The creation of spaces conducive to healing is a critical aspect of the provision of good nursing care. The nursing sisters of the British Army, having trained in the British hospital system would have been well versed in the need to create and maintain and environment in which healing could take place. The zones into which they were posted during the Second World War and the spaces they were given in which to care for their patients, were however, rarely either favourable to health or to the ‘serenity and security’ needed for recovery. Extreme weather conditions, limited water supplies, equipment and electricity combined to hinder all aspects of patient care. The often hostile places in which nurses worked demanded that they develop clinical skills and the ability to improvise and innovate in order create healing spaces for their soldier-patients. However, as the chapter argues it was the highly feminised home-maker work that created these spaces, which the nurses themselves credited to be an essential aspect to the healing process in which they were the critical performers.

in Negotiating nursing

Despite the imperative for change in a world of persistent inequality, racism, oppression and violence, difficulties arise once we try to bring about a transformation. As scholars, students and activists, we may want to change the world, but we are not separate, looking in, but rather part of the world ourselves. The book demonstrates that we are not in control: with all our academic rigour, we cannot know with certainty why the world is the way it is, or what impact our actions will have. It asks what we are to do, if this is the case, and engages with our desire to seek change. Chapters scrutinise the role of intellectuals, experts and activists in famine aid, the Iraq war, humanitarianism and intervention, traumatic memory, enforced disappearance, and the Grenfell Tower fire, and examine the fantasy of security, contemporary notions of time, space and materiality, and ideas of the human and sentience. Plays and films by Michael Frayn, Chris Marker and Patricio Guzmán are considered, and autobiographical narrative accounts probe the author’s life and background. The book argues that although we might need to traverse the fantasy of certainty and security, we do not need to give up on hope.

Art, authorship and activism

This book charts and analyses the work of Oliver Stone – arguably one of the foremost political filmmakers in Hollywood during the last thirty years. Drawing on previously unseen production files from Oliver Stone’s personal archives and hours of interviews both with Stone and a range of present and former associates within the industry, the book employs a thematic structure to explore Stone’s life and work in terms of war, politics, money, love and corporations. This allows the authors both to provide a synthesis of earlier and later film work as well as locate that work within Stone’s developing critique of government. The book explores the development of aesthetic changes in Stone’s filmmaking and locates those changes within ongoing academic debates about the relationship between film and history as well as wider debates about Hollywood and the film industry. All of this is explored with detailed reference to the films themselves and related to a set of wider concerns that Stone has sought to grapple with -the American Century, exceptionalism and the American Dream, global empire, government surveillance and corporate accountability. The book concludes with a perspective on Stone’s ‘brand’ as not just an auteur and commercially viable independent filmmaker but as an activist arguing for a very distinct kind of American exceptionalism that seeks a positive role for the US globally whilst eschewing military adventurism.

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in Negotiating nursing
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The chapter notes that Stone’s interests in social critique and politics have carried him some way ahead of art and commerce into the territory that can best be summed up as activism. Each of his films has been a piece of crafted drama with a range of distinctive attributes related to narrative and photography acting as a baseline for Stone’s auteur brand. What is striking, however, in the second period of his career, is the way those core elements of the auteur brand did not merely become retroactive career artefacts for a media narrative seeing his auteur heyday as belonging to the past. Stone’s auteurism acted instead as a platform for a political discourse that retained as much urgency and purpose as films like Salvador and JFK had in his early career.

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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From the 1830s, sets of clergy allowed a sober recognition of the economic benefits for individual emigrants to win out over any worries for the spiritual dangers they may have faced. Like Catholic clergy, Presbyterians could therefore identify significant ways in which, despite its losses, their church had profited by emigration. For many Catholic clergymen in Ireland, the much-trumpeted 'spiritual empire' was less the altruistic, divine undertaking of their 'martyr nation' than it was the opportunistic exploitation of circumstance for home benefit: an accidental (spiritual) imperialism. Fears of empty pews or of losing demographic dominance in Ireland, so prevalent among clergy during the Famine, and occasionally during later peaks of emigration, had proved entirely unfounded. In fact, although it was not openly stated very often, mass emigration had greased the wheels of the devotional revolution, helping to increase the Irish church's power and influence both at home and abroad.

in Population, providence and empire
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This concluding chapter explores the difference between tragedy and hope: traversing the fantasy that we can know what the world might be with any certainty, and retaining a dream of a different sort, a hope without guarantees. It argues that traversing the fantasy and accepting the inevitability of a lack or an excess does not mean abandoning hope or giving up on dreams altogether. It examines Lauren Berlant’s notion of cruel optimism, where what we desire turns out to be an obstacle to our desire, David Scott’s tragic sensibility, and Les Back’s idea of hope as improvisation.

in Change and the politics of certainty
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This chapter traces two key threads in Stone’s exploration of corporations and their impact on wider society; one to do with the media, and the other concerning government. The first part of this chapter examines Talk Radio and Any Given Sunday exploring how and why the critique of corporations manifest itself in a particular way during this era. The chapter then considers the critique of mainstream media organisations offered in documentaries like Comandante and the Untold History series towards anything that might constitute a provocation to the dominant national narratives, before returning to consider what W., Wall Street: MNS and Savages had to say about corporate and government accountability.

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Women performers and the law in the ‘long’ Edwardian period

In the period leading up to the First World War, British women increasingly used the courts as a platform to challenge their lower legal, social and political status in Edwardian society, most notably in the defences mounted by militant suffragists at the Old Bailey in May 1912. In a different way, women performers – frequently backed by their commercial managers and publicists – were using the courts to argue for self-determination and control, particularly of their public image. This chapter explores the social, legal and commercial context of a range of libel cases – some successful, others not – brought by women performers.

in Stage women, 1900–50
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The art of performance and her work in film

Film created new opportunities for work and posed a challenge for some established stage actors: the performer’s relationship with the audience was fundamentally changed and new professional interactions were required, with those in entrepreneurial roles emerging from the production and marketing of film. This chapter examines the film work of the iconic actor Ellen Terry (1847–1928), known internationally for her Shakespearean and other performances on stage. The circumstances of Terry’s involvement in the new medium of film are considered as well as her descriptions of the new experiences of performing and viewing performance in film.

in Stage women, 1900–50