The Historical Context Behind Projections of the ‘Dangerous Drag Queen’ by the Far Right

LGBTQ protest header

Disclaimer: This blog post is written by an undergraduate student. Becca uses materials from Gale’s Political Extremism and Radicalism: Far-Right Groups in America archive which contains visual and textual material representing various historical viewpoints related to race, gender, sexuality, terrorism, and other subjects, including terminology and concepts that may be considered offensive by modern standards. … Read more

How are Female Protagonists Presented in Erotic Literature?

Montage of images from this post of erotic literature

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

Erotic literature and the representation of human sexuality has been around for thousands of years, whether that be the erotic lyric poems of Sappho of Lesbos or the highly commercialised Fifty Shades of Grey. Embracing one’s sexuality and authentically representing human experience has been and continues to be a contentious topic in the modern day. The Private Case from the British Library, one of the collections in Gale’s Sex and Sexuality, Sixteenth to Twentieth Century archive, brings to light erotic printed books which were previously deemed too deviant and morally corrupt to be available to the general public in the British Museum Library. Whilst The Private Case from the British Library is now a historical collection which is no longer updated, this historical archive provides readers with an insight into the realities of sexuality, desire and contemporary attitudes around sex at the time that these books were produced.

Despite the benefits of uncovering the perceived, or potentially true, realities of intimacy in a period when sexual desire was condemned and criminalised, we must remember that much of the erotic literature is written by men for men. The representation of women in erotic literature is often limited as women are objectified by the male gaze, and not able to voice their own thoughts about their sexual encounters. Whilst objectified, women are still represented as individuals who enjoy sexual encounters, but usually only in service of men, and have little to no agency in these sexual encounters. Yet, whilst it’s important to recognise the male gaze and its impact on how women and their sexual desire is portrayed, The Private Case from the British Library is able to provide researchers with an unabashedly revealing depiction of human sexuality.

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Early Modern Medicine: Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health

Obstetrics: midwife assisting in a birth, Original woodcut image from E. Roeslin, Rosengarten, 1513,Wellcome Collection

│By Georgia Winrow, Gale Ambassador at Lancaster University│

Whilst we may think of how diseases such as the bubonic plague, typhoid or tuberculosis were discussed when studying medicine in early modern Europe, we often do not consider how significantly understandings of sexual and reproductive health developed during this period. The specialism of women’s health in particular was firmly established in these years, with the publication of manuals and treaties to direct physicians and midwives in their practice. Indeed, whilst the early modern period saw practitioners drawing upon the work of ancient authorities, it was also a period of innovation, particularly within science and medicine.

Gale’s Sex and Sexuality, Sixteenth to Twentieth Century collection is truly interdisciplinary and includes materials that would support academic fields as varied as Sociology, Law and Theology. For scholars investigating the History of Medicine, the most significant materials within this collection which can be used to explore the emergence of a comprehensive, gendered understanding of early modern medicine are arguably the medical enquiries, manuals and pamphlets.

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Using Primary Sources to Explore How Courts Punished Interracial Sex in Apartheid South Africa

Picture of Black male hand holding the hand of a white female

│By Nonkoliso Andiswa Tshiki, Senior Gale Ambassador at the University of Johannesburg│

Tackling a research assignment can prove to be extremely challenging to many student scholars at first. However, there are a few strategies that I have up my sleeves on how one can approach a research project. Firstly, it’s important to break the question down to ensure that you understand what you are being asked to do and what is required of you. Secondly, it is paramount to find a database that will provide you with materials relevant and valuable to your project. In this post I will demonstrate how I used primary sources in Gale’s Women’s Studies Archive in a recent research assignment at my university to explore how courts investigated and punished interracial sex in South Africa under the apartheid regime. This will hopefully help other scholars who are interested in the history of South African politics see how they too can use Gale’s primary sources in their own research projects.

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L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale de France – A Student’s Perspective

|By Rob Youngs do Patrocinio, Gale Ambassador at University College London|

Gale’s rich and exciting archive collection L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque national de France, which is part of Gale’s Archives of Sexuality and Gender series, holds an impressive assortment of approximately 2400 printed works, published mostly in French. Enfer quite literally translates into English as “hell”. The name is remarkable and has certainly contributed to the collection’s historical infamy. When it was opened, the collection was classified and unavailable to the wider public due to its obscene and outlandish nature, and the perceived vulgarity of the content – but perhaps unsurprisingly this only roused interest and curiosity in the collection! Students of today will undoubtedly be equally curious to explore this historically “out of bounds” collection.

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Queer Progress on the High Seas: Exploring LGBTQ Naval Experiences with the Global Encyclopedia of LGBTQ History

By Jo Stanley, academic contributor to Gale’s Global Encyclopedia of LGBTQ History

Having a rainbow at your fingertips is more than handy – it’s a luxurious necessity. So the publication of Gale’s Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History is something I celebrate. It will be extremely satisfying for those who want to quickly find out what so many reference works have previously omitted about LGBTQ history.

As an expert on the gendered sea I’ve previously been pleased to contribute to other encyclopedias, but being able to add my entry on the UK merchant and royal navies to the Global Encyclopedia of LGBTQ History is even more special. Why? Because I’m giving clear information about something still difficult to find material about. There’s been no such succinct summary anywhere else.

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