This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

War of 1812

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From knowing your history to looting the White House, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Virginity Testing: Racism, Sexism, and British Immigration Control

A Victorian-era vaginal speculum.
A Victorian-era vaginal speculum.

Evan Smith and Marinella Marmo
Flinders University

How racist and sexist attitudes formed in the Victorian era resulted in the harsh and discriminatory treatment of women by the immigration control system in the 1960s and 1970s.

In February 1979, The Guardian reported that a number of women had been given gynaecological examinations by immigration control staff in the UK and at British High Commissions in South Asia, in a practice colloquially known as ‘virginity testing’. These tests were predominantly performed on South Asian women seeking to enter the UK on fiancée visas, which were not subject to waiting lists under the Immigration Act 1971. But while these rules allowed fiancées to enter without much paperwork, British immigration officials were also highly suspicious that these visas were being abused, feeding off a wider belief that many South Asian migrants were coming to Britain under false pretences. Continue reading “Virginity Testing: Racism, Sexism, and British Immigration Control”

The @ICRC Archive is Opening its Records from 1966-1975

Nigeria. Biafra conflict. M'Baise province (team 16). Arrival of relief supplies.  Public 1969 © CICR / WITH, R.
Nigeria. Biafra conflict. M’Baise province (team 16). Arrival of relief supplies. Public 1969 © CICR / WITH, R.

Dr Jean-Luc Blondel
Head of the Archives and Information Management Division
International Committee of the Red Cross

Since its founding in 1863, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been aware of the importance of keeping a record of its work and of its legacy – in the form of paper and audiovisual archives – to preserve the memories and knowledge of its past and to lay the foundation for its current and future work. Over time, the organization has amassed an outstanding and unique collection that encompasses its own history as well as the history of international humanitarian law and humanitarian action in general.

In January 1996, the ICRC decided to open its archives to the public in broad chronological sections at a time. By shortening the protective embargo on its archives, the ICRC was able to open the 1951-1965 records in 2004, thereby adding to the sources in its collection available for consultation by the public. From January 2015, the 1966-1975 archives will also be open to outside researchers. Continue reading “The @ICRC Archive is Opening its Records from 1966-1975”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

ferguson
Left: photo from 1960s Civil Rights protest. Right: Ferguson protest.

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From Ferguson’s international dimensions to . . . globalization as a game of Scrabble? Here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

How the Antarctic Reframes the Context of Class and Empire

Shackleton Expedition, Antarctica, 1915. Photo: REX
Shackleton Expedition, Antarctica, 1915. Photo: REX

Richard Batten
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @Richard_Batten

Review of Ben Maddison. Class and Colonialism in Antarctic Exploration, 1750-1920. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2014. xii + 247pp. £60 (hardback), ISBN 978-1848934184. ‘Empires in Perspective’ Series.

class and colonialismThe histories of Antarctic exploration have generally tended to focus on the narratives of intrepid explorers such as Ernest Shackleton and Robert F. Scott, who led expeditions of endurance to the arduous polar wilderness of Antarctica. In the view of Ben Maddison, this concentration on the heroism of the Antarctic explorers, who he defines as the Antarctic elite or the ‘masters’, was an understandable consequence of how historians had approached ‘Antarctic history almost exclusively from the rhetoric and records of the masters’ [79]. In Class and Colonialism in Antarctic Exploration, 1750-1920 (2014), Maddison suggests that historians have, unintentionally, strengthened the invisibility of the Antarctic working class because they have been hesitant to engage critically with the voices from below on these expeditions.

Indeed, Maddison argues that it was the ‘gentrification’ of Antarctic exploration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that further contributed to the silencing of the working class. This despite the fact that the expeditions to Antarctica were ‘facilitated by multifarious labours of the working class’ [6]. Consequently, Maddison claims to fill this historical vacuum by providing a substantial new interpretation of the history of Antarctic expeditions. Continue reading “How the Antarctic Reframes the Context of Class and Empire”

Tin and Global Capitalism, 1850-2000: A History of the “Devil’s Metal”

Mats Ingulstad, Andrew Perchard & Espen Storli

perchard Tin and global capitalismTin and Global Capitalism, 1850-2000 traces the development of the industry from the ups and downs of the Cornish trade to the emergence of the Bolivian, Congolese and Malays as global players. Released on 27 August 2014, as part of the Routledge International Studies in Business History, the volume is the first collection to emerge out of the establishment of the History and Strategic Raw Materials Initiative (HSRMI), which we founded in 2012.

HSRMI was formed with the explicit intention of bringing together scholars working on what EC Vice-President referred to in 2012 as “raw materials diplomacy” from an historical perspective to utilise history to inform ongoing public debates about access to “strategic raw materials”. The importance of this is underlined by ongoing trade disputes over access to “rare earths” and other mineral deposits, as well as “resource wars” in Africa. Based on papers given at a conference on tin and the global economy at Harvard Business School in June 2012, the book intentionally explores the growth of global capitalism through the prism of the international trade in tin. Continue reading “Tin and Global Capitalism, 1850-2000: A History of the “Devil’s Metal””

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Farm laborers from the Twin Falls camp, July 1942. LC-USF34-073809-E. From Uprooted Exhibit.
Japanese Farm laborers, Twin Falls camp, USA, July 1942. LC-USF34-073809-E. From Uprooted Exhibit.

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

It is a week of How’s: From how to read photos of Japanese internment to  how Piketty misses informal empire and unfree labor – here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”