How to Make Use of British Security Service Documents

│By Jade Burnett, Gale Ambassador at the University of Sheffield│

British Security Service files from Gale’s Political Extremism and Radicalism archive have a huge amount to tell us about British political life in the twentieth century. These files deal with the activities of extreme British political figures and movements. At first, these files may seem somewhat inaccessible, compiled in large folders, containing information which spans long periods of time and refers to a range of different figures, often with little context. However, once you get an understanding of how the archival documents are best used and approached, there are huge benefits to using them for academic research. 

Read more

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.

Read more

How Might a Creative Writing Student Use Gale Primary Sources When Working With the Horror Genre?

Creative writing header image

│By Holly Kybett Smith, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth│

If you’re currently studying Creative Writing at an undergraduate or Master’s level, you may find yourself wondering what resources are available – and relevant – to you. Every university library has its selection of critical texts on writing, and the internet puts dozens of author interviews and advice columns at your fingertips, so you may pass over primary source archives at first glance. My initial impression of these resources was that they were the domain of more ‘serious’ academics in the humanities; that I somehow wasn’t supposed to use them, even though I found them interesting. It was worth, however, revising my opinion and taking another, better look. In this article, I aim to share the ways in which a Creative Writing student might use Gale Primary Sources to their benefit. I am focusing on the Horror genre, as this is my area of interest, though much of this advice is applicable to students writing in other genres.

Read more

From Grimm to Gothic and Everything In Between: The Evolution of the Horror Genre

Screenshot of newspaper review of the film 'Scream'

|By India Marriott, Gale Ambassador at the University of Nottingham|

From the dawn of time, humans have been sharing stories of horror. From fairy tales of children lost in the woods to supernatural tales of ghosts and ghouls, tales of horror are interwoven throughout human history. However, in terms of Western culture, tales of horror began to appear throughout the eighteenth century in the form of the Gothic novel, after which several shifts in culture have taken place which impacted the Horror genre, from Romantic ideals, featuring an intensity of human emotion, to Victorian strict morality and rationality, right through to modern slasher films and the numerous subgenres that currently exist within the Horror genre.

Read more

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.

Read more

Researching the History of Emotions with Gale Primary Sources

Charles le Brun, The Expressions Trait é des Passions, 1732

|By Rose O’Connor, Gale Ambassador at Maynooth University|

It might take readers by surprise that the History of Emotions is now described as a cutting-edge field of history. When I first discovered it, I asked the same question you may be asking now; do emotions have a history? Yet this research area has been garnering momentum in the last two decades, with scholars from all aspects of academia – from cognitive psychologists to anthropologists – contributing. And no one yet knows how the History of Emotions will develop. Consequently, there is so much room for investigation and innovation. Let’s look at some of the tools we can use in Gale Primary Sources to help us investigate this exciting aspect of history and how it can bolster your own research.

Read more

Knowing Your Learning Style Can Supercharge Your Studies

Writing on glass drawing board

│By Grace Pashley, Gale Ambassador at the University of Birmingham│

Learning styles are something every teacher introduced to us at one point or another – a buzz word in revision sessions, and an excuse to take a quiz during lesson time! But what are learning styles and how can we benefit from knowing our own? There are three different types of learning styles: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic (or tactile, movement-orientated) learning. Knowing which group you fit within, and tailoring your studies to best cater for your strengths and weaknesses, can massively impact your overall educational experience.

Read more

How Ancient Egypt Was Presented in Nineteenth-Century Newspapers

Harrison, C.

│By Tamar Atkinson, Gale Ambassador at the University of Liverpool│

The nineteenth century is generally considered to be the period when Egyptology started to develop as an academic discipline, with key moments occurring during this century, such as Jean-François Champollion deciphering hieroglyphs in 1822 (200 years ago this year!). In correlation, we see a great increase in the popularity and depiction of Ancient Egypt in society as a whole, and what has come to be described as Egyptomania (a great enthusiasm for Egypt within popular cultural consciousness). Consequently, it is no surprise that we see this fascination with Ancient Egypt reflected in primary source documents from the time, as is evident in the visualisation below which charts the frequency of use of the term ‘Ancient Egypt’ in documents from Gale’s Nineteenth Century Collection Online.

Read more

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.

Read more