Category: History


‘Social Death’ and ‘Possessive Individual’ according to Grace Hong

Grace Hong’s essay titled ‘The Possessive Individual and Social Death: The Complex Bind of National Subjectivity’ offers numerous insights into historical social constructs.  Focusing on the evolution of American history since the time of the Declaration of Independence, the author charts a cogent description of how the socio-polity resisted progressive changes.  The book is focused on women of color feminism and the culture of immigrant labor. But prior to arriving at their specific discourse, a broader framework of understanding is laid out. Hereby, two important terms are introduced by the author.

Possessive individual traces its origins to the framing of the constitution, whereby, only the propertied white males of the new country were accorded citizenship.  Not only were blacks (who were slaves at the time) were excluded, but so were women and a large section of white male population. The privileged minority of propertied white men enjoyed laws that . . . Read More

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British cinema’s dialogue with Thatcherite ideas, meanings, and values during the 1980s

The eleven years of Margaret Thatcher’s reign, which spanned through the 1980s were known for the social turbulence they caused.  The right wing political ideology that has come to be called Thatcherism is deemed reactionary in many ways.  To given an example, a pub near the Underground station at Highbury and Islington in north London was forced to paint the following sign blank under Thatcher’s conservatism: An Equal Opportunities Pub Regardless of Race, Creed, Nationality, Disability Or Sexual Orientation. This illustrates the deep impact of Thatcherism in all domains of cultural life. This was a period when “the very existence of society was placed in doubt, when the belief that greed is good was promoted as a moral imperative. It was also the decade when London came to seem like another country.” (Street, 1997, p. 106)

Cinema, being a major cultural product, was especially subject to pressure from the conservatives.  Cinema as an industry suffered . . . Read More

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Discuss the contribution of Hammer Studios to the Gothic tradition in British cinema

In the decades following the Second World War, Hammer Studios produced a number of films in the horror genre. These decades were considered the ‘Golden Age’ of British Cinema (1945-1975) and filmmakers were trying to experiment and explore the medium of cinema. The period witnessed “the evolution of a radical and subversive cinema focused upon challenging the moral codes and conservative values of the British establishment.”  Hammer Studios emerged as an influential player in British cinema during the 1950s.  It marked a “direct reaction to postwar optimism and the subsequent rise of a conservative political system. It also represented alternative artistic strategies operating in opposition to the realist tendencies of classical British cinema.” (Wilson, 2007) It was in this milieu that Hammer Studios’ foray into horror films will have to be analyzed. The rest of this essay will identify Hammer Studios’ contribution to the Gothic tradition in British cinema by way . . . Read More

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Th impact of the Second World War on British Cinema

The Second World War was a pivotal event not just for Britain but also for the rest of Europe.  In the wake of the end of the war all art forms embraced questions about war in particular and human conflict in general.  One of the important British films to emerge in the Second World War milieu was The Battle of the River Plate. Though the film is largely drawn from real historical events surrounding the war, it is a feature film and meant for entertainment.  Though the story is broadly consistent with historical record, the dialogues were almost nearly invented.  The challenge for the film maker venturing the world war genre is the upkeep of historicity.  The British audience has always allowed a fair license for fiction in the genre for the imperatives of the narrative form. Even allowing room for fiction, the ultimate success depends on the degree of authenticity that the filmmaker could bring to his representation of real history.  It is for this reason that critics were . . . Read More

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How coherent was the National government’s response to mass unemployment after 1931 in Britain?

The interwar years were some of the most turbulent in the history of Britain. Given the strong trade and diplomatic links between Britain and the rest of Europe and North America, the former’s economic stability depended on several external factors. The Great Depression that struck the United States in 1929 had repercussions across Europe. The mass unemployment witnessed in Britain during this period is not merely a coincidence.  On the political front the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany gave rise to distrust and apprehensions of war.  In this respect, the social history of interwar Britain is one highly influenced by unravelling economic and geo-political conditions.  To go with widespread unemployment there were also conflicts across class lines.  The General Strike and the hunger marches that were witnessed during this period were expressions of public frustration.  Although the national government was outwardly sympathetic to public angst, and on occasion participated . . . Read More

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Did women have an impact on American political culture through nineteenth century?

In many ways, women are history’s largest minority.  Their voice was for most part suppressed under male domination. It is only in recent decades that they have attained legal and nominal equality with men. America has been a theatre for women’s rights going back to the late 18th and 19th centuries. The Catholic Church provided a semblance of political emancipation for women. This it achieved through allowing Sisters to assume high offices within the rigid hierarchy of the institution.  Though there was a degree of democracy and representation within the Church, in practice, “internal governments combined authoritarian and hierarchical structures with participatory and egalitarian elements.” This meant that Sisters were subject to the authority of officers, but in turn influenced the officers through elections and consultations.  In this somewhat compromised democratic system some members were disenfranchised to vote.  Even in the absence of a . . . Read More

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From the American Revolution to the Reconstruction era: A race & gender perspective

The time period between the American Revolution and the Reconstruction were one of uncertainly and instability in American socio-politics.  Having valiantly won its freedom from the British Crown, the fledgling nation was taking cautious first steps toward self-assertion. But even as America’s presence as a global power was taking root, its society was beset by longstanding issues.  The social issues could be broadly divided across the twin axes of race and gender. Racial discrimination of colored people and gender oppression of women were two chronic malaises.

At the time of the Declaration of Independence and the framing of the Constitution, blacks were considered as unequal to whites.  This is reflected in the early laws of the country where segregation and slavery were legally sanctioned.  The basis of these draconian laws was the prejudiced conception of blacks as only three-fifth human (whereby whites are the benchmark of full humanity).  Such unscientific . . . Read More

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John O’Neill: The Man Who Knew

John O’Neill’s career in service of his country is one spent in frustration and futility.  Despite valiant efforts by this sincere and hardworking law enforcement agent, the terror attacks on September 11 2001 could not be prevented.  More tragically, John O’Neill himself would perish in the attack as he was then working in the World Trade Centre as a security officer.

John O’Neill has had an impressive career path covering various roles within and without the FBI. Always drawn to the allure of a special agent for the FBI, John’s first job was as a fingerprint clerk and tour guide at FBI Headquarters in Washington.  He was barely twenty years old when he started out with FBI in this modest fashion. He climbed up the career ladder steadily thereafter. His appointment as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) in Chicago is a notable milestone. But it is the World Trade Center (WTC) bombing at Oklahoma in 1993 that would prove to be a turning point in his . . . Read More

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The Emancipation Proclamation & the Gettysburg Address: A comparative analysis

Abraham Lincoln’s greatness as President lies in his extraordinary ability to take crucial decisions that would prove pivotal to the nation’s history.  The Emancipation Proclamation, which essentially promised blacks of their right to equality and liberty, is one of its kind – not just in American history but in political history as a whole.  The proclamation and the Gettysburg Address are two exemplary documents whose appeal is intellectual, emotional and moral.  This essay will argue that the moral force of the two documents derive from the founding doctrines of the country as well as from scriptures.

The Gettysburg Address was delivered amid very tumultuous events.  The Civil War has already brought loss of human lives and material wealth.  Even the very conception of the nation is being questioned by the two warring factions.  Lincoln was clearly a shaken man due to the tragedy unfolding under his command.  Yet he was duty bound to . . . Read More

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The historical significance of the three Punic Wars

The three Punic Wars that were waged between Roman and Carthaginian Empires is a central event in ancient geopolitical history.  The rise of the Roman Empire coincided with the decline of the Carthaginian Empire because each tried to benefit at the cost of the other.  With every outbreak of war between these two great empires, the Roman Empire ended up garnering greater territorial expansion and political influence in the broader Europe.  The three wars spanned a period of more than a century, starting from 264 BC and ending in 146 BC.  The outcome of the wars established the enduring legacy of the Roman Empire as one of the greatest in the whole of history.

The influence of the Punic Wars on Western Civilization

The Punic Wars were important also for their influence on subsequent diplomatic and military strategies. Many theories pertaining to political and military strategy were conceived and codified during these three wars.  These theories . . . Read More

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