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Convent habits in colonial and postcolonial India

This book explores Roman Catholic female missionaries and their placement in colonial and postcolonial India. It offers fascinating insights into their idiomatic activism, juxtaposed with a contrarian Protestant raj and with their own Church patriarchies. During the Great Revolt of 1857, these women religious hid in church steeples. They were forced into the medical care of sexually diseased women in Lock Hospitals. They followed the Jesuits to experimental tribal village domains while also catering for elites in the airy hilltop stations of the raj. Yet, they could not escape the eugenic and child-rescue practices that were the flavour of the imperial day. New geographies of race and gender were also created by their social and educational outreach. This allowed them to remain on the subcontinent after the tide went out on empire in 1947. Their religious bodies remained untouched by India yet their experience in the field built awareness of the complex semiotics and visual traces engaged by the East/West interchange. After 1947, their tropes of social outreach were shaped by direct interaction with Indians. Many new women religious were now of the same race or carried a strongly anti-British Irish ancestry. In the postcolonial world their historicity continues to underpin their negotiable Western-constructed activism – now reaching trafficked girls and those in modern-day slavery. The uncovered and multi-dimensional contours of their work are strong contributors to the current Black Lives Matter debates and how the etymology and constructs of empire find their way into current NGO philanthropy.

Empire, race, and nation, 1850–1970

Exhibiting Irishness traces multiple constructions of Irish identity in national and international displays between the 1850s and the 1960s as Ireland moved from a colonial to an independent, globally connected state. As a cultural history of Irish identity, the book considers exhibitions as a formative platform for imagining a host of Irish pasts, presents, and futures. Fair organisers responded to the contexts of famine and poverty, migration and diasporic settlement, independence movements and partition, as well as post-colonial nation building. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, exhibitions captured the imagination of organisers and visitors. The global displays were heralded as a unique, profitable, and unsurpassed forum for celebrating a country’s wares, vying for increased trade, and consolidating national mores. Exhibitions were grand spectacles that showcased the manufactures, industries, arts, technologies, histories, and communities of various nations on an international platform for the consumption of millions of visitors over several months. Each chapter demonstrates how Irish businesses and labourers, the elite organisers of the fairs, and successive Irish governments curated Irishness. The central malleability of Irish identity on display emerged in tandem with the unfolding of Ireland’s political transformation from a colony of the British Empire, a migrant community in the United States, to a divided Ireland in the form of the Republic and Northern Ireland, a separation that continues today. In sum, this book tells the story of how an international Irish identity has always been about selling Irishness – an Irish identity always on sale.

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On the autobiographical impulse in contemporary art, writing, and theory

Lifework explores the autobiographical impulse in art since 1970. Following the scepticism fostered over the notion of the ‘self’ as a singular entity during the 1960s, many artists looked to test the problem posed by autobiography both as a genre and as a way of working. Considering the consequent rise of autotheory, Lifework traces this shift in artistic production, as first outlined in the writings of Roland Barthes, examining a diverse set of practices in the visual arts and literature that mine the line between what it is to make art and what it is to live life. The book’s chapters cut across medium, geography, and time, together uncovering how both the marginalisation and promotion of first-person experience has taken on larger social, cultural, and political implications. The volume is loosely arranged into five sections, the first of which variously considers artistic practices that mine how mediated the self has become under the technocracy of late capitalism. The remaining sections focus heavily on the work of women artists and writers, exploring ways in which the idea of ‘lifework’ both lends itself to analyses of their work and is augmented by these practices. It also features several examples of autotheoretical writing, as well as reflections on autotheory’s relevance and its potential for understanding the work of contemporary art and, indeed, of various ways of living life.

Open Access (free)
Propaganda and Modernist exhibitions in Britain, 1933–53

Showing resistance explores how exhibitions were used as propaganda during the two decades from 1933. Mounted in public places – from stations to workers’ canteens, empty shops and bombsites – exhibitions were identified as a key medium for mass public communication by activists and government bodies alike. Over eight chapters, it charts the work of a fascinating range of exhibition makers, from the interwar period to the early Cold War. A leading exponent was designer Misha Black, who described such exhibitions as ‘the materialisation of persuasion’. The form was also shaped by refugees living in Britain from the 1930s including artist László Moholy-Nagy, graphic designer F. H. K. Henrion, Dada artist Kurt Schwitters, photomontage artist John Heartfield, painter Oskar Kokoschka, photographer Edith Tudor-Hart and architects Ernö Goldfinger and Peter Moro. They drew on a range of architectural forms and materials from graphic design, photomontages, pictograms and models to give urgent warnings against the rise of fascism and to demonstrate international political alignments and solidarities, beliefs and affiliations. During the Second World War, the British Ministry of Information used exhibitions as a key tool of propaganda and, in the war’s aftermath, as a way of showing the benefits of the embryonic welfare state. Richly illustrated, this is the first book-length analysis of the meaning and significance of such exhibitions in Britain. It draws on material from numerous archive collections, addressing themes of acute contemporary relevance, such as the role of propaganda in a democracy and the cultural contribution of refugees.

Finance, labour and the politics of risk

False profits of ethical capital analyses several dimensions of sustainability capitalism, to expose not only its inadequacies as a vehicle for social and political change, but also the ways in which it is productive for capital. Positioning ESG investing, sustainability reporting and corporate branding initiatives as part of a speculative moral economy, False profits shows how ethics are alienated from the human being and incorporated into the accumulation process. Engaging literatures of moral economy, financialisation, value theory and critical accounting, this book reveals that the accumulation of capital via ethical claims also generates points of contestation that exacerbate its contradictions.

Hariulf’s history of St Riquier, written at the end of the eleventh century, describes the history of his monastic community in Northern France from its origins in the seventh century until his own time. Although local in its coverage, it illustrates themes essential to an understanding of the Middle Ages: how medieval monks worshipped, the part they played in wider society and the role of relics that were believed to mediate divine power in medieval religious and political experience. In four books Hariulf narrates the life of the founder and patron, Richer, in whom he portrays the virtues to be admired and emulated by the monks; the development of the community under emperor Charlemagne’s friend and adviser, the poet, Angilbert; its period of literary and monastic excellence in the early ninth century and subsequent devastation in a Scandinavian raid. As the narrative approaches his own time, Hariulf’s work becomes a valuable source for the tenth- and eleventh-century history of Northern France, while the abbey’s relations with the local lords of Ponthieu shed light on the emergence of the so-called territorial principalities, which emerged after the break-up of the Carolingian empire. Diplomatic exchanges with Normandy before 1066 about the community’s relic collection are described and the history also provides insights from an early and detached commentator on events surrounding the Norman Conquest of England. As a piece of historical writing, Hariulf’s work shows us how monastic history might be presented to foster a sense of communal identity in a changed and changing society.

Disrupting the public/private divide

The mid-century (1930s to 1960s) was an era of seismic shifts for British women, including those living under British rule in the colonies, in both the public and private spheres. The traditional narrative of these years is that of a wave of expansion and constriction, with the swelling of economic and political freedoms for women in the 1930s, the cresting of women in the public sphere during the Second World War, and the resulting break as employment and political opportunities for women dwindled in the 1950s when men returned home from the front. But as the burgeoning field of interwar and mid-century women’s writing has demonstrated, this narrative is in desperate need of re-examination. Mid-Century Women’s Writing: Disrupting the Public/Private Divide aims to revivify studies of women writers, journalists, broadcasters, and public intellectuals living or working in Britain, or under British rule, during the mid-century while also complicating extant narratives about the divisions between domesticity and politics. The chapters in this collection explore how women represented the transformation of the quotidian – including the home, employment, family life, and religious participation – during the mid-century.

Thatcherism and the reform of British pensions

Margaret Thatcher’s governments attempted to revolutionise how Britons saved for old age. The widely supported partnership built in the late 1970s between the state and employers would be swept away. In its place, a low-hanging state safety net would be set beneath a marketplace of privatised and compulsory personal pensions. Through these individual rather than collective investments, the state would reconfigure workers as capital-owning, risk-taking entrepreneurs with a personal stake in British capitalism. This revolution failed, however. Instead, the government hastily layered financialised personal pensions on top of existing collective institutions, but made these considerably less generous or attractive. In doing so, ministers left the United Kingdom with the ‘worst of both worlds’. A neoliberal revolution? uses recently released records to trace this revolution’s origins, explain its failure, and chart the aftermath. It shows Thatcherism to have been a surprisingly unstable political project and demonstrate the difficulties of marketising welfare states. The book presents new evidence of the role that neoliberal ideas played inside the Thatcher governments but also reveals the complex and contingent ways in which these ideas shaped policy. It argues that histories of neoliberalism must better explain how and why political actors pursued neoliberal aims through different forms of neoliberal policy change. A neoliberal revolution? comes to the striking conclusion that the neoliberal vision of pensions actually implemented was an evolutionary reform salvaged from the ruins of a failed revolution, one defeated not by trades unions or political opponents but by the very financial services companies said to embody neoliberal capitalism.

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Testing new drugs in psychiatry, 1940–1980

Clinical research, especially in psychiatry, takes place in a field of tensions: between economic, scientific, ethical, and therapeutic interests; between the individual and society; between law, guidelines, and the need for safety, as well as the awareness that clinical studies always involve residual risk. After the Second World War, large numbers of psychotropic drugs were tested for decades in the Münsterlingen Psychiatric Clinic, a state-run hospital in eastern Switzerland. The driving force behind these trials was Roland Kuhn, an internationally renowned psychiatrist hailed by many as the ‘discoverer’ of the first antidepressant, Tofranil. Based on Kuhn’s private archive, which contains extensive and previously inaccessible sources, On trial provides an in-depth look at the early days of industry-sponsored clinical research. The book examines how the clinic, patients, physicians, nurses, corporations, and authorities interacted in drug testing. It historicises the trials and situates them within their changing framework conditions. Which people and institutions were involved, and who knew what? How were substances tested, and which patients were affected? According to which patterns were the drugs administered? When did which values, guidelines, and standards apply, and what role did they play in practice? In pursuing these questions, the book reconstructs the history of clinical trials from 1940 to 1980 and locates the Swiss example in the period’s landscape of experimentation, not only meticulously tracing the specific practices at Münsterlingen but also telling a larger story about the changing history of clinical trials.

History and context

A pasticcio opera is a new opera created from pre-existing parts, a creative process which has been in use for as long as the artform itself. This book argues that pasticcio is a method rather than a genre, one that was already widely used before the term was coined in the eighteenth century, and continued in use long after it dropped from favour. Nor is the method unique to opera: pasticcio poetry, plays, sculptures and film scores continue to be made. Yet all kinds of pasticcio art came under pressure in the nineteenth century as Romantic conceptions of originality and authenticity married with a rise in the importance of text over performance. A main argument in the study is that this shift from performance tradition to text was part of a wider societal transition from a proto-literate society with many oral inheritances – of which the pasticcio method was one – to a mass-literate society. A narrow canon and an ever-contracting operatic repertoire were the result in Britain, a contraction which continued for much of the twentieth century. Yet pasticcio did not disappear in the nineteenth century, as was once thought, and the book discusses its surprising continuation and proliferation. Today, it is enjoying a tentative revival.