Database Trial – Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice

slavery agricultureThis February we’re trialling a historical database exploring the history and social implications of slavery and the slave trade.

Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice is designed as an important portal for slavery and abolition studies, bringing together documents and collections covering an extensive time period, between 1490 and 2007, from libraries and archives across the Atlantic world. Close attention is given to the varieties of slavery, the legacy of slavery, the social-justice perspective and the continued existence of slavery today.

To begin searching please go to: http://www.slavery.amdigital.co.uk/ – access is via IP address and the trial runs to 1st February 2016.

Please note that PDF download options are not available during trials.

We welcome feedback – good or bad – on this trial, please contact Steve Corn with your comments.

Database Trial – American Consumer Culture

barbieThis month we’re trialling a fascinating historical resource that may be of great interest to marketing students and those interested in the often weird & wonderful world of American advertising.

American Consumer Culture: Market Research and American Business, 1935-1965 provides a unique insight into the American consumer boom of the mid-20th century through access to the market research reports and supporting documents of Ernest Dichter; the era’s foremost consumer analyst and market research pioneer.

The collection is a treasure trove of information on some of America’s best known brands, containing thousands of reports commissioned by advertising agencies and global businesses in a booming era for consumerism, ‘Madison Avenue’ advertising and global brands on consumer goods ranging from tobacco and broadcasting to cars and hotels.

Immensely influential, Dichter’s Freud-inspired studies put the consumer “on the couch” and emphasised the unconscious motives behind consumer behaviour. The Institute of Motivational Research employed trained social scientists and used established methodologies to conduct psychological research. Dichter’s career reached its peak after Vance Packard’s bestselling exposé The Hidden Persuaders (1957) presented Dichter as a mastermind manipulator who could exploit the emotions of consumers for the benefit of any advertising agency or big brand.

The work of Dichter and his Institute for Motivational Research provided the building blocks for many of the great campaigns of advertising’s golden age – including Exxon’s famous “put a tiger in your tank” campaign and the slogan “bet you can’t just eat one” for Frito-Lays – as well as facilitating the successful introduction of Mattel’s Barbie Doll (pictured above from their archive).

This collection will provide researchers of consumer culture, business, advertising, marketing and psychology with a wealth of documentation. The wide variety of industries featured will allow for diverse – and multilateral – approaches from a range of academic disciplines.

To begin searching please go to: www.consumerculture.amdigital.co.uk – access is via IP address and the trial runs to 1st February 2016.

Please note that PDF download options are not available during trials.

We welcome feedback – good or bad – on this trial, please contact Steve Corn with your comments.

Paris Climate Change Conference – Useful Study Resources

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If you’ve been following events at the Paris Climate Conference this week and have an interest – either academically or personally – in climate change or just the state of the weather, Librarian Heather Dawson from the London School of Economics has compiled a very useful list of freely available online resources on her research blog, which you can find via this link:

http://alissresearch.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/paris-climateb-change-conference.html

They range from media outlets to governmental and international resources, as well as links to academic research and analysis. Please note that some of the links apply to resources that are only available through the LSE.

Image by Alan Grinberg, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Animal Tales at the British Library

blFrom Aesop’s Fables to Ted Hughes’s Crow, the stories we tell about animals are often stories about us. A new exhibition, Animal Tales, begins at the British Library today which goes on the trail of animals on the page, asking why they have come to play such an important role in literature for adults and children alike.

From the earliest marks made by humans in caves to the modern-day internet full of cute cats, animals have been enduring media stars. Symbols of the sacred or the profane, the domesticated or the ferocious, animals have always fed our imagination helping us to make sense of the world and ourselves. Inspiring writers, poets, scientists and artists through the ages, a library can become the largest zoo in the world when you begin to track down the creatures lurking among the pages on the shelves.

Animal Tales explores what wild – and tamed – creatures say about us when they take on literary or artistic form and displays richly illustrated editions of traditional tales, from Anansi to Little Red Riding Hood. And be closer to nature with a soundscape based on the Library’s collection of sound recordings, with illustrations and poems by Mark Doty and Darren Waterston.

The exhibition is free to attend, and runs until 1st November. Further details can be found on the British Library site here.

Spare Rib Online at the British Library

front_cover_issue1_0001The British Library have just completed the digitisation of the classic feminist magazine Spare Rib and have just launched a dedicated site hosting 300 specially selected pages alongside articles written by former contributors and leading academics about the history of the magazine.

Spare Rib was an active part of the emerging women’s liberation movement in the late 20th century. Running from 1972 – 93, this now iconic magazine challenged the stereotyping and exploitation of women, while supporting collective, realistic solutions to the hurdles women faced. Spare Rib became the debating chamber of feminism in the UK, and it now provides a valuable insight into the lives of women in this period. Visitors to this site can explore selected highlights from the magazine; and examine how the magazine was run, why it was started and the issues it dealt with.

The full run of Spare Rib magazines can be accessed via Jisc: https://journalarchives.jisc.ac.uk/britishlibrary/sparerib

Eden Flix Presents… No Impact Man

logoNext Wednesday (27th May) at 3pm the Cope Auditorium will be showing No Impact Man, the latest in the Eden Flix series of socially themed contemporary documentaries.

In November 2006, author Colin Beavan, his wife, Michelle Conlin and their two year-old daughter, Isabella began the No Impact Man project. The goal: to make as little environmental impact as possible while living on lower 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

Before the project began, Colin and his family were SUV driving, fast food eating New Yorkers who would assuage their guilt with some good old American retail therapy. But Colin grew weary of his political convictions not lining up with his personal habits. So, in order to “walk the talk,” he decided for his next book to embrace a carbon-free, environmental friendly lifestyle and call himself “No Impact Man.” For starters, that would mean no trash, no electricity, no cars, no TV, and no buying anything new for an entire year.

The documentary feature film, No Impact Man, by Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein, presents an intimate emotional portrait of a couple struggling through a severe and protracted change in their way of life. Over the course of one year, the filmmakers documented what happens to Colin and Michelle’s emotional life as they alter their entire lifestyle. How do they cope with the constant stress and intermittent crises of such a rigorous way of living? Or, perhaps, when life is pared down, do some things become unexpectedly better and even easier?

The showing is free, but booking is necessary – to do that, visit this link:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/eden-flix-screening-no-impact-man-tickets-13414578365

On the Radar… DIY & Anarchist Publishing

1363LU Arts Radar, supported by the LU Communication, Culture and Citizenship Research Challenge, are presenting a thought-provoking discussion about the world of underground publishing next Wednesday (6th May).

The discussion is headlined by Richard Cubesville, a journalist, and is the force behind One Way Ticket to Cubesville zine, a vehemently DIY slice of anarcho-absurdism in existence since 1987, and Stevphen Shukaitis, an academic at the University of Essex and is the coordinator of the Minor Compositions publishing project, which bills itself as a series of interventions and provocations drawing from autonomous politics, avant-garde aesthetics, and the revolutions of everyday life.

Both these presenters are actively engaged in forms of publishing that differ markedly from the industry norm – but they differ from one another too.  This presentation and discussion of their approaches will illuminate the political significance of alternative publishing, against the backdrop of a rapidly changing publishing world.

There will also be a mini-exhibit of zines before and after the session.  The event is free and open to all, and starts at 5pm in the LU Arts Project Space in the Edward Barnsley Building.

Tariq Ali: The Extreme Centre – Free Public Lecture

shutterstock_85721014Next Tuesday, 5th May, the Brockington Building will be hosting the latest in the Politics, History & International Relations Department’s series of free lectures, The Critical Politics for Global Challenges Lecture Series, when the guest speaker will be Tariq Ali.

Author of more than twenty books, as a historian, novelist and social commentator, Tariq Ali is one of Britain’s most committed polemicists. In his latest book, The Extreme Centre, the Guardian and London Review of Books contributor and editor at the New Left Review argues that Westminster is in the grip of an extreme centre, a trilateral monolith in which politics has become a contest to see who can best serve the needs of the market, whilst unstable populist parties occupy the margins.

Meanwhile, he suggests, the gap between the haves and the have-nots has turned into a chasm. The rich have found new ways of protecting their wealth, whilst everyone else suffers the penalties of austerity. With inequality continuing to grow and our political elite failing to redress the balance, Ali offers up this warning against the status quo and, in scouring the immediate and not-so-recent political past, posits potential alternative futures to get us back on track.

This series of public lectures by speakers from outside academia – campaigners, journalists, researchers, politicians and others – will bring to bear their particular expertise on different aspects of these issues. Talks will be followed by time for questions, contributions and discussion.

The lecture begins at 6pm. Admission is free, but booking is necessary. To do that, follow this link:

https://lborouniweb.wufoo.eu/forms/public-lecture-booking-tariq-ali/

Database Trial – Accessible Archives

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The Library is trialling a well-established resource this month that may be of great interest to social sciences students and historians in particular.

Accessible Archives was founded in 1990 with the goal of utilizing computer technology to make available vast quantities of archived historical information, previously furnished only in micro-format, hard copy form or as images only. In pursuit of this vision, primary source material has been selected to reflect a broad view of the times, and has been assembled into databases with a strict attention to detail allowing access to specific information with pinpoint accuracy.  Their online full-text search capability and digital imaging permits the user to search and manipulate this information in ways never before possible.

To begin searching please go to: http://www.accessible-archives.com/ . Access is via IP address and the trial runs to 13th May 2015.

We welcome feedback – good or bad – on this trial. Please contact Steve Corn s.c.corn@lboro.ac.uk with your comments.

Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy at the British Library

British_20Library_20LogoThe largest ever exhibition ever staged about Magna Carta opens today at the British Library.

Since 1215, Magna Carta has evolved from a political peace treaty to an international symbol of individual freedoms. From its genesis through to today’s popular culture, you can uncover the story of how its power has been used – and abused.

Together, for this once-in-a-lifetime moment, are the iconic documents and artefacts that tell the story of Magna Carta: two of the four original 1215 Magna Carta documents, Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence and one of the original copies of the US Bill of Rights, both on display in the UK for the first time, together with stunning manuscripts, paintings, statues and royal relics.

Full details of the exhibition and the programme of special events that accompany it can be found on the British Library website here.