The Rise and Fall of Chinese Indentured Labour

Chinese Coolies and Overseers

|By Winnie Fok, Assistant Editor, Gale Asia|

Please be aware that this blog post contains language that may be offensive to some readers; the decision to read the post is at your own discretion.

“Coolies” (a historical term for indentured workers) are a relic of the past, no longer around today. This blog post captures the fascinating and tumultuous history of the coolie trade in brief, through the valuable primary source materials found in China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West Part 1, 1815–1881 and China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West Part 2, 1865–1905.

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More Gale Primary Sources Learning Centers Added

Learning Center visible on screen of student user

│By Emma Harris and Lindsay Whitaker-Guest, Associate Editors, Gale Primary Sources

After the successful launch of the first Gale Primary Sources Learning Centers in Autumn 2021, Gale has released Learning Centers into a larger selection of our archives in August, with more to come in November 2022. The Learning Centers are comprehensive guides for both students and instructors to enhance their approach to researching primary sources and for developing the critical thinking skills needed for their analysis. The Learning Centers are also particularly helpful for those using primary source archives independently for the first time.

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The Bowring Treaty and the Opening up of Thailand

Map of Siam

│Liping Yang, Senior Manager, Academic Publishing, Gale Asia│

Siam (now known as Thailand) had long been a tribute nation of China’s Qing empire. However, the signing of the Treaty of Friendship and Commerce between Great Britain and Siam in 1855 opened a new chapter in the history of this Southeast Asian nation and its relationship with China and Western powers represented by Britain. This blog post retells the interesting stories behind the signing of this historic treaty through some invaluable primary source materials discovered in China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West Part 1, 1815-1881

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The Murder of Empress Myeongseong of Korea

Kind and Queen of Corea

│By Emery Pan, Associate Development Editor│

In 2001, the Korean television series Empress Myeongseong became a massive hit in many Asian countries. Empress Myeongseong, also known as Queen Min [闵妃], was the wife of Gojong [高宗], the ruler of Korea from 1864 to 1907. Her real life, explored below using primary sources from the Gale archive China and the Modern World, was actually far more complicated and bloody than it appeared in the historical drama.

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Conspiracy Theories in the Archives

Hudson, Christopher. "Murder in the Vatican." Daily Mail, 27 Aug. 1998, p. 11. Daily Mail Historical Archive, 1896-2016

|By Rebecca Bowden, Gale Digital Scholar Lab Product Manager|

Everybody has heard one conspiracy theory or another. Some buy into them wholeheartedly, others mock them and call out their absurdity. Whichever camp you fall into, there is undoubtedly something fascinating about conspiracy theories! They’re akin to the myths and legends that ancient civilisations used to explain the world around them – tales of manipulative gods and hidden cities. Yet one could argue that those civilisations had an “excuse” – they did not have the years of advanced scientific discovery that we now enjoy! Even with this scientific knowledge, however, conspiracy theories still emerge and take hold, often growing ever more elaborate and determined, even whilst they’re being actively discredited.

There are the famous ones: Area 51, accusations that Princess Diana was murdered, that 9/11 was planned by the US Government, that there was a second gunman at the assassination of JFK, or that Kennedy was killed using an umbrella. Or a government plot. The CIA! The Mafia! Fidel Castro! Everyone’s heard of those. Then there are the more unusual conspiracy theories which may be entirely new to you, many of which still have the ability to baffle us with their absurdity. All of them appear within Gale Primary Sources. In this blog post, we delve deeper into the world of conspiracy theories.

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Introducing the Gale Digital Humanities User Engagement Program

|By Rebecca Bowden, Gale Digital Scholar Lab Product Manager|

On June 27, 2022, Gale launched its first Digital Humanities User Engagement Program, inviting eight Gale Primary Sources and Gale Digital Scholar Lab users to collaborate closely with the Digital Humanities Production team at Gale. The members of the User Engagement Program will provide feedback throughout the product development process, keeping the voice of the researcher at the center of the product experience.

Below, the Digital Humanities Product Managers who developed the program – Rebecca Bowden and Megan Sullivan – explain more!

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Using Primary Sources to Study Gun Control

Studying gun control

|By Rachel Holt, Gale Primary Sources Acquisitions Editor|

This week (July 2022), US President Joe Biden was heckled by the father of a mass shooting victim during a White House event celebrating the passage of a federal gun safety law. This comes in the wake of the mass shooting that killed nineteen children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022. But how did we get here?

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Etiquette and Advice, 1631-1969 – Good Manners as Prescribed by “Polite Society”

Etiquette and Advice from Archives Unbound

|By Phil Virta, Senior Acquisitions Editor, Gale Primary Sources|

Gale’s Archives Unbound collection Etiquette and Advice, 1631-1969 is a fascinating digital archive of material from Winterthur Museum and Library in Delaware. A collection of 429 British and American etiquette books and rare print ephemera, it allows us to explore the question, “who gets to decide what behaviours are ‘good’ or ‘polite’?” The materials span from the seventeenth to twentieth century, offering tidbits on everything from table manners to travelling, conversation to courtship, home furnishing to hospitality. Author Dena Attar observes, in the face of fears about the “decay of modern manners and the instability of society, [etiquette] writers often described their books as necessary correctives for wider social problems.”1 This collection will therefore interest not only book historians, but also social historians, literary critics, cultural studies scholars, feminists, and other lifelong students of transatlantic history.

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How State Papers Online Can Support an Undergraduate History Dissertation

Person viewing State Papers Online with a laptop
State Papers Online is migrating to a much improved platform. In light of this, Ellie Brosnan, a third-year undergraduate student at Durham University with an interest in medieval history and particularly political developments throughout Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, has taken a look at what this archive has to offer students writing a dissertation in medieval and early modern history! To do so, Ellie used the new, updated version of State Papers Online.

Users will be able to preview the beta version of State Papers Online on the new platform from August 1, 2022. For more information about the beta experience, check out this blog post by Gale Primary Sources Product Manager Megan Sullivan.

│By Ellie Brosnan, Gale Ambassador at Durham University│

State Papers Online is a digitised collection containing British government papers from throughout the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It offers access to a range of different materials, from official documentation and legislation to more informal correspondence between key political actors of this period. This resource is split into three main collections that all host different materials related to the issue of early modern British government. The focus of this blog post is exploring how State Papers Online can be utilised for an undergraduate dissertation investigating the changes to early modern politics over the course of these centuries.

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New State Papers Online Experience Available to Preview

State Papers Online search bar and source design

|By Megan Sullivan, Senior Product Manager, Gale Primary Sources|

I am delighted to share that after several years of research and technical preparation, an updated experience for State Papers Online (SPO) will be ready to preview on Monday, August 1, 2022. This will be a “soft launch”, meaning that on this date, users can access the beta version of the new State Papers Online from a link that will be available from the current SPO homepage. We encourage users to try the new experience and send us their feedback. We are also recruiting for paid user interviews and usability testing. We plan to retire the current version of State Papers Online in December 2022 and from that date forward, SPO will be exclusively available in the updated experience.

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