Decolonization: Politics and Independence in Former Colonial and Commonwealth Territories

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

Last week, I was lucky enough to go to India for the first time. I visited Mangalore in the state of Karnataka, as well as Kerala with its famous backwaters and cool green tea plantations in old hill stations. The British planted pine forests there and hid from the sun; in Mangalore old warehouses built along the river by the Portuguese for tile manufacture were visible from the high rise buildings around them. And everywhere – at busy roundabouts, by old government buildings and in front of smart new colleges – were statues and busts of solemn figures who I could not identify. The names Gandhi, Nehru and Modi are essentially the limit of my knowledge of modern India.

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Technology: Ally or Enemy in the Use and Preservation of Historical Data?

Viewing a library shelf through an iPad

│By Sasha Mandakovic, Gale Ambassador at Erasmus University Rotterdam|

The rapid pace of technological innovation is constantly pushing the boundaries of the digital realm, resulting in an exponential increase in its capabilities and reach. There is no doubt that technology has had both positive and negative effects on the preservation of historical data which can often be difficult to understand. I’m here to elaborate on its impacts!

The first words that come to my mind when I think about technology are probably: life-changing, accessible, and easy. When “historical data” is mentioned, the terms I think of are: records, heritage, and preservation. But how are technology and historical data linked, and what impact do they have on each other? And is it bad or good?

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Peyote Rights, Religious Freedom and Indigenous Persecution in the Women’s Missionary Advocate Papers

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|By Lola Hylander, Gale Ambassador at University College London|

I am a student of the History and Politics of the Americas at University College London, and my dissertation will analyse Employment Division v. Smith (1990),a Supreme Court ruling that overturned almost a century of activism surrounding the Native American Church’s (NAC) right to practice peyotism, a religion based on the ceremonial use of the psychedelic cactus, peyote, in the United States. Religious debates largely define the discourse around peyote use, examining whether or not it should be protected under the First Amendment’s freedom of religion clause. Wanting to further understand the role of religion in the peyote debate, I turned to Gale’s Archives Unbound collection to see what I could find.

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Student Career Advice: After University, What’s Next?

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│By Chloe Hooper , Gale Ambassador at the University of Glasgow│

Within every new cohort of students hurtling towards graduation, there will be many pondering the dreaded question: after university, what’s next? Chances are, if you’re reading this, you don’t have an answer to that question yet yourself. Career advice has long been a feature of the modern university experience, outlining the ways your degree can help you build a career. But Gale Primary Sources can help, too! Using The Times Digital Archive, undergraduates and postgraduates have access to decades of career advice geared towards finding the right job for each student. While the articles I examine below date from late the 1990s to the 2000s, many of the challenges facing graduates have stayed the same and much of the advice on overcoming them has stood the test of time.

One of the problems facing most students is that they don’t know how to discover what jobs are out there, particularly within the areas in which they’re interested or experienced. As a student, I had been using archives and archival services for years, but it never occurred to me that I could make a career out of it – or that it’s not just researchers driving digitisation projects, there are many other roles involved too, all of which are potential career pathways. It was actually reading through archives like The Times Digital Archive that helped me see this as a viable career option, and I am now studying Information Management and Preservation.

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Investigating the Evolution of Twenty-First Century Pop Culture Using Digital Humanities Techniques

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

Since the new millennium’s infancy, popular culture and famous lifestyles have captivated the public to an ever greater extent. From the emergence of social media, to the escapism provided from global crises or even the marketability of celebrities in late stage capitalism, the facets of stardom’s grip are numerous. Pop culture has always been a platform for performance – be that of one’s talent, beauty, wealth or quirkiness – but in the twenty-first century, fan reaction and engagement have assumed a far more prominent role in these public theatrics. The political, social and artistic zeitgeist has become rooted not only in celebrity action, but in the increasingly deterministic public reaction too. Gale resources can be used to present the emergence of such a dichotomy through records of both output and interpretation, illuminating the dynamics of the twenty-first century’s evolved popular culture for both academic enquiry and entertainment.

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A Reflection on the Reign of Queen Elizabeth II: The Modernisation of the Monarchy

│By Ava Nichols, Senior Gale Ambassador at the University of Aberdeen│

Following the passing of the longest reigning monarch in British history, the nation mourns the tragic loss of Queen Elizabeth II. I thought it was an apt time to reflect on some of the monumental accomplishments achieved during her reign. When Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1952, Her Majesty’s youthful ambition offered a sense of hope for change and progress for the British public. Reigning during the twentieth and twenty first centuries, the Queen made historical changes within the establishment, such as embracing technology. Through Gale Primary Sources, I researched The Times Digital Archive and the Daily Mail Historical Archive in order to gain a greater understanding of the modernisation of the monarchy. These digital collections offer a vast range of newspaper articles and publications from the twentieth century, increasing access to history and the potential for research within these collections around the globe.

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Using Primary Sources to Study Gun Control

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|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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The Importance of Archives – Preserving the Past and Contextualising the Present

Finnish National Archives

│By Torsti Grönberg, Gale Ambassador at the University of Helsinki│

Historian Jo Tollebeek once wrote that increasing “scientification” of history at the end of the nineteenth century produced a new kind of archival-fantasy: a belief that all relevant documents from the past could be gathered. Nowadays it is vital to comprehend and take into account the diversity of an archive. Every archive is bound not only to its history and context but also the demands of the current era. At the end of the day, an archive is in of itself an intellectual problem and a cultural artefact to be studied. Historian Natalie Zemon Davis has also made the important point that, even though the world of archives has encountered many changes, the most important aspect is still the same: when you read documents in an archive you have a physical link to the past in front of you that connects you to people long dead and strengthens the researchers attempt to tell about the past as honestly as possible.1

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The COVID Impact: New Modes of Presenting Your PhD Research During a Pandemic

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|By Meg Ison, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth|

In this blog post I will discuss the impact of the pandemic on the PhD experience, and focus on how and why online conferences and blog posts have become new and extremely effective ways for PhD students to disseminate their research.

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Free Speech in a “Post-Truth” Era – The Value of Digital Archives

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

As a literature student, I have studied the power of language for myriad and varying purposes in a range of historical contexts. My studies have exposed me to the fact that language is inherently political – the way in which we construct verbal expression can reflect and compound the powerful forces that command us like hierarchies, social structures, identities or even biases. An example that comes to mind is the profound racism in the name given to South America’s most notable sea – the Caribbean. Popularised by the cartographer Thomas Jeffreys, the word finds roots in the Spanish word for cannibal (carib), and is a name which conquistadors enforced on the natives of this region. The political nature of language is clear from this example – in line with the constructed ‘civilising’ mission of imperialism, language came to reflect prevailing perceptions of the Spanish conquerors in relation to their (problematically) ‘savage’ subjects.

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