When the United States rose from the smoke of revolution in 1783 to become its very own country, the world had witnessed a bizarre moment of British defeat within its empire. What came next in the western world was far more bizarre. France exploded in revolutionary fervor, tossing out the Ancien Regime and became a Republic. However, the rest of Europe's leaders stood up to the French revolution, and even though the multitude of Coalitions fighting against France faltered many times, they still arose from the ashes. Great Britain became the leader of the Coalitions, subsidizing the vast armies put forward by Habsburg Austria, Prussia, the Russian Empire, and the faltering Spanish Empire. At the same time, France's inability to enforce the Continental System brought down its own domestic and foreign policy. When France seemed to be too big to fall, Great Britain opened the first front in the Iberian Peninsula, thus ending Emperor Napoleon's one-sided wars of conquest. Emerging from the French failure of the Iberian Peninsula, and his long march back from the frozen tundra of the Russian Empire, Napoleon had finally lost to the Coalition armies.
Mapping and Misdirection: Victorian Maps of London. Michael Kalmes and Mark Looker, Concordia University
In his influential essay, "Practices of Space," Michel de Certeau opposes two views of urban space: the panoptic, aerial viewpoint of the mapmakers and city planners and the perception of the walker at ground level. But maps themselves are never value-free images, and Victorian and Edwardian maps of London illustrate the degree to which social and geographical space intersect in creating themes that are in some cases openly declared and in others submerged. This paper traces the intersection of cartography, ideology, and narration by examining two pairs of nineteenth century maps, moving from a more overtly polemical map to an ostensibly more "objective" one, followed by an analysis of the underlying Stanford Library Map, the gold standard of "objective" cartography of late nineteenth-century London. The paper concludes by comparing and attempting to tease out the narratives of two London atlases. Victorians viewed their new mapping applications as unbiased sources of objective information, but technologies color our perceptions of the world, then and now. Among other things, a careful reading of Victorian and Edwardian maps can open our eyes to the social choices we have accepted as givens.
Politico-Economic Considerations of the British Caribbean Following the Seven Years' War. Erik Noren, Wayne State University
Following the Seven Years' War (1756-1763), British writers across the empire reflected upon the recent conflict as it was crucial in transforming Great Britain from a regional naval power towards being the most powerful empire on the planet. Approached within a political and economic framework, questions centered on the future of the British Caribbean within the emerging empire. Seven key authors writing between 1760 and 1776 demonstrate that there was a shared collection of viewpoints among five of their number. These five figures, John Campbell, William Pitt the Elder, John Fowler, William Burke and John Douglas, generated a consensus of the West Indies in which it epitomized the maritime nature of the eighteenth century British Empire through both commercial networks and growing naval supremacy. The West Indies was certainly a key generator of wealth to Great Britain through exporting sugar, coffee, and other lucrative products. Benjamin Franklin and Adam Smith, however, disagreed significantly with these positive viewpoints, instead arguing that in the future these Caribbean islands would prove less advantageous and more burdensome. From these ranging positions and shared sentiments, these writers helped shape public perceptions of the growing British Empire during a very dynamic period in its history.
In Search of the "Female Principle" in Achebe's Things Fall Apart. Eric Michael Washington, Calvin College
In 1958, the late Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe published his classic novel Things Fall Apart. Though this work of historical fiction has introduced history students to pre-colonial and colonial African history, it poses interpretive challenges that can actually do more harm than good in the history classroom. One challenge is interpreting gender in the novel. Students are tempted to interpret the attitude and actions of the protagonist, Okonkwo, in flat terms obscuring other aspects of the relationship between men and women in the text. Students may walk away from the novel believing that African men are brutes and that African women are oppressed. In order to help students come to a more nuanced understanding of gender in the text, I have introduced them to what historian Nwando Achehe labels the "female principle" in Igbo society. This paper defines the "female principle," and illustrates how interpreting certain aspects of the novel according to this principle unlocks deeper and richer meaning about Igbo history.
American Power Fading in Indo-Pacific: Australia's New Path in the 21st Century. Randall Doyle, Mid-Michigan Community College
In 2018, Australia is facing the most important moment in the country's brief history. In 1901, Australia became a Federated nation. Its primary security ally was Great Britain. Australia did not exercise its constitutional authority on foreign policy matters until 1942. However, Australia would seek assistance from the United States in late December 1941, about three weeks after the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. Nevertheless, Australia has fought alongside America in every significant war from WWI to the present. But, today, Australia is facing the real prospect of having to go it alone in the Indo-Pacific.
With the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and the comments and decisions he has made during his first year in office, a growing number of Australian experts, observers, politicians, and scholars are deeply concerned that America, and its leadership and power, are slowly beginning to fade from the affairs concerning the Indo-Pacific.
Thus, there is a growing chorus of voices in Australia, such as Australian National University Professor Hugh White, that are demanding that the nation begin to prepare itself for the day that America can no longer be relied upon for its security. In other words, Australia must now completely reevaluate its present position and its future strategies concerning the Indo-Pacific. The 21st century will be a very difficult period of adjustment for Australia.
Heredity and National Strength: Medical Advice to Mid-Victorian British Women. Anne K. Huebel, Saginaw Valley State University
The development of the British eugenics movement in the 1880s depended on a connection between ideas on heredity and a concern about national competition with other industrial and imperial powers. Historians have variously seen this link developing from the 1840s to as late as the 1880s, particularly in literature about poverty, crime, and insanity. Because both the eugenics movement and earlier authors concerned about heredity saw educated women as part of the solution to inherited health problems, I examine medical advice to middle- and upper-class wives and mothers to discover when a connection between heredity and national strength arose. Doctors Thomas Bull and Pye Henry Chavasse wrote the most popular medical advice books for well-ro-do women of the nineteenth century. While Bull was an early adopter of warnings about heredity in the 1840s, he saw the results of unhealthy choices as influencing individual health and happiness. Chavasse, on the other hand, became concerned about heredity two decades later but almost immediately connected it to societal health and national strength. The link between heredity and the nation was, therefore, present in advice for middle-class women as early as the 1860s, long before the term "eugenics" was coined.
Navigating Postwar Britain: Nostalgia and Domestic Tourism on Britain's Canals, 1946-1951. Jules Gehrke, Saginaw Valley State University
In 1939, Lionel Thomas Rolt and his wife Angela embarked upon Britain's Oxford Canal determined to fashion a mode of living embracing the much more simplified engineering and physical labor of the country's nearly defunct canal system. Their journey, one which noted cultural historian David Matless (Landscape and Englishness) has cited as a prime example of the interwar "organic" experience of the English countryside, took them through Britain's first set of industrial highways at the very point when postwar planning was poised to become a critical theme. This paper hypothesizes that within the early efforts to save canals led by Rolt and fellow canal enthusiast Robert Aickman through their Inland Waterways Association (IWA), critical issues of nostalgia, fear of cultural loss, and suspicion of centralized planning and state authority were woven together in a campaign of preservation and cultural re-discovery. In re-claiming an industrial infrastructure now woven into the landscape, travelers were invited to re-discover monuments to engineering pioneers while at the same time escaping the frenetic pace of contemporary life. The IWA campaign, as conducted between 1946 and 1951, offers a critical window into examining nostalgia and the countryside at a time of profound uncertainty about Britain's industrial future.
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|Title Annotation:||Napoleonic Wars, Victorian maps of London, UK; impacts of Seven Years War|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2018|
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