homogenising Caribbean culture to artificiality.

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