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Posts tagged ‘history in the media’

EEBO, the RSA, and #proquestgate – the open resource debate

By Tom Smith and Alex Wakelam @A_Wakelam

Something strange happened last month for members of the Renaissance Society of America (RSA). On Wednesday the 28th October members of the 61-year-old historical society were informed that one of the major benefits of membershipsubscription to the research tool EEBO (Early English Books Online) had been cancelled. The service claims to possess “images of virtually every work printed” in English between 1473 and 1700, constituting several million scanned images of microfilm supplied by more than 200 libraries worldwide. It is thus an invaluable tool for the early modernist, available through most, if not all, university libraries. However, the service doesn’t offer any individual subscriptions and the high price puts it out of the realm of the casual public library. Membership at a very reasonable £85 a year of the RSA (the only professional society that subscribes to EEBO) provides the vital access to these documents in a digital, searchable format. It must therefore have proved a blow to their members that ProQuest, who own EEBO, decided to cancel the RSA’s subscription. This was not due to lack of use but to such “heavy use of the subscription” by members that it was reducing ProQuest’s potential revenue from library-based subscriptions. Within 24-hours the decision had been rescinded with ProQuest describing the situation as a “confusion”.

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Why American politics hasn’t gone mad

By Bennett Ostdiek

As an American living in the UK, I often get asked about the presidential election, particularly my views on Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. My British and European friends cannot understand why two polar opposite figures are becoming significant in American politics at the exact same time. To this question, I always respond that Trump and Sanders are two sides of the same coin, and should be understood in relationship to each other. They are both populists’: politicians who appeal to the hopes and fears of the general population by contrasting the interests of “the people” with the interests of political and corporate elites. 

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The refugee crisis in Europe: should history drive the debate?

By Carys Brown @HistoryCarys

Heartbreaking stories of the thousands of refugees crossing into Europe this summer sparked widespread demands that the UK government take more action to relieve the plight of those seeking asylum. A sense that future generations will judge critically how Europe reacts to the crisis has played heavily in debates about what the UK’s response should be. Read more

Selma through a woman’s eyes

By Amy Schaffman

The film Selma opened on 9 January 2015 to a barrage of criticism about its historical accuracy. Though unable to use any of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words due to copyright issues, the movie attempted to recreate the tense scene in Selma, Alabama on the eve of the passing of the 1965 Voter’s Right Act.[1]  Providing fodder for cinema critics were reenactments of several important touchstones of the American Civil Rights Movement: Bloody Sunday, the struggle between the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Commission (SNCC) and Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), as well as Martin Luther King’s relationship with Lyndon Johnson. Read more

Wolf Hall and the historians: What can historical drama do?

By Carys Brown @HistoryCarys

Typing #WolfHall into Twitter reveals no end of enthusiasm about the BBC’s current Tudor drama. Even Prince Charles has admitted to ‘enjoying’ it.1 However, not everyone is happy. Historian and television presenter David Starkey has described both the novel and the TV adaptation as a ‘deliberate perversion’ of history, expressing particular discontent at the level of emotion shown by Thomas Cromwell.2 Read more

Some reflections on Charlie Hebdo

By Hira Amin

9/11 is often cited as a watershed moment in contemporary history. The pervasive narrative was that these extremists hated Western freedom and democracy and Islam is an inherently violent and dangerous religion. In the wake of the brutal Charlie Hebdo attacks, one of the most striking features of the coverage was simply the lack of depth, historical analysis and contextualisation.  Read more

The Media in History and History in the Media Conference, 20th-21st March 2014 (Part 1)

by Alex Campsie

Alex Campsie is a PhD student in modern British political and intellectual history at the University of Cambridge.

Last month saw Cambridge host an inaugural ‘European Graduate Conference’ on the broad theme of ‘History and the Media’. Like its sister event (entitled ‘History and the Law’), the project was generously funded by the History Faculty with the very worthy aim of bringing together young researchers from across Europe to discuss their work. Our natty palindromic title hoped to attract both discussions of the role the media has played within history, and meditations on how new medias may be impacting our contemporary practice of the discipline.

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History and United States prison policy: An interview with Dr Heather Ann Thompson (Part II)

by Jess Hope

Last week we published the first of a two-part interview with Dr Heather Ann Thompson, whose research on the history of mass incarceration has frequently contributed to debates about prison policy in the United States. Addressing post-war urban crisis, the decline of the labour movement and the rightward shift in political power over the last few decades, her work illustrates the damaging impact of a punitive prison policy on a purportedly democratic political system. Its appearance in publications such as The Atlantic also demonstrates how popular media can give voice to historical research in a way that broadens its purposes beyond the academic.

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British Library Doctoral Open Day

by Emily Ward

The British Library is one of those resources which can be so initially overwhelming that you don’t know the first place to start in order to make the best use of it. With over 56 million items, even navigating through the 17 different online catalogues seemed a daunting prospect to me. It was for this reason that I decided to attend one of the Doctoral Open Days run by the library, which are specifically aimed at postgraduates in the first year of PhD study.

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History and United States prison policy: an interview with Dr Heather Ann Thompson (Part I)

By Jess Hope

As a glance at the profiles of this blog team will show, ‘doing history in public’ reflects a goal of making our practices as historians more transparent, collaborative and accessible. Many historians I’ve spoken with also hope to demonstrate that their research matters to the public, and that it has important political, economic or social implications for the way the world works today. Still others—and I would count myself in this category—feel that there has occasionally been a breakdown in communication between historians and those whose work might be informed by historical knowledge, including journalists, activists and policy-makers.

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