"For being such a seemingly ordinary vehicle, the wheelbarrow has a surprisingly exciting history." Low-tech magazine gives an illustrated overview of the history of the Chinese wheelbarrow. [Via]
The Brixton Fairies and the South London Gay Community Centre, Brixton 1974-6 "This fascinating story about Brixton’s legendary gay community of the 1970s was posted up on the urban75 bulletin boards, and thanks to the author Ian Townson, I’m now able to repost an illustrated version, giving a wonderful insight into a long lost part of Brixton life."
High Society Mini-site to accompany an exhibition at the Wellcome Collection on the history and culture of mind-altering drugs. Includes image galleries, essays and a quiz.
Swinging Away: How Cricket and Baseball Connect Five minute slideshow with audio from the BBC of historical images to coincide with an exhibition at Lords on the linked histories of the two bat and ball sports.
The professor, his wife, and the secret, savage book reviews on Amazon 'An extraordinary literary "whodunnit" over the identity of a mystery reviewer who savaged works by some of Britain's leading academics on the Amazon website has culminated in a top historian admitting that the culprit was, in fact, his wife.'
Man from the Margin: Cao Cao and the Three Kingdoms You'll perhaps have read or watched reports that archaeologists believe they have found the tomb of Cao Cao (曹操) (of course, not everyone agrees with the identification). Warrior, strategist, statesman and poet, Cao Cao lives on in the cultural memory of China, a by-word for cunning and of course a central character in the great historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms and hence also recent John Woo blockbuster Red Cliff. To understand the man in his historical context, there's little better in English than the 1990 George Ernest Morrison Lecture in Ethnology given by now-retired Professor Rafe de Crespigny, one of the foremost Western scholars of the Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms periods of Chinese history. He makes several of his vastly erudite essays on Chinese history available at the ANU's website.
The Soldier in later Medieval England is a historical research project that seeks to 'challenge assumptions about the emergence of professional soldiery between 1369 and 1453'. They've compiled impressive databases of tens of thousands of service records. These are perhaps of interest only to specialists; but the general reader may enjoy the profiles of individual military men: these run the gamut from regional non-entities like John Fort esquire of Llanstephan ("in many ways a humdrum figure" though once accused of harbouring a hostile Spaniard!) to more familiar figures such as rebel Welsh prince Owain Glyndŵr, who began his soldiering, as did many compatriots, in the service of the English king. Between such extremes of high and low we find, for example, Reginald Cobham, who made 6,500 florins ransoming a prisoner taken at Poitiers and rests eternal in a splendid tomb; and various men loyal and rebel who fought at the bloody Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403.
Envisioning Chinese Society in the Late Nineteenth Century: Words and Images from the Dianshizhai Pictorial Very nice online presentation of translated content from the famed nineteenth century Shanghai pictorial journal (China's first); Dianshizhai (点石斋画报) was modelled on Britain's Punch and produced as a supplement for Shen Bao subscribers. Flash is used so elements in the cartoons can be clicked for further information: a young woman repels a thief with martial derring-do; a customer bilks on the bill in a street eatery in Hangzhou; small-town society and politics with the muddle-headed magistrate; a non-performing temple bell offers a chance for sceptical commentary on religion; the gentlemanly pastime of cricket-fighting.
Past Tense is a publishing project exploring London radical history. Their website has texts telling us about William Cuffay, the black Chartist tried and transported for levying war against Queen Victoria; an account of an early instance of women's organised labour struggle during the 1908 Corruganza box-makers strike; the drunken uproar of the 18th-century elections for the spurious Mayor of Garratt, really putting the 'mock' into 'mock election'; a yeoman farmer in Kett's Great Rebellion of 1549; the burning of the Albion Mills; and much more, including some walking tours to locations linked to radical history in various parts of the metropolis.
Giovanni Arrighi, the renowned authority in the fields of world systems analysis and historical sociology, died earlier this month. A retrospective interview on his intellectual trajectory was published in the March/April 2009 issue of New Left Review. A major international conference was held in his honour in late May in Madrid, featuring several top scholars in an exploration of the insights of Arrighi’s work.
History and Policy UK-based collaborative project by noted historians, offering free-to-view history papers on topics relevant to current policy issues.
Field Force to Lhasa 1903-04 Captain Cecil Mainprise accompanied General Sir Francis Younghusband's expedition to Tibet in 1903. He wrote 50 letters home which trace the expedition’s progress into Tibet. Read this insider's account on the day they were written some 105 years later. Final post is 18 November 2009. [Via]
Kamal Chunchie charts the history of the black and Asian community in Canning Town, east London, in the 1920s and 1930s. It tells the story of the Coloured Men's Institute and its founder, Kamal Chunchie, a man who can rightly be called east London's first black and Asian community leader. One of the many excellent East London history projects at Hidden Histories.
The Great War Archive goes live today (November 11), the 90th anniversary of the Armistice. Launched by the University of Oxford in March 2008, the initiative invited members of the general public to submit digital photographs, audio, film, documents, and stories that originated from the Great War. Although the dealine for submissions is past, photos can still be added to the project's Flickr group.
Adam Smith in Beijing Embedded Flash film 1hr59mins "Is US power in decline? What are we to make of the rise of China? Will a possible equalization of North-South relations herald a more brutal capitalism or a better world? Giovanni Arrighi, Joel Andreas, and David Harvey give their perspectives in this forum, for a discussion of Arrighi's 2007 book Adam Smith in Beijing. The event, filmed in Baltimore, MD, in March of 2008, was organized by the Red Emma's collective."
Smuggler's Britain tells "the fascinating story of smuggling in 18th and 19th century Britain, when high taxes led to an dramatic increase in illegal imports. As the 'free trade'" grew, smugglers openly landed contraband in full view of the customs authorities: columns of heavily-armed thugs protected the cargoes." Includes a gazetteer with Google maps links so you can scope out some lonely cove to land contraband of your own in the footsteps of your forefathers and introduces you to famous smugglers like Isaac Gulliver, who never killed a man in a long career. Though of course, it was an enterprise where things often would turn ugly.
A Rage In Dalston [BBC Radio 4 documentary, 1hr, streaming RealMedia] "For four years after 1945, London and the South East witnessed vicious confrontations between the remnants of Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists and Jewish ex-servicemen organised in the 43 Group." Interviewees include Vidal Sassoon, by day mild-mannered teenage hairdresser of talent, by night militant anti-fascist. Documentary maker Alan Dein was unable to get any surviving Moseleyites to talk for the programme but there's contributions from Trevor Grundy, author of Memoir of a Fascist Childhood.
The Scots voice of the Spanish revolution [Embedded DivX video 1hr15m; also downloadable] Ethel MacDonald was a young working class Scots woman who hitch-hiked to Barcelona to do her part in the war. There she became the English-language voice of the anarchist movement as a radio station announcer. Newspapers at home dubbed her the "Scottish Scarlet Pimpernel" for her role in helping comrades escape the crackdown that followed the May Days. Her remarkable story is told in this recent drama-documentary.
Gutenberg-e now offers open access to Columbia University Press history ebooks. "These award winning monographs, coordinated with the American Historical Association, afford emerging scholars new possibilities for online publications, weaving traditional narrative with digitized primary sources, including maps, photographs, and oral histories." Found via a link to How Taiwan Became Chinese, one of the books available.
Recording the grandeur of the Qing [Flash; browser re-sizing; Flash-free topic index] Gorgeous and rich resource introducing multiple facets of Qing history via a study of the spectacular painted scrolls that recorded Kangxi and Qianlong's inspection tours through the south of their Empire.
The Free Voice of Labour [Flash video 57.11] traces the history of a Yiddish anarchist newspaper publishing its final issue after 88 years. One of 200+ films on anarchist and related themes at the ChristieBooks channel on Brightcove. Other films include Gordon Carr's documentary on the Angry Brigade, a wealth of Spanish-language material on the civil war and revolution, a Russian-language biopic of Nestor Makhno, the story of the Bonnot Gang and a history of Uruguay's Tupamaros. In other news, Franco is dead.
Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security "By far the most ambitious and integral project in the burgeoning field of cold war history"
Although I Am Dead (YouTube) (Parts 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10) Compelling documentary by Hu Jie (胡杰) on the death during the Cultural Revolution of Bian Zhongyun (卞仲耘), recalled by her now octogenarian husband. He photographed her corpse after she was beaten to death by Red Guards, students at the middle school of which she was deputy principal. The film's inclusion in the documentary section of YunFest has apparently led to the authorities shutting down the event. (Via)