New Environmental History Archive: Colonial Policy and Global Development, 1896-1993

│By Clem Delany, Acquisitions Editor, Gale Primary Sources│

What does Environmental History mean to you?

On sitting down to write a brief explanation of what environmental history is, I have spent the last twenty minutes staring into space thinking about Pando. Pando is, as I’m sure the sophisticated and well-travelled audience of this blog will know, the largest and heaviest living organism on earth. Pando covers 100 acres and is around 10,000 years old. That means that when Pando first began its long, slow life, there were woolly mammoth and sabre-toothed cats still living, although increasingly finding their parties a little light on company.

Pando is a tree. It is a quaking aspen in Utah; in appearance it is over 45,000 individual quaking aspens, but below ground it has a single root system. Each ‘tree’ is a clone of its neighbours, a stem of one single organism. And it is on my mind because I am trying to think of a pithy way to describe environmental history, an area of study where many different disciplines and topics meet, connected at their roots as different expressions of one phenomenon: human interaction with the natural world.

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Delivering Impact – Launching Gale Research Showcase and Gale Digital Scholar Lab: Projects

│By Becca Gillott and Chris Houghton, Gale Digital Scholar Lab team│

From newspaper columns to academic reports, “The Humanities in Crisis” is a common refrain. It is a widely held fear that, in societies increasingly focused on the risks and benefits of technology in the fourth industrial revolution, studying what it means to be human is seen as increasingly irrelevant.

Irrespective of these fears, the evidence indicates that the teaching of humanities is increasingly under strain in higher education. Where we are in the UK, every summer sees the closure of yet another set of humanities departments. Higher Education assessment criteria like the UK’s Research Excellence Framework and Teaching Excellence Framework have a growing focus on measuring not just the quality, but the impact of disciplines.

This focus on impact has led to interesting developments in higher education institutions as humanities departments find new ways of working and collaborating within and without the institution.

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Exploring Community and Identity in Sexuality and Gender History – Archives of Sexuality and Gender: Community and Identity in North America

│By Phil Virta, Senior Acquisitions Editor│

Queer history is full of groups and individuals that took a stand against injustices, fought to change discriminatory laws, advocated for acceptance, and spoke out for those who might otherwise remain marginalized.  Studying this history can inspire and educate us as we face ongoing challenges in society such as homophobia, transphobia, attacks on women’s rights, and a willingness to eliminate any mention of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Archives of Sexuality and Gender: Community and Identity in North America (ASG VI) offers interesting perspectives on society, sexual identity, community building, and gender issues.  It presents a history of North American society with materials that cover activism, social justice issues, disabilities, women’s rights, alternative sexualities, sexuality and religion, and ethnic communities.  The collections detail how identities developed in different social conditions, and how communities grew around dedicated, sometimes courageous, individuals and organized groups.

In this venture Gale Primary Sources has partnered with the ArQuives, Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Archives; the GLBT Historical Society; the Elihu Burritt Library (Central Connecticut State University); and Colegio de México, which represents Canada, the United States, and Mexico.  This archive comprises 28 collections that provide a personal historical perspective, helping researchers get to know the individuals and groups involved. 

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Women’s History Month in Gale Digital Scholar Lab: Named Entity Recognition, Python Notebooks, and an Intrepid Female Diarist

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

Every March is Women’s History Month! In keeping with the themes of digital scholarship explored in the ‘Notes from our DH Correspondent’ series, and to celebrate a lesser-known historical female figure, in this month’s post I’ll discuss how I am exploring some of my text research data using a new enhancement to Gale Digital Scholar Lab’s embedded analysis pathways.

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Uncovering a History of Disabilities: Disabilities in Society, Seventeenth to Twentieth Century

│By Philip Virta, Senior Acquisitions Editor

Disability studies is a growing field in academia that examines disability as a social, cultural, and political phenomenon. Seeing how far we have come as a society in terms of equal rights for people with disabilities is heartening, yet how has disability been viewed both historically and contemporarily?

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Digging into Parts-of-Speech Tagging in Gale Digital Scholar Lab

Notes from our DH Correspondent

│By Sarah L. Ketchley, Senior Digital Humanities Specialist│ Continuing our exploration of the digital tools accessible through Gale Digital Scholar Lab’s intuitive interface, the Parts-of-Speech (PoS) tool enables the researcher to gain granular insights into the different parts of speech used in each document in a content set. This post will highlight the main features … Read more

An Interdisciplinary Treasure Chest: The Pacific Coast Counterculture Collection

│By Robert P. J. Cooney, Jr., Graphic Designer, Editor and Writer responsible for the Pacific Coast Counterculture Collection│

More than fifty years have passed since the rebellion of American youth during the 1960s that became known as the Counterculture. Now, this exciting and colourful movement is the subject of Gale Primary Sources’ Pacific Coast Counterculture Collection, which is part of their new digital archive Power to the People: Counterculture, Social Movements and the Alternative Press, Nineteenth to Twenty-First Century. The digital collection contains a unique mix of printed material – pamphlets, publications, periodicals and more – that captures the diversity, creativity and impact of individuals and small groups that emerged during this intense time.

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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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