Uncovering the History of Twentieth-Century Hong Kong, China, and the World

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|By Liping Yang, Senior Manager, Academic Publishing, Gale|

Gale released China and the Modern World: Hong Kong, Britain, and China Part 1, 1841–1951 in August 2019. During that summer and subsequent months, Hong Kong made the headlines of international media due to a series of large-scale mass protests launched against the government’s introduction of a bill to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance with regard to extradition. The protests turned into riots and plunged the city into political conflict, which did not end until after the outbreak of COVID in 2020. Such protests or riots are nothing new in the history of Hong Kong. Actually, in 1967, a series of riots of comparable scale swept across the city, leading to violent confrontation between the rioters and police, and causing mass arrests and injuries. Such riots constitute just one of the many topics covered by the just released Hong Kong, Britain, and China Part 2, 1965–1993, the seventh module in Gale’s China and the Modern World series of digital archives.

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Writing Sensitive Personal Histories

Sensitive documents

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

Throughout this academic year I have been working on an MA dissertation on the marriages of members of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). In working on this dissertation, I have tried to piece together the personal lives of people who existed largely in the political sphere. While this work is hugely interesting and deeply fulfilling academically, it can also be very tricky, with the writing of personal histories bringing up a range of difficulties surrounding how academics can seek to sensitively piece together the intimate lives of individuals. I hope that this blog post can offer readers some tips and tricks on how to approach writing these histories. 

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How Might a Cultural History Scholar Use State Papers Online: The Stuart and Cumberland Papers?

Stuart and Cumberland

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

The Stuart and Cumberland Papers from the Royal Archives, Windsor Castle document the lives of the exiled Stuarts, from the Glorious Revolution in 1688 to the death of the last Stuart heir, Henry Benedict, Cardinal Duke of York in 1807. The Jacobite movement was the struggle, conducted through military and diplomatic means, by the exiled Stuarts and their supporters to regain the English throne. The Stuart and Cumberland Papers archive contains a wide variety of sources on this period of history. From the daily operations of the Stuart government in exile to the details of failed rebellions, there is plenty of material here to assist a political or military historian wishing to investigate eighteenth-century politics in Europe. However, this blog post is going to show you how the sources are also of great use to cultural historians. By reading the same sources, but noticing different details, this is a great way to help with your own essay writing. Let me show you some examples.

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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. 

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Asia, as Recorded in British Colonial Office Files

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│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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The Rise and Fall of Chinese Indentured Labour

Chinese Coolies and Overseers

|By Winnie Fok, Assistant Editor, Gale Asia|

Please be aware that this blog post contains language that may be offensive to some readers; the decision to read the post is at your own discretion.

“Coolies” (a historical term for indentured workers) are a relic of the past, no longer around today. This blog post captures the fascinating and tumultuous history of the coolie trade in brief, through the valuable primary source materials found in China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West Part 1, 1815–1881 and China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West Part 2, 1865–1905.

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The Bowring Treaty and the Opening up of Thailand

Map of Siam

│Liping Yang, Senior Manager, Academic Publishing, Gale Asia│

Siam (now known as Thailand) had long been a tribute nation of China’s Qing empire. However, the signing of the Treaty of Friendship and Commerce between Great Britain and Siam in 1855 opened a new chapter in the history of this Southeast Asian nation and its relationship with China and Western powers represented by Britain. This blog post retells the interesting stories behind the signing of this historic treaty through some invaluable primary source materials discovered in China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West Part 1, 1815-1881

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The Murder of Empress Myeongseong of Korea

Kind and Queen of Corea

│By Emery Pan, Associate Development Editor│

In 2001, the Korean television series Empress Myeongseong became a massive hit in many Asian countries. Empress Myeongseong, also known as Queen Min [闵妃], was the wife of Gojong [高宗], the ruler of Korea from 1864 to 1907. Her real life, explored below using primary sources from the Gale archive China and the Modern World, was actually far more complicated and bloody than it appeared in the historical drama.

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Using Primary Sources to Study Gun Control

Studying gun control

|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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How State Papers Online Can Support an Undergraduate History Dissertation

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State Papers Online is migrating to a much improved platform. In light of this, Ellie Brosnan, a third-year undergraduate student at Durham University with an interest in medieval history and particularly political developments throughout Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, has taken a look at what this archive has to offer students writing a dissertation in medieval and early modern history! To do so, Ellie used the new, updated version of State Papers Online.

Users will be able to preview the beta version of State Papers Online on the new platform from August 1, 2022. For more information about the beta experience, check out this blog post by Gale Primary Sources Product Manager Megan Sullivan.

│By Ellie Brosnan, Gale Ambassador at Durham University│

State Papers Online is a digitised collection containing British government papers from throughout the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It offers access to a range of different materials, from official documentation and legislation to more informal correspondence between key political actors of this period. This resource is split into three main collections that all host different materials related to the issue of early modern British government. The focus of this blog post is exploring how State Papers Online can be utilised for an undergraduate dissertation investigating the changes to early modern politics over the course of these centuries.

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