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British policies, practices and representations of naval coercion

The suppression of the Atlantic slave trade has puzzled nineteenth-century contemporaries and historians. The British Empire turned naval power and moral outrage against a branch of commerce it had done so much to promote. This book deals with the British Royal Navy's suppression of the Atlantic slave trade. It traces the political debates which framed policies for the British state's waning but unbroken commitment to slave-trade suppression. If protectionists failed to stop free trade and anti-coercionists failed to withdraw the cruisers, then they did both succeed in reshaping domestic debates to support labour coercion. The book examines details of the work of the navy's West Africa Squadron which have been passed over in earlier narrative accounts. The liberty afforded to the individuals who entered as apprentices into Sierra Leone cannot be clearly distinguished from the bonded labour awaiting them had their enslavers completed the voyage to the Americas. The experiences of sailors and Africans ashore and on ship often stand in contrast to contemporaneous representations of naval suppression. Comparison of the health of African and European sailors serving on the West Africa Station provides insight into the degree to which naval medicine was racialised. The book discusses the anti-slave trade squadron's wider, cultural significance, and its role in the shaping of geographical knowledge of West Africa. It charts the ways in which slave-trade suppression in the Atlantic Ocean was represented in material culture, and the legacy of this commemoration for historical writing and public memory in the subsequent 200 years.

Reading colonialism through children’s books and magazines

Many European countries, their imperial territories, and rapidly Europeanising imitators like Japan, established a powerful zone of intellectual, ideological and moral convergence in the projection of state power and collective objectives to children. This book is an introduction to the 'imperial' images of the Indian, African and Chinese, created for the youth of Britain through their history textbooks and popular periodicals. Focusing on materials produced for children, by textbook historians and the popular press, it provides a study of both the socialization of the young and the source of race perceptions in 20th-century British society. Against a backdrop of promoting the 'wonderful development of the Anglo-Saxon race', textbook historians approached British India as the primary example of imperial achievement. Chinese characters continued to feature in the periodicals in a variety of situations, set both in China and the wider world. Africa was a favoured setting for adventure in the years between the world wars, and African characters of long standing retained their popularity. While much of the 'improving' material began to disappear, reflecting the move toward a youth-centred culture, Indian, African and Chinese characters still played an important role in stories and features. The images of race continued into the inter-war years. The book shows how society secures the rising generation in the beliefs of the parent society, and how the myths of race and nationality became an integral part of Britain's own process of self identification.

White Settlers in Kenya, 1900s–1920s

Kenya’s white settlers have long captivated observers. They are alternately celebrated and condemned, painted as romantic pioneers or hedonistic bed-hoppers or crude racists. If we wish to better understand Kenya’s tortured history, however, we must examine settlers not as caricatures, but as people inhabiting a unique historical moment. We must ask, what animated their lives? What comforted them and what unnerved them, to whom did they direct love, and to whom violence? The Souls of White Folk takes seriously – though not uncritically – what settlers said, how they viewed themselves and their world. It argues that the settler soul was composed of a series of interlaced ideas: settlers equated civilization with a (hard to define) whiteness; they were emotionally enriched through claims to paternalism and trusteeship over Africans; they felt themselves constantly threatened by Africans, by the state, and by the moral failures of other settlers; and they daily enacted their claims to supremacy through rituals of prestige, deference, humiliation, and violence. The book explains how settlers could proclaim real affection for their African servants, tend to them with intimate medical procedures, as well as whip, punch and kick them – for these were central to the joy of settlement, and the preservation of settlement. It explains why settlers could be as equally alarmed by an African man with a fine hat, Russian Jews, and a black policeman, as by white drunkards, adulterers, and judges – all posed dangers to white prestige.

The Victorian cult of Alfred the Great

This book provides a broad account of the nineteenth-century cult of King Alfred. It reveals the rich cultural interest of the corpus of texts as a whole. The book redresses a misleading modern emphasis on Arthur and the Victorians, and addresses a genuine gap in the current literature on nineteenth-century medievalism. The book focuses on what was probably the apex of Victorian Alfredianism. It provides the background to this event both in terms of the wider cultural movements and in the sense of the Alfredian tradition which the nineteenth century inherited. The intersection of the cult of Alfred with nineteenth-century British politics is considered in the book, which focuses upon the role that Alfredianism played in debate about the future of the monarchy. The book speculates how the Saxon king was enlisted to vindicate and ennoble those institutions of which Victorian Britain was most proud - notably its navy, law-code, constitution and empire. It examines the conceptions of ninth-century Wessex as a time of immense cultural change - the mirror-image of the nineteenth century - and reviews Victorian appropriations of Alfred's reign as a prestigious starting point for myths of national progress. The book further focuses upon more domestic narratives - the use of Alfred, by Victorian authors, to exemplify moral values, and the rewriting of his life as a parable of error and redemption. Finally, the crucial question of Alfred's decline in fame is addressed in the book, which surveys the diminished interest in the Saxon king after 1901.

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Britain, 1945–70

Policing Youth probes beneath the media sensationalism surrounding youth crime in order to evaluate the workings of juvenile justice and the relationship between young people and practitioners in a key era of social change (1945-70). The work of state representatives – the police, magistrates and probation officers - is mapped alongside models of discipline within families, neighbourhoods, schools and churches as well as the growing commercial sector of retail and leisure. Youth culture is considered alongside the social and moral regulation of everyday life.

The books uses a rich seam of sources – including criminal statistics, court registers, news coverage, contemporary surveys, autobiography, documentary and feature film – to reconstruct the relationship between national policy and local interventions. In so doing, it is offers an important comparison of England and Scotland, whose differences were formalised through separate legal and educational systems, whilst acknowledging the importance of region and municipality. It combines quantitative research methods with textual and spatial analysis, highlighting the significance of the material environment (including the post-war rebuilding of cities) in the management of young people’s behaviours. It shows that the period 1945-1970 saw a shift in modes of governance, as an increasing emphasis on young people’s capacity for self-determination was accompanied by more rigorous techniques of spatial restriction, exclusion and delimitation. Individual chapters focus on: police officers, the court system, violence, home and community, sexuality, commercial leisure, and reform.

Dishonoured women and abandoned children in Italy, 1300–1800

This book seeks to contribute to Italian social history and to deepen understanding of Catholic charity and social policy in past times. It focuses on two groups of disreputable (or at least tarnished) women and children and on the arrangements made to discipline and care for them, both by public authorities and by voluntary organisations and would-be benefactors. The first group consisted of prostitutes, concubines, single mothers, estranged wives, and girls in moral danger. The second was composed of children, many born outside wedlock, who were abandoned by their blood parents, out of shame or poverty or both. A synoptic survey, the book examines the complications involved in the tolerance and regulation of activities considered bad but impossible to suppress. Could licensed prostitution be used as a lesser evil to counter supposedly greater abuses, such as sodomy, adultery or concubinage, and to protect ‘decent’ women? Could child abandonment be tamed and used against the greater evils of infanticide or abortion, to preserve the honour of women who had borne illegitimate children and to save fragile lives? And what should be done to protect and rescue the victims of sexual exploitation and children separated from their natural mothers?

Archbishop Wulfstan of York is among the most important legal and political thinkers of the early Middle Ages. A leading ecclesiastic, innovative legislator, and influential royal councilor, Wulfstan witnessed firsthand the violence and social unrest that culminated in the fall of the English monarchy before the invading armies of Cnut in 1016. This book introduces the range of Wulfstan's political writings and sheds light on the development of English law during the early eleventh century. In his homilies and legal tracts, Wulfstan offered a searing indictment of the moral failures that led to England’s collapse and formulated a vision of an ideal Christian community that would influence English political thought long after the Anglo-Saxon period had ended. More than just dry political theory, however, Wulfstan’s works are composed in the distinctive voice of someone who was both a confidante of kings and a preacher of apocalyptic fervour. No other source so vividly portrays the political life of eleventh-century England: what it was, and what one man believed it could be.

This book explores the experiences of the sick poor between the 1750s and through the so-called crisis of the Old Poor Law ending in the 1830s. It provides a comprehensive and colourful overview of the nature, scale and negotiation of medical welfare. At its core stand the words and lives of the poor themselves, reconstructed in painstaking detail to show that medical welfare became a totemic issue for parochial authorities by the 1830s. The book suggests that the Old Poor Law confronted a rising tide of sickness by the early nineteenth century. While there are spectacular instances of parsimony and neglect in response to rising need, in most places and at most times, parish officers seem to have felt moral obligations to the sick. Indeed, we might construct their responses as considerate and generous. To some extent this reflected Christian paternalism but also other factors such as a growing sense that illness, even illness among the poor, was and should be remediable and a shared territory of negotiation between paupers, advocates and officials. The result was a canvas of medical welfare with extraordinary depth. By the 1820s, more of the ill-health of ordinary people was captured by the poor law and being doctored or sojourning in an institution became part of pauper and parochial expectation. These trends are brought to vivid life in the words of the poor and their advocates, such that the book genuinely offers a re-interpretation of the Old Poor Law from the bottom up.

Open Access (free)
Civilian morale in Britain during the Second World War

How well did civilian morale stand up to the pressures of total war and what factors were important to it? This book rejects contentions that civilian morale fell a long way short of the favourable picture presented at the time and in hundreds of books and films ever since. While acknowledging that some negative attitudes and behaviour existed—panic and defeatism, ration-cheating and black-marketeering—it argues that these involved a very small minority of the population. In fact, most people behaved well, and this should be the real measure of civilian morale, rather than the failing of the few who behaved badly. The book shows that although before the war, the official prognosis was pessimistic, measures to bolster morale were taken nevertheless, in particular with regard to protection against air raids. An examination of indicative factors concludes that moral fluctuated but was in the main good, right to the end of the war. In examining this phenomenon, due credit is accorded to government policies for the maintenance of morale, but special emphasis is given to the ‘invisible chain’ of patriotic feeling that held the nation together during its time of trial.

Shetland 1800–2000

This book is about the relationship between myth-making and historical materiality. It is a singular case study of the position and experience of women in a 'peripheral' society distanced - geographically, economically and culturally - from the British mainland. The book first looks at women and gender relations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through examination of the construction of historical myth. It then looks at economic and demographic factors that underpinned the materiality of women's dominance of culture. An understanding of women's work patterns and experiences is central to any analysis of women's lives in Shetland and the gender relations contingent upon this. Shetland women were autonomous, independent workers whose day-to-day productive experiences implicated them in all sorts of social and economic relationships outside the home. The book argues that women's culture in Shetland actually had only a marginal connection to the islands' dominant economic activity - fishing. It also argues that the negligible figures for children born outside wedlock are a poor guide to understanding the moral order in nineteenth-century Shetland. Like the new visitors to Shetland, the historians of the early twenty-first century would ordinarily reach the same conclusions. They would do so, at root, because the authors are equipped with the same myth system of discourse about what constitutes women's subordination and power. The book seeks to navigate the issue of 'power' by approaching it in terms which the Shetland woman understood in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.