Imperial glaciers in Russian Central Asia
Christine Bichsel

Early Russian glaciology in Central Asia began during the second half of the nineteenth century, with the establishment of Russian colonial rule in the region. First scientific observations of glaciers took place during Russian scientific expeditions to Central Asia, often in combination with military campaigns. This chapter analyses the ‘scientific biographies’ of two glaciers in the Pamir Mountains of Central Asia: the Abramov Glacier, today in Kyrgyzstan, and the Zeravshan Glacier, today in Tajikistan. The scientific biographies of these two glaciers are closely connected to the prevailing political context, knowledge creation, and historical protagonists. What is revealed is that the Abramov and Zeravshan glaciers became scientific objects in the context of Russian conquest: they were first mapped by military topographers, and then studied by mining engineers carrying out geological surveys in Central Asia. Insights from the two scientific biographies suggest that enlisting these glaciers in Imperial Russian science was a gradual and non-linear process. While glaciers began to appear as scientific objects in Russian narratives, they remained obscure despite their prominence in the Central Asian landscape. I argue that these regimes of vision in Imperial Russian science are epistemologically, politically, and economically constructed. The (in)visibility of these two glaciers in scientific narratives is a result of symbolic and material imperiality in Russian Central Asia.

in Ice humanities
Ester Lo Biundo

The analyses of the radio transcripts in Chapters 5 and 6 confirms that the BBC played an ambiguous role in Italy. In order to win the war, it was crucial to demonstrate that the Allied coalition was a superior military force. As the BBC often repeated, the Allies would not treat the Italians as enemies if they got rid of fascism and the Nazi occupiers. However, they could also bomb their cities.

The contradictory role of the Italian Service has also emerged from Chapters 3 and 4. The Italian exiles working for the BBC experienced several issues with the British Foreign Office and were not always free to express their political opinions, despite references in their memoirs to the BBC being a second home.

By analysing the BBC’s target Italian audiences and the reception of the programmes, this chapter aims to understand how the myth of Radio London was constructed. By focusing on the work of radio historians and scholars, the first part of the chapter explains how difficult is to obtain reliable quantitative estimates about radio listeners in the 1930s and 1940s. The second part concentrates on the categories of Italians that the BBC hoped to reach and analyses some programme extracts. The third and fourth sections concentrate, respectively, on some indirect and direct sources of qualitative information on the listeners: the BBC surveys on the audiences of enemy countries and the letters sent by listeners to the Italian Service to Colonel Stevens.

in London calling Italy
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Thanassis Aghnides between empire and nation state
Haakon A. Ikonomou

Haakon A. Ikonomou poses the central question: What is a moment? He explores the issue through an analysis of the Ottoman-Greek Thanassis Aghnides’ lasting negotiations of what has been labelled the Wilsonian moment: the time immediately following the First World War, when anti-colonial and national movements across the globe believed in, and petitioned and fought for, national self-determination, animated by the promises of US President Woodrow Wilson for a postwar settlement. The history of Aghnides displays the biography’s ability to capture and simultaneously break down the analytical barriers between continuity and change across this global watershed moment at the end of the First World War and the ensuing new international order. One of the strengths of the biographical approach, Ikonomou argues, is its ability to bring the ‘experiential’ and the ‘perspectival’ axis of temporality together. Thus, by striking down on instances when Aghnides sought to make sense of his times, we are prompted to ask new questions: What is the importance of the ‘afterness’ of the Ottoman Empire in the interwar international order? What role did non-Western imperial experiences play in the development of liberal internationalism? Aghnides’ trajectory reveals that these are important and underappreciated areas of further study.

in Global biographies
The international career of Dorothea Weger
Benjamin Auberer

Benjamin Auberer’s main protagonist is Dorothea Weger, a single, female Australian shorthand-typist of German descent, who made her career in the interwar period in several international organizations, most significantly the League of Nations. In this chapter, Auberer shows that the very traits that made her a valuable employee and a ‘true’ internationalist in the Genevan space, made her a suspicious, rootless cosmopolitan and a possible spy in the Australian space when she returned in 1939. Her credentials were now translated differently, not only because they changed valance in these disconnected contexts, but also because the two spaces were connected by the global deterioration of international relations across the interwar period. Thus, even if the notion of disparate spaces is the driving force of the analysis, scale, crucially, explains the idiosyncratic nature of Weger’s story.

in Global biographies
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Early modern Icelandic scholars
Astrid E. J. Ogilvie

This chapter is concerned with the ice that is borne on the sea to the coasts of Iceland, and the scholars who wrote about it in times past. Sea ice is an element ingrained deep in the Icelandic psyche. Indeed, the country is almost certainly named for it. Over the centuries it brought extreme hardship in its wake and also a few benefits. A facility with the written word has also been a key part of the life of Icelanders from early times and, beginning in the mid to latter part of the sixteenth century, there were a variety of scholarly endeavours in the fields of geography, history, and literature.

in Ice humanities
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The American Committee on Africa and solidarity with Angola
Aurora Almada e Santos

The struggle against Portuguese colonialism between 1961–74 prompted solidarity around the globe and organisations such as the American Committee on Africa (ACOA) featured prominently in these 1960s transnational networks. Yet the study of the anti-apartheid movement has largely sidelined the activism in support of the anticolonial struggle in the Portuguese colonies. In addition, non-governmental solidarity in the United States, an important site of activism in support of liberation movements in Portuguese colonies, has received little attention. Examining transnational solidarity in this context is essential for understanding the end of Portuguese colonialism. This chapter explores ACOA’s solidarity with the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola – FNLA), paying special attention to the Emergency Relief to Angola (ERA) programme (1962–65). The analysis draws extensively on contemporary papers from ACOA to exploring the origin of the programme, its key experiences, and its demise. In particular, it argues that ERA was a pilot project that had as much to do with helping the struggle for independence of Angola as with ACOA’s intent of promoting its own ideas on solidarity.

in Transnational solidarity
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What’s green is gold
Adrienne Buller

The fourth chapter delves into the increasingly central role of the asset management industry in policymaking and in practice, namely within an essential new site of green capitalist effort: the booming ‘sustainable finance’ industry. If the focus of the book is skewed toward actors in the Global North, it is because, unjust as this reality is, the sites of power shaping green capitalism remain primarily within Northern governments, firms, non-governmental organisations, and Northern-dominated international institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization. Moreover, most international finance and exchange is governed by the legal systems of just two jurisdictions, New York State and England, whose respective capitols play host to most of the world’s powerful financial and legal firms. It is, therefore, to a large extent within these two sites that the programme of green capitalism is being defined and legally encoded, and where efforts to contest it should, at least for the time being, be directed.

in The Value of a Whale
Fearghus Roulston

Framed by a reading of an editorial piece by ‘Ziggy’ from the Alternative Ulster zine, this chapter situates punk in the historical context of Northern Ireland. This initially entails a brief account of the colonial formation of the state and the particular valence religious identification was given within that formation, especially in terms of discrimination against Catholics. It then entails an account of segregation in Belfast, especially after the outbreak of the war in 1969, and the ways in which that segregation would have been experienced by young people. The chapter concludes with an account of punk as a structure of feeling, borrowing the concept from Raymond Williams, and an argument as to why this framing helps to think about punk’s relationship to the various structures and histories described in the rest of the chapter.

in Belfast punk and the Troubles
An oral history

This book is an oral history of the punk scene in Belfast between 1977 and 1986. Interrogating the idea that punk was a non-sectarian subculture, it argues that the accounts of my interviewees suggest a more nuanced and complex relationship between the punk scene and Northern Irish society. Drawing on post-positivist oral history, the work of the Popular Memory Group and the cultural materialism of Raymond Williams, it considers how people’s memories of the punk scene have been shaped in the years since its zenith in the city and how they were shaped in the moment of the interview. Thinking of punk as a structure of feeling that is present in the oral history interview, the book suggests, is a way to draw out its relationship to structures of class, gender and sectarianism in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, and its continuing affective and political legacies in the present.

Fearghus Roulston

This chapter opens on the blue plaque in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast commemorating Terri Hooley’s role in making the punk scene possible. Taking the complex memory politics of this plaque (unveiled, ironically, by a DUP politician) as a starting point, it considers the various ways in which punk has been remembered since the mid-1980s and the relationship of these commemorations to the wider, contested memory politics of the north of Ireland. This is developed via a reading of various key memory texts, including the community history of punk It Makes You Want to Spit, the film Shellshock Rock by John T. Davis, and the later film Good Vibrations. The chapter then turns to the built environment of the city and in particular its redevelopment in the years following the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, before concluding with a summary of the ways in which punk has been represented in popular memory from the mid-1980s through to the present day and a quick theoretical account of how these representations relate to the oral histories gathered in the following four chapters.

in Belfast punk and the Troubles