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.
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.
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson
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).
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson
The chapter explores practices of problematisation and expertise. It argues that looking for solutions to problems can reproduce the regime of truth that leads to the so-called problems in the first place. Problematising famine is an example, and what are put forward as ways of ending hunger can turn out to be functioning to reproduce it. Turning to expertise, the chapter examines the case of Dr David Kelly, a scientist who attempted to challenge the manipulation of intelligence to justify the Iraq war. When an ‘expert’ such as Kelly enters the political fray, their voices are sometimes either not heard, or even suppressed. Is there an alternative? The chapter suggests that thinking in terms of a slow listening and an excavation of forgotten subaltern knowledge – and a quiet rebuilding of the world, brick by brick – may help.
The chapter examines the desire to help those we see as victims of crisis or disaster, in particular through what we call humanitarian intervention. It looks at how such actions can perpetuate the very divisions that produce the problem in the first place. Through their reliance on a distinction between the human and the non-human, those politically qualified and those not, humanitarianism shares a secret solidarity with the exclusionary practices of the state and the coloniser. The chapter examines David Reiff’s book A Bed for the Night and considers the dangers of ethics and criteria for a ‘good’ or humanitarian war. There is a tension, the chapter argues, between small actions, face to face, and the desire to do more: to change the world.
In this chapter, the slow violence of austerity, classism and racism is contrasted with the swift justice that is meted out to Omega Mwaikambo, a Grenfell resident who took photographs of one of the people who jumped from the tower on the night of the fire. It examines the ‘blackening’ of the community both before and after the fire and their ongoing search for justice and recognition. The chapter assembles traces from the public domain of what happened to Mwaikambo into a narrative account that points to the complexities of the interactions between individuals, the police, and the courts after the fire, and highlights the inadequacy of procedures for the forensic identification of those who died.
The chapter provides a semi-autobiographical narrative that considers classism and racism against the background of movement from one class to another and the dislocation that produces. It explores James Martell’s notions of misinterpellation – when someone responds to a call that they know is not for them – and how a refusal of interpellation can function politically as a decolonising move. If, instead of taking on the habits and values to which we are called, we retain our loyalty to the place we are from, whatever that might be, then we have the potential to resist interpellation’s colonising move.
The chapter juxtaposes quantum cosmology and Lacanian psychoanalysis in a reading of Michael Frayn’s play Copenhagen, and discusses its staging and the controversies it provoked. The play explores the visit of Werner Heisenberg to Neils Bohr in Copenhagen during the Second World War and their discussions about the feasibility of developing nuclear weapons. Did either of them attempt, as experts, to stall the development of nuclear weapons? It enacts three divergent scenarios of the meeting and shows how it is not possible to determine which is the more accurate. Memory is unreliable, and, more importantly, we cannot even know our own thoughts and motivations, let alone those of others. The chapter points to the impossibility of either physical security or intellectual certainty in a world of entanglements.
Collecting contacts with Gabrielle Enthoven
This chapter explores the personal and professional networks created by female theatre practitioners in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century through a detailed case study of Gabrielle Enthoven – actor, playwright, translator and theatre collector. Born into privilege, Enthoven was the daughter of a colonial administrator who grew up in Egypt and the Sudan. She lived in Windsor, met Oscar Wilde and played with the royal children, spending her twenties messing about on boats and in theatres with the local soldiers. She then married and moved to Chelsea and began to network with theatre and arts professionals before devoting her life and wealth to creating a world-class collection of theatre ephemera that she donated to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.