Culture: artefacts and disciplinary formation
The Manchester Museum was founded as an institution devoted to natural history,
but did not remain so for long. Even by the time it was fully opened in 1890, some
man-made things were on display beside the natural specimens. The proliferation
of these kinds of objects during its early decades was not planned by Museum staff,
but rather expanded thanks to influential donors. Here I trace the differentiation
of an intellectually and architecturally distinct portion of the collection devoted
What were the distinctive cultures of decolonisation that emerged in the years between 1945 and 1970, and what can they uncover about the complexities of the ‘end of empire’ as a process? Cultures of Decolonisation brings together visual, literary and material cultures within one volume in order to explore this question. The volume reveals the diverse ways in which cultures were active in wider political, economic and social change, working as crucial gauges, microcosms, and agents of decolonisation. Individual chapters focus on architecture, theatre, museums, heritage sites, fine art, and interior design alongside institutions such as artists’ groups, language agencies and the Royal Mint in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Europe. Drawing on a range of disciplinary perspectives, these contributions offer revealing case studies for those researching decolonisation at all levels across the humanities and social sciences. The collection demonstrates the transnational character of cultures of decolonisation (and of decolonisation itself), and illustrates the value of comparison – between different sorts of cultural forms and different places – in understanding the nature of this dramatic and wide-reaching geopolitical change. Cultures of Decolonisation illustrates the value of engaging with the complexities of decolonisation as enacted and experienced by a broad range of actors beyond ‘flag independence’ and the realm of high politics. In the process it makes an important contribution to the theoretical, methodological and empirical diversification of the historiography of the end of empire.
This book brings together studies of cultural institutions in Manchester from 1850 to the present day, giving an unprecedented account of the city’s cultural evolution. These bring to light the remarkable range of Manchester’s contribution to modern cultural life, including the role of art education, popular theatre, religion, pleasure gardens, clubs and societies. The chapters show the resilience and creativity of Manchester’s cultural institutions since 1850, challenging any simple narrative of urban decline following the erosion of Lancashire’s industrial base, at the same time illustrating the range of activities across the social classes. The essays are organized chronologically. They consider the role of calico printers in the rise of art education in Britain; the origins and early years of the Belle Vue Zoological Gardens; the formation of the Manchester Dante Society in 1906; the importance of theatre architecture in the social life of the city; the place of religion in early twentieth-century Manchester, in the case of its Methodist Mission; the cosmopolitan nature of the Manchester International Club, founded in 1937; cultural participation in contemporary Manchester; and questions of culture and class in the case of a contemporary theatre group.
This book looks at a much-misunderstood aspect of the Cuban Revolution: the place of literature and the creation of a literary culture. Based on over 100 interviews with a wide range of actors involved in the structures and processes that produce, regulate, promote and consume literature on the island, it goes beyond the conventional approach (the study of individual authors and texts) and the canon of texts known outside Cuba. The book thus presents a historical analysis of the evolution of literary culture from 1959 to the present, as well as a series of more detailed case studies (on writing workshops, the Havana Book Festival and the publishing infrastructure) that reveal how this culture is created in contemporary Cuba. It contributes a new and complex vision of revolutionary Cuban culture.
This book deals with the inherent violence of race relations in two important countries that remain iconic expressions of white supremacy in the twentieth century. It does not just reconstruct the era of violence, but contrasts the lynch culture of the American South to the bureaucratic culture of violence in South Africa. By contrasting mobs of rope-wielding white Southerners to the gun-toting policemen and administrators who formally defended white supremacy in South Africa, the book employs racial killing as an optic for examining the distinctive logic of the racial state in the two contexts. Combining the historian's eye for detail with the sociologist's search for overarching claims, it explores the systemic connections amongst three substantive areas to explain why contrasting traditions of racial violence took such firm root in the American South and South Africa.
Never has a reconsideration of the place of drugs in our culture been more urgent than it is today. Drugs are seen as both panaceas and panapathogens, and the apparent irreconcilability of these alternatives lies at the heart of the cultural crises they are perceived to engender. Yet the meanings attached to drugs are always a function of the places they come to occupy in culture. This book investigates the resources for a re-evaluation of the drugs and culture relation in several key areas of twentieth-century cultural and philosophical theory. Addressing themes such as the nature of consciousness, language and the body, alienation, selfhood, the image and virtuality, the nature/culture dyad and everyday life – as these are expressed in the work of such key figures as Freud, Benjamin, Sartre, Derrida, Foucault and Deleuze – it argues that the ideas and concepts by which modernity has attained its measure of self-understanding are themselves, in various ways, the products of encounters with drugs and their effects. In each case, the reader is directed to the points at which drugs figure in the formulations of ‘high theory’, and it is revealed how such thinking is never itself a drug-free zone. Consequently, there is no ground on which to distinguish ‘culture’ from ‘drug culture’ in the first place.
Popular culture is invariably a vehicle for the dominant ideas of its age. Never was this more true than in the late-19th and early 20th centuries, when it reflected the nationalist and imperialist ideologies current throughout Europe. This book examines the various media through which nationalist ideas were conveyed in late-Victorian and Edwardian times in the theatre, "ethnic" shows, juvenile literature, education and the iconography of popular art. Nineteenth-century music hall was known as the 'fount of patriotism'. A heroic and romantic vision of Empire helped to widen the appeal of British imperialism, which newspaper and magazine editors insisted on communicating to the new mass reading public. Juvenile fiction included Victorian children's books, and very few seemed deliberately anti-imperialist. The book offers a bridge between the pre-1914 period and the interwar years and between the public school and state school systems. It discusses the case of Peter Lobengula as a focus for racial attributes in late Victorian and Edwardian times. The imperial economic vision lay ready to hand for the publicists and public relations men who saw the Empire Marketing Board as one of the great opportunities in the inter-war years to develop their craft. The book also argues that whereas the Scout movement was created in the atmosphere of defensive Empire in the Edwardian period, Scouting ideology underwent a significant change in the post-war years. Girl Guides remind us that the role of girls and women in youth organisations and imperial ideologies has been too little studied.
This book brings together political and cultural historians, theatre and performance scholars, and specialists in the study of popular culture. The essays offer a series of shared and interdisciplinary approaches to the material and conceptual dimensions of ‘performance’ as an analytical category in order to analyse the cultural work of the theatre in the wider realm of public political life in nineteenth-century Britain.
During the nineteenth century industrial Lancashire became a leading national and international art centre. In 1857 Manchester hosted the international Art Treasures Exhibition at Old Trafford, arguably the single most important art exhibition every held. By the end of the century almost every major Lancashire town possessed an art gallery, while Lancashire art schools and artists were recognised nationally and internationally. This book examines the reasons for the remarkable rise of visual art in Lancashire and its relationship to the rise of the commercial and professional classes who supported it. Lancashire is rarely seen by outsiders as a major cultural centre but the creation of a network of art institutions facilitated a vibrant cultural life and shaped the civic identity of its people. The modern industrial towns of Lancashire often looked to the cultural history of other great civilisations to understand the rapidly changing world around them. Roscoe’s Liverpool of the late eighteenth century emulated Medici’s Florence, Fairbairn’s Manchester looked to Rome, while a century later Preston built an art gallery as a tribute to Periclean Athens. Yet the art institutions and movements of the county were also distinctively modern. Many embraced the British fashions of the time, while some looked to new art movements abroad. Art institutions also became a cultural battleground for alternative visions of the future, from those that embraced modern mass production technologies and ‘commercial art’ to those that feared technology and capitalism would destroy artistic creativity and corrode standards of excellence.
Car workers’ union activism has long held a strong grip on popular memories of
the post-war period. Working in the quintessential industry of modernity, their
labour militancy has been linked to narratives of economic decline and of rising
working-class living standards. Yet despite their centrality to
understanding of this period, car workers’ capacity for collective action has
often been taken for granted, with mobilisation attributed to uncomplicated
economic motivations or the last gasps of a declining ‘traditional class
consciousness’ and the effects of the post-war settlement. This book looks
at the changing forms of agency and subjectivity expressed by labour militancy,
considering workplace activism in the motor industry as a specific historical
creation of post-war Britain rather than a reflection of ‘tradition’. It traces
the origins of shop-floor organisations, which first emerged in the 1950s,
studying the processes by which workers built their union cultures and exploring
the capacity of car workers to generate new solidarities and collective values
in this period. Focus then turns to the 1960s and 1970s and the social
practices and cultural norms that resulted from this cultural assembling,
looking to understand how worker activism shaped the agency of car workers in
post-war Britain, influencing the forms that strike action took. Through a
mixture of oral history interviews, letters, meeting minutes and periodicals,
this book analyses the meanings workers attributed to industrial conflict,
asking whether factory activism generated attitudes distinct from the dominant
values of wider British society.