Even though male homosexuality was decriminalised in Britain in 1967, it still occupied a legal grey area in which it could be classified as an ‘unlawful’ act contrary to the public good. This was because of the revival of a common law offence known as ‘conspiracy to corrupt public morals’ which was applied to those gay men who were advertising in the new gay press for friends and lovers. Continue reading
David Cameron spoke earlier this year of his desire for the ‘wholesale reform’ of the UK prison system. He explained:
A sad but true fact is that last year there were 100 babies in our country living in a prison. Yes, actually inside the prison. In the prison’s mother and baby unit, to be precise. Prison staff do their best to make these environments pleasant. Some units even have special sensory rooms, so that babies can see colours, sights and sound – even nature – that they wouldn’t otherwise see inside the grey walls of a jail. I understand why this happens. But we should ask ourselves: is it right? When we know the importance of the early years for child development, how can we possibly justify having babies behind bars?
The presence of babies in the prison system is not a new phenomenon and neither is Cameron’s concern particularly novel. Continue reading
To rethink the history of disability and employment, we can turn to one of Britain’s most dangerous industries.
Coal was one of the most notoriously dangerous British industries. Many of its most deadly incidents are well known: the Hartley Colliery disaster of 1862 that trapped and killed 204 miners in Northumberland and the 1913 explosion at Universal Colliery in Senghenydd, South Wales, that took 439 lives, to name just two. Yet everyday accidents were equally commonplace. Unlike major disasters, the common accidents, injuries and diseases faced by coalminers are near-impossible to collate and quantify. Continue reading
Social History has been publishing innovative research and provocative discussion in the field since its launch in 1976. To mark its 40th anniversary, we have brought together a small selection of the material that has appeared in the journal over the last four decades. Continue reading
Between 1976 and 1992, scores of workers, progressive labour activists and citizens, and communities rose to oppose what progressive economists Barry Bluestone and Bennett Harrison called ‘the deindustrialization of America.’ Coalitions of workers, union organizers, religious and civil rights leaders, and progressive activists resisted plant shutdowns in cities across the country such as Cleveland, Youngstown, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Continue reading
Christopher Schmidt-Nowara, talented historian of Europe and Latin America, was an active member of the Social History editorial board for more than ten years until his death in 2015. To commemorate his work, Routledge has made the essays he published in Social History freely available online.
Photographs fortify evidence. They record, reveal, reproduce and validate information that can be shaped into persuasive inventories for prosecution. As a pervasive visual media, photographs have long corroborated evidence, from Eadweard Muybridge’s demonstrations of motion (1872), to their implementation in practices of criminal identification and surveillance. The Burden of Proof: The Construction of Visual Evidence exhibition, currently on display at the Photographers’ Gallery, presents eleven such inventories of criminality and violence, tracing the application of photographic evidence from the early twentieth century to the current era of virtual, multi-medial and multitudinal photographic use. Continue reading
Recently, I had the chance to see Jacques Feyder’s 1923 masterpiece Visages d’enfants at a genuine 1920’s palace of film, the Louxor cinema in the Parisian district of Barbès. The film had been freshly restored due to the inimitable Serge Bromberg (more on his efforts to preserve and publicise forgotten classics of the black and white era can be found at Lobster Films) who also accompanied the screening on piano.
I was amazed to see how seriously the director Feyder and his screenwriters Françoise Rosay and Dimitri De Zoubaloff had taken the concerns and preoccupations of their child protagonists. Continue reading
Vinayak Chaturvedi is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Peasant Pasts: History and Memory in Western India (2007) and the editor of Mapping Subaltern Studies and the Postcolonial (2013). His book on the intellectual history of Hindu nationalism is forthcoming. Here he discusses his latest research project on tennis and its imperial connections. Continue reading