Can Digital Humanities teach us more about Political Extremism?

Graphs generated by Gale Primary Sources Term Frequency tool

│By Chris Houghton, Head of Digital Scholarship, Gale International

Studying extremist groups has, sadly, never been more relevant or more important. Can text mining and data analysis be used to enhance this study, and potentially make discoveries that could help with the ongoing fight against political extremism? In this blog, I provide some suggestions of how scholars might benefit from utilising these research methods, by showing what can be uncovered by combining Gale’s Political Extremism and Radicalism archive with the Gale Digital Scholar Lab.

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Platform or Publisher? The debate is older than you might think.

Photo of laptop showing YouTube
The articles linked to in this post may contain images and language that some may find distressing. Any opinions stated in the articles are those of the authors. All articles are from The Daily Mail Historical Archive add-on module (2005-2016).

│By Kyle Sheldrake, Strategic Marketing Manager – Insights and Development│

Social media and other platforms have greatly increased the ability to spread misinformation and promote division. To many people, demands for platforms such as YouTube and Facebook to take such responsibility may seem relatively new. Many would link it to the rise (or should we say wider public awareness) of “fake news,” hate speech, deliberate misinformation and political bias in the wake of Brexit and questions around Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory.

But is this a recent phenomenon, or has it been an ongoing part of YouTube’s history?

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The Power of Voice: Oral Histories in Gale’s Political and Extremism and Radicalism archive

│By Vicky Fielding, Senior Marketing Manager │

There are currently 61 oral histories in Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century Far-Right and Left Political Groups in the US, Europe and Australia. These interviews, which are available as audio recordings and transcripts, were recorded in 2015 by researchers from the University of Northampton in collaboration with Gerry Gable and the Searchlight network with anti-fascist activists active from the 1940s–1990s. They are exclusive recordings with anti-fascists about their experiences, discussing the post-war history of anti-fascism and what caused them to become engaged in the movement.

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Cultural Appropriation or Swiftian Satire? Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado

“The Mikado.” Illustrated London News, 4 Apr. 1885

| by Masaki Morisawa, Senior Product Manager, Library Reference, Tokyo |

Last year, an American high school student’s twitter account flamed up when she posted prom pictures of herself wearing a cheongsam, or Chinese dress. Some Asian Americans accused her, who is not of Chinese descent, of cultural appropriation. “My culture is NOT your [expletive] prom dress,” wrote one particularly upset commenter. Others, including many Asians living in Asia, defended her actions and dismissed such criticism as irrelevant.

While “cultural appropriation” is a fairly recent term, similar debates have arisen in the past where the borrowing of “exotic” elements from foreign cultures have been criticised as offensive or disrespectful. One such example is Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera The Mikado, a work that is often hailed as the duo’s masterpiece, yet at times has stirred controversy due to its use of Japanese costume and settings. In this post I would like to take a look at the history of Mikado performances and the controversies surrounding them.

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How to Gather and Analyse Primary Sources for a Research Project

laptop and books

│ by Kyle Sheldrake, Strategic Marketing Manager – Insight and Development │

Primary sources are a valuable resource in research projects, and digitised primary sources combine two advantages: the speed of identifying sources via targeted searching with having thousands of sources at your fingertips whenever they’re needed. The process of creating our Long Read on the Berlin Wall reminded me a lot of the essay writing process at university, so I thought this would be a good example to explain how to break down the process of gathering and assessing primary source material for a research piece, as this may be helpful to our student readers looking to incorporate primary sources into their essays.

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