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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Making Peace Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Primary Sources

│By Tom Taborn, Gale Ambassador at the University of Oxford│

Primary sources can be, let’s face it, intimidating. In the first few weeks of university the idea that we should use them was constantly drummed into me. I, like most other students I know, immediately ignored this advice, and ploughed into the swelling lists of secondary sources. Primary sources seemed like a distraction from the stress of churning out an essay, and the few students who did use them seemed like god-like beings who’d mastered pomodoro timers and bullet journaling in the pram.

Over the course of my first year, however, I realised that they were exactly the opposite. Primary sources are the stressed student’s best friend. Reading what real people thought, how they talked, and what they felt, can make the trickiest topics easier. And more than that, they can be fun. The archives in Gale Primary Sources made using primary sources so much less terrifying as a student for me. This is the story of how my worst essay was saved by a primary source, and how yours can be too.

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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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Using Gale Historical Newspapers to Highlight Marginalised Voices in Journalism 

│By Amelia Jean-Marie Meade, Gale Ambassador at the University College London│

Journalism, like many other fields of work, is broadly based around the investigation of a conflict or event, its documentation, and its analysis. It can take several forms including video, radio, and written. But what distinguishes journalistic writing from other writing styles is that it is specifically intended for public reception and consumption. Therefore, the term journalism is often associated with large-scale news and popular media outlets like national newspapers and broadcasting channels. Whilst this narrative is somewhat reflective of the field, it is also slightly misleading. This is because it does not properly account for non-traditional forms of journalism or the historically marginalised groups who make and have made interesting journalistic contributions. This blogpost will illuminate some examples using the Gale Historical Newspapers collection with the intention of challenging stereotypical notions of what journalism is and who can do journalism.

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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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