Both as a historical focus and as a narrative vehicle of ‘otherness’, the depiction of technological marvels has often seemed tantalizingly vague. In Orientalist scholarship à la Said, it also ended up being ultimately irretrievable across the mutually reinforcing mirrors of East and West.
Angela Woollacott’s new book is a good example of the ways in which Australian historians are being influenced by recent approaches to British imperial history. Just as importantly it shows how the interests of scholars working in these hitherto largely separate fields have converged.
Historical scholarship has experienced a number of ‘shifts’ over the last three decades, with traditional concerns about politics and economics increasingly vying with newer ‘cultural-historical’ questions around language, meaning and subjectivity. Other innovations, such as spatial and transnational approaches to history, have also come to the fore.
Early in his study of radio in the USSR, Stephen Lovell quotes Rick Altman: ‘new technologies are always born nameless’ (p. 2). New technologies, that is to say, do not arrive with a self-evident purpose, and are understood initially relative to what already exists.
During his long and distinguished career David French, Professor Emeritus in the History Department at University College London, has published many highly respected works.(1) He has now added to this list with the exceptional Fighting EOKA: the British Counter-insurgency Campaign on Cyprus, 1955–1959.
Susan Pedersen’s title misleads. The unwary might think that it deals generally with the League and imperialism, centring on the well-known paradox that an institution created primarily to ensure stability in Europe was undermined and then effectively destroyed by its failure to stop imperialist aggression in Asia and Africa.
Is ‘Anglican Enlightenment’ – like ‘compassionate conservatism’ - a contradiction in terms, as Dr Bulman tells us a British academic once informed him (p. xi)? Having been offered the radical, conservative and a whole slew of national enlightenments in recent years, we now have the paradoxical enlightenment.
Somewhat late in the day, Tate Britain has got around to an exhibition about the British Empire and its legacies.
Who was the Welsh soldier of the late Middle Ages? What was the world from which he emerged, and for whom, and against whom, did he fight? Can it be claimed that he made a significant contribution to the way wars were fought during this period?
In this engaging book, Amy Prendergast focuses primarily on the period between 1750 and the 1820s and seeks to provide ‘the first detailed examination of the literary salon in Ireland, considered in the wider contexts of contemporary salon culture in Britain and France’ as well as a study of the ‘cultural transfers’ between these salons (p. 1).