a 24-hour event from Retrospect
CONTRIBUTORS page 2
Freya Barcroft Sarah Beamish Sarah Bissell Ellie Byrne Ruairidh Campbell Joshua Coen Samuel Cook Enzo DeGregorio Kerry Gilsenan Ionna Ionnou Francis John Keep Anna McKay Andrew McLeod Louise Morgan Brenna Murdock Charles Nurick Craig Phillips Marco Polvara Frances Roe Lucy Shiels Anaya Shrestha Josephine Teng Imogen Thomas Robin Weaver Alice Williamson Kristie Yorkston
COLLABORATE / /
editor // Ellie Byrne deputy editor // Kerry Gilsenan secretary // Sammy Cook design editor // Lucas Clauser
academic // Louise Morgan, Katrin Heilmann features // Katherine Dixon, Emily Rushton, Charles Nurick reviews // Frances Roe, Anna McKay societies // Alice Williamson subeitor // Freya Barcroft media officer // Maddy Pribanova
// No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the editor. All opinions expressed are those of the writers, and are not necessarily endorsed by the publication. Rights reserved. //
David Levithan: Master Collaborator
Is “Voluntourism” Anything More Than A Holiday?
Is There a Social Segregation in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology
The “Collaborationists” of the Holocaust
The Music of the Mile: Edinburgh’s Street Performers
The Future of Scottish Prisons
Could Scotland Have Created the Strong Foundations Needed to be a Successful
How to Draw
No Likey or Love at First Light?
36 Questions to Fall in Love: An exercise in being better at loving your friends
ABBA and the Gift of Music
And Then There Were Six: The History of the Six Nations
Now All Roads Lead to France, The Last Years of Edward Thomas
Crusoe on Ballard’s Concrete Island
Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
Is Historical Fiction Damaging to the Study of History?
1789-1837: The Key Period in the Foundation of British National Identity
www.retrospectjournal.co.uk Edition of 1000
EDITOR’S NOTE COLLABORATE / /
Deputy Editor Retrospect’s Innovative Learning Week project, ‘Collaborate’, has been a long time coming, with the team keen to revive Retrospect’s ed24 magazine concept. Breaking away from our traditional History, Classics and Archaeology content, and stepping into unfamiliar territory, has been both an inspiring and daunting experience. Taking this issue from the drawing board to the printer in 24 hours has been no easy task, and there is a long list of people without whom this project would not have been possible. The collaboration between Retrospect and the Careers Service has drastically enhanced the end result of ‘Collaborate’. HCA Careers Consultant, Craig Phillips, after initially suggesting Retrospect’s involvement in ILW 2015, has helped steer the project from its infancy, frequently meeting to discuss ways in which to improve the scale and impact of the project, pushing through the application and funding, and joining me in the ultimate challenge of this project – innovative problem solving. Schools Coordinator, Rachael Barlee, took Retrospect to new heights in our engagement with the local community, successfully managing a schools competition on the theme of ‘Foundations’. Her involvement with Retrospect has created exciting opportunities for the journal’s future, and we look forward to working with both Rachael and local schools again soon. The Retrospect team rose to the challenge with ease, pulling together with workshop ideas, programme suggestions and ensuring morale remained despite the ticking of the clock. Our Design Editor, Lucas Clauser, contributed to both design and social media workshops, and held together a small team, taking on the hardest challenge of all – combining text and design under intense time pressure. Subeditor, Freya Barcroft, talked confidently of her time at Employ.ed on Campus to contribute to the work experience workshop, and invited Edinburgh University Press guests, Sales and Distribution Manager, Avril Cuthbert, and Journals Marketing Manager, Ruth Allison, to participate in the day. Her careful, considerate attention to detail throughout the editing process fought away the blunders of sleepy fingers, leaving ‘Collaborate’ in fine form. Academic Editor, Louise Morgan, organised our Academia in the Media talk with Asian History Lecturer, Dr Christopher Harding. Features Editor, Charles Nurick, contributed to our writing workshop as well as leading a talk on social media featuring Editor and Blogger, Chiara Pannozzo. The Reviews Editors were in high demand due to the less formal nature of this issue’s content. Frances Roe invited our headliner, Kaye Nicolson, from Edinburgh Evening News, who gave a phenomenal insight into the work of a Crime Reporter, whilst Anna McKay taught our participants the ins and outs of review writing. Our Media Officer, Maddy Pribanova, has worked closely with me on a fantastic 24-day social media countdown that saw sign up for the event almost full in the final week. Her commitment and enthusiasm to Retrospect never goes unnoticed. Secretary, Sammy Cook, provided much-needed on hand support throughout the day. Editor, Ellie Byrne, kept spirits high, and shared everything she knows in an editing workshop to close the day. Thanks goes to Features Editor, Katherine Dixon, for offering support from afar. ILW Student Ambassador, Calum Mackie, also assisted in the catering of the event, and ensured ILW social media coverage alongside Academic Editor and Digital Communications Intern, Katrin Heilmann. Thank you to anyone who attended a talk or workshop throughout the day – your engagement with our project made the months of planning and 24 hours entirely worthwhile. We look forward to working with the ‘Collaborate’ participants again in the future. KG
t is with great pleasure that I write this piece for the Collaborate 24 hour magazine project as part of Innovative Learning Week 2015. I have been really impressed with the day so far, and it is great to see so many students from different subjects turn out for the day, working together and learning from each other. I am relatively new to working in a university, and a colleague recently told me there are two common misconceptions about using the Careers Service. The first is that students need to know what they want to do with their life, and secondly, that we’re here to tell them what they’re going to do with it. In his words, “They don’t and we won’t.” I completely agree. My short time here at Edinburgh has unequivocally served to highlight, that as a service, we are far more than that. Collaboration represents not just the theme of the present journal, but it is one of the key values underpinning the work of the Careers Service. It has, and will always be, a vitally important element of our work. The partnerships and connections that we cultivate and develop can be seen in the diversity of our employer engagement activities, work with academic schools and support provided to student groups and societies. Working with the Retrospect team is emblematic of this approach, and also illustrates the variety of ways in which we, as a Careers Service, engage with students. My work with student groups and academic schools has been one of the most informative and enjoyable parts of my role so far. As a service for students, we strive to move forward by diversifying the ways in which we provide support and enable understanding of the skills, attributes and mind-set required for career success. The career learning opportunities we deliver aim to expand horizons and help empower students to make positive career decisions. We always encourage students to make the very most of their time at university by developing the balance of work, academic and extracurricular experiences required by graduate employers – whatever the sector. The university experience is more than the sum of its parts. It is important that I note the commitment and endeavour of event co-organisers Kerry Gilsenan and Rachael Barlee. From our initial project discussions (can we actually do this?) right through to the implementation (we are doing this!) as the event takes place all around us, there has been a real desire to take risks, innovate and create a tangible learning experience. They are a credit not just to themselves, but the wider University. I have been impressed by their energy and commitment and they’ve certainly taught me a thing or two. Recognition must also go to the wider Retrospect team for their support, and of course, our guest speakers for their valued and insightful contributions to our event. We very much appreciate their time and effort. Their perspectives on topics such as social media, blogging, academic engagement, publishing and local reporting have unquestionably enhanced the quality of our event. Finally, I would also like to place on record my thanks to my colleagues Penny Scott and Helen Stringer for their support, encouragement and patience. Thanks for reading and I really hope you enjoy this issue as much as the collaborators did bringing it together from start to finish.
Craig Phillips Careers Consultant
SCHOOL’S COORDINATOR page 6
Rachael Barlee A main feature of our ‘Collaborate’ project was the promotion of outreach, and engagement with the communities of journalism and History, Classics and Archaeology beyond the university campus. One aspect of this venture was the formation of new relationships with History and Classics students in Edinburgh high schools. Local students were asked to submit a short historical feature article on the theme of ‘Foundations’ for a schools competition, marking the beginning of Retrospect’s relationship with the wider community. These submissions could focus on any community, event or time period, and we chose to print our winning submission in this issue as part of our 24-hour project. Our winner was Ruairidh Campbell, a Fifth Year student at Merchiston Castle School, asking: ‘Could Scotland Have Created the Strong Foundations Needed to be a Successful Independent Country?’ The Scottish Referendum, and the many questions springing from its study, have been approached in the media from a variety of viewpoints over the last few years: political and civic, native and foreign. As a reflective article written five months after the Referendum, Ruairidh’s submission comes from the unique perspective of a Scottish teenager considering the political future of his country – and what it could have been. Writing in an engaging and relatable manner, he confidently considers the foundations behind the policies and promises of Yes Scotland, and engages with current data to create an informed consideration of the potential success of an independent Scotland. His article reminds us of the necessity of building strong foundations before undertaking important or ambitious projects, whether for the individual or the nation, and particularly in the making of history.
COLLABORATE / /
This competition has formed the early foundations for Retrospect’s engagement with Edinburgh high schools, with the exciting prospect of future interaction with their students of History and Classics.
I by Ananya Shrestha A movie, some half dozen books, and an overwhelming online presence later, John Green has become a household name. His fame has extended to such great heights that The New Yorker has published a fullblown profile on him, and President Barack Obama has helped him pick a name for his new-born daughter. Green’s collaborators, however, share a different fate. Cast in his shadow, they quietly battle obscurity, writing books with far better creativity and content than John Green possibly could. David Levithan just happens to be one of those fortunate few. If you have read the acclaimed Will Grayson, Will Grayson, David Levithan’s name might not come as a surprise to you. He is the other author of the book, the voice of the shy lowercase Will Grayson, and the one who figuratively blows your mind with eccentric writing so full of soul. But eccentric writing full of soul is Levithan’s signature after all. Not one of his works, collaboration or otherwise, is devoid of emotion. And perhaps this is why all new young authors seem to rise after writing with him. Born in New Jersey in 1972, David Levithan’s first foray into writing began with an internship at Scholastic, where he worked on The Baby-sitter’s Club series. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in English and Political Science, and wrote his first book in 2003. Boy Meets Boy, a rare breed of the teenage romance novel focusing on LGBT youth, put Levithan on the literary map and since then he has published several short stories and over twenty novels - ten of which have been collaborative projects. In no particular order, here is a brief overview of five of Levithan’s best co-written, co-produced works: Every You, Every Me (2011): Inspired by a photograph he saw on his friend’s refrigerator door, David Levithan convinced said friend, Jonathan Farmer, to embark on a literary experiment. The result was this beautiful book. In Every You, Every Me, each chapter is preceded by a photograph, the same way the collaboration worked, and the novel
tells a haunting tale of young Evan as he struggles with guilt, psychoses, and unrequited love. Although seemingly based on a clichéd topic, the story is anything but – it is a book full of surprises and if there was just one word to describe it, it would be brilliant. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2006): Probably the most commercial of Levithan’s successes, this novel is co-written by Rachel Cohn and has been adapted into a major motion picture of the same name, starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings. A fast-paced, whirlwind boy-meets-girl book, the plot is slightly reminiscent of Sarah Dessen’s “chick-lit” style but there’s enough music and rock-androll that any boy you hand this to will willingly finish it in one short sitting. In other words – and yes, you might hate to hear this – this book is definitely far better than the movie. Will Grayson, Will Grayson (2010): Better known as the work of co-author John Green, Will Grayson, Will Grayson is nothing if not entertaining. The story centers on two characters who share the same name, and how their lives become unwittingly entangled after one chance encounter. Admittedly, the plotline is fairly straightforward, but many fans have come up with a conspiracy theory: the true protagonist is Tiny, uppercase Will’s best friend, and the story is about self-discovery and selfexpression. Profoundly moral or not, the book is still a great example of a successful literary collaboration. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (2010): What happens when you leave a secret message in your notebook and leave it in a bookstore for anyone to find? Will it get thrown in the trash? Will someone pick it up? Will this someone perhaps be your one and only soulmate? These are the questions that keep Lily up at night, and if you’re reading the book they will keep you up as well. The latest in the series of Levithan and Cohn’s joint ventures, this novel has alternating chapters written by each of the authors, and is a perfect pick for the Jane Austen lover in your life - light, fun, and sassy.
Invisibility (2013): Invisibility is definitely the most conventional of Levithan’s collaborations: a fantasy novel about an invisible boy and the only girl on Earth who has the ability to see him. The book is co-written by Andrea Cremer, and is crafted in a distinctly non-experimental way, but the focus on plot in no way outweighs the usual attention given to style. What makes this book special is its hidden subtleties, may it be the casual nod given to anti-bullying storylines, or the idea of family values and hidden demons within all.
David Levithan: Master Collaborator
Older science fiction films seem to feel quite removed from daily life suggesting that it isn’t something that we should be concerned about whereas, more recent works depict a future which is not too far away. Whether this fuels the fire of mistrust in A.I. equipment, or merely mirrors the hypothetical risks without a stand point, it is not always clear. In Spike Jonze’s film Her, Joaquin Phoenix’s character starts to have romantic feelings for an A.I., which functions as his operating system. This does not seem too far-fetched, with more people falling in love online without meeting in person, and ‘catfishing’ - pretending to be another person online in order to lure someone else’s attention becoming more prominent. An artificial intelligence talking to you online does not seem a million miles away. No matter how speculative the risks of A.I. might be, there is a definite fear in the uncertainty of what is to come - whether it is through lack of understanding, or the thought of creating an omnipotent being which is too worrying to comprehend. I personally think what we should be most cautious of, however, is losing our touch with our humanity, as A.I. can put up a barrier between us and real human interaction. Without this, we might start to forget what makes our lives so good in the first place. But then again, this might be speculation.
New Old Stock
COLLABORATE / /
by Sarah Bissell Technology for most of us is a daily necessity in some capacity, no matter how small. But the implications for further Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) development have been discussed at length recently, and some of the leading intellectuals in the world are worried about its impact. Since Alan Turing wrote the paper ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’ in 1950, the idea of a computer that could think as intellectually as we do has been up for debate. The subject seemed a little hard to understand though at this time, except to maybe some of the intellectuals that considered it their field. Of course this was well before virtually everyone in the world had some form of computing device in their home - before a mobile phone had the processing power of a vintage supercomputer, and before you could ask your mobile phone for advice on where to go for dinner that night. In a society that relies so heavily on technology these days, is there a place to draw the line in regard to A.I.?
The Turing Test was created to see if someone could decipher whether they were talking on screen to another human or a computer, and recently a computer succeeded in fooling a panel of expert judges for the first time, sixty-five years after the test creation. Technology is clearly taking giant leaps forward, and most people would deem it to be a good thing. But scientist Stephen Hawking recently stated in regards to future A.I. projects that, “Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, could not compete and would be superseded.” This is a worrying statement from the scientist who explained the beginning of the universe, especially as he had previously praised revolutionary technology for helping him to talk, and even keep performing lectures. A self-thinking computer could hypothetically think and ‘evolve’ exponentially, a notion which has been touched on in a great number of science fiction films over the years, from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, to recent films such as Ex Machina.
Is “Voluntourism” Anything More Than A Holiday? Is the collaborative effort between privileged Western students and “voluntourist” agencies actually beneficial to communities in poverty, or food for narcissistic attitudes? “Voluntourism” is a term coined by critics for an increasingly fashionable phenomenon. Privileged Western students participate in global volunteer projects, often with idealistic intentions, to improve the world by serving disadvantaged communities, usually for one or two weeks, while sightseeing and gathering souvenirs. Agencies may offer house-building projects in Haiti, a chance to feed orphans in Africa, arts and crafts teaching in Cambodian villages, or teaching English in a rural Indian community. While such activities sound like great opportunities to engage in global citizenship and benefit humanity, critics have called into question the actual benefits of such projects and even the intentions of participants. Do the pros really outweigh the cons? The first question to ask is ‘What is the cost?’ In Nepal and Cambodia, there have been children stolen from their homes and put into houses meant to support the voluntourist industry. After all, where there is a demand, supply must be generated. In Africa, some people living in rural areas do not seek optional medical insurance, but instead rely upon foreign aid, which is often irregular, thus leaving themselves unprotected in times of need. In many other places, volunteer positions even take jobs away from locals who may depend on them. Thus, these projects can disturb a community on different levels. Then there is the issue of the financial cost. Volunteer tourists spent around £1.3 million traveling every year, and a single trip could easily cost £1,500. The shock on the face of a student who lived in a slum colony in New Delhi, India, when he discovered some foreigners had paid more money than he would see in a year to spend time with him and other students for two weeks is telling in itself. At first, he reported feeling delighted and honoured. A week later, however, when he had given it greater consideration, he talked to another long-term aid worker and expressed bewilderment. “If they came to help us, why didn’t they just send the money?” was his question. It is certainly a valid one when it comes to international aid efforts. The costs of a single volunteer traveling to Africa to build a school hut could cover the costs of five or more schools built by locals while providing jobs. If poverty alleviation is a genuine reason for involvement, how can the costs of travel, paying the middleman agency and often superior accommodations, be justified? Perhaps the “global partnership” agencies would justify it by alluding to the personal benefit of the volunteer tourist. This brings us to the criticism that narcissism is the underlying drive of participation, just as much as greed is the hidden motor of the industry. Last year, The Onion published an article entitled, “6-Day Visit to Rural African Village Completely Changed Woman’s Facebook Profile Picture,” mocking the façade of concern which these projects can be used to express. Undoubtedly, a profile picture
of oneself surrounded by enthusiastic ‘foreign-looking’ children does tend to generate a lot of likes. While disingenuous intention might not be problematic and simply suggest the immaturity of youth, some critics have highlighted its darker aspects. Some have gone so far as to decry voluntourism as a phenomena that promotes colonialist mentality and the Western savior complex as idealistic, allowing privileged participants to enter communities with little or no understanding of their culture and impose upon them the aid they believe necessary. The aid they bring, as previously mentioned, could harm the community more than they understand. Their feel-good source may be more than insulting and unhealthy; it can be dangerous to vulnerable communities. In light of all this, the collaborative effort between volunteer tourists and the agencies that send them does not appear to be a worthy one. This is the opinion that I myself once held until I set aside cynicism and considered a different perspective. Perhaps entering communities in poverty provides one magnificent opportunity: the chance to learn empathy. In my generation, television and vivid photography, the abundance of knowledge, and the campaigns for awareness have left many of us desensitized. We are aware of the differences in lifestyle of people around the world just as
we are aware that Iron Man is one of the Avengers. Maybe stepping into their shoes and living amongst them, hearing their stories, sharing laughter and sometimes their tears will teach us something we cannot really learn at home. The goal of seeking out this privileged experience of touching hearts with someone else is indeed a worthy one, because the development of genuine empathy is priceless. If there can be a meaningful goal somewhere in all this this, we need to strive towards it, but with careful consideration. We need to collaborate with worthwhile partners who have genuine plans and strategies to bring long-term change to communities and can incorporate the skills of eager foreigners in ethical ways; not voluntourist agencies whose business taints the nature of nonprofit work and whose abilities to affect change are limited to students on 2-week trips. The issues with voluntourism vary and need to be addressed, but the first step is to help people understand that the decision about who we choose to collaborate with is an immensely important one, regardless of goals.
by Josephine Teng
IV FEATURES COLLABORATE / /
Is there a social segregation in the school of History, Classics and Archaeology? by Kristie Yorkston There are preconceptions about university life having a strong ‘party’ culture, as well as a proud academic achievement that guarantees us jobs as soon as we graduate. There is also the pretence that we will all be a great group of lifelong friends even after we leave. In the School of History, Classics and Archaeology there is often a sense that we do not know each other, a sense that we are all so different that we cannot intermingle. But this view is an assumption, and it has made many students insecure that they are not going out to party enough, or do not have as many friends as they are supposed to have. According to a recent study conducted by the Higher Education Policy Institute, the average undergraduate student spends only 13.9 hours in university per week, which is not much time considering there are 168 hours in the week. We are fuelling the rest of that time with part-time work, extra study and looking for work experience to put ourselves ahead in the job market. Which begs the question, in reality, are we all really just anxietyridden students who are worrying about our degrees, our future and how we are going to pay for that next pint? In interviewing some of the ‘Collaborate’ team there does seem to be a great sense of separation between the History, Classics and Archaeology students, which seems to be a mix of fear of the unknown, and having no opportunity to intermingle with each other - except through social societies. Is this great sense of segregation in the school its own fault? Should we even be forced to intermingle in any context or environment? At the University of Edinburgh, 24.4% of students are international students, compared to the national average of 14.5%, and the rest is made up of Home/EU students. Today it is often believed that students come to Edinburgh on an academic basis to get a prestigious degree. Due to cultural diversity, many students may not even have this belief that we should be ‘super-social,’ and are academically focused. So are these social expectations a British concept and is this assumption causing harm to us?
The pressure of having a first class degree, as well as a hundred close friends and enough work experience to set you apart from the crowd when you graduate, is harming today’s students. With the pressure of getting a well-paid and enjoyable career, and the hovering fear of there being no jobs, we do not even have time to fret about what we are having for breakfast, never mind applying for Postgraduate degrees. It is now no longer enough to just be studying for our degree. We are now required to be doing something with our time at university, looking for work experience which often does not include a part-time job unless it is in the relevant sector in which you wish to make a career. ‘Collaborate’ itself is a kind of work experience where we are all obtaining experience in writing and publishing even if it is in a fun environment. Even though we are meeting new people in the Innovative Learning Week events, who is to say that we will keep in touch? Leading our separate lives, we are often too busy and many of us here are fourth year students with minds wrapped around the concept of a dissertation. With class sizes getting bigger, the presence of many students in our lectures - especially if we are coming from high school with a thirty-person class, to a first year university course with over 200 students in the room - can be very overwhelming and threatening. The Guardian reported that one of the top concerns for students is whether they will struggle to make friends at university, and my personal experience has been the same, especially as I do not live in Edinburgh. It is a somewhat similar but different situation for those who have lived in student halls, where sometimes the only friends that they have at university for the first couple of years are the friends they made in accommodation. Societies in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology have also been a great help to many people, where they meet up with those with similar interests, and make life-long friends and contacts. But these events are made of the students’ own accord, and there are not as many social events made by the university. To paraphrase The Guardian, students are now investors and have higher satisfaction needs; they expect more from university, especially as tuition fees have been on the rise. Perhaps this ‘segregation’ is necessary or evolutionary? We are all required to do more and so we instinctively seek out the opportunities that can get us what we want in the future. We all have to personally realise that we have to be outgoing, we have to actively seek friendship and work experience. But our universities could be doing a lot more to give us opportunities to interact with new people and gain new skills, especially in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, where we all have very similar interests in the grand scheme of things.
V by Imogen Thomas The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the infamous death camp, Auschwitz. The merciless killing of Europe’s Jewry is often associated with the inner workings of Nazi Germany, however there are lesser acknowledged collaborators. By 1944 Hitler’s interest in securing the fate of other European nations’ Jewish populations increased dramatically. In an effort to remain a benefactor, should Germany win the war, Hungary quickly mobilised to prove her commitment to the Final Solution. With a total of 440,000 deported in the summer of 1944 alone, Hungarian Jews were amongst the largest number of Nazi victims. Sadly this can be, to a certain extent, explained by Hungary’s status as a relatively safe haven for Jews in the early years of Hitler’s Germany. Jews from Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Poland sought refugee within its borders until similar discriminatory laws against Jews were implemented after 1938. With a swollen population, it is unsurprising that Hitler would turn his attention to this unfortunate group. Adolf Eichmann would lead the German Secret Police in coordination with the Hungarian authorities to systematically deport over half of this population with the use of over 145 trains. Only a small population would remain in Budapest by the time the Soviets liberated Hungary in January 1945. The Hungarian government was unquestionably an active participant in the Nazi quest to rid Europe of its Jews, with the take over from the National Socialist Party, Arrow Cross, in October 1944, optimising the level of anti-Semitism present within the country. However, collaboration did not always come from these more likely sources. France was invaded and occupied by the Germans in 1940; in order to maintain some form of autonomy a shrunken government was allowed to remain in the unoccupied region of the south, while the Germans occupied the North. This would be reduced to a puppet government by the end of 1942, following the Allied invasion of northern France, but not before considerable allowances were made to secure the deportation of over 75,000 Jews living in France. Under German orders, the Vichy government authorised the French police to cooperate in several large scale round ups of predominantly non-French Jews living in France for deportation to Germany. Following the conclusion of the war the French collaborationists - as dubbed by historians, including Robert Paxton - within the Vichy government, denied that they were aware of the fate of the Jews that they were sending away. They argued that they acted under the orders of German authority in a bid to keep some control in France. Despite this defence, the collaborationists in France were heavily criticised following the war by both the French people and the subsequent literature. Nevertheless, France also
represents a nation that would never have pursued the act of genocide on its own terms, the occupation and pressure from Germany was the basis of any uneasy collaboration. Having addressed willing and forced collaboration under Nazi Germany, an interesting comparison can be made with the outright resistance and noncooperation exhibited by one European nation. Denmark was occupied along with Norway in April 1940. By surrendering quickly and promising a ‘loyal cooperation’, Denmark was able to remain off the German hit list for much of the war, resulting in a relatively relaxed occupation. German soldiers apparently exhibited relative respect for the Danish people and their way of life. However, when Hitler eventually ordered the arrest and deportation of Denmark’s 7,800 Jews, on the 1st of October 1943, Denmark would exhibit one of the most heroic acts of the war. Danish resistance members, as well ordinary citizens, would embark on the evacuation of over 7,200 Danish Jews across the sea to neutral Sweden. Within three weeks of the order for arrest reaching the Danish officials, the country had succeeded in ferrying the vast majority of them away to safety. Due to these actions, as well as the government’s pressure on the well being of the few who were captured, over 99% of Danish Jews survived the Holocaust. This was a unique rescue effort which utilised nationwide cooperation, and proved that widespread support for the Jews, with the help of some excellent planning, could save lives. Each case of Nazi collaboration within European nations has to be assessed on its own terms. It is clear that Hungary’s largely anti-Semitic political ideology mirrored much of what Germany was trying to achieve, and this is reflected in the number of Hungarian Jews who perished in Auschwitz. Equally the Vichy government in France can be seen as collaborating with the Nazis, but the element of force they used was far greater than can be seen in the Hungarian case. It is also important to appreciate examples of non-collaboration, and for Denmark this was extended in the form of one of the most celebrated acts of compassion towards Jews during the Nazis reign over Europe.
The “Collaborationists” of the Holocaust
The Music of the Mile: Edinburgh’s Street Performers
COLLABORATE / /
by Ioanna Ioannou If you were out on the night of the eve of the referendum, you must remember the festive atmosphere. I was walking up the Royal Mile and was overwhelmed by the party atmosphere. The flags, the smiles, the bagpipes, and right at the corner between Royal Mile and North Bridge, there was an a cappella group performing. There was a crowd surrounding it and I felt compelled to stop. Like its castle, street performers are part of the city. They give it a particular sense of character, and even though one might not realise it, Edinburgh probably wouldn’t be the same without them. The most distinctive are probably the rather traditional-looking bagpipers, and even though the music is not to everyone’s taste, they make Edinburgh that much more special. Anyone who has ever visited Edinburgh usually has some story or memory of a busker they saw during their stay. On my first day in Edinburgh, I witnessed a small parade with its own orchestra going down the Royal Mile, and I was so happy to come across it. It made the stress of leaving home go away, and I felt at ease that I had moved to a place I wanted to live - it was a good sign. It is this character that made me love this place at first, not the striking buildings, the picturesque Old City, the attractions or the nightlife. Callum is a storyteller who gives tours around the Mile, and is a part of this community himself. He says that street performers have a long history in Edinburgh. “They have been here since the 1600s.” According to Callum, there used to be a range of street performers in the city, from story and fortune tellers, potion sellers, jugglers to other circus performers, and from what you can see on a Monday afternoon, that would not be very hard to believe. Across from St. Giles, for example, there is a small stall of Celtic jewellery and not much further Elaine Davidson has her own spot. Known for her piercings, and her overall colourful appearance, she holds the Guinness World Record for being the most pierced woman in the world, and if you ever talk to her you will realise that she is quite proud of it. Undoubtedly, she has become one of the faces of Edinburgh. Nevertheless, street performers can be found anywhere around the city’s busy streets - on Rose Street, Princes Street, but especially on the Royal Mile towards Edinburgh castle. The busiest time is definitely the Fringe Festival with over 854 performers coming from all over the world to the 2013 Festival. Still there is no need to wait until August, since there is almost always something going on, and you shouldn’t be afraid to talk to, communicate, or connect with performers. They are fascinating and have a strong sense of community between themthey look out and take care of each other. So next time you see a street performance, stop, notice, take it in, and enjoy. Wikimedia Commons
The Future of Scottish Prisons
Last month, the Scottish government halted plans to replace Scotland’s only women’s jail with a £75 million complex in Inverclyde. Cornton Vale, which currently houses only female inmates, has been called the most violent prison in Scotland. It is known for its out of control suicide rate - among a host of other problems - which cast doubt on the validity of its authority. There is agreement across the political spectrum that Cornton Vale’s infrastructure is faulted, and its reputation is too entrenched to justify attempting a restoration. Conflict arises around exactly what the replacement will look like. Prison reform groups, Jim Murphy, and Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, contested the scrapped proposal because it was what they referred to as a super-prison. Matheson announced the plans would not go ahead when he visited a centre in Glasgow which sought to reduce criminal tendency through supportive programs for the mental and physical health issues that commonly characterize the prison population. While the debate is currently focused on female offenders, it is representative of an increased awareness of the nature of corrections, and its results will affect the entire Scottish approach. The uncertainty concerning what kind of institution to build stems from confusion surrounding the function which prison is meant to serve, and a propensity to put politics in front of research. Prisons are expected to exist in a society, so their purpose is not often questioned. The Scottish government cannot design the necessary institution if its function is not first agreed upon. Depending on political belief, certain assumptions will be made about what a prison should accomplish. Some believe that the prison system should be based around retribution; the victim deserves revenge for the crimes suffered, so the offender must be punished. Others view incapacitation as the ultimate aim, basing this on the notion that the offender cannot re-offend if he or she is physically restrained. The concept that the offender must be punished as an example to the rest of the community in order to prevent future offenses, that prison should focus on deterrence, is also prevalent. Rehabilitation is another route which some believe prisons should focus on, predicated upon the belief that the offender must be given the skills and support necessary to address the problems that made them offend in the first place, so that they have the ability to live lawfully upon release. Some emphasise reparation, maintaining that the offender should pay back a debt to the community, while others prioritise the protection of the public, arguing that the offender should not be released until they are no longer a threat. These goals, while each may be understandable on their own, are contradictory. Incapacitation is a temporary fix unless the offender is never released. If they are released, they are still a threat, and more likely than not, they have become more violent in
prison. If they are not released, they cannot be said to be rehabilitated, and so on. Prioritising retribution, incapacitation, and reparation works against any effort to rehabilitate, and threatens the effect of deterrence. In the United States, a far more punitive nation than Scotland, leading criminologists warn that a saturation point has been reached. Members of communities where the problem is particularly prevalent consider going to prison a rite of passage. When a parent is incarcerated, their child is far more likely to follow, and a cycle will form if design permits. Having such high rates of incarceration creates an environment where it seems inevitable, thereby diminishing the deterrent effect. To contrast, in Norway, Anders Breivik received the maximum sentence of 21 years in prison for killing 77 people in a terrorist attack. He will serve less than four month per victim. He will have gym access, a television, and a laptop, and will be eligible for release when he is 53. Despite the relative leniency of his sentence, Norwegians reported feeling satisfied that he got what he deserved. It seems unlikely that the Scottish public would have received the news the same way. While certainty of punishment is believed to be the strongest factor in modifying behaviour, it is also the most difficult to achieve. Police do not solve most crimes. In order for a conviction to be made an officer needs to record the crime and trace the offender. After this the case may be given to a prosecutor who could potentially charge and bring the case to court. A plea is entered and the accused may receive a conviction. If a suspect is convicted, they may be incarcerated, fined, or discharged. So, the system is demonstrably not built for certainty or swiftness. When designing a system that has the kind of power that the criminal justice system does, it is important for it operate deliberately rather than swiftly. As a result of these limitations, the tendency is to compensate with severity. It is simply easier to make punishments more severe than it is to invest in, and redesign criminal processing. Because severity is so often assumed to be the answer, politicians tend to call for increased severity to appear tough on crime. Being tough on crime does not necessarily mean being tough on the criminal. Shifts in rhetoric – like David Cameron’s ‘tough, but intelligent’ initiative, and Matheson’s announcement – show movement towards better understanding of criminology, but many are quick to revert back to what works best in a sound bite. If Scotland is going to build an institution it is satisfied with, it needs to articulate the function of the prison, and ensure that the design supports it.
by Brenna Murdock
VIII FEATURES COLLABORATE / /
Could Scotland Have Created the Strong Foundations Needed to be a Successful Independent Country? The creation of a new country can be quite like that of a stroppy teenager looking to live an independent life away from home. If the teenager hastily makes the decision to leave, without any long term plan or support from others soon enough they will face no option but to make the embarrassing walk home only to see their parents say, “I told you so”, before being welcomed back in. The difference with a country, however, is that they face this humiliation of failing, yet are left to sleep out on the doorstep. When it comes to creating a new state, something that becomes clear early on is that if strong foundations have not been set from the start, then when that country looks to flourish and prosper among the established economies of the world, it will simply start to crumble under the tremendous pressures, whether in political or economic form. In 2014, we were given the remarkable opportunity to decide whether Scotland wanted to take a punt and go on alone, or stay as we are with the backing of the United Kingdom, gaining at least a few more devolved powers to the Scottish Parliament. In the end we voted to take the latter option, however, had we taken the risk, would we really have been ready? Had the campaign for independence been successful, the new sovereign state of Scotland would have opened for business on 5 May 2016 with new Parliamentary elections. When it came to Yes Scotland’s proposals for “a brighter future” their White Paper outlined exactly what we could potentially have been looking forward to away from the UK. The problem, not just with this example, but with most other plans for how a new country is going to prosper, is that the variables they rely on can so easily change. This became even more apparent in Scotland’s case because Yes Scotland were looking to win a challenging political battle, forcing them to try and make their argument more appealing. If some “benefits” had to be exaggerated, then so be it. And this is what they did, particularly with oil prices which have since dropped to more than half of Yes Scotland’s original estimate of $110 per barrel. According to The Guardian, for every $1 that the price of a barrel of crude oil drops, an independent Scottish government would have had £100 million less to play with. Going by the trade price of $53 on February 10th 2015 this equates to £10.7 billion of losses. So would Scotland have had strong enough foundations to survive on its own? Put simply, the answer will always remain ambiguous as we will never see the result, however, I personally struggled to see how the Scottish economy would have held together – and that was even before the plummeting oil prices hit. As previously mentioned, Yes Scotland were looking primarily for votes in the run-up to the referendum which is why some of their predictions for Scotland’s future seemed to have been exaggerated. Of course, they could never predict the future of the world’s economies, however, if we were to ever be successful, we needed to have a realistic view of what could lie ahead. It may seem unusual to bring up the independence debate five months after the vote, but we must remember that we were close to independence, and it is still a possibility in the near future. The question is could we make it ourselves? Not yet. But then again, who can actually predict our future?
By Ruairidh Campbell
How to Draw Drawing is a cheap hobby that changes how you see the world. Here’s how to do it better. 1. Don’t leave an outline around anything: Nothing in real life has an outline. Things are defined by their shade, texture, and placement. Outlining in the initial sketch is fine, but boundary lines should not be left by the end. Sometimes there is no distinction between one object and another. If there is no difference in colour, texture or shade, leave them the same. Your eye naturally completes lines, and it will understand the image. Drawing a line will just make it cartoonish. For example, in the drawing below, the subject’s cheek to the end of the page on the right is filled in flat black, but you don’t imagine that his face never ends. 2. Draw what you see, not what you think you see: Don’t assume you know what an eye looks like, constantly refer back to the source. An eyeball is not a ball, it is slightly bowed over the iris. So, when a person is looking to the left or right, the waterline - the flat strip between your eye and where your lower lashes grow from- will bend to accommodate it. If the eye was missing, but the lids were still there frozen, you would be able to tell which direction the person was looking. Details like this do not have to be memorised because you will notice them, provided that you have good references to refer back to. Larger photos are usually better as your version is going to be less accurate. The effect is similar to zooming in on a photo - the higher resolution you start out with, the better your drawing will be. 3. Using higher contrast is more lifelike: Use dark darks and light lights, especially when they border each other. Any drawing looks more realistic with at least some portions as dark as possible to ground the image. Highlighting, which can be done with an eraser used like a pencil, is also essential to make the image look 3D. Darkening an area makes it look smaller, farther away, or lower. So highlighting will make an area look larger, closer, or higher. 4. Draw imperfections: Perfect things are boring, so draw out of place or crinkled hairs, pock marks, stubble and age. It takes more time to add texture to skin, but usually an airbrushed finish is just lacking in personality.
5. Use reference points to judge distances and sizing: When looking full on, a face should have just enough room for a third eye between the real two. The corners of the mouth are usually lined up with the pupils of the eyes if the face is expressionless, and so on. These things are guidelines more than rules, but whatever your subject is, it is good practice to use reference points within the image. 6. Understand how the pencils work: The B’s are softer, which makes them darker, while H’s are light because the graphite is harder. It is standard to start with somewhere between an HB and a 2B, which are easy to erase if used lightly. In the later stages, or when you know an area should be dark, the darker pencils (higher B’s) can be used with page 15 higher pressure to reach the best contrast. To save time, use graphite blocks when you want large portions dark. Sometimes you will want a rounded point for shadowing where you don’t want to see the pencil strokes, and other times you want it pointed for hair, fine lines, and edges. You can shape the point on scrap paper. 7. Blending: Blending the pencils into each other with multiple layers of low pressure creates depth and better transitioning between lights and darks. Use a tissue or your finger to blend even further by pushing the graphite into the divots in the paper. Low pressure is important because drawing paper is textured, and using a heavy hand will flatten it. Marks on flattened paper cannot be fully erased and darker layers will not be accepted. A section of the drawing named “A Wonky One” is included below. The reason it’s wonky is because the right side, from the eyebrow to the fingertips, is flattened. So, even though the eye is too high, and the skin fold is too thin, it cannot be worked anymore because the paper has been flattened. Instead, it has just been darkened to hide the problem.
by Brenna Murdock
8. Invest the time: The average normal sized drawing something like 11x14 inches - takes 20+ hours. To get an accurate expression takes time to develop. The features of a face cannot just right on their own - they need to work together in a way that is believable, like they are pulled by the same muscles. Lighting is the same way. There is subtlety that you won’t see until you become more familiar with an image. This time is usually thoughtless, and you don’t have to be obsessive and do it all at once. Drawing can just be something to do when a movie is on, while in class, or with music, stand-up, or audiobooks in the background. 9. Detail: Investing time and drawing imperfections probably has detail covered, but it’s worth mentioning on its own. The less work your eye has to do to fill in what is missing, the more tangible a thing looks.
X FEATURES page 16
No Likey or Love at First Light? With seven series and four international editions, Take Me Out has truly secured its place as a staple in the hearts and minds of the British public. Not only is it a truly entertaining example of Saturday night television, it has proven to be successful: with three engagements, two weddings, one baby, and another baby on the way, all from couples who met on the show. In a world filled with Tinder, Grindr, and a multitude of other dating apps and websites, what is so wrong with an altogether fairly traditional dating show? The fake tan, highly groomed eyebrows and styled hair – and that is just on the men – might be new, but the basic concept is not. A man is brought out to introduce himself to a room of women, who then judge how relationship-appropriate he is, based on appearances, the opinions of his friends and family, and a brief party trick. Fair enough, it is probably one of the more superficial ways to meet a prospective romantic partner, but is it any different than meeting someone online, or indeed approaching someone in a bar or a club? It is hardly their stunning intellect that is a priority in these situations. Why not capitalise on something that is experienced almost every day by turning it into a form of entertainment? Romance is no longer about hopeless romantics waiting for their Prince Charming, but about meeting ‘the one’ as easily and quickly as possible. Participating in a show such as Take Me Out is just another opportunity to meet more people. Whilst the show’s host Paddy McGuinness often seems to enjoy a joke at the contestant’s expense, using hilarious innuendoes and classic British humour, it never once seems to be menacing. Indeed, the ‘Flirty Thirty’ often fire back with their own witticisms, including one recent contestant, when asked what vegetable she would be, responding, “I would be a sweet potato, because I’m sweet, soft on the inside, and orange.” Not only are the women self-aware and able to stand on their own two feet, but many have taken to media outlets, ranging from The Tab to The Guardian, to tell of their positive experiences on the show, discussing the friends they have made and the independence they have to make their own decisions on the show. Ultimately, regardless of how unconventional the show may be, the success and popularity of Take Me Out cannot be denied. Both male and female contestants can have fun, enjoy themselves, and possibly meet the love of their life, all whilst entertaining the nation. Personally, I would love to see several more series arriving in the Love Lift, and if you don’t, you know where the ‘off ’ switch is – “No likey, no lighty.”
COLLABORATE / /
by Louise Morgan
Saturday night has never been a particularly highbrow slot on television, but perhaps we have reached new lows. There is no denying that Take Me Out has become a global phenomenon, broadcast internationally and adored by millions around the world, and it is easy to see why. Take Me Out does not pretend to be something it is not, which is perhaps what makes it such a success. The simple, tried and trusted, dating show formula gets the job done and satisfies its audience in the process. However, what sacrifices does it make in accomplishing these feats? Degradation of both men and women? Check. Cheap and smutty innuendos? Check. About as much originality as a digestive biscuit? Check. Throughout the show, both the male and female contestants are the butt of jokes about their looks, intelligence and lifestyle. There is an argument that ridicule is just part of the experience for people who volunteer to go on national television. But aren’t we better than this? There are plenty of other ways to make your audience titter without throwing someone under the bus. The sad thing however, is how happily these stooges go along with the charade, laughing when the ‘witty and roguish’ Paddy McGuinness openly makes fun of them, making them look like they struggled to graduate from preschool. Rather than focusing on that one time Louise accidently singed her hair, how about mentioning the degree in law she has? Of course, with all these petty put-downs it is hard not to make judgements for yourself. When a man describes himself as a “cheeky chappy” or “ladies’ man,” the immediate thought going through one’s mind is rarely complimentary. All of this pales in comparison to the cringe inducing innuendos we are subjected to on a regular basis. It never ceases to amaze me that someone can turn an innocent question into a sexually charged response: “What’s your favourite drink?” - “A Bloody Mary, because I’m spicy and not to everyone’s taste.” Excuse me while I throw up in my mouth. Sadly, Take Me Out does not seem to be going anywhere soon. We can only hope that maybe next time it really will be “lights out, all out”. by Charles Nurick
XI FEATURES COLLABORATE / /
36 Questions to Fall in Love: An exercise in being better at loving your friends by Sarah Beamish In Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, ‘To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,’ she writes about her experiences testing psychologist Arthur Aron’s work into intimacy, and poses the question of whether a set of thirtysix questions could make two strangers fall in love. It is an interesting concept, which quickly went viral after it was published in The New York Times, prompting partners across the world to share these personal questions with each other. The question I pose to you is whether this exercise allows for a comfortable intimacy between friends. New or old, our relationships with our friends are naturally very different to those which we develop romantically. Catron suggests that we all have a narrative which we present to others, one which I believe is often more readily presented to friends than our partners. Easily accessible, this narrative allows us to avoid awkward questions about our relationship with our mothers (question twenty-four), or when we last cried (question thirty), and instead talk about more trivial issues. Over the last two weeks, I have brought up Catron’s article in passing conversation with a couple of friends, resulting in differing levels of interest in the topic. The most interesting responses have been those friends who have been willing to take on the challenge, and engage in some deep and meaningful conversations. The deliberate action of getting to know a friend better was a surprisingly beautiful experience, revealing some equally hilarious and sad stories that I could never imagine coming up in every-day conversation. The idea that mutual vulnerability creates a better environment to bond with your partner is fascinating, and one which rang true even when asking these questions to friends. In Catron’s case, she believes that the act of asking the questions was more important than the act of falling in love itself. It became a choice for her and her partner to fall in love, rather than an act of fate. In my case, setting out with the intention to spend an hour getting to know someone better taught me an important lesson. The people in our lives, who punctuate our days with laughter and crude stories from the night before, are just as lonely, sad, happy, or scared as you are. They are quite beautiful creatures indeed. I learned that we should not be afraid of loving our friends, and that it is rewarding and wonderful to take a moment to tell a friend why you like them (question thirty-six), or hear what friendship means to them (question twenty). In one case, it led to a heartfelt Facebook message afterwards from two friends who were shocked about how much the chance to communicate honestly affected them. For others, the shared laughter over an embarrassing moment was enough for us to form a closer bond. For me, I thoroughly enjoyed falling a little bit in love with my friends, and learning to appreciate what is under the narrative they present. I highly recommend that you take the time to do it too.
XII by Samuel Cook “In your eyes there is no hope for tomorrow.” An uncharacteristically blunt and sombre line from the band that swept the world up in dance with such hits as Waterloo and Dancing Queen, it is nevertheless one that resonated with the experiences of millions of young women in 1979 and helped propel the song “Chiquitita” to number two in the UK charts. These women, however, were not part of the ABBA entourage of screaming fangirls but rather the countless number of women who lived in a world without access to the basic human rights of education and healthcare. According to UNICEF, girls continue to be disproportionately underrepresented in education with as many as 31 million denied access to primary school. In addition, roughly two thirds of the 800 million illiterate people in the world are women. In a year which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Malala Yousafzai was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her role as a “leading spokesman for girls’ rights to education.” The renewed global emphasis on securing and protecting girls’ rights received an additional boost last year from a more unlikely source. In November, ABBA extended their commitment to UNICEF’s Rights for Rights campaign by donating all royalties from their hit song “Chiquitita” to support women’s access to education. ABBA’s history of collaboration with UNICEF is nothing new. In 1979, the Swedish pop band committed half of all future royalties from “Chiquitita” to the organization, after performing the song in front of the UN General Assembly as part of the Music for UNICEF Concert. Their renewed collaboration is an unfortunate sign that the lyrics of the song still remain relevant to many women around the world.
The announcement in November also saw the ABBA Museum in Stockholm launch the PressPlayToGive project. Every year, for the next 5 years, covers of “Chiquitita” will be released by various artists, with all proceeds going to UNICEF, in order to raise the profile of the song and appeal to a new generation and global audience. A lot has changed in the world of music in the last 36 years. Listening to your favourite song is now only a click away; with accessible and free online musical platforms such as YouTube and Spotify the reach of music has never been so great. The Internet’s transformation of the music industry has also opened up new possibilities for modern philanthropy, with musicians increasingly giving the royalties of their songs to charities and audiences donating one-off cash sums. So whether you are at home listening to “Chiquitita” on YouTube or on the go with Spotify, simply listening to the song donates money directly to UNICEF. So listen to the song and spread the word. Then listen to the song again. Perhaps then one day, in typical ABBA fashion, they’ll “be dancing once again.”
ABBA and the Gift of Music
And Then There Were Six: The History of Six Nations
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by Charles Nurick For many of the older generation, the Six Nations Championship is a relatively new concept - one that is still in its infancy. That is not to say that the pedigree of the tournament is in any way questionable. Although the current championship as we know it only arrived on the scene at the turn of the twenty-first century, its forefather, the Five Nations, has a history stretching back over one hundred years. Beginning in 1883 as the Home Nations Championship, the tournament featured – as the name suggests – the home nations of Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. With rugby union still very much a new and amateur pastime, the competition was a far cry from what we see today. While England and Scotland had begun contesting the Calcutta Cup four years previously in 1879, this was the first multinational rugby tournament in the world, and saw a coming together of the nations involved. The creation of the Home Nations Championship not only witnessed the formation of a contest that would become a mainstay in the rugby calendar but also the arrival of the Triple Crown – the trophy awarded to the team that beat all other Home Nations. It was not until 1908 that the Grand Slam was introduced as the ultimate prize within the tournament, a goal which teams still strive for every year. By 1910 the tournament had grown in prestige, so much so that the French decided that they wanted a piece of the action too. So the Five Nations came into existence, although the French struggled to break the stranglehold over the Home Nations, who continued to dominate the tournament. Things went from bad to worse for Les Bleus. In 1932 they were expelled from the Five Nations for incidents of on-field violence and poor organisation, as well as being accused of professionalism - the mother of all sins amongst those involved in the sport at the time.
The Home Nations Championship returned until France were reinstated in 1939, but the outbreak of World War II put a hiatus on competition between 1940 and 1946. Post-war Europe welcomed the Five Nations with open arms, as attendances swelled and popularity for the game distracted many from the harsh realities of life. Between the 1950s and 90s, teams regularly dominated for a few years at a time before being knocked off their perch. England and France had their turn in the 50s and 60s. Then it was Wales’ turn in the 70s, before the Anglo-French rivalry returned, as the one which controlled the tournament. That is not to say that Ireland and Scotland were without their successes. Ireland claimed the Grand Slam back in 1948, while the Scots completed a clean sweep on two occasions and won the final Five Nations tournament in 1999. Perhaps the most unique edition to the competition came in 1973, however, with each country collecting two victories and two losses, the crown was split five ways as there was no tie-break in place for such an eventuality. By the turn of the twenty-first century, the Six Nations was the standout international competition in the northern hemisphere. More nations were clamouring to be included and eventually Italy joined its ranks to create the tournament we are now familiar with. Although the Azzurri have generally been considered the whipping boys of the Six Nations, great strides have been made over the last fifteen years as growing interest in the sport has resulted in more players competing at a higher level. It is difficult to tell whether the Six Nations will continue as is. It took ninety years for five to become six, and it is undoubtedly a select group that play. Its elitism is part of what makes the tournament so great, but if other countries can put forward strong enough opposition, there can be few down sides. Raising the levels of your opponents raises the level of your own play. France and Italy are proof of this rule. For now, however, the Six Nations is a contest to be celebrated. The passion displayed by players, coaches and fans is joyous, and as long as that continues, then so will the Six Nations - something we should all be thankful for.
Swan Lake Swan Lake exists as one of Tchaikovsky’s most widely renown compositions, and collaboration inherently informs every aspect of the performance of ballet. From the composers to the choreographers, the dancers to the set designers, ballet is a production dependent on the cooperation of a variety of different art forms. Recently the Russian State Ballet company took up residence at the Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre for a series of recitals including Coppélia, The Nutcracker and perhaps the most famous of all, Swan Lake. However, what remains less well known is that the very creation itself of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake owes its origins to teamwork. Conjecture regarding the piece’s written origins has long haunted its history, however conventionally theory tends to credit Vladimir Petrovich Begichev as its author. Begichev served as the director for the Moscow Imperial Bolshoi Theatre, and he commissioned Tchaikovsky to write the ballet’s score in May 1875 for the perhaps modest fee of 800 roubles. Taking only a year to compose, Tchaikovsky’s quick production of Swan Lake was demonstrative of his enthusiasm and it did not take long for Begichev to begin the search for artists worthy to participate in the creation of the ballet, assigning the esteemed former Bolshoi ballet master and Czech choreographer, Julius Reisigner, to direct the sequences. The exact details of the collaborative process between Tchaikovsky and Reisinger remain still to this day unknown. Despite frequently being credited solely to Tchaikovsky, with regards to choreography, his participation is considered to have been minimal - having aided Reisinger with just the most basic outline for each dance. In fact, it is likely that recital requirements dictated to Tchaikovsky the direction that his scores were expected to take. However, unlike The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, no written record survives which might detail what these expectations might have been. These alterations became more concrete when combined with Reisinger’s choreography, which would have necessitated further additional changes. Through the incorporation of rejection of certain dance sequences, Reisinger’s lasting legacy on the piece became increasingly apparent, demonstrating how collaboration permeates Swan Lake from start to finish.
by Ellie Byrne & Francis John Keep
I REVIEWS COLLABORATE / /
Now All Roads Lead To France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas by Frances Roe
Prior to reading Now All Roads Lead to France, I was embarrassingly unaware of the literary importance of Edward Thomas. Through the course of the book I would come to realise that he was ‘the father to us all,’ as stated by Ted Hughes. Hollis’ biography focuses on the years between 1913 and the year of Thomas’ death in 1917, in which he transitioned from a prolific prose and review writer to a sublime poet. It was with the encouragement of his friend Robert Frost that he made this leap; one that was not at all easy, but so very worth it. Hollis introduces the reader to Thomas through his letters and writings, enabling us a glimpse into the mind of this extremely troubled man. Thomas suffered from depression for the entirety of his adult life, a condition not helped by the burdens of supporting his wife Helen and three children without a stable profession and income. The lateness within the biography of Thomas’ transition into poetry draws out the suspense for those, like me, who were not previously aware of his work. Would it be worth his deep internal conflict? Would the intensely critical literary circle of the time accept his new direction? Luckily, Thomas’ transition was Wikimedia Commons successful. Thomas, who was wary of how his poetry would be received, published his poems under the pseudonym of Edward Eastaway. A review in the Times Literary Supplement wrote that ‘He is a real poet, with the truth in him.’ This is a statement that encompasses Thomas’ poetry which brings to light things in your mind that you knew but you never thought you knew. Dylan Thomas expressed this idea when saying of Thomas, ‘It is as though we had always known his poems, and were only waiting for him to write them.’ There is something so familiar about his work with its mixture of Georgian and modernist poetry as well as its poignant references to the war. Hollis creates an incredibly intricate image of the world and the people that surrounded Thomas from his family, with whom he had a very complex relationship, to his literary peers, especially the Dymock Poets with whom he was good friends, and the many other famous individuals of the literary scene of the time. Hollis gives an interesting insight into the workings of the intelligentsia that surrounded the hub that was Harold Monro’s Poetry Bookshop in Bloomsbury, London. Cameos from Ezra Pound and Rupert Brooke add both comedy and pathos to the melee of characters that inhabit the text. All in all it is a gripping read. Thomas’ psychological conflict, combined with the poignancy of the War, creates an intensely intriguing read. It is Hollis’ wonderful contextual intricacies though that allow the biography to read so fluently. It has opened a world to Thomas’ poetry that would have otherwise lain undiscovered to me.
Birdman by Andrew McLeod
In hopes of reviving his forgotten acting career, Riggan Thompson directs and stars in a Broadway play alongside his rehabilitated daughter, Sam, and Mike, a widely celebrated stage actor. The film documents the events leading up to the opening night of the play, as Riggan struggles with critics, method actors, his family life, and the gnawing voice of Birdman – the costumed hero that brought him fame and misery. Aside from the film’s jarring storyline, Birdman, or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, is most noticeably an aesthetic joyride through director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s peculiar mind. The majority of Birdman is filmed in a series of long shots that follow the actors through dressing rooms, down stairs and onto stage. The production of the film is a collaborative feat. Each sequence relies on everyone, from Michael Keaton to the unnamed extra, to be on their mark ready to perform before the camera rushes off to another set.
The film’s unmistakable appearance reflects the narrative told within it. At times the lighting feels sickly and the delivery of dialogue is simultaneously rousing, bitter and comedic all at once. There is an unsettling atmosphere that follows the lives of the characters. The cast – comprised of the likes of Michael Keaton, Emma Stone and Edward Norton – play well off each other to bring the comedy of the film to life. The film is an exaggerated reflection of the film industry, with the characters parodying the actors portraying them. The film brings into question the industry’s leanings towards more financially successful superhero-action-thriller sequels that feel more like merchandising advertisements than films. To its credit, the film exists both as an art house piece and as a mainstream piece of entertainment. It comes as no surprise, given the content of the story, that the film challenges the idea of fame, exposure and “making it.” Birdman is a state-of-the-industry exposé that is as engaging as it is provocative.
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Crusoe on Ballard’s Concrete Island
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by Marco Polvara A triangle of forgotten land enclosed by three highways. This is the island in which J. G. Ballard sets the story of Robert Maitland, a modern Robinson Crusoe who ‘shipwrecks’ after a car crash, and desperately tries to escape. The plot is simple – even meagre – presented as it is in a plain prose. In this respect, the author undertakes a double challenge in his book: he must work to constantly stimulate our interest despite the absurdity of the situation, and to keep the main character alive through his ruinous attempts to be rescued. Both the tasks are accomplished, but the engaging narration of his survival on the island is put side by side with Ballard’s true interest: the exploration of Maitland’s psyche. We are with the main character while he climbs embankments, and finds his way through fences, but the search for a way out is soon converted into an investigation of his inner life, and the changes which the environment produces within him. Progressively giving less importance to the possibility of escaping, Maitland regresses to a primitive psychological condition, in which his inner and outer realities merge and he becomes the island. In this way, Ballard plays with our literary memory and challenges our imagination, revealing the novel to be more upsetting than expected. The Crusoe of the twentieth century does not dominate nature; on the contrary, his fragile idea of civilization is undermined by the green island, ‘concrete’ only in name. Ballard’s vision makes us doubt the goodness of the reality from which Maitland is exiled: our own world. Incredulous when no-one looks for him after he has disappeared for days and no drivers stop to help him, we soon understand that this is not unlikely in a society in which relations are superficial, and there is no possibility to rescue those who fall behind on the way. The traffic island represents the failure of our civilization, while Maitland’s voluntary permanence on it seems to suggest that our salvation must start by acknowledging its failure, and trying to find a solution to it before we crash. I perceived in Concrete Island a hidden, yet powerful, cautionary message about our future. It proves even more significant since it does not imply a distance from the issues it highlights. Ballard seems to ceaselessly put his ideas to the test, experimenting with them in his extreme characters and situations, challenging himself as much as his readers.
After the passage of the American Civil Rights Act in July 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson sought to divert efforts to his war on poverty. In Selma, director Ava DuVernay presents the negotiations, and compromises, which were reached between Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and Johnson (Tom Wilkinson), as the activist urged the politician to outlaw racial discrimination in voting. DuVernay dramatises the fifty-four mile march that Dr King led through Alabama, from Selma to Montgomery, in order to publicise black American’s demand to vote. The result was the Voting Rights Act of August 1965. Under the Constitution, African Americans could vote, but in actuality a series of obstructive rules, part of the Jim Crow Laws, were practiced by state governments, denying them their political voice. The film first illustrates these restrictions through the character Annie Lee Cooper (Oprah Winfrey) who we see denied voter registration for failing to name Alabama County’s sixty-seven judges. Her experience is typical of that of a city in which over half of the citizens were African Americans, yet only 1% were registered to vote in the early 1960s. Dr King was a leader who shouldered great responsibility, and Oyelowo projects his fears and doubts, as well as his courage. His performance, and the success of the film more widely, should see Selma marching toward film awards. Yet, as the film’s title suggests, its intention is not to detail Dr King, the man, but Selma, the process. DuVernay acknowledges that the Voting Rights Act was secured by collaborative process, involving many. Conversations between Dr King and the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) portray the struggles within the black movement over tactics to secure voting legislation. Wilkinson does not depict a typical textbook narrative of Johnson’s eventual agreement with Dr King, but shows that process alongside the President’s alignment with J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. Whilst the voices of many Civil Rights activists are heard throughout the film, Dr King’s stunning oratory should alert us to a history, which, rightly or wrongly, promotes the importance of its central heroes. However, integral to the movement was the contribution of unnamed American bodies, both black and white. These were the oppressed and disenfranchised African Americans, and the white policemen who met them with fear and rage.
One important scene depicts Jimmie Lee Jackson (Keith Stanfield) unable to flee the police as they break up a march, hauled up against a wall and shot in full view of his family. Hearing the news, Dr King consoles Jackson’s grieving grandfather, and the movement then pays homage to his grandson. This reveals an appalling truth - as victims of racism, many African Americans only received an identity after becoming the victims of violence. Countless were injured or killed unknown. Selma alludes to a story in which the oppressed and nameless secured the voting rights which allowed them the possibility to escape identities purely defined by victimhood. The events of August 1965 gave African Americans more than the chance to vote, but the opportunity to formulate and strengthen positive individual identities based on participation in the American social system. Fifty years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, and less than one year after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, such narratives of the nameless must be recovered in order to convey these historical struggles. Selma’s central figures are neither Dr King, nor Jimmie Lee Jackson, but those who anonymously met the police baton. DuVernay simultaneously provides a credible depiction of Dr King, and an informative historical account, depicting the role of both the unheard and the celebrated Americans in the 1965 struggle. Selma must be seen.
by Robin Weaver
Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
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Of all the autobiographical works written on the First World War, Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth provides the best depiction of just how cruel a mistress war can be. Recently made into a film directed by James Kent, Brittain’s work acts as a eulogy for the “lost generation” of the war; the young, of both sexes, whose aspirations were blown to smithereens as soon as the outbreak of war was declared. In August 1914, Brittain, aged twenty, began her degree at Oxford after struggling to convince her father that further education was a worthwhile investment for his daughter. It is one of life’s little ironies that she was forced to postpone these studies in order to participate in a war that she would later spend her whole life vociferously decrying. Part of the longevity of Testament of Youth is that it is one of the most vivid and honest portrayals of life for those left behind on the home front. Brittain details her experiences of serving as a VAD nurse both at home and abroad, providing interesting and detailed accounts of the horrors of war that she was exposed to. However, it is the heart wrenching sorrow of losing her brother, fiancé, and friends on the battlefield which is the most poignant aspect of her story. Her experiences of loss ignited within her a strong anti-war sentiment which seeps out of the pages, negating the idea that all women remained staunchly patriotic throughout the whole course of the war. Brittain grew up feeling that being a woman was a “handicap”, and yet, after the war, she succeeded in overcoming the gender barriers which had previously been the norm. Out of sheer determination she carved a new life for herself out of the ashes of war; completing her degree at Oxford University and dedicating her life to championing the values and ideals that she treasured – pacifism, anti-colonialism and anti-apartheid activism – in the hope that the world would never resort to war again. Unfortunately conflict and gender barriers are still a reality in the modern world, but Brittain’s tale of success in the face of supreme strife remains an inspiration to women today. Testament of Youth is a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the considerable destruction war can bring. Although her childhood friends were cruelly snatched by the evil clutches of war, it is a credit to Brittain’s ability as a writer that they have been forever immortalised in another life formed of words and pages. Moreover, whilst her life experiences may be different to those of young women today, her autobiography remains an important piece of feminist literature, whose life lessons will continue to inspire generations to overcome any barriers they may face in order to achieve their aspirations.
by Lucy Shiels
I by Enzo DeGregorio The popularity of recent productions such as the BBC’s Wolf Hall, and StudioCanal’s The Imitation Game show that historical fiction remains influential in shaping the popular conceptions of history. Historians, sociologists, and educators continue to debate whether this influence is beneficial or detrimental to the study of history as a whole. Sociologists have argued for the beneficial role of historical fiction in encouraging interest in history, especially at the primary school level. Giles and Tunks argue that historical fiction “piques children’s curiosity making them eager to learn more about a particular time,” while Freeman and Levstik argue that it “provides a safe context for the exploration of the ‘extremes of human behaviour.’” Conversely, traditional critiques of historical fiction focus on its supposed spreading of misinformation and perpetuation of stereotypes that have no historical basis: an example of this is Shakespeare’s erroneous portrayal of a hunchbacked Richard III. There are no definitive histories, however, as they all select a cross section from the sources available and arrange them to support a particular thesis; historical fictions do the same, just in a different way. As White argues “the objective existence of the historical plenum requires that any writer wishing to use some aspect of it as a mise-enscène has a reason for speaking only some of it rather than trying to deal with the whole.” Thus historical writing, both fictive and academic, accepts some selection and omission as a prerequisite. Additionally, to deny the validity of historical fiction as historiography
ignores its usage in historical practice, past and present. White argues that the “scientisation” or “disciplination” of history in the nineteenth century falsely presupposed its “severance from any connection between, not only poetic and rhetoric, but also between philosophy and imaginative literature.” When this assertion is combined with the view that Western historiography “passed through the alembic of Medieval Christian and, then, Protestant enthusiastic futurism,” it suggests that the elements of historical fiction – poetic description, philosophy, future speculation – existed in prenineteenth century, pre-“scientisation,” historiography, adding credence to their role. The existence of many of these fictive components in counterfactual historiography validates this view as well. Not only are elements of historical fiction present in historiography, fictive historical writing arguably improves historical practice in some ways. While the historian debates the accuracy of a given theory, “the fiction writer must treat a theory which may be true as it if it was certainly true.” Thus while the historian is tasked only with posing a credible theory of the past, the writer of historical fiction has to present a world in which that theory functions. This benefits historical practice in that it tasks the historian with demonstrating the plausibility of the assumptions that underpin their theory, as well as the theory itself. Furthermore, Slotkin argues that historical fiction involves “implicitly highlighting those forces or influences (derived from historical analysis) which seem most significant.” The mimetic nature of this practice to “conventional historiography” also speaks to its legitimacy as a mode of
historical writing. The similarity of historical fiction to “conventional historiography” means that it is also susceptible to similar problems. One such problem is the aforementioned perpetuation of historical myths. While Slotkin tries to render the point moot, arguing, “nothing can take the place of a myth but another myth,” this seems a reductionist view of the historical process. Additionally, this mythos perpetuation is debatably worse in historical fiction. Regardless as to whether it purports itself as fictive, it still involves attributing words or actions to figures that “presuppose a referential model.” In short, the assumed history always seems real because the historical subject is. Moreover, in her analysis of Lukács’ The Historical Novel, Price argues that the defining quality of a historical novel is “the awareness of history- and the attempt to interrogate and shape it as discourse in order to explore change.” Thus, historical fiction, again just like “conventional historiography,” reflects the history of the subject and the writer. This is subjective and potentially misleading, but not unique to historical fiction. Historical fiction has beneficial and detrimental aspects for both its readers and writers. It engages readers and invites them to read further while it tasks writers with creating a plausible world in which their historical theories function. However, historical fiction is still problematic because it presupposes a real-life referential model even though it identifies as fiction. On balance however, the benefits of historical fiction – both to the writers and readers of history – outweigh the potential risks.
Bibliography/Works Cited Comolli, Jean-Louis, ‘Historical Fiction: A Body Too Much’, Screen 19.2, (1978), pp. 41-53. Freeman, Evelyn, B., and Levstik, Linda, ‘Recreating the Past: Historical Fiction in the Social Studies Curriculum’, The Elementary School Journal, 88.4 (1988), pp, 329- 337. Giles, Rebecca M., and Tunks, Karyn W., ‘Read the Past: Write Now! Responding to Historical Fiction through Writing’, The Councilor: A Journal of Social Studies, 75.1 (2014), pp. 15-22. Price, Fiona, ‘The Uses of History: The Uses of History: The Historical Novel in the PostFrench Revolution Debate and Ellis Cornelia Knight’s Marcus Flaminius (1792)’, in Reading Historical Fiction: The Revenant and Remembered Past, eds. Mitchell, Kate, and Parsons, Nicola, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), pp. 187-203. Slotkin, Richard, ‘Fiction for the Purposes of History’, Rethinking History, 9.2-3 (2005), pp. 221-236. White, Hayden, ‘Introduction: Historical Fiction, Fictional History, and Historical Reality, Rethinking History, 9.2-3 (2005), pp. 147-157.
Is Historical Fiction Damaging to the Study of History?
1789-1837: The Key Period in the Foundation of British National Identity
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by Dr David White
The recent Scottish referendum on independence demonstrated substantial numbers of Scots in favour of leaving the United Kingdom. The 2011 Census and subsequent research indicated that more than 60% of people north of the border describe themselves as Scottish rather than British. It seems appropriate then to look at how old the perception of ‘Britishness’ actually is. This study focuses on the period between the start of the French Revolution and the enthronement of Queen Victoria. Although British national identity might be said to begin with the union of the crowns in 1603, this was essentially a dynastic, personal union, which meant little for the population at large in terms of how they defined themselves. It could more plausibly be located in 1707 and the Act of Union. However, the first eight decades of the United Kingdom of England and Scotland were marked by no great rush to adopt this new identity. Two failed uprisings in 1715 and 1745, while not as nationally polarised between Scotland and England as they might at first seem, demonstrated that national unity, an essential component of national identity, was not yet guaranteed. Far more formative was an existential threat to the fragile entity that was Great Britain - two decades of war against the French. What actually is national identity? This is a huge question among historians, but in order to keep it manageable, a mere paragraph will have to suffice to set out the principles underlying this article. Nations and national identity cannot simply be defined by objective or measurable criteria such as language, race or cultural uniformity. Nations are not eternal, nor have they all emerged by the same process. Some have been the result of conquest, others by settlement, and yet others by dynastic accretion. The latter was the experience of Great Britain, a process completed in 1801 with the second Act of Union. National identities are socially constructed and part of a continuous process based on subjective experience. They are contingent and relational, defined by territorial or social boundaries laid down to distinguish the collective self and its implicit negation, the other. The concept of ‘otherness’, by which identity is shaped through contrast, is an important issue and constitutes one of the principal analytical issues in this discussion of British self-definition. The period under examination begins shortly after the loss of the American colonies, sometimes referred to as Britain’s first empire. It is tempting to see the creation of a revised image of ‘Britishness’ stemming from a desire or need to deal with a consequent perceived or feared erosion of national prestige. Developing a stronger sense of Britishness would also serve as an integrative function in what was essentially a young quasi-federalist state. However, the means at hand for active agency in such a process were very limited compared to the tools of persuasion, propaganda and cultural manipulation which became increasingly available to governments and elites from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. Nevertheless, the subsequent laying of the foundations of a second empire in this period was undoubtedly a British – as opposed to English – undertaking, with disproportionate numbers of Scots active in colonial administration, trade, and the military. Concepts of Britishness were already tied to war and empire before this era. In 1727 James Thomson had written a paean to British imperial and naval might in Britannia, a somewhat bombastic and jingoistic poem which was the forerunner of Rule Britannia, co-written with David Mallett, a fellow Scot, in 1740. Several factors are relevant in considering these poems, the latter of which became an
iconic declaration of British pride and self-portrayal. Just two decades before Britannia was written, it was almost inconceivable that a Scot would write such a work, while the very name Great Britain did not come into usage until the 1707 Act of Union. The poems provide evidence that a new form of self-identity was emerging with the creation of a supra-national nation and was being propounded in Thomson’s works. Nowhere in either poem was mention made of the dynasty ruling this new nation, an important distinction from previous expressions of nationwide loyalties. Between 1707 and 1727, the royal family changed from Stuart to Hanover, and when Victoria married, it altered again to Saxe-Coburg. The 1745 Jacobite rebellion may be seen as a last-gasp attempt to revive dynastic loyalty which failed and left the field open to new focuses of loyalty and identity in which the monarchy was more symbolic than central. Significantly too, the Jacobites were attempting to put a Catholic on the throne. Thus, although royal dynasty still mattered, it mattered principally inasmuch as the dynasty had to be Protestant, a factor which allowed England, Wales and Scotland to become united in the first place. It is true that a sense of Britishness predated the 19thcentury concept of nationalism, an ideological construct claiming shared race and language as the foundations of genuine national identity. People knew that they were French or British long before the idea of ethnicity as the definer of nations became widespread in the mid-19th century. In some ways, being an island nation made the concept of Britishness less problematic than it might have been. However, this is not a sufficient explanation. There are other islands which harbour two national polities, including present-day Papua New Guinea/Indonesia, Haiti/ Dominican Republic, Cyprus and, most significantly, Ireland. Explanations for the relative harmony of the component parts of the United Kingdom need to define those elements which bound them together, whether shared cultural factors or shared opposition to an external threat. Functionalist theories expounded in the 1980s and 1990s argued that national identity was the product of a strong state and an efficient fiscal bureaucracy. It is true that the purpose to which tax-gathering was put – war – was instrumental in creating a popular sense of common purpose. However, just as persuasive is the intentionalist interpretation that, in battling hostile external forces who threatened their lives and their way of life, Britons effectively defined themselves against the ‘other’. Nevertheless, British identity did not destroy older loyalties: Britishness was a layer which co-existed with Scottishness, Welshness and Englishness, while localism, such as a sense of being Lancastrian, remained a powerful one. Other historians emphasise the defence of Protestantism as serving the purpose of creating a notion of Britishness, however, this is not wholly convincing. Britain often allied with other Catholic states in her wars against France, notably Portugal, Austria and eventually Spain during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. Anti-Catholicism was more marked in the peripheries, particularly Scotland with its more strict Presbyterianism. The mass migration of Ulster Catholics to the west of Scotland coincided with social problems created by the inception of industrialisation, and many native-born Scots accused them of stealing their jobs. The undoubted enmity against Catholicism bolstered a hostility born of economic factors. While unpleasant antiCatholic prejudice was widespread in Britain, and was indeed used to reinforce hostility towards France while she was the enemy, there were also moves in Parliament to
remove legal barriers to Catholic involvement in civic society, beginning in the last quarter of the 18th century and culminating in the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829. War against France may have encouraged the idea of Protestantism as a British characteristic standing in opposition to French Catholic menace, but even here there was inconsistency. The French revolutionary regimes were equally castigated for being atheistic Jacobins, while Napoleon was scarcely the most devout of men, nor was he portrayed so by his enemies in Britain. Finally, the decision to incorporate Ireland, an overwhelmingly Catholic land, into the nation state of Great Britain rather than treat it as a colony flies in the face of a perceived fundamentalist anti-Catholic Britishness. Protestantism was not a central pillar of British national identity, but at most a flying buttress. The suggestion of war as a centrally integrative factor strengthening British national identity is more persuasive. Between 1800 and 1812 one in every six adult males was engaged in some form of military service. This heightened a sense of national identity, seen in the lower orders among the regional militias. However, too often for the liking of the ruling elites, this manifested as a form of aspirant democratic nationalism that was too radical and ahead of its time for the establishment to encourage or tolerate. Consequently, once the danger of invasion had passed, the militias were swiftly disbanded. Invasion fears were common during the Napoleonic era, and they were just as potent in their recurrence in the late 19th and early 20th century, and the summer of 1940. The appeal to resist an enemy portrayed as brutal, absolutist, bent on destroying the British way of life, and eager to loot, rape and kill, undoubtedly brought people together to defend their homes and their lives. Thus, a negatively integrative function of otherness was significant. However, to see oneself as different from the other must surely require a concept of what one is as well as what one is not. It would be ridiculous to suggest that British identity was a mere antithetical reaction to a threat or image of an evil foe. To do so would be to see Britishness as non-existent prior to that, a national identity which was a blank canvas up to that point. There must have been positive integrative factors as well as negative ones. One such positive integrative factor was the second empire. A certain awareness of, and identification with, that empire had spread more deeply into British society than just among the ruling elites before 1789. As well as binding classes, the empire also bound regions, in particular the Scots and Anglo-Irish who played a disproportionate role in the founding, protection and administration of that empire. Yet even here the process was in large measure identification-building based upon contrast with the other. In this case, the other was viewed as racially and culturally inferior. Importantly too it must be acknowledged that even by1837 the extent of the second empire was relatively small. In India less than a third of the land was under British dominion, and almost all of that was controlled by the privately-run East India Company. The truly nationwide popularity of empire, of red on the map, and of the conceit of the ‘white man’s burden’ were phenomena of the later Victorian age. Some historians have seen a positive integrative factor in movements embracing nature and the landscape arising among the middle classes and gentry, accompanied by a spiritual upsurge. Characterising the latter were the creation of philanthropic societies and the anti-slavery campaigns, organisations which sought to unite more than just their middle class proponents. Furthermore, a co-opting of the past, of the histories of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom (although not Ireland), helped foster a sense of Britishness across all classes. The emergence of philanthropic societies, and the achievements of the anti-slavery movement were factors which affected principally the middle classes. However, since the middle classes were the most dynamic sector of an industrialising Britain and were increasingly becoming opinion formers, their role was very important. The
growth of the political philosophy of liberalism within this class is particularly significant in creating an ideological and practical framework for the consolidation and strengthening of a sense of Britishness. Liberalism of this era (especially the last decade) is closely associated with the rise of nationalism – not the chauvinist nationalism of the second half of the 19th century, but a more inclusive, even if paternal and elitist, philosophy. Liberal nationalism viewed the creation of the citizen as an ideal and a necessity for prosperity and security, while the citizen was predicated on the idea of the nation and national identity as a widespread reality. One can see the link between liberalism and nation-forming in the unification of Italy and Germany, and though it seems less obvious in the case of Britain, it was just as powerful. The major difference was that national unification preceded rather than followed the rise of liberalism. War, and a consequent physical threat to the entire population, was undoubtedly a unifier and a major contributor to the sense of British national identity which was still in the process of establishment just a century after the 1707 Act of Union. This was a decidedly negative integrator, but a very effective one. However, negative factors provide only a partial explanation of the process. Positive factors need to be included or else the creation of British identity appears as an overly passive phenomenon, a reactive rather than proactive process. Empire, the growth of middle class opinion-formers, liberalism and the start of a period of increasing prosperity helped establish a sense of Britishness among the most wealthy and influential sectors of the country. It would be several decades before the same degree of national identity had equally firm roots in the lower classes, but even here the foundations had been well laid in the half-century up to Victoria’s accession to the throne. Most people, including students of history, think of Britain as one of the older, long-established nations. It is certainly older than Italy and Germany, but we actually live in a relatively new nation state, much younger than, say, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Switzerland, Japan and China. Even though the United Kingdom formally came into existence in 1707, identification with the concept of Britishness is roughly contemporaneous with American self-identity. To see Great Britain’s heritage dating back through the Glorious Revolution, the Cromwellian Republic and Magna Carta is problematic as it is tantamount to viewing Britain as England writ large; not the wisest assertion to make in a Scottish context.
Milestones Spring 2015 Plus you can follow us on Twitter, @RetrospectHCA and Facebook for details about upcoming HCAR events.
CCCF, Creative & Cultural Careers Festival, is a weeklong festival of events organised by the University of Edinburgh Careers Service. The Festival is aimed at students of all levels, as well as recent graduates, from any subject who are interested in finding out more about working in the Creative Industries, Media or Cultural institutions. Through the events, we have tried to cover as many different sectors, industries, professions and crafts as possible in one week. Last year over 1000 students attended 12 events covering a wide range of different creative industries. These 12 events featured 71 speakers/ exhibitors from 60 different organisations. This year is set to be even bigger, so please check out the dedicated website to
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find out more: www.cccf.ed.ac.uk This is your chance to hear what life is like working in the Creative and Cultural Sectors, make vital contacts with industry professionals and to find out more about employment opportunities.
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