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‘The antagonism of sex’

The Peace Society and women

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Heloise Brown

This chapter describes the declining emphasis upon the importance of Christianity within the peace movement during the second half of the century. The Peace Society had developed, by the 1870s, into a political and pragmatic movement that employed, albeit on a limited basis, liberal and non-absolutist arguments against war. However, it simultaneously sought to control the contributions of women and to restrict the role of feminism within the movement. This is particularly noteworthy given that Quakers dominated the Evangelical wing of the peace movement, a sect from which many feminists of this era originated. One consequence of this was that feminists were drawn into the International Arbitration and Peace Association (IAPA) as the radical wing of the peace movement, rather than the Evangelical and absolutist Peace Society. The chapter explains the process by which the Peace Society resisted its work, refused to collaborate with women who were not under its control and established its own organisation for women interested in promoting peace.

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Testifying to the self

Nuns’ narratives in early modern Venice

Mary Laven

In the summer of 1614, scandal erupted at San Zaccaria, the oldest and most aristocratic of the Venetian convents. Laura Querini, a noble nun in her mid-forties, was found guilty of having had sexual intercourse, repeatedly, with a young nobleman in a store-room situated on the edge of the nunnery. Less than a decade earlier, in 1605, the Venetian government had passed a stern new law, which prescribed capital punishment for any man found guilty of visiting a nun illegally. Laura's transgression fell under the jurisdiction of the highest authority of the Venetian Church, the patriarch. Surprisingly, perhaps, considering the customary intransigence of the Venetian republic in response to the dictates of Rome, the State lent its secular arm to the Church in support of the drive to enclose female religious houses.

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Brian Pullan and Michele Abendstern

The student activists of the 1980s were not the revolutionaries of the decade, the bearers or prophets of a new order; instead they seemed fated to be rebels, protesting against changes imposed from on high. The initiative had passed to a neoliberal, sink-or-swim, roll-back-the-state government which nevertheless contrived to interfere with universities as none of its predecessors had ever done. It appeared to be starving students of public money, ostensibly in an effort to make them more self-reliant. Individually, students suffered from deteriorating services, grants and benefits. Collectively, they—or their elected officers—faced attacks on the autonomy of student unions, measures designed to subject them to tighter control by the administrators of their own universities.

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The students

Life and opinions

Brian Pullan and Michele Abendstern

Attempts at characterising students have usually depended on dubious stereotypes, on images formed around the most vocal, vehement, idealistic, eccentric and badly behaved. In the 1970s, however, the press, as though baulked of its prey and frustrated at the dearth of good copy, tended to concentrate on the unspectacular qualities of students and their lack of originality. It was probably true that the ultra-left and the devotees of direct action had become more distant from the ordinary student population and that their methods, if not their ideals, were regarded by the majority with greater impatience and distaste. Rises in the cost of living and the failure of student grants to keep up with them induced a hard-headed concern with the practical-material. Few students were utopian. They were not averse to protesting, but protests usually had specific and limited aims, such as preventing the demolition of a still-useful building or adding a few pounds to the Union capitation fee. Once challenged, authority often made conciliatory moves.

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The students

Campaigns and causes

Brian Pullan and Michele Abendstern

Stern critics accused the radical students of the 1970s of trying to carry on the 1960s by the same means. Raucous pickets, disrupted meetings and occupations of administrators' offices still characterised the ritual of protest; squabbles between left-wing factions threatened to drive disillusioned students to vote for Conservative candidates who would run the Union on a tight rein. But there were original twists in the story of the 1970s. New methods of protest, including refusals to pay unjust fees or rents, drew attention to grievances though seldom got them rectified. New causes, such as the pacifist campaign to get troops out of Northern Ireland, won support. Both provocation and repression adopted new forms.

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Brian Pullan and Michele Abendstern

In the late 1980s the students at Manchester had come to distrust the gesture politics and rituals of left-wing protest, partly, perhaps, because they offered no solution to the practical and material problems of student life. Student officers in 1989–90 came close to agreeing with the views adopted by the Vice-Chancellor in 1981—to the effect that the best way to impress the government was not to demonstrate on the streets but to lobby behind the scenes. Much of the fiercest campaigning, by Woolton Hall, was in the name of a traditional order, rather than in favour of change. Sexism rivalled, perhaps even replaced, racism and fascism as the principal target of progressive thinkers in the 1980s; it too was recognised as an evil which flourished within the University as well as outside it. Women students were now numerous, influential and self-confident enough to demand the respect which was due to peers.

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Spooks and spooks

black magic and bogeymen in Northern Ireland, 1973–74

Richard Jenkins

The 'Black Man' genre means two things in the context of this chapter. First, stories about black magic and sacrificed pets were current as a collective discourse in the Ardoyne a good year before they begin to show up in the newspapers. Second, with ghost stories and the like, they are further evidence of an enchanted universe within which the Troubles were experienced and interpreted, and within which the black magic rumours circulated and found a degree of credence. There were a few articles on witchcraft and black magic in the Northern Ireland press in 1974. Black magic sacrifice was not the only kind of 'ritual killing' which was in the news in Northern Ireland at this time. Northern Ireland, like many other places, had long played host to muttered intimations of black magic and satanism, supposedly often practised by people in high places. ,.

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The spoken word

Oral culture in Britain 1500–1850

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Edited by: Adam Fox and Daniel Woolf

Human beings have developed a superabundance of ways of communicating with each other. Some, such as writing, are several millennia old. This book focuses on the relationship between speech and writing both within a single language, Welsh, and between two languages, Welsh and English. It demonstrates that the eighteenth-century Scottish clergy used the popular medium of Gaelic in oral and written form to advance the Gospel. The experience of literacy in early modern Wales was often an expression of legal and religious authority reinforced by the spoken word. This included the hearing of proclamations and other black-letter texts publicly read. Literate Protestant clergymen governed and shaped the Gaelic culture by acting as the bridge-builders between oral and literary traditions, and as arbiters of literary taste and the providers of reading material for newly literate people. The book also offers some illustrations of how anecdotes became social tools which used to make points not only in private correspondence but also in civil conversation in early modern England. Locating vagabonds and minstrels, and other wanderers on the margins of settled society depended on the survival of the appropriate historical record. Cautionary tales of the judgements God visited upon flagrant and incorrigible sinners circulated widely in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England: stories of sabbath-breakers, swearers, drunkards, adulterers and other ungodly livers struck down suddenly by the avenging arm of the Almighty. During the age of Enlightenment, intellectual culture nourished a new understanding of non-literate language and culture.

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A ‘special relationship’?

Harold Wilson, Lyndon B. Johnson and Anglo-American relations ‘at the summit’, 1964–68

Jonathan Colman

This book is based mainly on government sources, namely material from the White House, State Department, Foreign Office (FO), Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Prime Minister's Office (PREM) and Cabinet (CAB). Private papers consulted include those of Harold Wilson, Foreign Secretary George Brown and Undersecretary of State George Ball. The book explores a period of the Wilson-Johnson relationship. It considers the seven weeks from Wilson's election until he went to see Lyndon B. Johnson on 7-9 December, a formative period in which Britain cultivated American financial support and which saw pre-summit diplomacy over the NATO Multilateral Force (MLF). The book covers the summit in detail, examining the diplomatic exchanges over the Vietnam War, the British commitment East of Suez and the MLF, as well as the interplay of personality between Wilson and Johnson. By exploring the relationship of the two leaders in the years 1964-1968, it seeks to examine their respective attitudes to the Anglo-American relationship. The book then assesses the significance of an alleged Anglo-American strategic-economic 'deal', Wilson's 'Commonwealth Peace Mission' to Vietnam, and another Wilson visit to Washington. It also considers why the personal relationship between Johnson and Wilson suffered such strain when the Labour government 'dissociated' the UK from the latest American measures in Vietnam. Next, the book addresses the period from August 1966-September 1967, during which Wilson launched an intense but abortive effort to initiate peace negotiations over Vietnam, and London announced plans to withdraw from military bases East of Suez.

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Speaking of history

Conversations about the past in Restoration and eighteenth-century England

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Daniel Woolf

This chapter offers some illustrations of the ways in which history continued to be spoken aloud, in various social contexts, in early modern England. With occasional backward glances toward the Renaissance, the focus is on the period from the Restoration to the late eighteenth century, the era when the printed history book made their greatest inroads into the book-selling market. The early modern era, the age of the great transition to print culture, was perhaps the only point in human history when there has been a near equilibrium between the speaking of history and its silent reading. The commonplace books of the early modern period are littered with incidents wrenched from their temporal contexts to provide illustrations of moral or political points. Anecdotes became social tools which used to make points not only in private correspondence but also in civil conversation.