Challenging the Stereotype: The Greenham Common protests

By Megan Bowler, Gale Ambassador at the University of Liverpool
I am a full-time History student studying at the University of Liverpool, a Gale Student Ambassador and a life-long Netflix devotee. With particular research interests in nuclear culture and the movement of people, groups and civil organisations, I find Gale’s primary source archives immensely valuable to my studies. In my spare time, my main hobbies include spending time with my friends and avoiding the question, “What do you want to do after you graduate?”

“Greenham Common is changing more women’s lives faster than any movement in the United Kingdom since the Suffragettes.”

TheresaThormhill, Ours, 31 March 1983

In an ardent and empowered, non-violent and non-alignment protest, more than 70,000 women demonstrated for nearly twenty years between 1981-2000 against the implementation of 96 American Cruise Missiles on the RAF Greenham Common base, Berkshire. Throughout the entirety of the women’s campaign, a conflict between feminist and anti-nuclear sentiment prevailed within highly derogatory and grossly gendered national and international news reports. As a result, the rhetorical nature of the protest came to be mispresented as an entirely feminist, rather than a predominately nuclear, issue.

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A Male Contraceptive Pill – could this bring greater gender equality?

By Lily Cratchley, Gale Ambassador at the University of Birmingham
I am a second-year student currently completing my joint honours degree in English Literature and American and Canadian Studies. This multidisciplinary course allows me to study varying aspects of modern American literature, history and culture as well as old English writing, including poetry by Wyatt and plays by Shakespeare. In term-time I love to keep myself busy by volunteering for a society that helps local, disadvantaged children, preparing for a year abroad in North America, visiting the attractions that England’s second city has to offer with friends, and, of course, working as an Ambassador for Gale.

International Women’s Day was celebrated on Friday 8th March this year, and, as always, it provided an opportunity for us to reflect on the ongoing female fight for universal suffrage, freedom and equality. Several defining moments stand out in women’s history, having shaped our ability to lead the lives we do today, including: gaining the right to vote in 1918, the passing of the Equal Pay Act in 1970 and, of course, the legalisation of the oral contraceptive pill in 1961, enabling women to finally have a say over their reproductive rights.

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Sex! … and Sexuality, and Gender

By Phil Virta, Senior Acquisitions Editor at Gale
Phil Virta has worked at Gale for more than fourteen years in various capacities, most recently as a publisher of digital primary source archives in charge of the Archives of Sexuality & Gender programme. He enjoys long walks through dusty archival collections, visiting far-flung places and frequent woolgathering. When he doesn’t have his head in the clouds, he can be found researching new archive ideas, working on his stamp collection, watching squirrels, or planning his next tropical vacation.

Please be aware that this blog post contains content that may be offensive to some readers; the decision to read the post is at your own discretion.

Mention the word ‘sex’ while you’re chatting with anyone and you’re likely to get a variety of responses from rational to emotional to visceral, depending on whom you are speaking to:

“Did you just say ‘sex’?”
[Lewd laughter]
“I’m so embarrassed right now that I’m blushing.”
“Ewwww!”
“I’m a doctor; we can have a frank discussion.”
“What about sex?”

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Being Creative in an Academic World

Being Creative in an Academic World

By Emily Priest, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth
Emily, otherwise known as Emily the Writer, is a Creative and Media Writing (BA Hons) student at Portsmouth University with interests in travel writing and creative marketing. She is also a freelance writer and performance poet. After her degree, she plans to take a Digital Marketing MA and pursue a career in marketing or journalism.

When I tell people that I am studying a Creative Writing degree, they always look at me with squinted eyes, furrowed brows and a twisted mouth that questions, ‘does such a thing exist?’ It is a relatively new degree, and only a few universities in the UK offer it, but surely it isn’t that strange? When I get this reaction, I think people are more confused by why it exists – and its place within the academic world.

Creative Writing seems to live on the fringe of academia. Although creative writing students read as much as any other, there is less focus on journals and articles and more on prose and poetry. Our submissions include short stories or poetry rather than long essays and our marking criteria relies on subjective opinion. It’s certainly fun but seems less serious. This poses the question – where do us writers fit within the academic world? Can we even fit in it at all?

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Leading Ladies: The actresses who fought for women’s suffrage

By Karen Harker, Gale Ambassador at the University of Birmingham
Karen is a Gale Student Ambassador and PhD student at the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute. Her work focuses on digitally reconstructing and reconsidering the role of incidental music used in nineteenth-century Shakespeare productions, a project which is rooted in archival research and utilises many of Gale’s digital resources. Other research interests include operatic adaptations of Shakespeare, digital humanities, tableaux vivant, and Shakespeare performances during times of war. Karen also enjoys hiking, yoga, singing, and spending time with her cat, Monkey.

“There was a young Lady called Vera
As a Speaker all crowded to hear her
She caused a sensation
Throughout the whole Nation
Such as never was seen in our ERA.”

So begins an anonymous limerick written about Vera “Jack” Holme – Edwardian actress, political activist, and militant suffragette. Found in the Archives of Sexuality & Gender, a collection within Gale Primary Sources, this poem is one of thousands of papers, manuscripts, photos and news articles related to the eccentric, multifaceted life of one of Britain’s most devoted advocates for women’s voting rights. Also a part of the Women’s Volunteer Reserve during WWI and Britain’s first female chauffeur, Holme broke the patriarchal boundaries that had surrounded women for centuries through her constant vigilance and dedication to the causes of women’s suffrage and equality.

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The Ultimate Showman: Freddie Mercury’s untold relationship with the UK press

By James Garbett, Gale Ambassador at the University of Exeter
I’m a third year English student at the University of Exeter.  I’m a huge fan of all things film, theatre and journalism, whilst also continuing to examine the changing forms of masculinity within Gender Studies. When not attempting to play drums, you can find me interviewing various individuals of the music and film world and working for the student newspaper, radio and television station.

When Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen, passed away tragically in November 1991, many newspapers mourned the passing of one of the greatest musical legends of all time. Much has already been written of the lavish and decadent parties that Mr Mercury had in his too-short lifetime, however utilising the vast wealth of archives in Gale Primary Sources, such as The Times, Archive of Sexuality & Gender and others, a new perspective can be found regarding the incredible showman and his relationship with the press.

Read moreThe Ultimate Showman: Freddie Mercury’s untold relationship with the UK press

Surprising Search Results: From Crystal Therapy to Singing Bowls

By Rebecca Bowden, Associate Acquisitions Editor
Having joined Gale in December 2017 with a background in business to business publishing, I am enjoying learning more about the world of digital archives. I love the diversity of Gale’s archives, and discovering the unique stories hidden within them. In my spare time I like doing a variety of unusual sports, a lot of baking, and curling up with a good book.

If one was researching current affairs, political history, or a particular literary period, Gale Primary Sources would be an obvious place to look. It is full of useful archives, from newspapers like The Times and The Independent, to huge collections of diverse primary sources, such as Nineteenth Century Collections Online. But what if you were researching something altogether more obscure – say, palmistry, feng shui or crystal therapy? It may surprise you that Gale Primary Sources continues to shine!

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A History of Golf with Gale Primary Sources

Golf has a long and rich history, with countless books having been written on the origins and development of the game. But if a new history was to be written today with the help of Gale Primary Sources, how much would our knowledge be improved? My suspicion is that it would be improved a good deal, for even a relatively short period of research using Gale Primary Sources unearths thousands of interesting references to golf from the fifteenth century forward, many of which may never have been seen before. Here follows a select sample of the references to golf in the Gale historical collections that could potentially give us a better appreciation of the history of the game and the role it has played in society.

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The Homophobic AIDS Crisis of the 1980s

Written by Rory Herbert, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth

I am a second year History student and President of the History Society at the University of Portsmouth. I enjoy trying to grapple with the vastness and complexity of this subject, and the challenges it can present. On the rare occasions that I have free time, I can be found playing hockey or researching historical facts and events.

Homophobia surrounding the 1980s AIDS crisis

During the early 1980s, AIDS became an ever-growing concern in the minds of Americans, and brought to the fore the deep-seated tensions and homophobic tendencies that plagued the nation’s media and political institutes. Gale’s Archives of Sexuality & Gender  provides access to a wealth of sources that help us to understand the issues and struggles experienced by these long-oppressed and ignored members of society during a particularly trying period.

Mass, Lawrence. “About Your Health ….” Bay Windows: Boston’s Gay and Lesbian Newspaper, June 1983.

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Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners

Written by Anita Klich, Gale Ambassador & contributor

I am a Gale Ambassador as well as a Student Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth where I study Journalism and Media Studies. I’m graduating this year and hope to work in the fields of journalism, public relations or digital marketing next year. Some of my many interests are art, learning foreign languages and psychology. I have a passion for broadening my knowledge, and want to promote Gale resources as they give people the opportunity to explore history, which is a key element of research in every field of study. Anita Klich.

Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) is considered one of the most important alliances in LGBT history. It saw lesbians and gays coming together in the mid-1980s to support British miners who were striking to prevent colliery closures. The strike was condemned by the government led by Margaret Thatcher. Some believe the alliance between the LGBT community and British working class was a turning point in the history of LGBT people and their existence within British society. I decided to find out how different newspapers described the strike and the alliance. Thanks to the Archives of Sexuality & Gender resource in Gale Primary Sources, available through Portsmouth University Library, I was able to find out how newspapers covered the strike, including what visuals they provided to support their coverage.

Read moreLesbians and Gays Support the Miners

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