A smile seems the most natural of emotional expressions. We smile easily and often unthinkingly; babies smile; it is, as Colin Jones notes in his introduction to this book, ‘the most banal and unremarkable of social gestures’. Or is it?
Before opening this collection of 11 articles originally published elsewhere, attentive readers may have noticed the absence of a categorisation usually employed in studies on the Eastern Mediterranean between the 11th century and the 14th century.
Gregory Cushman’s preface opens with some bold claims. He suggests that the Black Death, the African Slave Trade, the Second World War and the harvesting of bird excrement deposits from islands in the Pacific oceans were of equal importance in world history.
Both the problematic discourses of ‘professional/amateur’ and ‘public/private spheres’, and also the multifaceted hierarchies between the fine and the applied arts, have received substantial academic enquiry in the last thirty years. This is particularly true for the art historians researching the cultural activities of middle-class women in 19th-century Britain.
For the majority of ordinary people in early modern England, the moral and the economic were closely aligned. Alongside material changes and a growing market ideology, traditional ideas about religion, duty, and community continued to influence economic relationships and practices well into the 18th century.
The legal act of defining the ‘employee’ is about drawing lines. Those boundaries are often artificial, legally structured, and forged in an array of contests over power, ideology, and economics. They may be artificial, but they are powerful, demarcating who is in and who is out, who is us and who is them.
Michael Fry is that unusual individual these days, an independent scholar and a regular (often controversial and amusing) newspaper columnist, who has also devoted himself to becoming a highly productive and successful historian of his adopted country.
Among the features of life that we expect to encounter in historical analyses of the first five or six decades of the 19th century in Ireland is a violent society.
In Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Alan Sillitoe’s ground breaking 1958 novel, television is a metaphor for mass consumerism and the resulting growth of a more privatised, home-centred working-class in post-war Britain.
For every large historical topic – and the transatlantic slave trade is certainly a large one – there is a need for good small books to introduce the academic understanding of the topic to students and the general public. The writing of a good small book on a large topic, however, can be no small challenge.