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Critical ethnography, entrepreneurship education and inequalities
Kirsty Morrin

This chapter draws on research in Milltown Community Academy, a Northern secondary school that houses an ‘entrepreneurship specialism’. Overall, the chapter makes two contributions; firstly, it presents data that evidences retrenched inequality at Milltown Academy, and secondly it makes a methodological case for critical ethnography. Empirically, the chapter examines Milltown Academy’s entrepreneurial agenda in practice. In the academy ‘entrepreneurship education’ is formally embedded in the school’s ethos and curriculum. It is also realised through a ‘real-world’ initiative that allows local and student start-up businesses to operate from within the school building. Throughout, the chapter highlights processes by which ‘race’ and class inequalities are (re)produced in and through these entrepreneurship education practices. Methodologically, data in the chapter are drawn from critical ethnographic research collected at the institution over a year-long period. Bringing together methods and theory, the chapter draws on critical traditions in theories of sociology and education that centre inequality and ‘contradiction’. Specifically, the chapter devises and operationalises a series of ‘contradictions’ it names as ‘keyoxymorons’ to think, research and write through complex, and simultaneous struggles with inequality in the academy school and beyond. For example, the keyoxymoron ‘successful-failure’ is deployed to explore and unpack socio-historic discourses of ‘success’ attached to the academy, while simultaneously illustrating how some of these narratives of ‘success’ work to encompass, distort and ignore ‘failure’.

in Inside the English education lab
Icebergs as planetary travellers
Elizabeth Leane

In the Anthropocene, icebergs have moved from the periphery to the centre of global public consciousness, their ephemerality and mutability ominously signalling the changes operating at a planetary level. The calving of a giant tabular iceberg is now understood as a political event, framed by global media headlines not only as a visual spectacle but also as a source of communal fear, anxiety, guilt, and anger. At the same time, tourists have been visiting the Antarctic region in exponentially increasing numbers – a trend that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted but is unlikely to stop. Iceberg encounters are a key part of this experience, even while the icescape itself is impacted by anthropogenic warming, to which the travel required to reach the Antarctic region is a contributor. In this chapter, I propose a new term, ‘cryonarrative’, as shorthand to describe contemporary stories that explore interactions between humans and ice, and suggest ways in which this term might help us think about the current meanings being assigned to icebergs. Within tourism and media contexts, icebergs are often subject to reductive narratives that render them as aesthetic objects for human consumption or symbols of human doom. As a counter to this anthropocentric approach, I consider the advantages of characterizing and narrating icebergs as travellers on a planetary scale whose journeys are interconnected with our own.

in Ice humanities
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France-Actualités and beyond
Maryann De Julio

This chapter discusses Germaine Dulac’s work on documentary cinema, especially the film Le Cinéma au service de l’histoire (1935) and the small company France-Actualités, which she formed, associated with Gaumont, and which ran from 1932 to 1935. In keeping with the three kinds of documentary film that Dulac made in the 1930s – the newsreel, the compilation history, and the political campaign film – the chapter examines a sample of her newsreels; Le Cinéma au service de l’histoire, a film montage of archival footage; and Retour à la vie (1936). The chapter also examines Dulac’s scientific films and her unrealized projects. Representations of women are examined throughout as they relate to the social and cultural forces of their day.

in Germaine Dulac
Sea ice in the Soviet Museum of the Arctic in the 1930s
Julia Lajus and Ruth Maclennan

In the 1930s, Arctic sea ice became very visible in Soviet life. Moving sea ice was recognized as an important actant in polar expeditions of different kinds: the Chelyuskin disaster, the icebreaker Krasin rescue voyage, Papanin’s drifting research station on an ice floe. Sea ice gradually stopped being seen as an obstacle in political and cultural discourses and became an element in the process of environing –transformation of nature into environment. To facilitate this process, however, sea ice needed to be carefully studied to better understand and predict its movements. Wherever possible the ice should become friendly, along with the rest of the Arctic that was also becoming friendly, as its most dangerous features were overcome thanks to human-induced transformation. This chapter considers the spaces and collections of the Museum of the Arctic, which opened in 1937 in Leningrad, with the focus on how sea ice was reimagined, depicted, and engaged with. It demonstrates how attitudes towards sea ice, and the ways of representing it that were established in the 1930s, continue to exert a powerful influence today. Icebreakers remain important objects and protagonists in the transformation of Arctic sea ice and continue to exert power as both heroic heritage and powerful contemporary symbols of Russian Arctic development and dominance.

in Ice humanities
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Ente Italiano per le Audizioni Radiofoniche (EIAR)
Ester Lo Biundo

After an overview of the history of early Italian radio (Ente Italiano per le Audizioni Radiofoniche, or EIAR), this chapter analyses another aspect of the ambiguous role played by Radio Londra. While British propaganda described Britain as a genuine and convinced supporter of the anti-fascist cause, what follows shows that British anti-fascist propaganda only really started when the British interests in the Mediterranean were at risk. Moreover, despite the anti-Italian propaganda in Arabic broadcast by the BBC from 1937, it was only with the Italian declaration of war on Britain that contacts between the BBC and EIAR stopped. Before this date, the two radio stations were constantly in touch to exchange material for use in their programmes, as the documents held at the BBC Written Archives Centre attest.

An analysis of the anti-Axis programmes in the last two sections of the chapter, compared with existing literature on the Second World War, also shows how the BBC’s Italian Service contributed to the distribution of false information about the Italian army’s defeat at El Alamein at the end of 1942, as well as about Italy’s unconditional surrender. In order to win the war, it was key to persuade the Italians that they had been dragged into the war by an unreliable ally. These data are unsurprising in a war context; however, it is clearly in contrast with the BBC’s reputation as the authentic voice of the Italian Resistance and anti-fascism.

in London calling Italy
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The mountain cryosphere
Dani Inkpen

This chapter answers the following questions: What is the mountain cryosphere? And what value does it have for ice humanities scholars? Unlike the Greenland or Antarctic icesheets, or even the Arctic cryosphere, the mountain cryosphere is not picked out by geographical continuity. Scattered across the globe, it is defined by a shared topographical situation. I argue that key geographical features of the mountain cryosphere – its near global distribution and its proximity to human habitations – render it both challenging and rewarding for ice humanities: challenging due to its dispersion and diversity – it is difficult to say something about humans and the mountain cryosphere in general; rewarding because, as homes and accessible places to visit, mountains are known in many ways, and thus present opportunities for studying multifaceted and entangled ways of knowing, experiencing, and representing ice. Of the world’s population, 13 per cent live in mountainous regions; many more depend on mountain glaciers and snowpack for water, power, and ecological and cultural services. Reflecting on the mountain cryosphere forcefully refutes the notion that ice is distant, peripheral, or marginal.

in Ice humanities
Hugh Lenox Scott (1853–1934) and the United States’ imperial expansion
Stefan Eklöf Amirell

In his study of US Army officer Hugh Lenox Scott, Stefan Eklöf Amirell uses the biography of Scott to decentre our understanding of US imperialism. By meticulously pursuing the question of the normal versus the exceptional in Scott’s trajectory, Amirell demonstrates the complexity of white male US imperialism. It was an endeavour which combined ruthless violence, mortifying stereotypes and romanticism with a genuine curiosity for Native American life. Scott’s ethnographic capital would turn out to be a military career asset, positioning him as a gifted negotiator in US colonial hotspots in the Philippines and Cuba. Indeed, Scott’s trajectory forces us to rethink conventional narratives of the military’s role in imperial projects – such as for instance the link, made by sociologist George Steinmetz, between a military habitus, the readiness to use violence and the denigration of ethnographic knowledge – while also posing the wider challenge of how to conceptualize imperialism so as to be able to contain figures like Scott in our narratives. Amirell uses the exceptional normal as an optic by which to measure Hugh Lenox Scott against the standards of his time and at the same time shows the exceptional normal as a problem in global historical method and perspective.

in Global biographies
How failure shaped the futures of Balkan heroes
Isa Blumi

Isa Blumi provides us with a sort of anti-biography of Fan S. Noli, a praised national hero in Albanian historiography. Blumi demonstrates that Noli was in fact the result of Tosk-Albanian elite networks, supportive of the Ottoman Empire. This is an insight that Blumi obtains by tracing Noli’s trajectory beyond Albania to Cairo, Alexandria and Boston in the United States. By dislocating Noli, and paying close attention to those around him, Blumi demonstrates that Noli was – as Blumi also puts it – exceptionally normal. He is better understood, so to speak, as a fairly normal member of networks whose representatives were by no means as sure of their support of and membership in future nations as historians would like them to have been.

in Global biographies
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Biographies, memories and experiences of the Italian anti-fascist broadcasters
Ester Lo Biundo

This chapter concentrates on Italian broadcasters who worked for the BBC. By exploring their memoirs and the years preceding their emigration to Britain, it aims to understand their political and cultural milieu. This in turn allows us to comprehend why they ended up working for British propaganda and to what extent their backgrounds and experiences as immigrants are mirrored in the content of the programmes.

Analysis of a selection of memoirs published by these broadcasters during or after the war also reveals their intended mission at the BBC. Their aim was not to engage with their fellow academics or intellectuals. Rather, they wanted to support ordinary Italians whose lives were constantly at risk. This objective was in line not only with the broader aim of the BBC to educate and entertain the masses, but also with the broadcasters’ personal life experiences in Britain. In Italy they were established academics, lawyers or politicians. Yet their forced emigration to another country and the outbreak of war turned them into ordinary men.

The first section of the chapter focuses on the existing literature about anti-fascist political emigration from the early 1920s to the promulgation of the Italian racial laws, while each of the subsequent sections refers to a specific Italian broadcaster. The criteria for choosing the biographies for inclusion in this chapter are the importance of the broadcasters on the Italian political and cultural scene and the number of programmes under their names found at the BBC Written Archives Centre.

in London calling Italy
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Mehmed Cavid Bey, politics and finance in the global Middle East, 1908–14
Ozan Ozavci

Ozan Ozavci zooms in on the life of Mehmet Cavid Bey, a liberal Young Turk, three times Minister of Finance in the Ottoman Empire, and a dönme (a descendant of Jews forcefully converted to Islam during the seventeenth century). Exploring the analytical benefits of the notion of the exceptional normal, Ozavci shows that Cavid went from being exceptional to being normal as the financial constraints of the Ottoman Empire narrowed his ability to maintain his early liberal views on free trade, foreign investment and a genuine belief in a European civilizing mission. Cavid became more attuned to economic nationalism; his views aligning themselves with those of other Young Turks of the period. In a global historical perspective, then, we may learn – by probing into a seemingly exceptional person and embedding him in the normalcies of broad structural forces – how normalcies discipline, entrap and normalize even those seeking change from a marginal position.

in Global biographies