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Anne Cova

Ann Taylor Allen, Women in Twentieth-Century Europe, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, 208 pp., $28.95 (pb), ISBN 1-4039-9374-2.

Efi Avdela, Le genre entre classe et nation. Essais d’historiographie grecque (Gender between class and nation. Essays on Greek historiography), Paris: Syllepse, 2006, 205 pp., €20.00 (pb), ISBN 2-84950-045-3.

Françoise Thébaud, Ecrire l’histoire des femmes et du genre (Writing women’s and gender history), Lyon: ENS Editions, 2007, 312 pp., €24.00 (pb), ISBN 978-2-84788-093-9.

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Mediating the Rural Ideal

The Australian Town in Twentieth-Century Travel

Louise Prowse

Australian country towns have always played a crucial role in rural tourism. But during the twentieth century, the role of the country town shifted from being a base from which to explore the rural ideal, to being the central destination in which to experience what the rural ideal had to offer. This research identifies cycles in the ways that country towns have been represented in tourist media throughout the twentieth century, from places facilitating rural travel for health, to sites of modern comfort and amenities, to destinations of historic rural charm and as sites to sample gourmet produce and cherry-pick aspects of rural life. Media images of rural travel produced by local tourism campaigns, regional collaborations and state tourism bureaus all point to a significant shift in how travelers partake in the rural ideal. They suggest that the country town became the central expression of the Australian rural ideal for the twentieth century tourist.

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Young Masculinity and “The Other”

Representations of Ideal Manliness in Twentieth-Century English Boys’ Annuals

Pauline Farley

Twentieth-century English boys’ annuals often defined masculinity against notions of the “otherness” of gender, race and class. The children’s annual, which developed as a popular literary form during the Victorian period, was designed to instruct and entertain. Dominant ideologies about gender, race and class were reproduced and reinforced for an uncritical readership. High production values meant that annuals became a form of “hard copy,” re-read by several generations. In boys’ annuals, mid-Victorian styles of masculinity were reiterated during the twentieth century. In these narratives, boy heroes demonstrated superiority to various groups of “others,” thereby modelling and inscribing an increasingly old-fashioned masculinity and preserving older ideologies. Exploring a neglected area of ideological history of gender, this article shows how boys’ annuals presented readers with notions of “masculinity” defined by comparison with “the other,” who might be indigenous, feminine or lower-class.

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Authenticity, hybridity, and difference

Debating national identity in twentieth-century Mexico

Wil G. Pansters

This article studies the transformation of the debate about national culture in twentieth-century Mexico by looking at the complex relationship between discourses of authenticity and mestizaje. The article firstly demonstrates how in the first half of the twentieth century, Mexican national identity was constructed out of a state-led program of mestizaje, thereby supposedly giving rise to a new and authentic identity, the mestizo (nation). Secondly, it is argued that the authentication project around mestizaje is riddled with paradoxes that require explanation. Thirdly, the article studies the political dimension of the authenticity discourse and demonstrates how the homogenizing and unifying forces that spring from the process of authentication played an important role in buttressing an authoritarian regime. Fourthly, the article looks at two recent developments: indigenous cultural politics and transnationalism. Here it is shown how discourses of difference, pluralism, and transnationalism are challenging the central tenets of Mexican post-revolutionary national culture and the boundaries of the national Self.

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Picturing Central Siberia

The Digitization and Analysis of Early Twentieth-Century Central Siberian Photographic Collections

David G. Anderson and Craig Campbell

This article documents over five years of exploratory work digitizing glass plate negatives across Siberia dating from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The article explains the technical and cultural challenges governing access to these collections and offers a preliminary analysis of the themes common to this collection of over 4,000 images. The article is accompanied by a photo essay, which provides a sample of the material and the attributions, as well as references to electronic resources for the full collection and guides to further digitization.

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Graphic Shorthand

From Caricature to Narratology in Twentieth-Century Bande dessinée and Comics

Harry Morgan

The initial aim of this article is to examine semiotic and narratological aspects of the graphic definition of character and caricature, as found in the image-based storytelling of the twentieth century. Our analysis will focus on North American newspaper strips and comic books - e.g. works by Jack Kirby - and French-language bande dessinée (particularly Alain Saint-Ogan and Jean-Claude Forest). We will see that, as a result of precise technical constraints, such as hand-drawn style [autographie] and swiftness of creation [rapidité d'exécution], caricature comes to play a very specific role in the artistic definition of character.

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The “Moral Effect” of Legalized Lawlessness

Violence in Britain’s Twentieth-Century Empire

Caroline Elkins

From 1930s Palestine to Kenya in the years following World War II, systematized violence shaped and defined much of Britain’s twentieth-century empire. Liberal authoritarianism, and with it the “moral effect” that coercion had upon colonial subjects, gave rise to the systematic use of violence against colonial subjects. The ideological roots of these tactics can be located in the twinned birth of liberalism and imperialism, together with metropolitan responses to imperial events in the mid-nineteenth century. Despite copious amounts of empirical evidence documenting the evolution of liberal authoritarianism, and the creation and deployment of legalized lawlessness throughout the British Empire, Steven Pinker either ignores this evidence, or implicitly denies its validity. In reframing Britain’s civilizing mission, and challenging liberalism’s obfuscating abilities, this article critiques not only the British government’s repeated denials of systematized violence in its empire, but also Pinker’s reinforcement of the myths of British imperial benevolence.

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Esther Anaya and Santiago Gorostiza

Compared with work in other European countries, the history of bicycle mobility in Spain is still in its infancy. In pioneering work, some historians have dealt with the nineteenth-century origins of cycling in Spain, particularly its athletic aspects. Other historians have reviewed the main cycling competitions in the country: the Volta a Catalunya, organized in 1911, and the Vuelta a España, begun in 1935. Utilitarian cycling, however, has received less attention. A few authors have highlighted the bicycle’s importance in Spain over most of the century, but none have examined the evolution of utilitarian cycling in Spain during the twentieth century. Although archival sources are ample, their diversity and wide dispersion in various government archives, especially at the municipal level, are research obstacles.

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Bret Edwards

In some respects, the history of aviation in Canada has been capably told. Historians have extolled air travel and the accelerated mobility it has offered Canadians, helping them overcome natural geographic barriers and knitting together the country’s disparate regions. But what has not been satisfactorily acknowledged is the global historical story of Canada and commercial air travel during the dawn and maturation of jet travel beginning in the late 1950s. The jet age made air travel a quintessentially global mode of mass transportation, expanding and intensifying connections between distant locales like never before. Canada was not immune to these developments; transoceanic air passenger traffic rose sharply from the 1960s, particularly to and from its major cities. The jet age thus constitutes a pivotal phase in the history of Canadian commercial air travel, having left a distinctive footprint on late twentieth-century Canada.

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“A Land of Limitless Possibilities”

British Commerce and Trade in Siberia in the Early Twentieth Century

Janet Hartley

This article looks at the prospects and the reality of British commercial activity in Siberia in the early twentieth century, before the outbreak of World War I, and is based on contemporary comments by travelers, businessmen, and commercial agents. Contemporaries agreed that the dynamic Siberian economy opened up opportunities for British exports and trade. British firms, however, lagged behind commercial rivals, in particular in Germany, and the United States. The article explores the reasons for this and also looks at the subjects of the British Empire who went to Siberia and the conditions under which they worked. The article demonstrates the vibrancy of Siberian economic development in this period and the active participation of Western powers in this process.