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Nursing work and nurses’ space in the Second World War: a gendered construction

The introduction contextualises the Second World War and the position of nurses within it. It argues that the developments in weapons’ manufacture and transport technologies created a war in which mass killing and maiming could be achieved across the globe. The injuries and diseases caused by the mobility of troops and modern weaponry demanded a highly responsive medical service close to the action. This introductory chapter therefore provides a frame for the book within the historiography of wartime medical services, women’s participation in war and that of nurses more specifically. Negotiating Nursing uses written and oral testimony to explore the work and experiences of nurses on active service overseas. The introduction examines the nature of the sources and the value of personal testimony to the history of Second World War military nursing.

in Negotiating nursing
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Stone’s early film career, exemplified by productions like Platoon (1986) and Wall Street (1987) has often been contrasted by critics with a seemingly less vital period after the commercial failure of Nixon (1995). This chapter explains how a thematic analysis focusing on war, politics, money, love and corporations will be deployed to demonstrate a much more significant set of changes across Stone’s filmography and career. The chapter considers how Stone’s dramatic filmmaking shifted from specific critiques of the establishment in films like JFK (1991) towards more muted polemics in films like W. (2008) and a focus on morality. Accompanying this transition was the emergence of a distinct documentary style in films like Comandante (2003).

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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The introduction contextualises issues of professional agency in relation to the history of women theatre and performance workers in the first half of the twentieth century. It provides a framework for the book as a whole and explains the chapters and their relationships with one another.

in Stage women, 1900–50
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines the impact of emigration on the churches by exploring the consequences and potential consequences of mass population loss for each communion. It explores the theme of religious interpretations of the outflow by addressing a commonly referenced but only rarely scrutinised belief in emigration as a divinely dictated mission to spread Christianity across the globe, and consequent conceptions of an Irish 'spiritual empire'. The book relies for evidence on careful use of literary sources, the accounts of visitors to and travellers in Ireland, clerically authored pamphlets, parliamentary reports and manuscript material from religious archives. It surveys each of the Presbyterian, Anglican and Catholic churches practical religious involvement in the lives of emigrants, and in particular, the systematic provision of clergy by the home churches to emigrant communities.

in Population, providence and empire
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The chapter examines the argument that we need to traverse the fantasy that we are outside the world and can control and change it, and give up on the search for certainty and security. The chapter proposes that traversing the fantasy of separation and control, and giving up on the security and comfort of imaginary wholeness, is not impossible, as many argue; rather, certainty and security always prove illusory. The chapter notes the thread connecting the author’s earlier work and introduces the way the book will explore these issues through autobiographical narrative accounts, studies of drama and film, and critical analyses of practical political action. It ends by pointing out how abandoning the search for certainty leads to a different pedagogy.

in Change and the politics of certainty
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Working memory

This chapter introduces the book's primary focus: street theatre's production of postindustrial space. The introduction makes clear that there is no such thing as a postindustrial society: forms of labour accumulate rather than cleanly replacing each other. Nonetheless, deindustrializing communities have a vested interest in relegating industry to the past and presenting themselves as happily and healthily postindustrial. Street theatre is crucial to this process as a theatrical form that claims space as public, carves events from ongoing situations, and rescripts everyday behaviours. The necessity of street theatre to the production of the postindustrial means that street theatre companies benefit from and participate in redevelopment, but it also means that through street theatre the industrial may reassert itself in unanticipated ways. The introduction proposes working memory as a central metaphor for the theatrical and performative processes analysed throughout the book.

in Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space
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A theatre maker in every sense

Lily Brayton was one half of the twentieth century’s first celebrity couple on the London stage. Together with her husband, Oscar Asche, Brayton dominated popular theatre for a decade with her brave and ingenious characterisations of the ‘oriental woman’ in a series of plays from Kismet (1911) to Cairo (1921). She had come to fame, often in breeches roles, in popularised versions of Shakespeare plays since the turn of the century. Her ‘New Woman’ characterisations and performances were matched equally by her offstage business acumen. The chapter explores Brayton’s positive and successful image of woman, both on and off the stage, and sets this against her near erasure from theatre history as her separation from the stage occurred simultaneously with her separation from her husband.

in Stage women, 1900–50
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This chapter takes the form of a narrative, auto-ethnographic or autobiographical account. In the period between 2002 and 2009, the author had made several visits to New York, and to Manhattan in particular, to the site of Ground Zero, in an attempt to understand the response of New Yorkers to the collapse of the twin towers. She was grappling with the idea of trauma time – the time of openness after an event that throws into doubt what seemed to have been certain – and its political implications. The visit recounted in this chapter took place after a gap of five years, and proved to be a turning point for the author, challenging what she had thought her work was about.

in Change and the politics of certainty
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This chapter explores the representation of love in Stone’s filmmaking highlighting the importance of a transition that began in the mid-to-late 1990s with U Turn. The argument here posits that U Turn represents a marker in Stone’s career, not because of the loss of aesthetic vitality as some critics observed, that had been integral to earlier films, but precisely because the film marks the emergence of a distinctive melodramatic shift in Stone’s work, and a shift towards the darker aspects of parental love in particular. The significance of a melodramatic filter for viewing Stone’s later films is then used to assess Alexander and W. before investigating the way in which relationships and emotional love is worked into both these films and in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Savages.

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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Different voices, voicing difference

In 1946 Mabel Constanduros published her autobiography, Shreds and Patches, as an account of her journey from shy middle-class wife and mother to creating and realising her very public role as ‘Grandma Buggins’ for BBC radio. This chapter focuses not so much on the well-trodden path of the performer’s rise from suburban obscurity to fame, but rather on the less well documented network of influence that enabled performing women to train and tailor their professional work in the fast-changing industry of the early twentieth century. Training with Elsie Fogerty and developing her skills as a ‘diseuse’ on amateur and professional stages between the wars, Constanduros wrote and performed for radio, film and later television. As one of many women making their way in a professional structure that welcomed their practice, if not always their insistence on agency, Constanduros offers a more coherent model of professional ambition and practice than the self-deprecating title of her autobiography suggests.

in Stage women, 1900–50