Beyond Notting Hill Carnival: Re-visiting the life of Claudia Jones

│By Dr Lucy Dow, Gale Content Researcher│

Once again this year, the Notting Hill Carnival was sadly cancelled due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. In this blog post I will explore the life of Claudia Jones, often credited with starting the Notting Hill Carnival. Using Gale Primary Sources, I will look at what was written by and about Jones during her lifetime, and how she is remembered.

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Know Your Authors: Dictionary of Literary Biography

Examples from Dictionary of Literary Biography, and online product interface

|By Masaki Morisawa, Senior Product Manager, Library Reference, Tokyo|

If you watched the recent Olympics, you’ll know that August in Tokyo is brutally hot and humid. This was more or less true two and a half decades ago when I was an English Literature student. Cash strapped, with nothing better to do, I would often spend my August days in the air-conditioned university library, just to avoid the intolerable heat! My favourite place was the reference area where they had rows and rows of Gale Literature volumes (I’m not making this up). There were literally hundreds of volumes stacked in those rows, from the rainbow-coloured Contemporary Authors volumes, to the brown buckram Literature Criticism volumes; but my personal favourite were the light-blue Dictionary of Literary Biography volumes. I would often pull out several of those DLB volumes and browse through the entries while I passed time in my favourite corner seat by the windows.

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Coming Soon: Learning Centers for Gale Primary Sources

Student studying on laptop and notebook

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

I’m delighted to announce the upcoming launch of Learning Centers for Gale Primary Sources, available in select archive products this autumn 2021. The culmination of a year of research and development, the Learning Centers will provide comprehensive teaching and learning support for faculty and students.

Built with the student researcher in mind, the goal of the Learning Centers is to orient new users with the content and topics available in a digital archive; spark inspiration for new research topics; and provide guidance and best practices for searching, browsing, citing, and reusing primary sources. The Learning Centers will also prove invaluable for faculty and librarians, providing an all-in-one instructional tool that helps students get acclimated with a primary source database.

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Simla, McMahon, and the Origins of Sino-Indian Border Disputes

McMahon Line

|By Liping Yang, Publishing Manager, Digital Archive and eReference, Gale Asia|

From May 2020 to February 2021, Chinese and Indian border troops engaged in melee, face-offs, and skirmishes along the Sino-Indian border near the disputed Pangong Lake in Ladakh and the Tibet Autonomous Region, as well as near the border between Sikkim and the Tibet Autonomous Region. This series of disputes has resulted in numerous casualties, attracting worldwide attention in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Such border disputes are nothing new. Three years prior to this in June 2017, the troops of the two countries had a border standoff in Doklam, a strategic location near a trijunction border area involving China, India, and Bhutan. Actually, China and India even went to war between October–November 1962 over their disputed Himalayan border.

Many of these border disputes and clashes can be attributed to the controversial McMahon Line. What is this line? And how did it come about? We can find some illuminating historical records on this in China and the Modern World: Diplomacy and Political Secrets, 1868-1950, a collection of rare historical materials selected from the India Office Records now held at the British Library.

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User Feedback Directs Gale’s Product Development

Video call

│By Rebecca Bowden, Associate Acquisitions Editor, Gale Primary Sources│

Here at Gale, our users are central to what we do – understanding their perspectives and opinions, and then using that to guide our product development, is something close to our hearts. In 2019, the Gale Primary Sources publishing team established a taskforce which specifically sought to improve our knowledge of what was going on in our customer’s heads in relation to Teaching and Learning – and beyond.

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The Author Gender Limiter Tool Brings Exciting Potential to the Study of Women’s Authorship and Digital Humanities

Images from Women's Studies Archive: Rare Titles from the American Antiquarian Society

│By Rachel Holt, Women’s Studies Archive Acquisitions Editor│

The study of women’s writing is an important cornerstone of any Literature or History course (and many other subjects besides) and Gale seeks to support this important scholarship by working to spotlight female authors. We are doing this in two ways, the first is with the launch of the third part of our multi award-winning Women’s Studies Archive series, Rare Titles from the American Antiquarian Society, 1820-1922, which provides access to over 5,700 monographs by more than 2,000 individual female authors. The second is by introducing a unique new search functionality to the Women’s Studies Archive series, the Author Gender Limiter. The addition of this new product feature opens a world of possibilities for undergraduate study and scholarship in the fields of women’s history, gender studies and beyond.

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Indentured Indian Workers and Anti-Colonial Resistance in the British Empire

South Asian workers preparing rice in Jamaica, 1895

│By Dr Lucy Dow, Gale Content Researcher│

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.

On May 30, 1845 the first ship carrying indentured Indian immigrants arrived on the Caribbean island of Trinidad from Kolkata (Calcutta). This day is now commemorated in Trinidad as “Indian Arrival Day”. In this article I will use Gale Primary Sources to explore the history of Indian indenture and the South Asian community in the Caribbean, and elsewhere. In doing so, I will highlight how Gale Primary Sources can be used to better understand the role of the British Empire in moving people around the globe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the inter-connectedness of anti-colonial movements across the British Empire.

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Sun Yat-sen and the Kwangtung–Kwangsi Conflicts in the 1920s

A historic map of southern China, plus four images of individuals whose images are found throughout this blog post

│By Emery Pan, Gale Editor in Beijing│

A land plagued with poverty and political instability, China in the early twentieth century experienced the most drastic changes that had ever taken place in the country. This blog post explores this turbulent period in the history of China using primary sources from numerous Gale archives, including the China and the Modern World series.

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Exploring Twentieth-Century Art and Social History in Erotica from L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale de France

Montage of images from blog post, of images from L'Enfer collection

By Philip Virta, Senior Acquisitions Editor, Gale Primary Sources

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

Enfer is a French word that translates to Inferno or Hell, and according to some religions, Hell is the place of punishment for the wicked, the damned, the morally corrupt, once death has befallen them. It is thus only fitting that books considered “contrary to public morality” should end up in Enfer. Aside from its literal meaning of Hell, Enfer is the shelf mark of the restricted books collection at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF). A shelf mark is simply a notation or classification on a book showing its place in a library. In the 1830s, a time when the BnF was opening to a wider audience, the institution began to assign the Enfer classification to books considered to be obscene works. Whether the books were locked away because they truly were reprehensible, or merely to protect them from those who would proscribe or destroy them, it is to our benefit today as they have been preserved for our study.

On the subject of study, Enfer provides us with many opportunities to explore art and social history in a wide variety of imaginative works. While some of the books simply offer flights of fancy, erotic fantasies to titillate and arouse, many of the works in Enfer offer social commentary and criticism. After exploring the fantastic imagery in texts from the seventeenth to nineteenth century, I was intrigued to continue my search and explore how imagery developed in the late nineteenth and twentieth century, when authors and artists were often at the forefront of the social and cultural movements of their time.

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Exploring Early Modern Erotica and Social History in L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale de France

L'Enfer Imagery - Part 1 post montage

│By Philip Virta, Senior Acquisitions Editor, Gale Primary Sources│

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

Back when Playboy, “an American men’s lifestyle and entertainment magazine”, was still publishing, the usual comment from anyone observed purchasing an issue from the newsstand was, “I just get it for the articles.” In the case of my latest research foray into L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque national de France, I really was just looking for the pictures.

As so often happens in research, we travel down one path, only to encounter interesting intersections. I started out studying the evolution of beauty and body standards in erotic art through the centuries. Along the way, I became equally as interested in the books themselves. The histories of the lives of some of the authors and artists was intriguing. The motivations and movements behind the books they wrote were fascinating. The themes and agendas written into the texts were engrossing. There are a wealth of topics to explore once you slip beneath the covers of the books and plumb the depths of Enfer.

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