The formation of Mass Observation (1), conceived as a programme for the scientific study of human social behaviour in Britain or, in other words, as an ‘anthropology of ourselves’, was publicly announced in a letter printed in the New Statesman of 30 January 1937 and signed by Tom Harrisson (1911–76), Humphrey Jennings (1907–50) and Charles Madge (1912–96).
Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People, which appeared in Hebrew as Matai ve’ekh humtza ha’am hayehudi? [When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?] (1) elicited a thunderous response that has yet to abate.
For more than half its existence as a discrete though intensely varied musical form, jazz lacked a scholarly literature. Periodicals ruled the roost. In the USA Metronome, founded in 1881, and Downbeat, first published in 1936, dominated, reviewing records, profiling leading instrumentalists and chronicling music industry gossip.
Celebrity is becoming a hot topic for academics of all kinds, witnessed by the launch of the journal Celebrity Studies earlier this year.
The Feminine Public Sphere: Middle-Class Women in Civic Life in Scotland c.1870–1914 / Megan Smitley
In 1886 the Glasgow Prayer Union (GPU) remembered in their customary prayers a woman across whom one of its ‘ladies’ had come. She had been ‘found lying very drunk near Cattle Market with young infant’. Concerned for the infant’s life, the unnamed philanthropist (not a word Smitley uses) takes the child to the nearby police station, ‘where the woman was also taken’ (p. 44).
Empire and Globalisation: Networks of People, Goods and Capital in the British World, c.1850-1914 / Gary Magee, Andrew Thompson
There is a long-standing tradition of joint-authored works that seek to understand the economics of British imperialism from the perspective of its underlying cultural assumptions and practices.
Liberal Intellectuals and Public Culture in Modern Britain, 1815-1914: Making Words Flesh / William Lubenow
This book sheds much light on the ascendancy of liberal values in the 19th century and their role in the transformation of the fiscal military state of the previous century. While using a wealth of secondary literature, including many essays and review articles in literary weeklies and monthlies, William Lubenow charts new and important territory.
Issues related to homosexuality are currently at the forefront of public discourse. Globally, but particularly in the United States, marriage equity, military service, queer youth and bullying are not just matters of policy debate, but have engaged popular concern and action as well.
With edits by the editors Chris Cotton, Peter White and Stephen Brooks.
In 1977 the American scholar Morris Dickstein wrote:
[t]he sixties are over but they remain the watershed of our recent cultural history; they continue to affect the ambiance of our lives in innumerable ways.(1)