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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Going off Script: How Gale Primary Sources Can Be Used in Theatre Studies

│By Olivia McDermott, Gale Ambassador at the University of Liverpool│

For a subject such as drama, primary sources are continuously overlooked. Much academic study preceding degree level tends to focus on the practical realm of theatre. Though it is an important aspect, this sometimes leads to contextual ideas being ignored.

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Unpacking Queer Theory: An Investigation into the Methodology and the Importance of Gale Primary Sources

Doan, Laura, and Martha Vicinus. "Queer Theory and Critical History, Together at Last." The Women's Review of Books, vol. 31, no. 2, March-April 2014

│By Madeleine Pedley, Gale Ambassador at Liverpool John Moores University│

Unpacking Queer Theory

Within this blog, I will be using Gale Primary Sources’ Archives of Sexuality and Gender to find case studies and investigate Queer Theory. The importance of using Gale Primary Sources within explorations into methodology is that they enable students to build upon initial research and produce supported interpretations through their extensive archives. This blog aims to investigate the Queer Theory methodology and provide examples of application through selected sources. Furthermore, it highlights the importance of such examples and how History of Art and Museum Studies students can use Gale Primary Sources.  

The Queer Theory methodology is used to explore works of art or text from a new perspective, with the outcome providing a different narrative to interpret the piece and redefine it within an LGBTQ+ setting.1 It is not there to make an artwork suddenly homosexual but to allow for alternative and contemporary discussions to take place. 

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The Warrior Queen: Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi

│By Carolyn Beckford, Gale Product Trainer│

For Women’s History Month, I wanted to highlight a woman that many of us have probably not heard of before. Sure, we know about Cleopatra, the Dahomey Warriors, Boudica, Nana Yaa Asantewaa, Joan of Arc, and maybe even Njinga, but have you ever heard of Rani Lakshmibai?

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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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Redefining What Philosophy Means: Why Primary Sources Are Now More Important Than Ever

│By Jessica Crawley, Gale Ambassador at Lancaster University│

One of the most interesting and – to some – most perplexing aspects of philosophical writings is that newer does not equal better. For example, some of the greatest advancements in metaphysics were made by Aristotle, who was writing in Ancient Greece well over two-thousand years ago. Not only this, but our gendered and Western-mandated criteria of what ‘deserves’ the title of ‘philosophical writing’ is (finally) beginning to evolve.

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Concepts of ‘the Nation’ in Britain and Beyond

│By Jess Briony Hodgson, Gale Ambassador at the University of Sheffield│

Britain has always had a complex identity historically speaking – from Alfred the Great and the nature of medieval kingdoms, through to the fallout from Brexit, the way in which Britons conceptualise their nation and nationality has always been changing – and this makes primary source work all the more interesting.

When using primary sources such as those found in Gale’s digital archives, one main challenge is removing our own understandings of ‘the nation’ from the equation, so we can properly analyse the information and make accurate interpretations and comparisons. One space in which we can see a microcosm of all these changes is print media, particularly newspapers, which will have (for the most part) aimed to capture readers’ opinions and concerns, highlighting the changes in concepts such as the nation.

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The Big Leap: Top Tips for History Coursework moving from A-Levels to University

│By Lydia Clarke, Gale Ambassador at the University of Leeds│

Moving to a completely new place is incredibly challenging. After A-Levels, I know the last thing you want to think about is university assignments, but I promise they are not that scary. Whilst there is sadly not a magical wand to whisk away university stress, this blog post will hopefully help you manage your coursework without burning out. Gale Primary Sources digital archives were massively helpful for me to find relevant primary source material and get to grips with practising my critical thinking skills. I will demonstrate how in my first year at university I used a book I found in Eighteenth Century Collections Online to apply and evaluate my analysis of the debate about gender studies in history for my coursework.

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The Sinking of the Titanic and its Cultural and Economic Impact

│By Yasmin Metto, Gale Ambassador at the University of Queen Mary│

The Titanic is one of the most famous and prolific ships in the world, inspiring adventures to the depths of where it sunk as well as creating a legacy that has lasted generations. Unfortunately, this can shroud the aftermath of the sinking of the Titanic, which was almost as devastating as the event itself. The sinking of the Titanic marked a multitude of impacts, especially culturally and economically. By using Gale Primary Sources to explore the cultural and economic effects of the Titanic sinking, it becomes evident that all of society was affected by the event.

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