History Workshop Journal

History Workshop Journal
Issue 61, Spring 2006

CONTENTS

Feature: Black Arts

    Hall, Stuart, 1932-
  • Black Diaspora Artists in Britain: Three ‘Moments’ in Post-war History
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    Subject Headings:
    • Art, Black -- Great Britain.
    • Art, British -- 20th century.
    Abstract:
      The article offers a conjunctural analysis of three 'moments' in the post-war black visual arts in the UK. The main contrast identified is between the 'problem space' of the artists–the last 'colonials'–who came to London after World War Two to join the modern avant-garde and who were anti-colonial, cosmopolitan and modernist in outlook, and that of the second generation–the first 'post-colonials'–who were born in Britain, pioneered the Black Art Movement and the creative explosion of the 1980s, and who were anti-racist, culturally relativist and identity-driven. In the work of the former, abstraction predominated; the work of the latter was politically polemical and collage-based, subsequently embracing the figural and the more subjective strategy of 'putting the self in the frame'. This generational shift is mapped here in relation to wider socio-political and cultural developments, including the growth of indigenous racism, the new social movements, especially anti-racist, feminist and identity politics, and the theoretical 'revolutions' associated with them. The contemporary moment–less politicized, and artistically neo-conceptual, multi-media and installation-based–is discussed more briefly.

Articles and Essays

    Wallis, Patrick.
  • A Dreadful Heritage: Interpreting Epidemic Disease at Eyam, 1666-2000
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    Subject Headings:
    • Epidemics -- England -- Eyam -- History -- Sources.
    • Epidemics -- England -- Eyam -- Historiography.
    Abstract:
      The events of the plague epidemic that afflicted Eyam, a small village in Derbyshire, in 1665-6 have made the village famous. It attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, making it an epicentre of Europe's plague heritage. The story of Eyam's plague is told as an exemplary narrative of heroic self-sacrifice, in which the villagers suffer in self-imposed isolation in order to save the county from the disease. It is, however, largely a fiction, a romantic tragedy constructed on a slender basis of evidence in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This paper examines the process by which this narrative emerged and was subsequently adapted and revised over three centuries. It shows how the plague story became a prominent part of English heritage, a basic element in understanding the space and past of the village, and the foundation of its tourist trade. The construction of the plague story offers an unusually clear case study in the social and intellectual dynamics of the creation of heritage and history, and the transformations that have occurred in the epistemic and disciplinary foundations of academic and popular literary and historical production over this period. The influence of changing ideas of social order and discipline, of familial duties and emotions, and of communal responsibility can be clearly traced through the various iterations of the plague story. It also allows us to explore the more specific interactions of epidemiology, disease and histories of disease.
    Posel, Deborah.
  • Marriage at the Drop of a Hat: Housing and Partnership in South Africa’s Urban African Townships, 1920s–1960s
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    Subject Headings:
    • Marriage -- South Africa -- History -- 20th century.
    • Housing policy -- South Africa -- History -- 20th century.
    Abstract:
      This paper holds a lens to the politics of marriage in South Africa's urban African townships, by way of a study of so-called 'house marriages': marriages transacted for the sake of a house. This was a mode of marriage that flouted all the established norms of Christian and customary marriage; yet it proliferated, and by the late 1960s, accounted for a significant proportion of partnerships in South Africa's cities and towns. The paper shows that this trend marked in the first instance the increasingly interventionist role played by the South African state in producing the sphere of African domesticity, along with the conditions of sexual and emotional intimacy. But the profusion of house marriages was also bound up with cultural shifts within urban African communities. While house marriages were persistently condemned as immoral and inauthentic by some, other township residents took a different view. Over time, the meaning of these partnerships was refashioned, so that house marriages were increasingly normalized as a legitimate, even respectable, mode of partnership.
    Jackson, Julian, 1954-
  • Sex, Politics and Morality in France, 1954-1982
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    Subject Headings:
    • Gays -- France -- Paris -- History -- 20th century.
    • Homosexuality -- France -- Paris -- History -- 20th century.
    • Baudry, André.
    Abstract:
      This article examines the French homosexual reform movement 'Arcadie' (1954-1982). Arcadie was one of the most important of a number of so-called 'homophile' movements which developed in several Western countries in the 1950s. After the emergence of radical gay politics in the early 1970s, these movements were violently criticized for their alleged 'reformism' and conservatism. This article argues that, while such accusations were not entirely unfounded, Arcadie's positions were more complicated than might have seemed the case. The article ends by re-examining the 1960s in the light of recent debates about gay marriage in France and elsewhere.
    Moeller, Robert G.
  • On the History of Man-made Destruction: Loss, Death, Memory, and Germany in the Bombing War
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    Subject Headings:
    • Friedrich, Jörg, 1944- Brand: Deutschland im Bombenkrieg 1940-1945.
    • World War, 1939-1945 -- Aerial operations.
    • Bombing, Aerial -- Germany.
    Abstract:
      For the last five years, remarkably, Germans have been fighting the war all over again–in illustrated magazines, television documentaries, the feature sections of their newspapers, big-box-office films, fat books with many, many footnotes and still others with many, many pictures. In Germany, the Second World War is 'in'. This essay examines one key aspect of what historian Norbert Frei has called the 'battle for memory'–the renewed interest among many Germans in the consequences of the Allied bombing campaign in the Second World War. It focuses in particular on an immensely popular account of the bombing war, Jörg Friedrich's Der Brand: Deutschland im Bombenkrieg 1940-1945, Munich, 2002 ('The Conflagration: Germany in the Bombing War 1940-1945', English translation forthcoming). The essay locates the current discussion about the bombing war in the 'memory landscape' of contemporary Germany and it offers suggestions of how it might be possible to write a history of the bombing war that moves beyond the binary of victims and perpetrators framing Friedrich's account.
    Strange, Carolyn, 1959-
  • The ‘Shock’ of Torture: a Historiographical Challenge
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    Subject Headings:
    • Torture -- Historiography.
    Abstract:
      When images of abusive and sexually-degrading behaviour by United States and British troops circulated globally in 2004 and 2005, leaders of the 'war on terror' expressed deep shock, then enlisted military justice to assign responsibility to rogue soldiers. Many on the Left have criticized such action and argued that torture enacts racist neo-colonialism, unleashed in the wake of the 9-11 attacks. Few critics apply a wider historical frame of reference, however.

      Historians have written extensively about torture in totalitarian regimes, former colonies, and the distant past of 'horrible history' yet our analyses of the recent history of physical abuse in liberal democracies remain rare. Debate over the apparent resurgence of torture would benefit from deeper historical knowledge and understanding of the body as an object of pain, humiliation, and death – not in foreign wars and military operations, but in the context of domestic, civil punishment, where determining the limits of sanctioned violence, rather than removing violence from penal repertoires, has been a matter of persistent deliberation in modern democracies. If the critically engaged historian's special burden is to keep present the pasts we prefer to forget, we might do more to shift the West's 'shock' into the nagging pain of self-knowledge.

Rethinking the English Revolution

    Skinner, Quentin.
  • Rethinking Political Liberty
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    Subject Headings:
    • Liberty.
    • Great Britain -- History -- Civil War, 1642-1649.
    • Great Britain -- Intellectual life -- 17th century.
    Abstract:
      The aim is to reopen a question over which there seems to be substantial agreement among rival schools of thought about the English revolution. Although scholars remain divided over how far the liberty of subjects was being encroached upon by the end of the 1630s, they generally agree that, if liberty was indeed being undermined, this was because subjects were being illegally deprived of their rights. The article first examines a different view of civil liberty, stemming from Roman law as well as common law sources, according to which it is possible to forfeit the status of being a free-man even if your rights are not being interfered with at all. This possibility is held to arise from the fact that you count as a free-man if and only if you are not dependent on the will of another. If you live in dependence you count as a slave, even if you remain capable of exercising your rights. After illustrating this argument, the article goes on to suggest that, if we were to give it due prominence, we might gain a better understanding of two puzzles about the politics of the 1640s. One concerns the nature of the principles in the light of which the Levellers as well as their opponents excluded certain social groups from the right to vote. The other concerns the nature of the grounds on which Parliament attempted in 1642 to legitimize its decision to resist the king by force.
    Walter, John, 1948-
  • The English People and the English Revolution Revisited
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    Subject Headings:
    • Great Britain -- History -- Civil War, 1642-1649.
    Abstract:
      This article revisits the question of the popular role in the English revolution. Surveying crowd actions, it argues for the existence of a pre-revolutionary popular political culture and the need to re-examine popular roles in the Revolution in the light of this pre-existing culture. Before the Revolution, the deep structures of the English state had created the need for a political dialogue between ruler and subject which allowed the people to claim legitimation for a political agency otherwise denied them in a culture of obedience. The new political space created by the Revolution enlarged the scope for that agency. Focusing on developments in the early 1640s, the article argues for the temporary emergence of a citizenry of free-born Englishmen (and, for some, free-born women). It calls for a marriage of political history with the research strategy and sources of social and cultural history to create 'a new political history' which can explore the contours of participation, rejection and exclusion from that culture.
    Weil, Rachel Judith.
  • Thinking about Allegiance in the English Civil War
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    Subject Headings:
    • Great Britain -- History -- Civil War, 1642-1649.
    • Allegiance -- Great Britain.
    Abstract:
      It was during the Civil War that political allegiance came to be conceived of as a problem or category in its own right, distinct if not divorced from confessional identity. This paper uses the narratives offered by 'delinquents' to the Committee for Compounding with Delinquents to interrogate discourses of allegiance in the civil war. Rather than try to determine the 'true allegiance' of individuals, this paper explores the claims within these narratives about inner conviction, outward behaviour, and financial circumstances to elucidate what contemporaries thought allegiance was, and how they thought it could be known. The problem of defining and determining allegiance itself has a history, and factors ranging from religious mentalités to the financial needs of the state determined how allegiance could be narrated at particular historical moments.
    Hughes, Ann, 1951-
  • A ‘lunatick revolter from loyalty’: the Death of Rowland Wilson and the English Revolution
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    Subject Headings:
    • Wilson, Rowland, 1613?-1650.
    • Great Britain -- History -- Civil War, 1642-1649.
    Abstract:
      In this essay I discuss the struggle to define the meaning of the death of a prominent London parliamentarian, Rowland Wilson, in order to argue that a full understanding of the English Revolution can best be achieved through a political history that is fully integrated with economic, social and cultural approaches. Wilson's end highlights the centrality of London as a contested participatory political arena wherein alliances were formed and different factions competed for support. It illustrates the importance of different forms of communication and representation to political mobilization; the role of print, of course, but also the use of rumour, gesture and ritual activity. Finally it explores the impact of traumatic political upheaval on gendered political identities, through the presentation of the public and private life of this troubled man.

Historians in the Streets

    Mosley, Philip.
  • Cobb’s Ixelles a Quarter Century On
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    Subject Headings:
    • Cobb, Richard, 1917- -- Travel -- Belgium -- Ixelles.
    • Ixelles (Belgium) -- Description and travel.
    Abstract:
      Richard Cobb was Professor of Modern History at Oxford from 1973 to 1984. In July and August 1978 the Listener published Cobb's two talks on the commune of Ixelles, one of nineteen such municipalities comprising the metropolis of Brussels. 'Within the Limits of Ixelles' and to 'The Lost Milieu of Ixelles', elegies to a place Cobb had first visited during World War Two, were part of 'Fiction, Fact, and France', his series of thirteen talks about novelists and places broadcast on Radio 3. Their elegiac mood allows for a meditation on the workings and transformations of our sense of place.

      To Cobb's view of Ixelles in these earlier periods I add my own view based on a recent half-year stay as a visiting professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. I suspect that Cobb, whose entire oeuvre sought to give history back to les petites gens, would have appreciated the continuing presence in Ixelles of a subculture now composed mainly of immigrants, artists, and students. I suspect too he would have viewed this multiculturalism as a welcome if not wholly adequate replacement for that irreverent, self-sufficient community of native artisans and marginaux which he respected so deeply and whose disappearance he described so eloquently on his return there more than twenty-five years ago.

    Wasserstrom, Jeffrey N.
  • Searching for Emily Hahn on the Streets of St Louis
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    Subject Headings:
    • Hahn, Emily, 1905-1997.
    Abstract:
      A surprising number of notable contributors to both highbrow and popular cultural genres were born in St Louis –from writers T. S. Eliot and Kate Chopin, to comedian Dick Gregory and film star Betty Grable, to rocker Chuck Berry and jazz chanteuse Josephine Baker. And yet this metropolis, once the grandest in the Midwest and the fourth largest in the country, has long had an odd sort of inferiority complex, especially vis-à-vis Chicago, the upstart city to the north that also first attracted global attention by holding an international exhibition, in its case the Columbian Exposition of 1893. Many locals now imagine that people in other places, when they think of St Louis at all, view it as a city well past its prime whose only real claim to fame is that it once served as a starting point for journeys toward the Pacific, such as the Lewis and Clark Expedition two hundred years ago.

      This article draws attention to St Louis author Emily Hahn, who was born here just a year after its World's Fair took place. My interest in this long-lived author, like my interest in cities that had hosted international exhibitions, had a Shanghai connection. (There was also a more local one: her husband, the historian Charles Boxer, once taught at my university and our rare-books library houses both of their papers and manuscripts.) Of the over one-hundred essays Hahn contributed to the New Yorker before passing away in 1997, one of the most famous, 'The Big Smoke', was set in Shanghai, a city she lived in during the 1930s. It certainly has one of her most memorable opening lines: 'Though I had always wanted to be an opium addict, I can't claim that as the reason I went to China.'

History on the Line

    Leach, Michael, 1968-
  • East Timorese History after Independence
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    Subject Headings:
    • East Timor -- History -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- Indonesia.
    • East Timor -- Historiography.
    Abstract:
      This paper examines recent debates over national history in post-colonial East Timor. It is argued that beneath a broadly unifying theme of 'national' resistance to colonial occupations lies a more complex and ongoing postcolonial struggle over the ownership of core historical narratives, identities and symbols.

History at Large

    Herrin, Judith.
  • Turks: a Journey of a Thousand Years, 600–1600
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    Subject Headings:
    • Royal Academy of Arts (Great Britain) Turks: a journey of a thousand years, 600-1600 [exhibition]
    • Turkic peoples -- Exhibitions.

Historic Passion

Reviews

    Brock, Claire, 1977-
  • Astronomical Ambition
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    Subject Headings:
    • Herschel, Caroline Lucretia, 1750-1848. Caroline Herschel's autobiographies.
    • Hoskin, Michael A., ed.
    • Hoskin, Michael A. Herschel partnership: as viewed by Caroline.
    • Herschel, Caroline Lucretia, 1750-1848.
    • Herschel, William, Sir, 1738-1822.
    Ingrascí, Ombretta.
  • Anomalous Females
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    Subject Headings:
    • Lombroso, Cesare, 1835-1909. Criminal woman, the prostitute, and the normal woman.
    • Ferrero, Guglielmo, 1871-1942.
    • Rafter, Nicole Hahn, 1939-, tr.
    • Gibson, Mary, 1950-, tr.
    • Babini, Valeria Paola. Caso Murri: una storia italiana.
    • Female offenders.
    • Bonmartini, Francesco, conte, d. 1902.
    Gilmartin, Sophie.
  • Prostrated
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    Subject Headings:
    • Frawley, Maria H., 1961- Invalidism and identity in nineteenth-century Britain.
    • Chronic diseases -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
    Barringer, T. J.
  • Owning Beauty
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    Subject Headings:
    • Bailkin, Jordanna. Culture of property: the crisis of liberalism in modern Britain.
    • Great Britain -- Antiquities -- Collection and preservation -- History.
    Bown, Nicola.
  • Esoteric Selves and Magical Minds
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    Subject Headings:
    • Owen, Alex, 1948- Place of enchantment: British occultism and the culture of the modern.
    • Occultism -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
    Wilson, Jon E.
  • Metropolitan Savages
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    Subject Headings:
    • Marriott, John, 1944- Other empire: metropolis, India and progress in the colonial imagination.
    • Urban poor -- England -- London -- History -- 19th century.

Report Back

    Ingham, Mary.
  • Using the War: Changing Memories of World War Two
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    Subject Headings:
    • Oral History Society (Great Britain). Annual Conference (2005 : London, England)
    • World War, 1939-1945 -- Congresses.
    Stanley, Jo.
  • Tourism and the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility
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    Subject Headings:
    • International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility. International Conference (3rd : 2005 : York, England)
    • Tourism -- Congresses.

Obituary




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