Global Communist and Socialist Movements – The Third Instalment of Political Extremism and Radicalism

Socialism

│By Emma Harris, Associate Editor, Gale Primary Sources

Global Communist and Socialist Movements is the third instalment of the award-winning Political Extremism and Radicalism series. For researchers interested in the workings of radical thinking, rhetoric, and twentieth century politics, this module offers a broad scope of material on left-wing thinking and political ideologies such as Marxism-Leninism, Maoism, Trotskyism, and anarchism, adding to the material on far-right groups and some areas of the far left already in the Political Extremism and Radicalism series.

This module provides excellent international coverage, including material from the USA, UK, Europe, Latin America, and South Africa. This grants researchers the opportunity to study the historical trajectories of left-wing radical movements across the globe, considering how these groups saw themselves, as well as the reactions of the capitalist nations in which they emerged. The twenty-one collections digitised from eight source libraries contain approximately 870,000 pages, with documents ranging primarily from 1880 to 1960.

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Exploring the Rise of Black Consciousness in South Africa using Gale Primary Sources

Anit-apartheid protest

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

In the midst of finishing the final year of my Bachelor’s degree, I wrote a comparative analysis between the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa and La Négritude, a literary black resistance movement in Senegal. Inspired by this, in this blog post I will be focusing on the rise of Black Consciousness in South Africa and what it sought to be. This topic is also of great personal relevance to me, as it delves into the experiences of individuals who share my own racial and cultural identity. Furthermore, as someone who has lived in West Africa and had the opportunity to visit South Africa, I find it truly captivating to delve into the nuances of this movement and acquire a more profound understanding of it.

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Decolonising the Literary Curriculum: A Close Examination of Derek Walcott’s Omeros

Skyline of Cape Town, South Africa

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

Decolonisation refers to the process of attempting to undo the social, political, economic and cultural effects of imperialism on former colonies. Having just completed my undergraduate degree in English and Classical Literature at King’s College London, I have come to appreciate language and the written arts as potent mediums to contemplate, respond to and even resist the weight of colonial history.

My dissertation on Derek Walcott’s 1990 postmodern epic Omeros most thoroughly illustrated to me the nuances and creative potential of colonial victims to negotiate their present and historical standing in response to imperial agents. My exploration of this theme in Walcott’s work was particularly interesting as he ostensibly views colonisation as continuous, from nineteenth-century British and French empires to modern American capitalism, as the same force underlies both processes for the benefit of the typically white aristocracy, eclipsing native identity and homogenising Caribbean culture to artificiality.

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Emancipating a Continent: Studying the Americas Through The Region’s Liberators

American continent

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

Four years ago, when I began studying History and Politics of the Americas at University College London, I had little prior knowledge about the region of Latin America and the Caribbean. I’d studied History A-Level in the UK, but the syllabus focused mainly on European revolutions. My knowledge of Latin America and the Caribbean was limited to the perspective of Europe. For example, I had studied Napoleon III’s attempt to colonise Mexico, but from the perspective of France.

Joining the Institute of the Americas was, therefore, a big adjustment. I had to free myself from the Eurocentric framework I had developed in school. Using primary sources helped me familiarise myself with the region, and students of the region should check out Gale’s Archives of Latin American and Caribbean History, Sixteenth to Twentieth Century database to do so. I found some engaging sources in the Latin American and Iberian Biographies collection on three of the most significant liberators of Latin America and the Caribbean, and these men’s stories can teach us useful lessons about studying the Americas.

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Decolonization: Politics and Independence in Former Colonial and Commonwealth Territories

Decolonization header

|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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How Slave Narratives Give Voice to the Enslaved

Slave narratives header

│By Ellen Boucher, Gale Ambassador at the University of Bristol│

A source often overlooked in the study of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans is slave narratives. They are crucial to the work of decolonising the history of slavery because they allow us to remove the emphasis on those in power and give agency to enslaved persons. Gale’s Archives Unbound gives us access to many of these slave narratives, from the well-known stories of Olaudah Equiano and Harriet Jacobs to less well-known narratives of Martha Griffith Browne and Noah Davis.

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

Woman's Missionary Advocate header image

|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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Dissecting the Value of Photographic Histories with the Picture Post Historical Archive

Montage created from sources in the Picture Post archive

│By Phoebe Sleeman, Gale Ambassador at Durham University│

Photographs are something we all now regularly take for granted. I have already taken a multitude of pictures today – some carefully crafted, others on the spur of the moment. What does this seemingly mundane and ordinary act of photographing bring to a study of history, and why should photographs be included within archives?

Photographs are not normative written sources which leads some to be sceptical of their historical value. Others assert that photographs contain less historical bias as they show the reality of what occurred in the past. Neither of these attitudes are helpful. Instead, using Gale’s Picture Post Historical Archive, an example of the intersection of photography, writing and the beginning of photojournalism, I will dissect the value of ‘Photographic Histories’ as an area of study and assess the usefulness of such an archive.

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Asia, as Recorded in British Colonial Office Files

SPO Colonial header image

│By Julia de Mowbray, Publisher at Gale│

Gale’s first online archive of British Colonial Office files, State Papers Online Colonial, has just been released. The first four parts1 will publish the Colonial Office (CO) files relating to the administration of Britain’s colonies in Asia, namely, Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, Brunei, British North Borneo, Ceylon, and the naval base at Wei-Hai-Wei (Burma and India were administered by the India Office).  

Part 1: Far East, Hong Kong, and Wei-Hai-Wei includes files from the Colonial Office’s general departments on Asia as well as the those from the administration of Hong Kong and Wei-Hai-Wei (Weihai). The Colonial Office general departments were the “Eastern” (1927-1951), “Hong Kong and Pacific” (1946-1955), “Far Eastern Reconstruction” (1942-1945), “Far Eastern” (1941-1967) and “South East Asia” (1950-1956) departments, spanning different periods, plus the early East Indies papers (1570-1856). These are joined by the Asia files from Confidential Original Correspondence, Confidential Print, Maps, Photographs series. In all it is around 385,000 pages. This part, therefore, is not limited to Britain’s colonies, but includes documents on China, Indonesia, Japan, and Korea. Each file is tagged with its subject country or countries to help researchers refine their search.

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Launch of British Library Newspapers, Part VI: Ireland 1783-1950

Irish newspapers

|By Rachel Holt, Gale Primary Sources Acquisitions Editor|

It is with great excitement that Gale announces the launch of the sixth instalment of the British Library Newspapers series. This latest module entitled Ireland 1783-1950 will add an additional 80 titles to the series and, as the name suggests, these were all published in Ireland in the late eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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