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Durham University History Society Journal, Vol. 9 (2020)

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07 | The Legacy of Cuthbert

Dr Charlie Rozier discusses his

new book, Writing History in the

Community of St. Cuthbert.

124 | Gendering the Metropolis

Three students debate the

connections between gender and

urbanisation in modernity.


EDITORIAL

JOURNAL TEAM

Editors-in-Chief: Joseph Beaden and Alex Hibberts

Layup Designers: Alexandra Beste, Maddy Copley, Aime

Kirby

Editors: Ines Andrade, Thomas Banbury, Matthew Carr,

Hazel Laurenson, Phoebe Thomas, Ellie Williams-Brown

IMAGE REFERENCES

Cover image by cottonbro

2-3 Editorial and Content page image by pine watt

6 Durham Cathedral tower by Lee Robinson

10 Dublin Library by Giammarco Boscaro

15 Abbaye de Fontenay by Matthieu Staelen

20 Buildings in Sarlat-la-Canéda by Tom Parkes

24 The Forbidden City by Ling Gigi

29 Indian map by Chance Agrella

34 Durham Cathedral arches by Billy Willson

43 Norfolk Island by Jack Cantwell

52 Chureito Pagoda by Manuel Cosentino

58 Budapest by Keszthelyi Timi

66 Cape Town from above by Marcelo Novais

74 1963 Civil Rights March by Library of Congress

82 Kampala skyline by Drew Willson

90 Durham Cathedral ceiling by Gary Campbell-Hall

102 Palette by Kai Dahms

112 St. Petersburg train station by Mehrnaz Taghavishavazi

124 Durham Cathedral benches by dkodigital

127 Eiffel Tower by John Towner

135 London Bridge by Charles Postiaux

2

142 Big Ben Tower by Henry Be


CONTENTS

4 Letter from the Editors

Joe Beaden & Alex Hibberts

5 Presidential Address

Tom Henderson

7

10

15

20

24

29

35

43

52

58

66

74

82

91

102

112

124

127

135

2,000 WORDS

Writing History in the Community of St. Cuthbert

Dr Charlie Rozier

Anthropology & the Middle Ages

Ines Andrade

Cistercian Charism

Thomas Banbury

Gender in Early Modern Europe

Jack Snell

Cities of Imperial China

Karl Omae

Britain & India’s History

Heidi Januszewski

Theatre States

Charlie Procter

4,000 WORDS

Aboriginal Peoples in the South Pacific

Anne Herbert Ortega

East Asia & The Environment

Francis Braddel

Holocaust Cities

Alexandra Beste

Apartheid & Resistance

Dylan Cresswell

Memory & The Civil Rights Movement

Amy Swain

Development Policies in Sudan & Uganda

Natasha Livingston

6,000 WORDS

Fernand Braudel’s ‘The Mediterranean’

Toby Donnegan-Cross

Sexual Violence in Weimar Germany

Eleanor Radcliffe

The ‘Body’ in Russian History

Emily Wall

FEATURED

Gendering the Metropolis: A Debate

Dr Markian Prokopovych

Female Agency in the Modern European Metropolis

Georgie E. Caine

Fields of Power

Artemis Irvine

142 Gender in Modern London

Alice McKimm

3


4

EDITORS’ LETTER

Dear reader,

Welcome to the 2019/20 edition of the

Durham University History Society Journal.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to

work in a way which we never expected. The

quality of this journal, and the many entries we

have received are a tribute to the resilience and

dedication of the editorial team. Aime Kirby,

Hazel Laurenson, Matthew Carr, Thomas Banbury,

Phoebe Thomas, Ines Andrade and Ellie

Williams-Brown should all be commended for

their hard work. Without their help, the high

quality of this year’s journal would not have

been possible. A special thanks should also be

given to Madigan Copley, who designed the

cover of this edition, and Alexandra Beste, who

designed the journal’s layout.

The theme of this year’s journal is ‘Centring

Peripheries’, whether these be geographical,

ideological, social or historiographical.

This involves challenging our preconceived

intellectual horizons and seeking new areas

for exploration. For many, this has required

looking beyond a Eurocentric perspective.

Accordingly, this journal incorporates a selection

of outstanding essays on a range of subjects

which either entirely focus on areas

outside Europe or explore the interaction of

European peoples with others. Anne Herbert

Ortega has produced a piece on attitudes towards

indigenous populations in the South

Pacifi , whilst Francis Braddell-Dawson has

brought environmental perspectives to the

study of East Asian states.

Many of our peripheries can be found

closer to home. Thomas Banbury, for example,

has written on how ideas of love were employed

by the Cistercians in the twelfth-century.

Emily Wall has examined the ways sexual violence

was treated in Weimar Germany, and Eleanor

Radcliffe has discussed our understanding

of prostitution in Russian history.

Often, historians have sought to frame

their investigations of the past by tapping into

alternative disciplinary perspectives. Within

this volume, Ines Andrade has questioned how

modern anthropological methods can be used

to study Salian Germany (1024-1125). Renegotiating

our understanding of gender in the

past is also highly important, as demonstrated

by Jack Snell, who has written on the limits

to women’s agency in Early Modern England.

Toby Donegan-Cross performs a similar role in

his essay, seeking to examine the legacy of the

Annales school, and the way historians write

about their own profession.

History can also provide perspective on

contemporary events, in particular, the struggle

against systemic racism currently sweeping

across America and Europe. This has seen

much soul searching, especially in the USA and

UK, over how we should respond to the legacy

of the slave trade. In Bristol, for example, recent

protests have led to the removal of the statue

of Edward Colson, a former slave trader. Amy

Swain and Dylan Cresswell have written about

other areas of Black History. Swain investigates

how memory was utilised and created by the

1960s Civil Rights movement, whilst Cresswell

has explored the history of black resistance in

the early years of the South African Union.

In our staff essay contribution, Dr. Charlie

Rozier discusses his upcoming book, Writing

History in the Community of St Cuthbert,

c.700-1130: From Bede to Symeon of Durham.

This article argues that the preeminence of

Cuthbert’s community stemmed from its

knowledge of, and ability to articulate, its own

history.

Overall, the journal that follows is one

of the most engaging, relevant, and beautifully

designed to date. We hope that all readers will

find something within that interests them, and

that these essays inspire your own historical

writing in turbulent times.

Yours sincerely,

Joseph

Beaden

& Alex

Hibberts


5

PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS

Fellow historians,

The centring of peripheries is, in some

ways, what we all do as historians. Even as undergraduates,

in our projects and dissertations,

we seek out those parts of the past which have

been neglected and pushed to one side. To stay

in the centre is to regurgitate other people’s

scholarship It is worthwhile, then, to ask why

certain subjects or ideas have been pushed to

the periphery. As we do this, it becomes obvious

that this principle of relegation holds true

not only for certain kinds of history, but also

for certain kinds of historians.

As well as the worldwide attention paid

recently to racial discrimination in the USA

and in the UK, there have been several vocal

debates about the marginalised experiences

of People of Colour at Durham, which have

brought further vocal responses. I would like

to use this President’s Note to direct my white

peers to a couple of facts. Our student body

is 67% white; Durham County as a whole is

98.2%. Black students in Durham are not only

an extreme minority, but a disproportionate

minority: they make up 7% of the UK student

population, but only 1% of that in Durham.

Among history students in the UK, the story is

similar (only 2% in 2018, according to the Royal

Historical Society). This is the context in which

our peers of colour have to work; it is hardly

surprising to read in the pages of Palatinate

that they have had enough.

Part of the project of decolonisation is

to address this imbalance; the disproportionate

relegation of non-white perspectives to

the periphery. There are, of course, moral and

ethical justifications for this, which have been

better laid out elsewhere; I want to sketch an

historical one. One interesting aspect of centres

and peripheries is that they are interrelated;

you cannot have one without the other.

The centre cannot fully be understood without

the periphery, and vice-versa. You cannot fully

understand the trouble the Society has attracting

speakers to our Tuesday talks by examining

Durham University alone; you must also

appreciate that, central as it may be for us, we

live in a geographically peripheral city, through

which the fast train to Edinburgh runs without

stopping. We cannot properly grasp the history

of our own university if we do not reckon with

its (still little-researched) colonial heritage: its

old colleges in Sierra Leone and Barbados; the

links to the slave-trade of benefactors such as

Douglas Horsfall. Without the periphery, the

centre cannot make sense (even if it can, for a

time, hold).

Histories told without reference to their

peripheries – without ‘decolonisation’ – are

not only vulnerable to ethical critiques; they

are incomplete as histories.

The Society this year is not immune to

critiques of lack of diversity: of our 8 speakers,

we hosted only 3 women and 1 Person of

Colour; we failed to overcome the demographics

of our subject as a whole. We – I – hope

that the Society can do better next year. This

disappointment aside, we had many successes

in other areas: the topics of our talks were

reasonably varied and, while we were unfortunately

forced to cancel our conference, we successfully

supplemented our usual programme

with a Teach-Out - ‘Histories of Inequality &

Resistance’ – hosting members of the department

during the UCU strikes.

I would like to thank all the Society

members who crowded on rainy Tuesday evenings

into Seminar Room 1, asked questions,

and helped move chairs around. Our departmental

liaisons – Dr Anne Heffernan and Dr

Richard Huzzey – have also been wonderful.

Finally, I must thank the fantastic executive

committee this year. The achievements mentioned

above, and the journal below,

represent their hard work much more than

mine. I just get to type it all up.

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Henderson


2,000

WORDS


7

WRITING HISTORY

Writing History in the Community of St Cuthbert,

c.700-1130: From Bede to Symeon of Durham

Dr Charlie Rozier

CHARLIE ROZIER is Lecturer in Medieval European History at Durham University. He specialises in

the cultural and intellectual history of western Europe, c.800-1200, and is particularly interested in finding

out how communities engaged with their past during this period. He has written articles on Anglo-Norman

historians such as Orderic Vitalis, Eadmer of Canterbury and our own Symeon of Durham, and is about to

publish a new book on history-writing in St Cuthbert’s community.

For me, this year sees one of the most exciting

moments of any historian’s career: the publication

of my first full book. My topic relates

to the theme ‘centring peripheries’ in several

ways as I hope to show here, while also lending

some insight into how academic books are

written. Although the book appears in 2020, I

have been researching some of the topics for

over ten years. I am now glad to get it out there

and see what my readers can learn from it! A

fundamental question that has driven much of

my research, is to try and find out how medieval

people themselves thought about historical

time and previous societies: were they interested

in their past, and if so, how did they try to

learn more about it?

The community of St Cuthbert offers

a helpful context to explore these questions.

Founded on Lindisfarne in 635, the community

later moved first to Chester-Le-Street

(early 880s) and then Durham (995). The surviving

evidence tells us that members of the

community wrote or procured at least eighteen

original histories and obtained copies of about

twenty more pre-existing works between c.700

and 1130, although the actual totals were almost

certainly higher. The texts range from lengthy

narrative histories like Symeon of Durham’s

account of the Durham church (written c.1104-

15) to tiny tables of short, one-line annals. Several

of the medieval manuscripts can be found

in Durham’s Cathedral and University Library

collections and have never left Durham since

the time they were made over 900 years ago.

The main argument of my book proposes

that members of Cuthbert’s community

were able to maintain a position at the centre

of political, ecclesiastical and economic life in

the northern limits of England, because they

were aware of their history. Writing history

helped its authors to explain subjects such as

who Cuthbert was and why he was important,

what miracles had occurred around his relics,

why these relics had been moved from Lindisfarne,

and most importantly, how the present

generation could claim continuity and legitimacy

along a line of descent from the earliest

foundations over 400 years before. As Symeon

explained in the early twelfth century:

Although for various reasons this church no

longer stands in the place where Oswald founded

it, nevertheless by virtue of the constancy of

its faith, the dignity and authority of its episcopal

throne, and the status of the dwelling-place

of monks established there by himself and

Bishop Aidan, it is still the very same church

founded by God’s command. 1

1 Symeon of Durham, Libellus de exordio atque procursu istius hoc est Dunhelmensis, ecclesie, i.1, ed. and trans. D.W. Rollason

(Oxford, 2000), pp. 16-17.


8

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

Symeon aimed to explain the historical circumstances

by which his generation had come times, and perhaps more crucially, assuring

Cuthbert’s highly visible presence in uncertain

to inherit property and political influence in that tenants continued to pay their rents!

the north of England from their predecessors. In the early 880s, Cuthbert’s relics

The success of his work was based on his ability were installed at Chester-Le-Street. By the

to compile a narrative that sounded complete mid-tenth century, a visit Æthelstan, self-proclaimed

king of England, left no doubt of the

(with no gaps in the information provided) and

which, as a result, was persuasive.

central role that Cuthbert’s community was

Although they take a variety of forms, now playing in the far north of England. Æthelstan

gave a large estate of land at Wearmouth

almost all of the histories produced in Cuthbert’s

community over the early medieval period

shared Symeon’s aims. The early medieval and silver plate, cups and ornaments, bells,

and moveable goods including books, gold

history of Cuthbert’s community is defined by coins and an elaborate new copy of the Life

its reaction to change, and turning to the past of St Cuthbert, which included a grand image

seems to have been a regular part of their response.

In 793, the Lindisfarne monastery was Not long after this visit, Cuthbert’s community

of Æthelstan giving the book to St Cuthbert. 5

attacked by Vikings. Although he was not present,

Alcuin of York provided a vivid contemporia

de Sancto Cuthberto (History of St Cuthbert)

produced a narrative history titled the Historary

reaction to this attack, describing how: which collected records of property donations

The pagans desecrated the sanctuaries of God from the seventh century down to later continuations

made in the early eleventh. This was a

and poured out the blood of saints around the

altar, laid waste to the house of our hope, trampled

on the bodies of saints in the temple of

confident statement of power from a community

that was now in league with kings.

God, like dung in the street. 2

My book examines the story of history-writing

in Cuthbert’s community down

Despite this dramatic scene, Cuthbert’s

community survived the disaster. Following a

to c.1130, but many more histories were written

after this down to the later Middle Ages. I

renewed Viking presence in the region during

the ninth century, however, Bishop Eardwulf

chose to begin with the earlier works, because

decided that it was now time to leave. Between

they really shaped the narrative of what came

875 and the early 880s, Cuthbert’s relics were

after. If we want to understand the evolution of

carried around the north of England. You may

Durham’s medieval historiography, we have to

be familiar with Fenwick Lawson’s sculpture of

start on Lindisfarne in the later seventh century

and work forwards from here. I would very

this in Millennium Place in Durham. Symeon

described this as a period of ever-dwindling

much like to write another book to complete

fortunes for a community ‘always without any

this story, but it may take me another ten years

fixed home’, running ‘like sheep fleeing from

of research!

the jaws of wolves’. 3 Modern historians, however,

have argued that Eardwulf’s itinerary was in

The process of writing a book has taught

me that we almost never really finish learning

fact a carefully crafted tour of the community’s

the whole story of a historical subject or period.

I’m sure that anyone who has recently

landholdings. 4 Cuthbert’s relics were shown

off (including the beautiful late seventh-century

wooden coffin still on display in the Cathe-

completed a dissertation would agree with this.

The challenge of writing an extended project

dral) and sections of the histories recounting

like this, is to find a narrative thread that you

his life were recited to audiences, cementing

want to tell, and which helps your audience to

2 ‘Letter of Alcuin to Higbald, Bishop of Lindisfarne, and his monks, condoling them for the sack of Lindisfarne

(793, after 8 June)’, English Historical Documents I: c.500-1142, ed. D. Whitelock (London, 1968), pp. 778-9.’

3 Symeon, LDE, ii.9 (ed. Rollason, pp. 110-111).

4 W.M. Aird, St Cuthbert and the Normans: the Church of Durham, 1071-1153 (Woodbridge, 1998), pp. 34-5; , ed. T. J.

South (Woodbridge, 2002), p. 100-1.

5 Recorded in HSC, 26 (ed. South, pp. 64-7)..


ROZIER - WRITING HISTORY

understand the source material. In my case,

my narrative shows how various authors used

the writing of history and their demonstration

of past precedent as a means to respond to

change, but we could also show evidence that

people learned and wrote about history simply

because they were interested in their past

and their own place within that story. This is of

course something that I am always striving to

find in my work, and I hope to be able to write

about this and find new narratives to understand

my topic in the coming years.

9


ANTHROPOLOGY

& THE MIDDLE AGES

How useful is modern anthropology to the historian of

the Salian era?

Ines Andrade

As Geoffrey Koziol satirized, medievalists using

anthropological theory have often been the medieval mentality. 2 Owing to the brevi-

primitiveness, but for what it can reveal about

portrayed as easily swayed by a dubious source ty of this essay, I will explore this through a

base. By depicting medieval people equally as close reading of Wipo’s The Deeds of Conrad

gullible, they apparently perceived them as easily

won over by pomp and ceremony. 1 Particu-

Anthropological theory defines ritual

II (hereafter Deeds).

larly concerning ritual (the focus of this essay) as a wordless symbolic language, governed by

the application of anthropology has been argued

to over-simplify or even distort medieval collective interpretations of political and social

patterned, repetitive acts. 3 These acts represent

history. While this criticism is of note, it does institutions. Following the classical paradigm

not warrant the abandonment of cross-disciplinary

studies all together. If we reposition both social realities and their representations.

of Émile Durkheim, society is composed of

our understanding of anthropology in light of 4

Expressing these representations symbolically,

ritual communicates and reaffirms the col-

these criticisms, taking into account their own

failings, we can come to a deeper understanding.

This ‘respects medieval ritual’, not for its summarised “the group periodically renews

lective culture of that society. 5 As Durkheim

1 Geoffrey Koziol, ‘Review article: The dangers of polemic: Is ritual still an interesting topic of historical study?’ Early

Medieval Europe, vol 11 (2002).

2 Paraphrasing Christina Pössel, ‘The magic of early medieval ritual’. Early Medieval Europe, vol 17 (2009) p. 113.

3 E.R Leach, ‘Ritualization in Man in Relation to Conceptual and Social Development’, Philosophical Transactions of

the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences, vol. 251, no. 772 (1966), pp. 40 3-408.

4 Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember, (Cambridge, 1989) p. 50.

5 Ibid, p. 50.


ANDRADE - ANTHROPOLOGY & THE MIDDLE AGES 11

the sentiment to which it has of itself and its known or recognised, but the chronicler’s partisan

view of traditional ceremonies. It is their

unity”. 6

These ideas increasingly permeated depiction less than an actuality. 11

historical works. Scholars focusing on medieval

ritual used anthropological tools to clarify er light by analysing Deeds. Wipo places great

This debate can be brought into clear-

their studies. In particular, early investigations emphasis on the crowd that “hastened to follow

the king (…) to receive the most holy unc-

emphasise the function of unification Ritual

was not only important, but “the necessary tion”. 12 Anointing the king’s body and granting

way for achieving group cohesion”. 7 Concerning

Medieval German history particularly, this Archbishop of Mainz’s political power. 13 Ac-

his crown, this traditional ritual drew from the

cross-disciplinary focus is clearest in the collective

works of Gerd Althoff. The ritual ‘rules thropology, the election becomes a symbolic

cording to the traditional application of an-

of the game’ were universally known, wordlessly

strengthening the bonds between peoples Conrad’s kingship. Althoff’s work furthers this

show, publicly affirming the ‘social reality’ of

and institutions. 8 This reflects the structuralist by examining three petitioners who beg Conrad

for help. For Althoff, this allowed Conrad

view of Claude Lévi-Strauss; such symbols are

universally recognisable, composed in subconscious

‘structures’ which determine all of hu-

himself as a worthy medieval king, he reminded

to evidence his kingly qualities. 14 Consolidating

man, or in this case, medieval thought. 9 Therefore,

especially politically, ritual gave “symbolic ing his people under these collective beliefs.

his audience of the society they lived in, unit-

expression to the cohesion and aims of the However, whether the people actually

group”. 10

saw this as ‘unifying ritual’ is hard to say. This

This argument has met criticism, particularly

from post-modern deconstructionists. Ravenese army. Timothy Reuter states that

can be seen more clearly in the deditio of the

This is best expressed by Philippe Buc’s controversial

The Dangers of Ritual. His argument alect. 15 A ritual surrender, this involved forces

this drew on a well-known religious-ritual di-

follows two main strands. Historical study of appearing before the king in the clothes of the

ritual is always dependent on the archive. For penitent. Althoff similarly emphasises it as a

Buc, this means that the historian cannot clarify

their studies with external evidence. Their period. 16 Yet Deeds implies this is not entirely

common way of restoring peace in the medieval

interpretations are always distorted along the the case. Wipo reports that Conrad made sure

lines of the medieval author. What the author rebels appeared “as he had ordered – in sackcloth

and barefeet with unsheathed swords”. 17

presents as ‘ritual’ is not ritual as it was widely

6 Émile Durkheim, The Elementary forms of Religious Life, transl. J. W Swain, George Allen & Uwin (London, 1915) p.

375.

7 Edward Muir, Ritual in Early Modern Europe, (Cambridge, 1997) p. 4.

8 Gerd Althoff, ‘The Variability of Rituals in the Middle Ages’ in eds. Gerd Althoff, J. Fried and P. Geary, Medieval

Concepts of the Past: Ritual, Memory, Historiography, (Cambridge, 2002) pp. 71-73.

9 See Claude Lévi-Strauss, Myth and Meaning, (Oxfordshire, 2001).

10 Gerd Althoff, Family, Friends and Followers: Political and Social bonds in Medieval Europe, transl. Christopher Carroll,

(Cambridge, 2004) p. 139.

11 Phillipe Buc, The Dangers of Ritual: Between Early Medieval Texts and Social Scientific Theory, (Princeton, 2001).

12 Wipo, c. 1047, ‘The Deeds of Conrad II’, transl. T. E. Mommsen and K. F. Morrison in Imperial Lives and Letters of

the Eleventh Century, (New York, 1962) p. 66.

13 Stefan Weinfurter, The Salian Century: Main Currents in an Age of Transition, (Philadelphia, 1999) p.22.

14 Althoff, ‘The Variability of Rituals’, p. 78.

15 Timothy Reuter, ‘Peace-breaking, feud, rebellion, resistance: Violence and peace in the politics of the Salian era’

In J. Nelson (eds) Medieval Polities and Modern Mentalities, (Cambridge, 2006) p. 381.

16 Althoff, ‘The Variability of Rituals’, p. 75.

17 Wipo, ‘Deeds’, p. 77.


12

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

Conrad’s direct order indicates this ritual was

not universally recognised - rather, it had to be

manipulated by the king.

More importantly, it also had to be manipulated

by the author. Conrad’s direct order

is written by Wipo, who gives the ritual meaning

in his emphasis. Certainly, this can be seen

in narrative devices he utilises throughout. A

leitmotif in Deeds is that Conrad will protect

“widows and orphans”. 18 Here ‘widows and orphans’

signifies ‘the helpless’. This becomes

embodied by the petitioners, one of whom is

a widow, the other an orphan. Wipo thereby

conditions the meaning of the ritual. We can

also see this in Conrad’s kindness to the petitioners.

Wipo contrasts this to the princes, who

wish to hurry him along. This reinforces Althoff’s

analysis that the king demonstrated his

qualities, but not necessarily through the ritual

itself. Ritual meaning instead is constructed

throughout the narrative by Wipo.

Historians using anthropological theory

can thereby be seen as trying to decipher the

medieval world using tools inapplicable to it.

Notions that ‘ritual’ indicates a ‘representation

of social reality’ creating ‘unity’ are anachronisms.

This pinches the medieval text to fit a

reductive anthropological framework. It reduces

the medieval period to a mystical time

“where rituals worked, in contrast to our modern,

disenchanted world”. 19 While chroniclers

presented ritual in this way, it did not necessarily

have this effect on medieval society.

This idea is worth considering, certainly,

I have shown it has weight in Wipo’s work.

However, while Buc’s theory problematises the

use of certain types of anthropology, it does

not justify its conclusion that “ultimately, there

can be no anthropological readings of rituals

depicted in medieval texts”. 20 Buc’s argument

separates ‘anthropology’ and ‘textual analysis’

in a way that is not entirely natural. In a rebuttal

to criticism of his work, he maintained he

was not criticizing anthropology in itself, only

its application to history. 21 The anthropologist

can validate his research on the field meaning

anthropological theory does not account for

textual distortion. If the anthropologist could

witness a medieval ritual, perhaps he could

grapple with applying his theory to it. However,

this places an ironically medieval privilege on

sight. It implies that there is a self-evident truth

in witnessing ritual. As multiple anthropologists

have shown, this is not the case. Written

field work must be carefully analysed. Tainted

by the biases and cultural framework of the anthropologist,

even witnessed ritual contains a

multitude of possible renderings.

In this, Buc applies postmodern deconstructionism

too partially. This was something

he admitted: If we deconstruct ‘ritual’,

the same applies to any historical category. 22

Deconstructive theory defines that all meaning

within text is infinitely deferred. When we

read a word, it carries a number of associations

which overspill each other. Thus to ‘interpret’

something and call it ‘universal’ is trying to

make your interpretation authoritative with a

so-called stamp of universality. 23 Buc tries to

apply this theory to medieval ritual exclusively,

yet the argument is only consistent if we

understand that meaning in all written texts

can be obscured. This is why you can look at

anthropology from a deconstructive lens, as I

have evidenced above. If anthropology must

also account for rendering and textual distortion,

then it is not as inapplicable to history as

Buc implies.

This indicates that we can apply anthropology

to history, as long as we carefully

consider both historical and anthropological

cautions on the possible distortion of ritual accounts.

Further, deconstructive theories do not

call for an abandonment of all text, as Buc does

of ritual. Rather, they encourage close analysis

to figure out how dominant ‘meanings’ are be-

18 Ibid, p.68.

19 Pössel, ‘The magic of early medieval ritual’, p. 112.

20 Buc, The Dangers of Ritual, p. 4.

21 Phillipe Buc, ‘The Monster and its critics: a ritual reply’. Early Medieval Europe, vol 15 (2007) p. 441.

22 Ibid, p. 442 .

23 See for instance Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, (London, 1998).


ANDRADE - ANTHROPOLOGY & THE MIDDLE AGES 13

ing constructed. If Wipo is trying to lean his

audience towards a certain view of ritual, how

is his interpretation being grounded?

Wipo does appear to be trying to universalise

his interpretation of rituals. In his

justification for his work, Wipo remarks that a

good king’s deeds should be recorded for future

generations. He underlines “I have wished

to write for the common use of readers something

which would (also) be pleasing to hearers”.

24 While medieval society was largely illiterate,

he makes it clear that he wants his text

to be widely known orally. This interacts with

modern anthropology. Stephen Lukes particularly

opposed ‘social cohesion’ as a function of

ritual. Because ritual is inevitably controlled by

those in power, its production is unequal. Less

than creating social cohesion, ritual thereby

‘mobilizes the biases’ of the elite. 25 What Wipo

is doing could be described as ‘mobilizing bias’

or, in Christina Pössel’s terms, “publishing (his)

version as widely and as ‘authoritatively’ as

possible”. 26

If we understand Wipo’s account trying

to spread his interpretation to both a literate

and illiterate audience, his piece would

also have to consider how that broad range of

people expected ritual to act. For instance, his

stress on the public nature of the coronation

ceremony implies a socio-cultural need for the

king’s ascension to be public and demonstrative.

This is not to say the crowd necessarily felt

unified under Conrad’s vision of society. It is to

say that Wipo felt the need to depict it in this

way, implying that this was of importance to his

readers and ‘hearers’. This can further be seen

in Wipo’s treatment of Duke Ernst’s surrender.

Abandoned by his men, Ernst “therefore rendered

himself to the emperor without any negotiated

agreement”. 27 This ‘agreement’ could

refer to deditio, which Reuter highlights was

often highly politically machinated. Instead of

being restored his fief , as surrendering rebels

often were, Ernst was exiled. 28 His inability to

negotiate deditio, and Wipo’s long quotations

of speeches from his abandoning men, is of

vital importance. It implies that the ability to

create ritual relied on a body of men, or at least

does in Wipo’s account. This indicates an existing

mentality that ritual power required popular

support.

This is just one example of how we can

use anthropological and textual analysis to understand

medieval mentalities. Certainly, as

well as stressing what medieval society perceived

as important, this can also tell us about

the mindset of the chronicler. As David Warner

comments of Widukind, Wipo’s stress on

various parts of different rituals denotes “how

important he thought it was and how worthy

of being remembered”. 29 Certainly, Buc’s argument

in some ways implies a return to the

nineteenth century treatment of medieval German

texts. This compared volumes for repeated

facts and removed any ‘inconsistencies’, things

that appeared to be opinion or were not verified

in other sources. Studies more recently

have shown that such ‘inconsistency’, whether

historical fact or not, can tell us about culture

and society. 30

This belies a fundamental issue in Buc’s

work: his argument that no historical fact can

be drawn from studying ritual. Anthropological

study focuses on mentality, not fact. We do

not learn facts from rituals, at least if we define

‘facts’ as things that occur with an evidently

logical explanation. Rather they tell us about

how a particular culture works and interprets

itself. To discover this in a medieval context,

understanding how ritual is constructed by the

chronicler is critical, and not to be pointed out

then dismissed. Certainly, Dušan Zupka points

24 Wipo, ‘Deeds’, p. 56.

25 Steven Lukes, ‘Political Ritual and Social Integration’, Sociology vol 9, no. 2 (1975); Catherine Bell, Ritual Theory,

Ritual Practice, (Oxford, 2009) p. 172.

26 Pössel, ‘The magic of early medieval ritual’, p. 119.

27 Wipo, ‘Deeds’, p. 82.

28 Reuter, ‘Peace-breaking, feud, rebellion, resistance’, p. 381.

29 David Warner, ‘Rituals, Kingship and Rebellion in Medieval Germany’, History Compass, vol 8 (2010) p. 1209.

30 Timothy Reuter, Germany in the Early Middle Ages c. 800-1056, (London, 1998) pp. 6-16; Warner, ‘Rituals, Kingship

and Rebellion’.


14

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

out that an entirely accurate depiction of historical

events will not be found in ritual texts,

but this is not the point. More crucially, the

events depicted indicate how a subset of medieval

people saw themselves and their society.

31 As Lukes indicates, applying close textual

analysis and anthropological theory can allow

us some insight into this, without projecting

modern ideas onto the past.

Thus, as Buc criticises, seeing ritual

along the lines of mere ‘social cohesion’ reads

back anthropological theory onto the past. Yet,

his complete banishment misunderstands the

central goals both of postmodern deconstruc-

tion and anthropology in itself. We must see

medieval ritual more along Luke’s lines as a

‘mobilization of biases’, and see medieval texts

as an active part in this ‘mobilization’. If we see

chronicles as both creating and reflecting what

medieval people expected of ritual, we do not

come to a simplified picture of primitive people,

awed into submission by flas y display. Instead,

we can start to demystify how medieval

authors viewed their society and what their society

expected of them. Understanding mentalities

in this way remains useful to the historian

of the Salian period.

31 Dušan Zupka, Ritual and Symbolic Communication in Medieval Hungary under the Árpád Dynasty (1000 - 1301) (Leiden,

2016) p. 9.


CISTERCIAN LOVE

The Conversion of Love, or the Love of Converts:

Caritas and Amor in the Cistercian Charism

Thomas Banbury

As the Cistercian order expanded out of Burgundy

and into much of western Christendom

through the middle of the twelfth century, and

particularly with their programme of institutional

consolidation in the 1160s, the writings

of its brothers formed a distinctive genre in the

canon of theological and pastoral texts in the

high middle ages. 1 In work as stylistically diverse

as Bernard of Clairvaux’s (1090-1153) letters

and sermons, Walter Daniel’s Vita Ailredi,

and the ‘primitive’ statues of the Cistercian order,

the Carta Caritatis, the multivalent theme

of ‘love’, variously expressed and defined is

often identified as the key thematic link of

Cistercian thought. 2 Perhaps the abundance

of ‘love’, for God and one’s neighbour, should

hardly be surprising in Christian writings; after

all, ‘Deus caritas est’ - declares John’s first

epistle – ‘God is love’. Consideration of the na-

ture of holy love was not limited to Cistercian

circles either, as the work of the Benedictine

contemporary of Bernard, William of Saint

Thierry, demonstrates. However, the roots of

Cistercian discourses on love go deeper than

New Testament maxims or a rejection of pagan

doctrines of love. Drawing on provocative new

images and stylistic topoi which blurred the

sexual/chaste and male/female divides, as well

as older models of Christian love derived from

Saint Augustine and other Church Fathers,

Bernard and his brother-monks delineated a

new praxis of Christian life for twelfth-century

Europe. Beginning with the Carta Caritatis, we

will see Cistercian emphasis on love as part of

a conscious self-fashioning closely related to

the context of their development out of the Cluniac

confraternity and the wider Benedictine

community, even considering the doubts about

1 C. Berman, The Cistercian Evolution: The Invention of a Religious Order in Twelfth-Century Europe (Philadelphia, 2000),

p. 46.

2 G. Evans, The Mind of St. Bernard Of Clairvaux (Oxford, 1983), p. 119; Geoffrey Webb, “The Cistercian Memoria: William

Of Saint Thierry”, New Blackfriars, 47/547 (1966), p. 210.


16

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

sequencing raised by Constance Berman. The

works of Bernard and his contemporaries between

the 1120s and the 1140s opened up new

ways to love God in the rapidly expanding order,

which had to contextualise the high-fl wn

discourse of patristic love for a new membership.

The English language concept of ‘love’

is vastly inadequate to translate the range of

aspects it is used to encompass in renderings

of patristic and medieval Christian texts. The

division of various types of love found in Greek

philosophy (έρως for sexual love, στωργή for familial

love, and ἀγάπη for divine or charitable

love, etc.) was certainly a factor in medieval discourses.

The business of rendering these concepts

into a Latin, Christian context was largely

undertaken by patristic writers, in particular

St. Jerome’s translation and editing of older

editions of biblical texts to produce the Vulgate,

and St. Augustine’s discussion of caritas

and cupiditas as contrasting types of love in the

third book of his De Doctrina Christiana (397),

to name but two examples. Throughout the

Vulgate and Augustine’s writings, specificall ,

his homilies on John’s first epistle, the Greek

concept of ἀγάπη is translated into the Latin

caritas, often rendered by its English descendant

‘charity’. The ἀγάπη/caritas equivalence

predates both Augustine and Jerome, however,

and seems to have been carried over from the

Vetus Latinus Bible during Jerome’s preparation

of the Vulgate. While linking ἀγάπη and

caritas, both expressing a selfles , altruistic and

holy love, is fairly straightforward from the textual

evidence, the association of έρως, sexual

desire, with the Latin amor is far more problematic.

As Michael Casey points out ‘amor was

used for a strongly-felt affective experience,

such as ordinary sexual love, but also mystical

love’. 3 The tension between the sexual and the

chaste in amor and the frequency with which

it appears in the works of Bernard of Clairvaux,

particularly in his sermons on the Song

of Songs and in the works of William of St.

Thierry, point to a high medieval Christian discourse

on love which is more nuanced than a

simple equivalence between ἀγάπη/caritas and

έρως/amor. For this study, I will use the terms

as they appear in their respective contexts i.e.

caritas rather than charity or love, with the understanding

that they impute a more specific

aspect or practice of love than is implied by the

English word alone.

The Summa Carta Caritatis, purportedly

one of the foundational statutes of the Cistercian

order, is variously translated as the ‘Summary

of the charter of Love’ or ‘Charity’. The

Exordium Cistercii, a short narrative account of

the founding of Cîteaux usual prefixed to the

Carta, identifies it as having been drawn up by

the second abbot Stephen Harding early in the

development of the order, in order to prevent

rapid and disorganised expansion from ‘suffocating

the fruit of mutual peace’. 4 The Carta appears

in three versions; the Summa, discussed

above, and the Carta Caritatis Prior and Posterior,

the latter ostensibly an updated version

of the Prior version. Each gives different, but

related reasons for the emphasis on caritas in

Cistercian thought. The Exordium which prefaces

the Summa states that Stephen Harding

coined the term ‘Charter of Charity’ ‘for, clearly,

its whole content so breathed love that almost

nothing else is seen to be treated there than

this’. 5 The later Carta Caritatis Posterior relates

its title to more prosaic demands; ‘They [the

monks of Cîteaux] also decided that this decree

should be called a Charter of Charity, for its

statues, spurning the burden of heavy exaction,

related only to charity and the welfare of soul

in things human and divine’. 6 The bonds of the

Cistercian order were thus supposedly founded

on the mutual expression caritas between a

mother abbey and its filiation Here, the Cistercians

use the idea that caritas underscores their

organisational structure, setting themselves in

contrast to their regional rivals, the Cluniacs.

Cluny certainly retained a tighter economic

and organisational grip on its daughter-houses

3 M. Casey, Athirst For God (Kalamazoo, 1987), pp. 90-1.

4 ‘Exordium Cistercii’, trans. B.K. Lackner, in Louis J. Lekai, The Cistercians: Ideals and Reality (Kent, OH., 1977), p. 444;

Berman, The Cistercian Evolution, p. 56.

5 Lekai, The Cistercians, p. 444.

6 ‘Carta Caritatis Posterior’, trans. B.K. Lackner, in Lekai, The Cistercians, p. 462.


BRADBURY - CISTERCIAN LOVE

than did Cîteaux, particularly under the abbacy

of St. Hugh (1049-1109). 7

The charters of the Cistercians, therefore,

emphasise love between houses as part

of a conscious act of self-fashioning in opposition

to the Benedictines. This interpretation

is supported by more revisionist scholarship

which has cast significant doubt on the dating

of the primitive documents of the Cistercian

order. Constance Berman’s radical re-dating

of these foundational documents, purportedly

from the 1130s, to the 1160s offers a new context

for understanding the Cistercian emphasis on

caritas. 8 Berman’s contention is that the early

texts of the Cistercian community in Burgundy

were either fabricated, or at least significantly

refashioned, in the 1160s in order to crystallise

the history and ontogeny of an ordo cisterciensis

in reaction to clashes with the Cluniacs, as well

as the growing prominence of the Clairvaux fi -

iation, which had become the centre of gravity

for the reform community during Bernard’s

career. 9 In as much as the theme of caritas may

pervade the ‘primitive’ documents in a more

deliberate and politically pointed manner than

had previously been thought, we can make direct

links between the discourses of love in the

cartae and exordia, and the theme as it appears

in the works of Bernard of Clairvaux, which

would have been familiar to the compilers (or

authors) of the collected primitive documents

presented to Alexander III in 1165. 10

Fully explaining the themes of love in

the works of Bernard of Clairvaux (and his uses

and vocabulary are certainly diverse) is perhaps

beyond the scope of this study. However,

17

contextualising Bernard amongst his contemporaries

does open up a fruitful line of inquiry

within a dense body of scholarship. In order to

retain a clearer focus on the question at hand,

my discussion of Bernard will be based primarily

on his eighty-six sermons on the Song

of Songs, composed between 1135 and 1153, and

his Liber De Diligendo Deo, written sometime

between 1126 and 1141. 11 Beginning with the earlier

text, De Diligendo Deo, often translated as

‘On Loving God’, presents Bernard’s philosophy

of love in Christian life and worship. Bernard

begins with a consideration of the origins

of love, in much the same way that his Benedictine

friend William of Saint Thierry does

in his c.1121 work De natura et dignitate amoris,

‘The nature and dignity of love’. Both begin

with the premise that love has been inculcated

into human nature by God, in believers and

non-believers alike; for William ‘God as rooted

love in our very nature’. 12 Bernard concurs that

‘an inborn sense of justice in him […] cries out

that he ought to love him with all his powers’. 13

Bernard and William also describe the highest

states of love in strikingly similar terms;

according to Bernard, the mind ‘throw[s] itself

wholly on God and, clinging to God, become[s]

ones with him in spirit’, just as William’s schema

leads the soul to ‘cleave perfectly to God’. 14

Both, in fact, quote the same verses from the

Psalms (73:26). However, while in William’s

corpus ‘love’ makes up only one facet of his

theology (indeed, caritas is the middle stage

of human spiritual development, which moves

from amor to caritas to sapientia), Bernard devotes

a large part of his preaching to the effic -

7 N. Hunt, Cluny Under Saint Hugh: 1049-1109 (London, 1967), pp. 158-9, 182-4; Caroline Walker Bynum, Jesus As Mother

(Berkeley, 1982), pp. 62-3.

8 Berman, The Cistercian Evolution, pp. 67,93-4,148-9.

9 Ibid., pp. 148-9, 151-60.

10 Ibid., p. 92; Evans, The Mind of St. Bernard Of Clairvaux, pp.117-9; Constant Mews, “Bernard Of Clairvaux, Peter

Abelard and Heloise On the Definition of L ve”, Revista Portuguesa De Filosofia, 60/3 (2004), p. 638.

11 E. Ann Matter, The Voice of My Beloved (Philadelphia, 1990), p.124; Evans, The Mind of St. Bernard Of Clairvaux, p.

51.

12 William of St. Thierry, On the Nature and Dignity of Love, trans. Adrian Walker and Geoffrey Webb (London, 2001),

p. 11.

13 Bernard of Clairvaux, ‘On Loving God’, in Bernard Of Clairvaux - Selected Works, trans. G.R. Evans (New York,

1987), p. 55.

14 Ibid., p. 78; On the Nature and Dignity of Love, p. 59.


18

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

cy of a love for God and his creation. 15 It is not

enough to say, however, that love (in its various

incarnations) was a prominent theme in Bernard’s

preaching; the question of why this was

the case remains.

De Diligendo Deo offers a praxis of love

as worship. Through its four degrees, Bernard

shows how man progresses towards God; firs -

ly, through love of himself, then through love

of God for his own sake, and then love of God

for God’s sake. The final degree, described in

a sort of mystical ecstasy, is the sublimation of

one’s entire will into God, just as ‘a drop of water

seems to disappear completely in a quantity

of wine’. 16 Throughout the Latin text of De

Diligendo, Bernard uses the nouns caritas and

amor, and the verb diligere and their derived

terms interchangeably, supporting Casey’s argument

that there was not a strict semantic division

between these terms. 17 The notion that

through love, properly structured and channelled

according to the degrees of De Diligendo,

that the human will could be dissolved into

God is key. High medieval writers recognised

the powerful and potentially destructive nature

of unchecked affections. William of St

Thierry identifies love at its inception as being

only a potentiality, to be shaped either for

good or evil; ‘At its birth, then, love is nothing

other than will’. 18 In this vain, love needed to

be reshaped towards the divine, else it would

become destructive.

But why was this a particular theme for

the writers of the 1120s onwards? The answer

perhaps comes from the distinctive type of monastic

recruitment practiced by the Cistercians

and the milieu of a militarily mobile youth populace

in the context of the Crusades. The road

into the cloister had traditionally been one

begun almost in infancy. Child oblates would

be offered to a monastery, generally along with

a substantial donation for their upkeep, from

the age of six. Once they had completed their

initial monastic education, they could choose

whether they wished to take their vows and become

a novice, or leave the monastery. The Cistercians,

however, were active in their recruitment

of adults, particularly young knights. 19

The narrative of the founding of the community

at Silvanès by Pons de Léras, who went from

knight to hermit to Cistercian, is a highly fashioned

but telling example. 20 The consequences

of a new monastic population with far greater

experience of the world than the usual monk

has been discussed from a psychological angle

by Jean Leclercq. Leclercq points not only to a

new monastic sociology resulting from adult recruitment,

but also to the flourishing of a popular

and courtly culture of love and chivalry in

France during the 1120s, particularly in Champagne.

21 For this new milieu of conversi, troubadour

lyrics and idioms of courtly love were

more familiar to them than Anselm’s complex

soteriology or St. Augustine’s division of caritas

from cupiditas. 22 Consider the anecdote told

by Caesarius of Heisterbach of the Cistercian

conversi who fell asleep during the preaching of

the Word, but ‘pricked up [their] ears, woke up,

and began to listen’ at the mention of ‘a King

called Arthur’. 23 Bernard’s preaching to these

new monks was aimed at instructing them in

terms they could comprehend and use practically.

So strongly saturated were these conversi

in secular cultures of love and desire, and with

the recognition of its destructive power as noted

by the Church Fathers, that the reshaping of

15 T. Tomasic, “The Three Theological Virtues as Modes of Intersubjectivity in the Thought of William Of Saint-Thierry”,

Recherches De Théologie Ancienne Et Médiévale, 38 (1971), p. 110; On the Nature And Dignity Of Love, p. 14.

16 ‘On Loving God’, p. 79.

17 Casey, Athirst For God, p. 91.

18 On the Nature and Dignity of Love, p. 15.

19 Berman, The Cistercian Evolution, pp. 101-2, 110-7.

20 Ibid., pp. 101-2, 110-7; C. Berman, “The Life of Pons De Léras: Knights and Conversion to Religious Life in the

Twelfth Century”, Church History and Religious Culture, 88/2 (2019), pp. 128-9.

21 J. Leclercq, Monks and Love in Twelfth-Century France (Oxford, 1979), pp. 9-16.

22 Evans, The Mind of St. Bernard Of Clairvaux, pp. 64-5.

23 J. Strange, Caesarii Heisterbacensis Dialogus Miraculorum (Cologne, 1851), p. 105, cited in Leclercq, Monks and Love in

Twelfth-Century France, p. 90.


BRADBURY - CISTERCIAN LOVE

worldly love into divine love seemed a natural

stratagem for Bernard and his contemporaries.

Such a thesis of Bernard’s approach to love is

supported by comparison with his amplific -

tion of martial imagery when addressing his

militarily experienced brother-monks, his aim

being to turn them from miles into bellatores

pacifici. 24 This also contextualises Bernard’s extended

use of the Song of Songs in De Diligendo

and his monumental series of public sermons

on the book which continues up to his

death in 1153. The Song of Songs is perhaps

the closest book in the Old Testament to a secular

love narrative, generating a huge body of

interpretive scholarship amongst Jewish and

Christian writers on the obliquely sexual, yet

apparently unconsummated, relationship between

the Bride and the Bridegroom. 25 That

is not to suggest that Bernard’s interest in the

Song was only as an ersatz love ballad, rather

that it provided for his preaching a source

of examples of images of loving and desiring

that had both a long exegetical history as metaphors

for the love of God for man, or Christ for

the Church, as well as a strong resonance with

his audiences.

Bernard’s preaching, then, cannot be said

to be solely concerned with caritas, but rather

with the full panoply of medieval love. Placing

his preaching and the reasoning behind it into

the larger scope of Cistercian though requires

us to return to the issues raised by Berman regarding

sequencing. If the collation of founda-

19

tional documents really did occur in the 1160s,

after Bernard’s death, rather than in the early

1110s and 20s then we must consider the awareness

of these compilers with the Bernardine

charism of various ‘loves’ within the wider

Cistercian movement. Through consideration

of Bernard alongside William of St. Thierry’s

philosophical and theological treatment of

love, the emphasis on a chaste but intense interpretation

of amor as a necessary redirection

of worldly love seems more strongly related to

the context of the mid-twelfth century in general,

rather than a Cistercian preoccupation

inherited from the founders of Cîteaux. Extracting

a model of caritas (which could be retrospectively

applied to an organisational model

of the order) from the diverse senses of ‘love’

employed in the mid-twelfth century seems

more plausible than for Bernard to develop

a vivid praxis of love from the narrow caritas

of the primitive documents. Indeed, Berman’s

revision of Cistercian chronology, which places

the crystallisation of an ordo Cisterciensis

only in the second half of the twelfth century,

further suggests that the apparent Cistercian

preoccupation with love may have developed

out of Bernard’s preaching, not the other way

around. Bernard may rather have been one

of the originators of, and not the heir to, the

Cistercian tradition of love, the prominence of

which owes much to Bernard’s solutions to the

challenges of the mid-twelfth century.

24 Leclercq, Monks and Love in Twelfth-Century France, pp. 88-98.

25 Matter, The Voice of My Beloved, pp. 123-33; Shawn M. Krahmer, “The Virile Bride of Bernard of Clairvaux”, Church

History, 69/2 (2000), p. 306.


GENDER IN EARLY

MODERNITY

Were There Limits to Women’s Agency in Early

Modern England?

Jack Snell

In the historiography of femininity, gender

and sexuality in early modern England, as with

other periods and places, we see a tendency to

interpret inquiry in the terms and language of

contemporary understandings. In approaching

such a question, we must be careful not to mar

conceptions of misogyny and sexism in the period

by interpreting them within the discourses

of modern social understandings, instead

perceiving interpretations from the perspective

of historical actors themselves in pursuit

of historical truth (if, indeed, there is such a

thing). This chasm existing between myth and

reality is a prevalent theme in this discussion,

involving a reconciliation between conceptual

and practical understandings of patriarchy in

public and private spaces in the period. Such

reconciliation entails a respect for female experiences

of “daily life” and the limits of male

hegemony in crossing the boundary between

prescription and description. In this way, patriarchy

as an ideal must be taken exactly as that.

Although this ideal penetrated the social

fabric of early modern society, it cannot

be taken as analogous to patriarchal order in

practice. This distinction between the world as

it seems to be and the world as it is will be the

basis upon which this essay will be formed. As

we will see, one may find in the female domain

evidence of freedom, moral authority, belonging

and, fundamentally, “the capacity to […]

articulate meanings from within collective discourses

and beyond.” 1 Thus, although women

did indeed face limits to their agency in early

modern England, the extent of this limitation

in reality did not extend as far as its conceptual

basis, and through the interrogation

of evidence we may identify in this space an

1 Bronwyn Davies, ‘The Concept of Agency: A Feminist Poststructuralist Analysis’, in Anna Yeatman (ed.), Social

Analysis: The International Journal of Anthropology, No. 30, Postmodern Critical Theorising, (December 1991), p. 52.


SNELL - GENDER IN EARLY MODERNITY

imagined community for which “ocular proof

was unattainable.” 2 To come to a clearer understanding,

this essay will compare two arguments;

firstly that women faced limits to agency,

and secondly that such interpretation was

largely de facto and grossly exaggerated when

compared to real female experiences.

As a conceptualisation of male power

patriarchy, in a purely gendered interpretation,

leaves behind the “base-superstructure” upon

which it derives meaning. 3 Patriarchy, as an understanding

of power relations, exists as a derivative

set of interacting concepts (gender, age

and class), with its constituents all bound by

ideas of male authorship in social space: man

and woman, father and son, master and apprentice.

Order and chaos are central to this understanding

in both public and private space. As a

form of the state, the authority of the male in

the household derived meaning from the authority

of the monarch in the realm. Man is “a

priest unto his wife ... he is the highest in the

family, and hath both authority over all and the

charge of all is committed to his charge; he is

as a king in his owne house.” 4 To use Weberian

terms, the state may be seen as the ‘ideal type’

of which households may, by abstraction from

one space to another, base themselves. According

to principle, a man who kills his wife would

be hanged for murder, whereas a wife who kills

her husband would be burned for petty treason.

The wife, in murdering her husband, is

creating chaos in a perfectly ordered state of

affairs whereas the man is not. In this sense,

to go against this order is, by reduction, to go

against God; as propounded by the Homily on

21

Obedience, “God hath created and appointed

all things in heaven, earth, and waters, in a

most excellent and perfect order”.

This naturalisation of patriarchal hierarchy

penetrated all aspects of social life. Women

were seen as necessarily “less ordered” than

men, presenting the masculine as the order to

feminine chaos. Theoretically, contemporary

ideas of femininity subordinated women to a

—for instance, pamphlets often used ‘quietness’

as a descriptor of conjugal marriage; the

association of ‘quiet’ with ‘order’ and ‘loudness’

with ‘chaos’ is especially telling of what

was expected of the female in the household

and the effect of popular culture on conceptions

of gender roles. Indeed patriarchy, in

many respects, is more an expression of order

than social ideal; gossip networks, for instance,

were often satirised as “posing a wider threat

to social order.” 5 And, for many, such order

could be achieved only by a limiting of agency,

perhaps physically with the Scold’s Bridle and

beating, or behaviourally, epitomised in Coriolanus’s

referral to his wife as “my gracious silence.”

6 Thus, as seen, early modern society was

riddled with patriarchal understandings of social

order. “The equation of public with male,

female with private, was by the sixteenth century

an ancient, well established trope” and,

crucially, not one to be changed. 7 As posited

by Melden, how is it possible “that a right […]

can “derive” from one’s status as a parent?” 8 To

an early modern Englishman, this was no concern;

obedience, the “right” of parents, is due

because it is, and such is the case with patriarchy.

9 The question now is two-fold; did such

2 Louise Montrose, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the shaping fantasies of Elizabethan culture: gender, power,

form’, in M. W. Ferguson, M. Quilligan and N. J. Vickers (eds.), Rewriting the Renaissance: the Discourses of Sexual Difference

in Early Modern Europe (Chicago, 1986), p. 76.

3 Sylvia Walby, ‘Theorising Patriarchy’, in The Journal of the British Sociological Association, Vol. 23, No. 2 (May 1989), p.

1.

4 William Gouge, Of Domesticall Duties (1622), p. 258, as cited in Andy Wood, The Structures of Everyday Life: Household,

Patriarchy and Gender, Lecture 1 (2019).

5 B. Capp, When Gossips Meet: Women, Family and Neighbourhood in Early Modern England (Oxford, 2003), p. 64.

6 Coriolanus, 2.1.184, as cited in Andy Wood, The Structures of Everyday Life: Household, Patriarchy and Gender, Lecture

1 (2019).

7 L. Gowing, ‘The Freedom of the Streets: Women and Social Space, 1560-1640’, in Paul Griffiths and Mark .R. Jenner

(eds.), Londinopolis: Essays in the Cultural and Social History of Early Modern London (Manchester, 2000), p. 133.

8 A. I. Melden, Rights and Right Conduct (Oxford, 1959), p. 6, cited in G.J. Schochet, ‘Patriarchalism, politics and mass

attitudes in Stuart England,’ Historical Journal, 12, 3, (1969), p. 440.

9 See Dod and Cleaver, ‘Godly Form’, sig. I 2, cited in Schochet, ‘Patriarchalism’, p. 416.


22

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

theory translate in practice, and did women really

experience such extreme limits to agency

as discussed above?

In short, no. Although patriarchal concepts

constituted society, women were still able

to articulate meanings and agency. The articulation

of this agency can be understood in spatial

terms and questions the nature of patriarchy

discussed above. In Gramscian understandings

of hegemony, it has been argued, “considerable

space [was] left for subordinates to develop

their own senses of the world,” space for the

articulation of new values and norms within

the patriarchal superstructure. 10 ‘Gossips’, for

example, act as evidence of a distinctly female

domain, offering an identity and belonging beyond

the private household, a community of

emotional and material value that had a kind

of ‘extra-legal legitimacy’ to their collective action.

As an internalisation of patriarchy into

female space, ‘gossips’ represented a transgression

of female authority into the public. 11 Such

informal authority manifested, for instance, in

the policing of the sexed body that premised

itself on the regulation of woman by woman

(as with illegitimate pregnancies). 12 This has

implications for our understandings of patriarchy

and female agency. First, this cliqued

knowledge of a Hayekian ‘single mind’ that

women embodied further confuses gendered

interpretations of the ‘public’ and the ‘private’

discussed above. Secondly, patriarchy in this

sense validated the female domain, a process

“in which every member of the community

participated in the processes of exclusion that

helped define order and belonging.” 13 This is

suggestive of a patriarchy more accommodating

and negotiable to female agency than the

one described in the paragraphs above. As

such, in regard to the question at hand, one

may see female agency not as something actively

limited but as something upon which the

patriarchal order passively depended.

Women’s agency may also be empirically

identified In the period we see an enormous

rise in defamation cases of which a huge majority

of litigants were women. For women, it

may be said, the use of a gendered ideology

of morals was a means of negotiating power

in public space. For many, “testifying at court

could offer one way of asserting a verbal agency

over domestic, sexual, and marital events

that had, one way or another, disempowered

them.” 14 This refusal to bend to patriarchal

rhetoric of feminine chaos and inferiority “laid

claim to an honourability which was defined

by what women did rather than what was done

to them.” 15 Thus, it is in this intersection between

sexuality and honour, that we find evidence

of an active female agency. Women in

the period also engaged, albeit rather spontaneously,

in rioting, the grain riots led by

‘Captain’ Anne Carter in Maldon being an example.

This dissent and disorder, it has been

suggested, reflected female concerns existing

primarily in the female sphere of knowledge

(given their household involvement in the buying

of, for instance, grain) and asserting their

political agency accordingly. 16 This agency is

further evidenced in religious space, preaching

and prophesying in Quaker and Puritan

movements and laying claim to their place in

the spiritual (perhaps questioning the true nature

of the supposedly God given order.) This

follows in business, with widows often taking

over from husbands as independent business

women, for instance in printing. Indeed, one

Derbyshire mine, ‘Gentlewoman’s Grove’, was

10 Andy Wood, ‘Deference, Paternalism and Popular Memory in Early Modern England,’ in S. Hindle, A. Shepard,

and J. Woodbridge Walker, Remaking English Society: Social Relations and Social Change in Early Modern England,

(Boydell Press, 2013), p. 237.

11 B. Capp, When Gossips Meet: Women, Family and Neighbourhood in Early Modern England, (Oxford, 2003).

12 Gowing, ‘Ordering the Body’, pp. 43-62.

13 Ibid., p. 51.

14 Laura Gowing, Domestic Dangers: Women, Words and Sex in Early Modern London, (Oxford, 1996), p. 262.

15 G. Walker, ‘Expanding the Boundaries of Female Honour in Early Modern England’, TRHS, sixth ser. 6 (1996), p.

239.

16 R.A. Houlbrooke, ‘Women’s Social Life and Common Action in England From the Fifteenth Century to the Eve

of the Civil War’, Continuity & Change 1, 2 (1986), p. 172.


SNELL - GENDER IN EARLY MODERNITY

an all-female company. Women, in this way,

occupied what can be seen as a “subterranean

citizenship,” bound by patriarchy but within

which women’s agency could be exercised. 17 It

is thus the case that agency existed in ways far

beyond what one would expect from the descriptions

above.

To conclude, we have seen in this essay

that descriptions of female agency diverge from

its prescription. Despite the insidious nature

23

of patriarchal order as an ideal, we must be

sure to question the nature of this patriarchy

and the agency women were able to exercise

within it. It is nonetheless important, however,

to recognise that there were limits to women’s

agency in the period. So although agency certainly

existed in women’s lives beyond its prescriptive

limits, gender set its boundaries. So,

to answer the question, ‘yes.’

17 P. Crawford, ‘”The poorest she”: women and citizenship in early modern England’, in M. Mendle (ed.), The Putney

Debates of 1647: The Army, the Levellers and the English State, (Cambridge, 2001), p. 218.


CHINA &

IMPERIAL

CITIES

What do cartography,

imperial tours, and the

spatial organization of

cities reveal about the

nature of Imperial power

during the Qing?

Karl Omae

Within the Qing dynasty, distinct Inner Asian

and Han models of imperial power were balanced,

redefined and fused by the mechanisms

of the early modern state. Qing cartography illustrates

this fusion. Like France and Russia, it

hired Jesuits to employ western cartographic

techniques to map and delineate its empire, 1 allowing

it to compete in the international game

of territorialization on equal terms with other

early modern states. 2 Indeed, Kangxi could

and did claim his entire realm to be under his

gaze when leafing through the Jesuit atlas. 3 Although

it may be claimed that territorialization

was the same in all early modern states, each

manifestation exhibited unique characteristics

and models. Mapping the Mongols gave the

Qing control over them, 4 in addition to their

1 Laura Hostetler, Qing Colonial Enterprise: Ethnography

and Cartography in Early Modern China, (Chicago: University

of Chicago Press, 2001) p. 76-80.

2 Ibid., p. 70-71.

3 Peter Perdue, China Marches West: the Qing Conquest of

Central Eurasia, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press,

2010) p. 449.

4 Ibid., p. 459.


OMAE - CHINA & IMPERIAL CITIES

Inner Asian political tools of kinship and personal

loyalty. Qianlong reordered Xinjiang according

to the Han prefectural administrative

system, while giving Confucian-derived Han

names to its cities. 5 Hence, Urumqi became

“Dihua” (to enlighten), alongside older Han

and Tang dynasty names for the area 6 and its

places. 7 The Jesuits heeded the example of other

official Qing cartographers and portrayed

Xinjiang, Tibet and other non-Han areas as

part of “China”, to Qianlong’s satisfaction. 8

Mapping thus not only aided in implementing

the Han administrative model in distant Xinjiang

and Guizhou; 9 It meant whenever a Han

literati scholar saw the map, they would see an

area, as “Dihua” literally implied, enlightened

under the Han administrative model, whose

name qualified it as “Chinese”. In Guizhou

too, maps marked the territory under imperial

control, expanding as the internal frontier gave

way. 10 Yet they could also serve the Qing Inner

Asian concern for assimilation. On one hand,

they made maps depicting China as the centre

of the world, but maps could also uphold the

separateness of Manchuria and the Manchu

identity.

Finalizing their conquest of Ming in

the 1690s, the Qing endeavored to map their

homeland of Manchuria and the sacred

Changbai mountains; the very first Qing Jesuit

map was of “Greater Mukden”, the heartland

of the Manchurian homeland. 11 The Jesuit Atlas’

only man-made structures were the Great

Wall and the Willow Palisade, both markers

of separation, which arguably served as subtle

self-reminders of their origins beyond the

25

wall, and their own unique “Manchu” homeland.

By mapping Manchuria and the Changbai

mountains, the Qing upheld a separate,

uniquely Manchu space, a definite location

that was both origin and home. 12 Although

maps used Han characters for China proper,

areas beyond were labeled in Manchu. 13 Kangxi

specified Manchuria as separate to, but part of,

China. Arguably then, China was not synonymous

with Han, and through maps “China”

was redefined to be greater than China-proper.

The Qing saw “China” as encompassing

all their territory, and expressed this through

maps which simultaneously preserved their

own unique identity. 14 Maps meant control over

the internal and external frontier, allowing the

Qing to subjugate and redefine China as desired,

while cartographically marking out their

own ethnic homeland. One China, with many

peoples within it, clearly delineated between

Mongols, Manchu and Han, the Qing imperial

gaze stretching across all of China’s territories.

Imperial tours to the south were both a

typically Inner Asian display of Manchu military

power, and an exercise in Han cultural ideas.

They reenacted conquest, whilst also mixing

with the Han, addressing aspects of Qing

rule to both solidify control over China and

fuse political models. The form and content

of the tours as quasi-military ritual campaigns

stressed the Manchu status as a conquest elite

whose mastery and ethnic identity depended

on their military values. They allowed the

Qing to display to Han elites what Perdue

calls their “Central Eurasian connections” by

bringing along tributary envoys and captives. 15

5 Gang Zhao, ‘Reinventing China Imperial Qing Ideology and the Rise of Modern Chinese National Identity in the

Early Twentieth Century’, Modern China, Vol. 32, 2006. p. 18-25.

6 James A. Millward, Beyond the Pass: Economy, Ethnicity, and Empire in Qing Central Asia, 1759-1864, (Stanford: Stanford

University Press, 1998) p. 20-21.

7 L. J. Newby, The Empire and the Khanate: A Political History of Qing Relations With Khoqand, (Leiden: Brill, 2005) p. 112.

8 Gang, ‘Reinventing China’, p. 13.

9 Hostetler, Qing Colonial Enterprise, p. 36-37.

10 Ibid., p. 104-105.

11 Mark C. Elliott, ‘The Limits of Tartary: Manchuria in Imperial and National Geographies’, The Journal of Asian

Studies, Vol. 59, no. 3, 2000. p. 619-622.

12 Elliott, ‘The Limits of Tartary’, p. 608.

13 Hostetler, Qing Colonial Enterprise, p. 33-34.

14 Elliott, ‘The Limits of Tartary’, p. 638.

15 Perdue, China Marches West, p. 422.


26

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

The horseback riding of the tours was one of

the Manchu ethnic markers which Qianlong

sought to emphasize. 16 In his poetry he describes

entering cities on horseback, extolled

the merits of “ruling from horseback” and suggested

that critics objected merely because

they themselves were less physically able. 17 Yet

these symbols also recalled the ancient past of

the Han Zhou dynasty, and Qianlong co-opted

literati with examinations and titles. 18 Indeed,

in their declaring function to be “observing the

people”, Qianlong drew upon classical Confucian

examples to justify himself as a benevolent

ruler who recognised his people and led by example.

19 He did so, both in person and through

poetry, from horseback—that is, as a Manchu

Chinese emperor who cared for his people as

per Confucian models, and through the Inner

Asian tradition of horseback mastery. Qianlong

was not only balancing, but indeed fusing the

two under a single Qing model, whereby he

presented himself and the horseback riding

Manchu as equal in ability to a Han civilian administration,

whose Manchu strength indeed

brought something the Han lacked.

Parallel to these displays were the northern

tours. Although the Qing court journeyed

to the sacred mountains to bind the Mongols

to the Manchu Qing, the most important

northern-focused tours were arguably to Manchuria

and Changbai and were meant to provide

a physical link to the Manchu ethno-myth

in addition to the spatial symbolism of mapping.

20 Unlike the southern tours, the tours of

Manchuria and Changbai affirmed the separate

origins, traditions and self-legitimacy of

the Manchu within the homeland. The Qing

emperors offered sacrifices to the ancestors

at the focus point of Manchu ethno-genesis—

Changbai, their mythical home, the story of

which parallels other Inner Asian foundation

myths. 21 Qianlong praised the region as he

passed through, noting that it had united lands

“within” and “without”; the sacred homeland

surpassed all others, like its Manchu progeny. 22

Thus, through the emperor, apex of the Qing

state, was linked the “imperial place” and its

“imperial people”. 23 They were a Manchu people,

with a definite home and origin, anchored

in a sacred physical space, to which they could

point on a map and which was reciprocally

sanctified by the rituals of the emperors on

tour. The Han and Inner Asian models thus

came together in the south through Qing imperial

tours, whilst northern tours upheld the

sacred imperial homeland in Manchuria.

Urban planning in the form of segregated

garrison cities reveals the Manchu need to

rule and yet not be assimilated. Garrisons were

symbols of Qing power whose physical separation

was meant to preserve militarized ethnic

Manchu identity, intended to avoid the fate of

their assimilated Jin and Yuan ancestors. 24 The

garrisoning of the Banners—the societal institution

which included Mongols and Han loyalists—in

separate walled enclaves anchored

the Manchu presence, 25 shows how urban

planning became a tool of Qing imperial power.

Beijing, as the capital and center of Qing

China, epitomized the Banner-Han segregated

residence pattern, with the former even replacing

the city’s neighborhoods as the basis for

urban planning. 26 Common Han were barred

from entering the Banner Inner city, and Ban-

16 Michael G. Chang, ‘The Emperor Qianlong’s Tours of Southern China: Painting, Poetry, and the Politics of Spectacle’,

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, no. 3, 2015. p. 13.

17 Ibid, p. 360.

18 Perdue, China Marches West, p. 414-415.

19 Chang, ‘The Emperor Qianlong’s Tours of Southern China’, p. 15-16.

20 Perdue, China Marches West, p. 423.

21 Elliott, ‘The Limits of Tartary’, p. 608.

22 Ibid, p. 615.

23 Ibid, p. 617.

24 Mark C. Elliott, The Manchu Way: the Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China, (Stanford: Stanford

University Press, 2001) p. 130-131.

25 Ibid, p. 94.

26 Ibid, p. 98-101.


OMAE - CHINA & IMPERIAL CITIES

27

ners were barred from settling in the Outer self). The garrison cities and their Banners were

Han city. Though Banner placement in Beijing to watch the Han territory, but not be tied to

has sometimes been depicted as conforming to Han land. When people petitioned for garrison

Han geomantic ideas, the imperfect geomantic

correlation and proximity of the Manchu ors both objected because it would lead to as-

burials, the Yongzheng and Qianlong emper-

and Mongol banners to the palace vis-à-vis the similation, emphasizing Manchu separateness

Han Banners point more to Inner Asian values and burial in Beijing. 32 Even when the Manchu

and concerns. 27 This does not mean the Qing stopped moving from their birth garrisons and

ignored Han geomantic ideas, but rather that became increasingly acculturated, 33 the Qing

in the greater Qing perspective, they could court continually strove to promote Manchu

overlap, and were not necessarily the main identity there. 34 The ban on garrison burial

perspective employed. Empire-wide, every only faded in the 1750s, yet the Bannermen remained

separate. 35 Even when moving into Han

city that received a garrison saw partition, and

even as its execution changed, the need for a urban areas, they kept to themselves. 36 However

separate garrison city remained, despite high physically close they might be to the Han, they

costs. 28 Although Crossley claims the garrisons had grown into and were marked by an innate

were a haphazard, gradual process, 29 judging difference, arguably shaped in part by their

by their strategic location, founding dates, disposition

of land and crucially, urban popula-

remained cities within cities, and the Banners

historically separate residence. Their garrisons

tion transfers, Elliott convincingly suggests it they housed remained an anchor of Qing power.

They constantly reminded common Han of

was conscious policy from the beginning to

establish Manchu rule throughout China’s cities

through the garrisons. 30 The only unwalled those garrisoned in China were considered to

their presence, ready to defend their empire;

garrisons were the Han Banner-staffed Guangzhou

and Fuzhou, but they still had different selves spoke of how they showed military read-

be in constant mobilization. 37 Emperors them-

layouts for the Banner areas compared to Han iness whilst pacifying unruly areas, allowing

areas. Indeed, all the garrisons were separate control while avoiding assimilation. 38 Both Elliott

and Crossley agree that the garrisons, de-

cities in themselves, with their own temples

and urban layout. Thus, the Qing marked its spite extensive Han acculturation, helped create

and perpetuate a separate identity among

people as different from common Han through

urban spatial differentiation. 31

the Manchu Bannermen, 39 which remained

This even extended to a ban on cemeteries,

since all the Bannermen were to be buried bles. 40 The garrison cities physically imposed

and even increased despite later imperial trou-

in Beijing (except if they died in Manchuria it- onto Han and Manchu alike a persisting image

27 Ibid, p. 102-104.

28 Ibid, p. 112.

29 Pamela Crossley, Orphan Warriors: Three Manchu Generations and the End of the Qing World, (Princeton: Princeton

University Press, 1990) p. 48.

30 Elliott, The Manchu Way, p. 124-126.

31 Ibid., p. 110-115.

32 Ibid., p. 261-26.

33 Crossley, Orphan Warriors, p. 6.

34 Ibid., p. 24-26.

35 Elliott, The Manchu Way, p. 267-268.

36 Ibid., p. 116-121.

37 Crossley, Orphan Warriors, p. 51.

38 Elliott, The Manchu Way, p. 128-132.

39 Crossley, Orphan Warriors, p. 77-78.

40 Ibid., p. 115.


28

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

of separateness, composed of Manchu identity

and dynastic loyalty, a pillar in a united empire,

through the expression of their militarized

Manchu identity.

The Qing had to manage being Manchus,

whilst ruling over the Han, and each instance of

this management played out differently. What

unified them was how they united (sometimes

forcibly) their subjects, whilst being mindful

of their own position. Multiple audiences

were to be gathered under the Manchu-Qing

ethno-dynastic umbrella, through which the

Qing balanced and redefined both China and

its many traditions, actively and dynamically

bringing their peoples under cartographic and

ideological ritual control. They stayed up-todate,

bringing in Jesuits and modern technology.

They carried a Han model of administration

across a redefined “China”, whilst expressing

an Inner Asian concern to uphold the sacred

ethnic homeland. Their imperial tours both

blended and accentuated Inner Asian military

values and Han cultural ideas, reenacting their

conquest as they mixed with their Han subjects,

while ritually upholding and linking to

a separate ethnic identity in the north. Their

urban planning further reveals their desire to

rule China while upholding a separate Banner

identity centered on Manchus but incorporating

loyalist Mongols and Han. The nature of

Qing imperial power, then, saw a dynamic and

interconnected effort by an ethnic minority

within an early modern state to use multiple

ethnic models of rule as appropriate, balancing,

redefinin , and even fusing them, whilst

maintaining the uniqueness of its own ethnic

foundation against assimilation—Qing Manchu

emperors on horseback, master of both

brush and bow.


BRITAIN & INDIA

How did the British set about constructing a new

history of India? What, if anything, was their agenda in

doing so?

Heidi Januszewski

As post-war revisionists have become perceptive

to the nuances of historiography and Eurocentric

prejudice, historians have increasingly

questioned the way in which we interpret the

colonial past, using differing methodologies.

Within this myriad of possible research areas,

this analysis will focus particularly on the religious

lens through which the British portrayed

Indian history. Moreover, whilst the British

were not a singular entity (with each individual

having their own beliefs) the emphasis of this

essay will be on contemporary scholars.

Whilst historiography is arguably more

nuanced at the time of this essay, the traditional

belief that there was a methodological

‘progression’ of understanding concerning the

‘Orient’ – that is, a whiggish, uniform path to

more refined thinking – is naïve. As the term

‘agenda’ implies, all historians are inextricably

linked to the socio-political conditions of

their day, and it is due to such changing circumstances

that historians’ methodologies and

views will vary. Concerning the ‘construction’

of a new history, moreover, it implies a passivity

on the part of the Indians, who were supposedly

‘subjugated’ by British values. This Eurocentrism

is criticised by revisionist historian

Said, who observes that British scholarship is

in itself a form of colonisation in which prejudice

and the desire to impose Western values

permeate the historian’s work. 1 Each of the following

scholar’s arguments will be analysed in

relation to this conceptualisation: not only will

their methodologies and agendas be assessed,

but also the extent to which they purposefully

‘construct’ a new history of India itself.

Firstly, we will analyse this ‘constructive’

thesis in relation to the contentious figure of

Sir William Jones, who wrote during the Company’s

rule. His writing at the end of the eighteenth

century is reflecti e of the ‘orientalist’

theory that would later be criticised by Said.

Throughout his works, he imposes Western

values on India in an imperialist narrative. Ad-

1 Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage, 1979), pp. 1-10.


30

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

ducing the words of the god Varuna to his son

– whereby Varuna affirms that the being from

which ‘created beings proceed […] is the Great

One’ – Jones proclaims that this figure is actually

God. 2 As such, he projects his monotheist

faith on to a religion that was decidedly on

the contrary: in actuality, Varuna was believed

to be the god of the sky and supreme leader

of many other gods, according to Āryan doctrine.

3 We therefore observe the Western ‘construction’

of Indian religion and history. This

colonialist narrative becomes more prominent

as Jones claims throughout his writing that ‘we

[the British]’ require further translations and

evidence in order to acquire a reliable account

of Indian religion’. 4 Not only does his use of

‘we’ establish a distancing framework between

the East and West, emphasising their differences;

but Jones also elucidates that a Western

perspective is mandatory in order to achieve

historical truth. As he elaborates throughout

his writing, Jones’ preoccupation with ‘human

reason’ in conceptualising truth was reflecti e

of prevailing Enlightenment scholarship. 5 Furthermore,

having been active amidst the conservative

resurgence of the eighteenth century

– which witnessed increased public demand

for a civilising mission in India, later taking

place in 1813 – Jones’ theories are symptomatic

of the conditions in which he was active. 6 Thus

it is probable that, combined with his concern

with truth, Jones wished to ‘construct’ a narrative

that legitimised Christian doctrine, and

thereby British presence, in India.

Concerning methodology in relation

to historical fluctuation , the scholarship of a

contemporary of Jones, William Robertson, is

particularly intriguing. Initially, Robertson’s

An Historical Disquisition may be viewed on

a scale towards increasingly progressive historiography.

Despite his role as minister of the

Church of England, he does not insist on a

Christian civilising mission and even expresses

concern towards European superiority and

colonisation. 7 Moreover, he does not demand

a Western interpretation of history in order to

establish a true account – a contrast from Jones’

scholarship, and the later works of James Mill. 8

Robertson even garnered hostility from a Company

official in Bengal, Charles Grant, who opposed

his favourable depiction and demanded

that Indians be ‘Christianised’. 9 We see,

therefore, shifting historical methodology in

favour of increased tolerance; yet Robertson’s

account does remain somewhat fl wed. Like

Jones, Robertson’s religious beliefs do inform

his writing, as he declares that the connection

between sexuality and religion was displayed

with ‘avowed indecency’ in India. 10 Whilst he

does not impose his own terminology, the connotations

of repulsion make his opinion clear,

revealing his account to be increasingly in line

with Said’s understanding of Eurocentrism.

Robertson’s methodological limitations, however,

stem more so from the content that he

excludes than from what he actually projects,

contrasting with Jones. Concerning the phallic

symbol of ‘lingam’, for instance, he abruptly

ends his discussion, deeming it ‘too gross to be

explained’. 11 Whilst Robertson does not largely

‘construct’ a new Indian history, his methodology

is fl wed due to the intrusion of his beliefs,

which contribute to his reluctance to discuss

some religious aspects. However, despite being

2 Sir William Jones, The Works of Sir William Jones, Vol. 3 (London: G. G. and J. Robinson, Pater-Noster-Row, and R. H.

Evans, 1799), pp. 251-52.

3 A. L. Basham, The Wonder That Was India: A survey of the history and culture of the Indian sub-continent before the coming

of the Muslims (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1967), p. 239.

4 The Works of Sir William Jones, pp. 229-252.

5 Ibid., p. 230.

6 Stewart J. Brown ‘William Robertson, Early Orientalism and the “Historical Disquisition” on India of 1791’, The

Scottish Historical Review, Vol. 88, No. 226, Part 2 (October 2009), pp.289-312 (p. 309).

7 William Robertson, An Historical Disquisition (Philadelphia: William Young, 1792), p. 332.

8 Ibid., pp. 287-9.

9 ‘‘William Robertson, Early Orientalism and the “Historical Disquisition” on India of 1791’, p. 309.

10 An Historical Disquisition, pp. 312-13.

11 Ibid., pp. 312-13.


JANUSZEWSKI - BRITAIN & INDIA

retrospectively ‘orientalist’ due to omitting information,

his overall tolerance towards Indian

religion (largely driven by his own anxieties

about colonialism) should be noted, particularly

given the increasing conservatism reflec -

ed by Grant’s outrage, as well as the works

of later Romantic scholars. We can observe,

therefore, a fluctuation in historical methodology

that dismantles not only the concept of

progression, but also the idea that the British

always ‘constructed’ a new Indian history.

We will further analyse the argument

concerning the ‘construction’ of a new Indian

history in the early 1800s with respect to

James Mill. As expressed in his preface to The

History of India, Mill was aware of the implications

surrounding the selection of information,

which would be echoed by the much later desire

of Said to avoid convolution. 12 Yet, in contrast

to Said, who distinguishes information

based on theme, Mill wishes for ‘real facts […]

to be separated from such as were the contrary’.

13 This would, theoretically, render a more

objective account, as was the Enlightenment

ideal. However, this was not the result. Whilst

it is understandable that Mill had access to few

Indian texts, given the Mughal focus on oral

communication that predated the Company’s

focus on written documents, he does little to

remedy his predicament. 14 Instead, his disdainful

attitude towards Indian religion only serves

to ‘construct’ a new history, undermining the

very notion of truth that he wishes to replicate.

Rather than allowing natives the opportunity

to express their own voice, he dismisses their

‘Hindu legends’ as the product of a ‘wild and

ungoverned imagination’, resulting in a fl wed,

Eurocentric perspective. 15 Despite being similarly

concerned with the conceptualisation of

truth, Mill’s dismissive connotations are arguably

less tolerant than those of Jones, dispelling

31

any sense of a ‘methodological progression’

of scholarly knowledge. Such linguistics mirror

the emerging theory promulgated by Enlightenment

scholars that India fell into a ‘vile

and exceedingly depraved state’, as professed

by Charles Grant, and required a civilising

mission. 16 Mill likewise elucidates that Indian

history cannot be recalled without Western

intervention, and that only the British are capable

of ‘constructing’ an apparently truthful

account. He further expresses his dismay that

the Hindus have no written record of the ‘recent

and remarkable’ first contact between the

East and West through Alexander the Great’s

endeavours, and his positive linguistics connote

a sense of European superiority whereby

the Western significance of certain ‘facts’ is imposed

on the East. 17 Thus, through a desire for

‘Christianisation’ and its historical legitimation

in Indian history, we observe a Eurocentric

‘construction’ of a new Indian history which

largely contrasts with Robertson’s previous argument,

creating a methodological fluctuation

We will next assess the extent to which

the British ‘constructed’ a new Indian history

through the post-colonial James Fergusson,

who was active during the British Raj, following

the Company’s collapse in the nineteenth

century. Fergusson’s views are propounded in

his lecture ‘On the Study of Indian Architecture’

in 1867, wherein he proposes the importance

of studying Indian buildings as a means

of understanding Indian religion and history.

Initially, Fergusson can be viewed as attempting

to understand India on its own terms: he

wishes to expand his views ‘to a style wholly

different’ from that of his own, and also suggests

that Indian buildings are as great a significance

as Western medieval cathedrals. 18 Upon

further analysis, however, Fergusson’s perspective

corroborates Said’s later thesis of an Euro-

12 Orientalism, pp. 16-17.

13 James Mill, The History of British India (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1975), p. 6.

14 John Wilson, India Conquered: Britain’s Raj and the Chaos of Empire (London: Simon and Schuster, 2016), pp. 121-

157.

15 The History of British India, p. 33.

16 ed. Harald Fischer-Tiné and Michael Mann, Colonialism as Civilising Mission (London: Anthem Press, 2004), pp.10-

11.

17 Ibid, pp.10-11

18 James Fergusson, On the Study of Indian Architecture (London: John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1867), p. 22.


32

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

centric bias. His comparison between the East

and West, for instance, echoes a methodology

that observes Indian tradition through a European

lens. This Eurocentrism becomes more

apparent as Fergusson proposes that by integrating

the different styles, ‘we [the West] shall

have an architecture of our own’, indicating

that he wishes to commodify Indian tradition

for Western gain. 19 In doing so, Fergusson’s

interpretation becomes reminiscent of Jones,

who similarly expressed his desire for further

translations in order to create an institutionalised

and Europeanised collection of Indian

knowledge. Likewise, Fergusson’s views about

Indian religion fall towards a more ‘constructive’

historical interpretation. His interest in

knowing ‘what effect our civilisation has had

on the natives of India’ implies that Indian history

can only be studied through a European

‘cause-and-effect’ narrative. 20 This view mirrors

the general mode of thought at the time of Fergusson’s

writing that, before the supposed civilising

influence of the Company, India was a

barren land devoid of technology and seeping

with barbarians, as expressed by both Mill and

Charles Grant. 21 With the waning British infl -

ence following the dissolution of the Company

in 1858, there is a case to be made that Fergusson

sought to offset British insecurities by

justifying colonialism. Whilst he ‘constructs’

his own narrative, much like earlier Romantic

scholars, he did this to compensate for the empire’s

decline, rather than to advocate for its

growing expansion and legitimation via a civilising

mission.

Like Fergusson, the revisionist historian

A. L. Basham also writes from a post-colonial

perspective; yet, his account is more nuanced as

he attempts to avoid the ‘orientalist’ discourse

criticised by Said. Initially, Basham’s account

can be viewed as a move towards more progressive

texts, a product of post-war revisionism and

enhanced technology in discovering further

evidence. 22 His depiction of ancient Indian civilisation,

for instance, is respectful: he advances

on the more tolerant position held by Robertson

as he describes India’s religious benefit ,

including the harmony that it brought. 23 He is

also comfortable in portraying the practices of

India, noting in a straightforward manner that

earlier civilisations ‘worshipped a Mother Goddess

and a horned fertility god’ and had ‘sacred

trees and animals’, marking a discrepancy between

Robertson’s reluctance to elaborate and

Jones’ direct projection of Western doctrine. 24

Basham’s well-mannered linguistic form is

linked to his agenda, which is to inform people

of India’s history out of ‘respect’ for its culture,

implying a reverential mentality. 25 His use of

sources further serves this purpose: in contrast

to Jones’ affirmation of Western enlightenment

in revealing historical truth, Basham is perceptive

to methodological limitations, stating that

despite his translations, he has not been able

to replicate the ‘untamable incantation of the

originals’. 26 It could be suggested that Basham

maintains some of the ‘orientalist’ tropes outlined

by Said, such as the comparison between

East and West which proliferated the earlier

scholarship that we have already discussed.

For example, he depicts the ‘great father god

of the Indo-European peoples’ as being Zeus

in Greek; yet, Basham is sensitive to the differences

as he states that he merely ‘appears as

Zeus’. 27 As such, whilst Basham uses methodological

similarities to earlier scholars by comparing

the two geographical areas, he makes

an effort to dispel the notion of a British ‘construction’

of Indian history through his refusal

to project his own terminology and reverence

19 Ibid., p. 15.

20 Ibid, p. 13.

21 Colonialism as Civilising Mission, pp.10-11.

22 The Wonder That Was India, pp. viii-x.

23 Ibid., pp. 8-9.

24 Ibid., p. 234.

25 Ibid., p. vii.

26 Ibid., p. vii.

27 Ibid., p. 235.


JANUSZEWSKI - BRITAIN & INDIA

for the country.

As discussed, historiography concerning

Indian history and its religious practices

is by no means uniform, nor wholly reflecti e

of the notion that the British ‘constructed’ a

new history. Despite scholars such as Basham

being generally more nuanced at the time of

this essay, whether it be due to increased evidence

or twentieth-century revisionism concerning

methodology and Eurocentrism, the

path has not been one of simple progression.

Despite Robertson making an effort to dispel

the ‘orientalist’ demeanour of his predecessors

due to his fears for European superiority, later

33

Romantic scholars would be largely dismissive

of Indian religion. Whilst they echo the earlier

scholarship put forth by Jones, who likewise

sought to establish a European notion of historical

accuracy, they most definiti ely sought

to ‘construct’ their own narrative of Indian history

through the resurgence of conservatism

and the demand for a civilising mission. As we

have observed, therefore, historiographical accounts

and methodology will always be subject

to the scholar’s own beliefs and, on a wider

scope, the ever-fluctuating nature of history itself.


4,000

WORDS


35

THE THEATRE STATE

How useful is it to view the Field of Cloth of Gold as an

expression of a ‘Theatre State’?

Charlie Procter

In his monumental study of nineteenth-century

Balinese politics, Clifford Geertz describes a

state in which ceremony, ritual and pageantry

constituted political reality. 1 Authority, status

and legitimacy were drawn from the negara:

a complex political sphere that existed within

every principality and centralised on its ruler

and the space around him. 2 Rituals of the court

were attended by great masses of the population

as a day of national holiday. In particular,

funerals, that sacralised and celebrated sacrifices

through processions, music and symbolic

liturgy, were heavily attended. An audience of

above 40,000 was present at one such occasion

in 1847 to witness the procession of their Rajah’s

body into the cremation flames along with

three young women, sacrificed to be principal

wives in the afterlife. 3 These theatrical events

established, consolidated and made a reality of

kings as the bridge between the mystical world

of the gods and the actuality of the kingdom. 4

Court performances acted out the Balinese ‘social

reality’ as a hierarchy that was strongly asserted

through spatial categorisation in palaces

and pageants, linking proximity to the ‘exemplary

centre’ of the court and king with status. 5

Provincial rulers competed to hold exemplary

centres, constantly battling to mobilise men

and resources: ‘rivalry [was] the driving force

of Balinese life’. 6 In short, the Balinese state

was a device through which to perform spectacles.

These spectacles powered court politics

through staging and performing the divinity of

the exemplary centre. 7 Performance was not a

representation of authority and the affairs of

state, but the affairs themselves: ‘Power served

pomp, not pomp power’. 8 This is the ‘Theatre

State’, a phenomenon typically limited to

Geertz’s study of Bali.

There is little precedent in applying this

anthropological and metaphorical assessment

of politics and ceremony to western political

systems. Typically, western courts are seen to

subordinate the latter as working for the former;

ceremony represents political power but

does not create it. 9 However, a theatre state with

rulers at the centre of a performance which

generates political progression from spectacle,

is not a concept entirely incompatible to the

increasingly theatrical courts of early modern

Europe. One event in particular, as the zenith

of early sixteenth-century pageantry, shares

similarities in scale, opulence, theatricality and

importance to that of Balinese ceremonies.

The Field of Cloth of Gold in June 1520 was

an amplification of late medieval spectacle as

1 Clifford Geertz, Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth-Century Bali (New Jersey, 1980), pp. 98-121.

2 Ibid., pp. 109-113.

3 Ibid., pp. 99-100.

4 Ibid., pp. 107-8.

5 Ibid., p. 13.

6 Ibid., p. 120

7 Ibid., p. 13.

8 Geertz, Negara, p. 13.

9 John Matusiak, Henry VIII: The Life and rule of England’s Nero (Gloucestershire, 2013), pp. 107-9.


36

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

magnificent tournaments and architecture exalted

kingship and made diplomacy honourable.

Rarely had two kings previously expressed

their power through spectacle in such an exceptional

way, both demonstrating their ability

to wage war. 10 The two protagonists and their

courts, Henry VIII of England and Francis I of

France, met for a fortnight in the Pale of Calais

with the aim to consolidate the Universal

Peace of 1518. Politics and discussions however,

were marginalised in favour of tournaments,

banquets and ceremonies, and the kings themselves

focused on grandiose displays of regality

and strength. Thus, with this theatricality of

politics, the Field offers a viable route to assessing

whether anything of a theatre state can be

located in early modern Europe. The Field has

typically been seen within historiography as a

frivolous ‘charade’ of chivalry. 11 Any contemporary

desires for peace are treated as weak and

unsubstantial, with any commitments made

disregarded as trivial formalities due to the

fact that Europe was at war within two years of

the event. 12 But to describe the Field as simple

‘vain posturing’ and ‘Renaissance folly’ in the

manner of J. J. Scarisbrick, is to subordinate

ceremony to spectacle without meaning beyond

the intended display. 13 Instead, the Field

can and should be investigated within the context

of Geertz’s theatre state. Were politics and

diplomacy advanced through performances at

the Field? Was there an exemplary centre from

which the social hierarchy radiated outwards?

To investigate this, the overall point of the enterprise

must be analysed to see why a spectacle

of friendship was substituted in place of

an assertive, prestigious war between two traditional

enemies. Was this spectacle intended

as a mere presentation of a new alliance: an excuse

for frivolity and entertainment? Or did it

have a meaningful purpose to consolidate the

brotherhood of the two kings and build their

personal prestige through the performance of

peace-making? Secondly, an assessment of the

component parts of the Field will piece together

the extent of its theatricality. Did the state

act as a device for meaningful pomp and pageantry,

played out on various stages and spaces?

Or was court magnificence an insignificant

by-product of two vain monarchs meeting?

Finally, to understand the utility of analysing

the Field in the context of a theatre state fully,

its lasting importance and consequences must

be studied to contextualise the importance of

theatre to European politics in the early Sixteenth-century.

The enterprise of warfare in the early

sixteenth-century was an assertion of military

prowess, patriotism and the chivalric virtues of

the victorious monarch, as it had been in the

late medieval period. As the leaders of their

kingdom’s knights, monarchs were expected to

display the chivalric qualities of ‘loyalty, courtesy,

hardiness, prowess and largess’. 14 Importantly,

as John Lydgate’s wrote in The Governance

of Kings (1511), ‘chivalry conserveth the

memory’ of a king’s power and ability. 15 Henry

VIII’s triumphal entry into Tournai in September

1513 was the climax to his magnificent

French campaign, pursued to demonstrate

his chivalric virtues. The subsequent painting

of The Battle of the Spurs, commissioned by

Henry after the campaign, aggrandised the

English king and army fighting on horseback

at its foreground.

Intended as a piece for Whitehall Palace,

the painting reflects Henry’s desire to present

his military capabilities and personal bravery.

It is within this desire for honour and prestige

across the courts of European monarchs, that

the origins of the Field of Cloth of Gold can

be seen. Pope Leo X’s call for an international

alliance against the Turks to ‘take measures

for the safety of Christendom’, resulted not in

another crusade against the Holy Lands, but

in an alliance of European states with Henry

10 Glenn Richardson, The Field of Cloth of Gold (New Haven, 2013), p. 9.

11 Neville Williams, Henry VIII and His Court (London, 1971), p. 80.

12 Matusiak, Henry VIII, p. 108.

13 J. J. Scarisbrick, Henry VIII (New Haven, 1997), p. 79.

14 Richardson, The Field of Cloth of Gold, p. 27.

15 Kevin Sharpe, Selling the Tudor Monarchy: Authority and Image in Sixteenth-Century England (London, 2009), p.

158.


PROCTER - THE THEATRE STATE

VIII at its centre. 16 The Treaty of London (1518),

or ‘Universal Peace’, successfully ended Henry’s

political isolation from the continent as

Wolsey manufactured England a role as arbiter

between France and the Holy Roman Empire.

Henry was to police the relations between the

two from a neutral position until intervention

was required in the event of hostility. 17 In meeting

the humanist demand for peace, vocalised

by Erasmus in Institutio principis Christiani

(1516) and Thomas More’s Utopia (1516), 18 Henry

acquired international prestige as the ‘prince of

peace; a new Solomon’. 19 As these sentiments

were expressed by Henry’s Royal secretary at

the inauguration of the Treaty of London at St

Paul’s, they are useful to see the English government’s

approach to Henry’s presentation.

Instead of the magnificence of war, Wolsey

saw the Treaty of London as a route to magnificent

kingship through peace-making. A

meeting between the newly allied Henry and

Francis was consequently decided upon in the

Anglo-French Treaty to consolidate the peace

made in 1518 through a manner as honourable

and advantageous as a successful military campaign.

The Field of Cloth of Gold was designed

by Wolsey to strengthen and build upon the

French alliance through a spectacle of friendship

in which Francis accepted Henry’s raised

status in European affairs. The Field was thus

intended to have a meaningful, political purpose

above a presentation and celebration of

both courts’ grandiosity. For this to work, both

kings needed to believe that they would gain

honour from the event that would enhance

their kingship above the other. 20 Henry’s attitude

to the Field is evident in his letters sent out

37

to English nobles asking for their attendance.

One such letter to Sir Adrian Fortescue, in addition

to praising Henry’s ‘honour and dignitie

royall’, asserted Fortescue’s role as part of the

king’s impressive entourage to demonstrate regal

power against Francis. 21 The Field, in Henry’s

mind, was to hold both a physical tournament

in which the two courts were to joust,

tilt,wrestle, with a tournament of display and

magnificence where chivalric honour was the

victor’s gain. Francis’s attitude to the Field was

similarly competitive and focused on display.

In the first discussion between the two kings

in the Val d’Or pavilion, Henry was reluctant to

accept the title of ‘the king of France’ as he was

addressed. 22 Francis’s response masques an assertion

of his authority over the English crown

with a gesture of goodwill:

My brother, now that you are my friend you

are the King of France… but without friendship

I acknowledge no other king of France

than myself. 23

Francis viewed Henry’s status in Europe as dependent

on his charity and alliance, asserting

his dominance over the English king in this

casual display of oral skill.

It is from this rivalry that politics became

a performance articulated in the creation

and assertion of two exemplary centres of chivalry

and wealth, radiating from the kings’ bodies

and the space around them. Negotiations

beforehand between Wolsey and his French

equivalent Gaspard de Coligny, agreed upon

strict measures to ensure neither court had a

physical advantage above the other. The entourage

of Henry was matched by Francis in

numbers, roughly totalling around six thousand

each. 24 The Val d’Or meeting place itself

was reshaped so that neither side had the

16 Letters and Papers foreign and domestic: Henry VIII: Vol 3 Pt. I, 1519-1523 (London, 1867), J. S. Brewer (ed.), p. 45.

17 Scarisbrick, Henry VIII, p. 81.

18 Richardson, The Field of Cloth of Gold, p. 4.

19 Glenn Richardson, Renaissance Monarchy: The Reigns of Henry VIII, Francis I and Charles V (London, 2002), p. 74.

20 Richardson, The Field of Cloth of Gold, p. 8.

21 Chronicle of Calais, In the Reigns of Henry VII. And Henry VIII. To the year 1540. (London, 1846), John Gough Nichols

(ed.), p. 79.

22 Richardson, The Field of Cloth of Gold, p. 118.

23 Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts Relating to English Affairs, Existing in the Archives and Collections of Venice,

Vol. III (London, 1869), R. Brown (ed.), p. 60.

24 Ibid., p. 21.


38

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

height to see the other’s approaching retinue. 25

At the Field, the equal worth of both courts

was stressed continuously to emphasise the

brotherhood being formed, made visually evident

in the Tree of Honour on which the two

kings’ shields were hung at equal height. 26 Despite

these measures, the Field was still a space

for war through grandiosity. Nowhere was this

more evident than in the temporary architectural

landscape created for Henry and his

court to inhabit. ‘A Memoriall of such things

as be requisite’ details the preparations of the

English court in the ‘garnishing of his [nobles]

lodgings, tents, pavilions… requisite to so great

an act and triumph’. 27 The accommodation of

Henry and his court was thus designed to reflect

the ‘triumph’ of the occasion for the English.

This it did so with great magnitude in the

palace built at Guînes. 28 The Palace venerated

English craftsmanship in its scale, with four

brick towers of thirty feet, three bedchambers

comparable to those of Whitehall, a dining hall

and a chapel, amongst a multitude of other features

and rooms. 29 The magnificence of its exterior

craftsmanship however, was dwarfed by

the ostentatious display of English wealth in

the furnishings of its interior. Jacques Dubois,

a member of the French court, noted that the

‘walls are everywhere cloaked with golden

hangings, or else with every variety of embroidery’.

30 Dubois’s descriptions are accurate in

their lavish detail. Queen Catherine’s chambers

were hung with ‘tapestry of silk and gold’

at a worth of seven ducats per yard, in addition

to the allegorical paintings of John Rastell

that also adorned the dining hall and chapel. 31

One particularly heraldic example depicted St

George smiting the dragon, affixed to the king’s

oratory on the altar in the chapel. 32 To complete

the performance of the English crown’s resplendence,

a gilt fountain was built, spouting

free wine for all passers-by. Francis’s four-hundred

tents were not met with the same awe in

contemporary accounts. The destruction of

many French tents in storms preceding the

Field is a more common theme within chronicles

than descriptions of grandeur. 33 However,

displays of competitive magnificence from

the French king came from another source:

his personal appearance. Through his desire

to present himself as a ‘philosopher king’,

Francis’s costumes on days of tournament expressed

triumph through passion, in contrast

to the coarse nationalistic symbolism of Henry’s

armour, decorated with eglantine fl wers of

gold. 34 He achieved this intellectual, purifying

presentation of his chivalry by embroidering

words onto his costumes, spelling out across

multiple days: ‘heart fastened in pain endless/

when she/ delivereth me not of bonds’. 35 The

pains of love evoked in these words, and his

ability to endure them, were Francis’s chivalric

triumph. 36 The two kings, who fought each

other for the honour bestowed through chivalry,

did so in symbolic performances of wealth

or intelligence as much as on the tournament

field

That being said, tournaments, as the pastime

of any day on the Field not subjected to

poor weather, were highly important assertions

of authority on the battlefield of peace-making.

Through jousting at the tilt, open field tournament

and combat on foot at the barriers, the

two kings and their entourages demonstrated

25 Scarisbrick, Henry VIII, p. 77.

26 CSP: Venice, p. 22.

27 Glenn Richardson, The Field of Cloth of Gold, p. 38.

28 Ibid., p. 38.

29 Ibid., p. 54.

30 Ibid., pp. 63-4.

31 CSP: Venice, p. 20.

32 Ibid., p. 20.

33 Chronicle of Calais, pp. 82-5.

34 Richardson, The Field of Cloth of Gold, pp. 135-6.

35 Edward Hall, The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Famelies of York and Lancastre (1542), p. 614.

36 Richardson, The Field of Cloth of Gold, p. 136.


PROCTER - THE THEATRE STATE

their ability to wage war through a medium

of sport. As the ‘antidote to idleness’, it may

be assumed that the tournaments at the Field

were purely entertaining pastimes with infantile

displays of strength. 37 But all displays at the

Field were politically charged through performance,

driven by the rivalry between the English

and French kings. As discussed, costumes

were used by both men and their entourages

to display their chivalric valour. Tournaments

however, had significance beyond the kings’

intended presentations of themselves. As both

kings joined the lists of competitors, the tiltyard

and open fields saw a competition of princely

masculinity and beauty. 38 Physical beauty and

strength in the bodies of the monarchs, especially

in this short era of young, physically fit

kings ruling Europe’s largest nations, equated

to legitimacy and virtue as princes. 39 Clément

Marot’s poem about the Field stressed that ‘in

the political arena, beauty is a sign of power’. 40

Beyond this literary commendation of Francis

through metaphor, the value of beauty can be

seen in other, less embellished sources on the

Field. A letter from the French court describes

the similar abilities of the two kings in jousting,

though ‘the king of France appears to me

rather the taller; and the English king rather

the handsomer face’ 41 . Tournaments were seen

to legitimise the kings through displays of

their personal beauty and strength. With this

in mind, politics at the Field of Cloth of Gold

was a performance, with rivalry the plot and

the two kings and their entourages both actors

and audience.

Theatrical display, whether in the ar-

39

chitecture of Henry’s Palace, Francis’s costumes

or tournaments, were also parts of this

rivalry through performance. Both kings attempted

to assert themselves as the centre of

chivalry, strength and legitimacy, from which

their courts radiated. However, with the outward

assertion of friendship at every meeting,

done through reciprocal lavish gift-giving and

praise, neither exemplary centre fully bested

the other. Instead, on the Field, two exemplary

centres of chivalry and strength coexisted

around Henry and Francis individually, driven

by state-generated pomp. There were some occasions

at which one king briefly exalted his

centre above the other. Though disputed on

its exact details, the entry of Francis into the

space of the English court on the 17 June, entering

either the Palace’s grounds or Henry’s

bedchamber, and his gift of a jewelled bracelet

to the English king, is one such occasion. 42 Up

to this point, the exchange of gifts had been

equal in generosity, including horses, collars

and relics that all exhibited the craftsmanship

of their respective countrymen. 43 Francis’s unplanned

entry into the English court’s space

threatened Henry’s honour as he was reduced

to a position of spectator whilst the French

king demonstrated his bravery and generosity.

44 This imbalance was rectified with a hastily

organised gift for Francis in return, and by gifts

of equal worth given at the departure from the

Field. 45 This balance enabled both kings to

protect the illusion that they met on their own

terms, granted by their supremacy. Though the

two exemplary centres fluctuated somewhat

in their battle against each other, both existed

37 Ramon LLull, Book of the Order of Chivalry (1276), quoted in Glenn Richardson, The Field of Cloth of Gold (New

Haven, 2013), p. 122.

38 CSP: Venice, p. 25.

39 Richardson, The Field of Cloth of Gold, p. 139.

40 Phyllis Mack, ‘Political Rhetoric and Poetic Meaning in Renaissance Culture: Clément Marot and the Field of

Cloth of Gold’, in P. Mack and M. C. Jacob (eds.), Politics and Culture in Early Modern Europe: Essays in Honour of H. G.

Koenigsberger (Cambridge, 1987), pp. 59-83.

41 CSP: Venice, p. 61.

42 Glenn Richardson, ‘‘As presence did present them’: Personal Gift-giving at the Field of Cloth of Gold’, in Thomas

Betteridge and Suzannah Lipscomb (eds.), Henry VIII and the Court: Art Politics and Performance (London, 2013), p.

62.

43 Richardson, ‘Personal Gift-giving at the Field of Cloth of Gold’, pp. 53-57.

44 Ibid., p. 62.

45 Richardson, The Field of Cloth of Gold, p. 8.


40

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

throughout the Field, and were kept relatively

equal through this mutual generosity between

the kings.

Furthermore, tournaments, banqueting

halls and meetings, amongst other locations,

offered various stages for both kings to perform

for the two courts and each other. Peace

with prestige was attained by both monarchs

as the Field itself became a microcosm of chivalry

and honour as a place of peace-making.

Charles V’s exclusion clearly weighed heavily

on the Emperor. His quickly arranged meetings

with Henry before and after the Field denote

a ruler fearing an alliance against him,

further suggesting that the meeting of Henry

and Francis held weight beyond entertainment

and display. From Henry’s exemplary centre in

particular, the social reality of hierarchy was

actualised. This is evident in the provision

of accommodation. As Henry’s first minister,

Wolsey had constant access to the king’s apartments

through a gallery in Guînes Palace. Nobles

of a high status slept within the palace,

and the rest with their servants slept in the two

hundred tents outside. 46 The dining halls of the

palace further presented the strict application

of status, with multiple banqueting rooms increasingly

further away from the space of the

king, ranked from ‘grade to grade’. 47 The Palace’s

architecture mirrored reality, using spatial

categorisation to assert status.

Thus, the Field shared great similarities

with the Balinese theatrical politics of

the nineteenth-century. The former was a microcosm

of chivalry that enforced legitimacy

through pomp, the latter a microcosm of

divinity that did the same. Both additionally

radiated the social hierarchy from exemplary

centres. However, the Balinese negara was a

continuous ceremonialisation of politics from

its conception after the Majapahit Conquest;

society en masse was involved at graded levels.

The same cannot be said for the Field as a

singular event, exclusive to elite courtiers and

their attendants. Therefore, the actual importance

of the Field must be analysed through

contextualisation to understand the utility of

locating a theatre state within this event. The

intentions of the Field, as discussed, were not

trivial. The Field was an attempt to banish

long-standing distrust between the two nations

to raise the status of each court. Though

the two kings sought to gain prestige through

competitive grandiosity, the Field itself was intended

to prove the reality of their friendship

and alliance. This was achieved with lasting

effects. Though no chapel was built to ‘Our

Lady of Friendship’ on the site of the closing

ceremonial, nor any other physical monument,

the Field left a lasting legacy. 48 A precedent between

the two monarchs was set to physically

express the hopes of princely peace through

performance. The Peace of the More between

Henry and Francis was upgraded to Wolsey’s

‘Eternal peace’ in 1527 through similarly theatrical

circumstances. Both the banqueting

hall built at Greenwich and the pageants that

championed Henry’s magnanimity to Francis

mirror the methodology of peace-making

in 1520. 49 The tournaments, banquets and resplendence

of a meeting between the pair in

1532 again asserted friendship and alliance

through mediums of performance, this time to

gain French backing of Henry’s annulment. 50

The Field of Cloth of Gold enabled honourable

peace to be made through performance as

two ancient enemies continued their alliance

through grandiose displays of friendship. Furthermore,

the consolidation of the Treaty of

London (1518) at the Field justifies why Henry

was involved in European conflict throughout

the 1520s. After the Field, Henry held the

balance of European power and had secured

a higher European status as peace-maker. 51 It

was this role as arbiter that forced Henry to

back Charles in his war against Francis in 1522,

46 Williams, Henry VIII and his Court, p. 77.

47 CSP: Venice, p. 23.

48 Matusiak, Henry VIII, p. 108.

49 Richardson, The Field of Cloth of Gold, p. 193.

Scarisbrick, Henry VIII, p. 305.

51 Richardson, The Field of Cloth of Gold, p. 12.


PROCTER - THE THEATRE STATE

after much delay through an attempted peace

conference at Calais. 52 English involvement in

the anti-Hapsburg alliance of 1525 with France

maintained Henry’s neutral position. His policing

of Europe had peace in mind against antagonistic

states, in this case the increasingly

powerful and aggressive Empire. Contrary to

Bishop Fisher’s sermons that commented on

the emptiness of display as princes’ ‘wylles dyd

change and nat abyde’ to peace, war two years

after the Field does not devalue the event’s

political and diplomatic advancements. 53 Instead

it was a consequence of the strengthening

of the Universal Peace, done so at the Field

through performance.

The painting of the Field of Cloth of

Gold is a worthy source to summarise the importance

of the field and its politics through

state-sponsored performance. Commissioned

by Henry twenty years after the Field, and

again intended for Whitehall Palace, the painting

both evokes the spirit and the magnitude of

the meeting. It also acts as a detailed depiction

from which the king could recollect, with three

separate events depicted: the king riding with

his entourage into the Palace, the two kings

meeting and a tournament. The Holbeinesque

portrayal of Henry’s face as an older king suggests

that Henry wanted to tie the Field into

the rest of his reign as an important event, eliciting

comparisons to both the painting of The

Battle of the Spurs and later portraits of the

monarch. The painting, at its most basic level,

asserts that the Field was a theatrical display in

its depictions of the magnificent architectural

landscape, the dragon from the St John’s Day

celebrations and the waves of resplendently

dressed figures participating. From this display

came a consolidated peace with a role for

England in Europe, and from that came a precedent

of theatricality in peace-making politics

between Henry and Francis.

The Field cannot be limited to ‘nothing

but an affair of empty speeches and galli-

41

vanting’ as the Duke of Buckingham expressed

in his anger at the personal expense of the

occasion. 54 For two weeks in June 1520, ‘ceremony

and state [were] the same reality’, to

use Geertz’s assertion on Bali. 55 Peace-making

was used as a device instead of war to assert

princely prestige and chivalric honour through

ostentatious displays of wealth and strength.

The rivalry between the two kings manifested

itself as a competition through performance,

with multiple stages in magnificent architecture,

the tournament field and in meetings.

Military strength, intelligence and legitimacy

existed not in physical war or court politics,

but in displays of jousting ability, costumes

and lavish decorations, all sponsored by the

state. Though Henry and Francis tried to create

competing exemplary centres of chivalry

around themselves, both centres existed simultaneously

as the two kings met on the grounds

of friendship and alliance, bolstered by reciprocal

gift-giving. From these centres, the social

hierarchy radiated and was made actual in accommodation

provisions that graded the space

around the kings, particularly Henry. The Field

was clearly an expression of a theatre state,

with politics done through pomp and performance

that made a reality of kingly legitimacy

and brotherhood, in this case through chivalric

virtues as opposed to the divinity expressed in

Balinese ceremonies. The utility of this conclusion

is attested in the legacy of the Field.

Peace-making with prestige through grandiose

display was repeated throughout the relationship

between Henry and Francis. Previous historiographical

dismissals of the Field as empty

frivolity are contradicted by the evidence of

Henry’s consolidated role as arbiter. Due to the

strengthened Universal Peace, war with France,

as the aggressor in 1521, was necessary to meet

the terms of the treaty. The Field of Cloth of

Gold, as an expression of a Geertzian Theatre

State, emphasises the importance of ceremony

and display in early modern European politics.

52 Scarisbrick, Henry VIII, p. 83.

53 Here after ensueth two fruytfull sermons, made [and] compiled by the right reverende father in God John Fyssher, Doctour

of dyvynyte and Bysshop of Rochester (1532), reprinted in Early History of Religion: Early English Books Online (Milton

Keynes, 2013), Biv.

54 Scarisbrick, Henry VIII, p. 120.

55 Geertz, Negara, p. 108.


42

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

To ignore the factor of performance in court

politics is to ignore an abundance of evidence

that reveals the intentions, the methodology

and the successes of Renaissance princes in

their attempts to skilfully and admirably rule.


ABORIGINAL

PEOPLES IN

THE SOUTH

PACIFIC

In what ways did attitudes

to the indigenous

populations of Australia

and the Pacific Islands

change during this period?

Anne Herbert Ortega

The attitudes of non-indigenous persons to

the indigenous populations of Australia and

the Pacific Islands changed in a variety of ways

from the early exploration of the 1760s to the

settlement and government of the 1880s. Many

early encounters between Europeans and indigenous

peoples were friendly, yet during this

period outsiders came to view and treat these

indigenous populations increasingly as inferior

humans—with rights to land and cultures

that could be appreciated. These hardening

attitudes became enmeshed with scientific

ideas around evolution, and a more negative

racialist view of indigenous peoples emerged.

Although Grace Karskens and Glyndr Williams

have suggested these negative attitudes

were present from the earliest encounters, it is

clear that there was a hardening of representations

of and relations with indigenous peoples

from the 1790s. These attitudes were expressed

through the treatment of indigenous populations

(such as the legislation forced on them),

intellectual and travellers’ writings, missionar-


44

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

ies’ propaganda and artwork.

Perhaps the most dramatic way in which

attitudes towards indigenous populations of

the Pacific changed in this period was in regard

to their rights to the land they inhabited.

As Alan Frost has shown, the attitudes towards

indigenous territorial sovereignty in the late

nineteenth century were broadly sympathetic,

requiring negotiation or purchase of land for

colonial use. This respect for indigenous populations’

possession of their lands is reflected

in Cook’s instructions prior to his first voyage

and John Call’s recommendation that Norfolk

Island should be colonised because it was uninhabited.

1 Yet the resulting respect seemed to

disappear entirely. In Australia, the indiscriminate

application of terra nullius and annexation

of the entire subcontinent by the British

Crown ignored any Aboriginal right to land

ownership. In New Zealand, the recognition of

Māori land ownership in the Treaty of Waitangi

disappeared by the 1860s, with the colonial

government seizing land aggressively through

confiscation and the Nati e Land Court.

Before setting out on his journey in 1768

Cook was given a list of advice on how to interact

with the indigenous peoples he encountered

by Lord Morton, President of the Royal

Society. Amongst these was the assertion that

they were the legal owners of the lands they inhabited

and should not be deprived of them. 2

He also received instruction from the Admiralty

that he was only to take possession of land ‘with

the Consent of the natives’. 3 Cook claimed the

eastern coast of Australia for the Crown only in

consideration of the eighteenth-century convention

of acquiring overseas territory that if

an indigenous population had not cultivated

the land they inhabited, it could be considered

terra nullius, which a state could acquire by

first “discovery” and occupation. 4 Cook viewed

the Aboriginal people he encountered as completely

nomadic, observed that they had not

mixed their labour with the land by cultivating

or enclosing it and were few in number

– leading to the assumption that the interior

of Australia was uninhabited. Cook and Banks

used John Locke’s accepted ideas on the law of

nature and nations to conclude the Aboriginal

people did not have the right to possess the

land, and therefore the eastern coast of Australia

was terra nullius. 5 Frost has posited that

if the Pitt administration had understood that

the Aboriginal peoples mixed their labour with

the land they would not have dispatched Captain

Phillips to secure Britain’s claim to New

South Wales as terra nullius, instead negotiating

for the right to settle land. 6 This argument

that at the beginning of the period British attitudes

supported indigenous peoples’ rights to

land in the Pacific seems convincing in light

of contemporary land negotiations in Gambia

and Madagascar. 7

This respect was not expressed fifty

years later however, when the colonial governor

designated Australian territory ‘Lands of

the Crown’ and stripped Aboriginal peoples of

all agency to sell their land in his 1835 Proclamation.

8 This dispossession of land took on

legitimacy in the form of rulings by the New

South Wales Supreme Court in 1836 (R v Murrell),

and 1847 (Attorney-General (New South

Wales) v Brown). In Murrell it was upheld that

indigenous people had no law of their own

and no sovereignty. This stripped their right to

property, including land. In Brown the Court

held in 1788 the British Crown had become the

absolute owner of all Australian land, and so

1 Alan Frost, “New South Wales as Terra Nullius: the British denial of Aboriginal land rights”, Historical Studies, vol.

19, (1981), p. 522.

2 Glyndwr Williams, “The Pacific Exploration and Exploitation”, in P. J. Marshall (ed.), The Oxford History of the British

Empire: The Eighteenth Century (Oxford, 1998).

3 Admiralty Lords, Additional Instructions for L’James Cook, 30 July 1768, The Journals of Captain James Cook, ed. J.

C. Beaglehole, Cambridge 1968, vol. I, p. cclxxxiii, in Frost, “New South Wales as Terra Nullius”, p. 518.

4 Frost, “New South Wales as Terra Nullius”, p. 515.

5 Ibid., p. 519.

6 Ibid., p. 522.

7 Ibid., p. 523.

8 Richard Bourke, Governor of New South Wales, Proclamation, 26 August 1835.


ORTEGA - ABORIGINAL PEOPLES IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC

45

the colonial government possessed the right

to regulate land distribution. 9 This rapid stripping

of sovereignty and land rights from the indigenous

population of Australia was a distinct

change from the 1780s, when Cook’s claim of

terra nullius applied only to eastern Australia,

an area Cook assumed was barely inhabited.

Similarly, in New Zealand a significant

change took place during the period. Statutes

in 1817, 1823, and 1828 recognised New Zealand

as an independent territory, and the 1840

Treaty of Waitangi expressed the ‘anxious’ wish

to protect the Māori people’s ‘just rights and

property’ and recognised ‘exclusive, and undisturbed

possession of their lands’. 10 But following

the creation of New Zealand’s new colonial

government in 1854 political power was transferred

to the less humanitarian settlers who

wanted to clear Māori land for farming, regardless

of the Treaty’s terms.

The 1850s to 1870s therefore saw a distinct

change from the attitudes which determined

the 1840 Treaty. The colonial government

ignored protests over purchases of supposedly

protected Māori land: such as Governor Gore

Brown’s wrongful purchase of the Pekapeka

block at Waitara in disregard of Māori opposition.

11 Indigenous land rights were ignored on

the premise, as stated by Governor Brown, that

the Māori had been made British subjects, and

as such could not be unjustly dispossessed of

land by the British Crown. 12 John Eldon Gorst’s

description of a group of Māori attempting

to dispute government possession of land as

‘rash’, and their subsequent defeat by British

troops, typifies how such incidents were met

with dismissal and violence – contrasting with

sentiments expressed in the Treaty of Waitangi.

13 The New Zealand Wars over land, continuing

into the 1870s, saw thousands of British

military troops used by the colonial government

to suppress the Māori King movement. 14

In addition to violence, legislation was created

to facilitate the alienation of Māori land to the

settler government. The colonial parliament introduced

the New Zealand Settlements Act in

1863, allowing land to be confiscated for public

purposes; and the Native Land Court in 1865.

This terminated the land rights granted to the

Māori by the Native Land Acts of 1862 and 1865,

and often seized Māori land through economic

coercion. Through it, 8 million acres were purchased

from 1865 to 1890. 15 As the government

did not provide safeguards or controls on the

sale of Māori land, Māori land ownership decreased

dramatically. 16

This denial of land rights through legislation

—in particular in Australia from the

1830s and New Zealand from the 1850s—reflected

broader contemporary attitudes towards

the land rights of the indigenous populations

of the Pacifi . Charles Dilke in his

Greater Britain conveyed frustration that land

was purchased from the Māori people ‘at enormous

prices’, claiming that they had no right

to it as they had not made ‘the smallest use’ of

‘one-hundredth part’ of it. 17 Froude, in Oceana,

expressed a similar sentiment, portraying the

Māori he encountered at Ohinemutu as neglecting

the land the government rented from

9 Lisa Ford, “Indigenous Policy and its Historical Occlusions: The North American and Global Contexts of Australian

Settlement”, Australian Indigenous Law Review, vol. 12, no. 1, 2008, p. 70.

10 Claudia Orange, The Treaty of Waitangi (Wellington, 1997), p. 8; Peter Adams, Fatal Necessity: British Intervention

in New Zealand 1830-1847 (Auckland, 1977), p. 175; William Hobson, James Freeman, and James Busby, The Treaty of

Waitangi, (6 February 1840), in Peter Adams, Fatal Necessity: British Intervention in New Zealand 1830-1847 (Auckland,

1977), p. 258.

11 Philippa Mein Smith, A Concise History of New Zealand (Cambridge, 2011), p. 73.

12 Ibid., p. 71.

13 J. E. Gorst, The Maori King: Or, The Story of Our Quarrel with the Natives of New Zealand (Cambridge, 2011), p.

391.

14 Ibid., p. 391.

15 Mein Smith, A Concise History of New Zealand, p. 75.

16 Orange, The Treaty of Waitangi, p. 186.

17 Charles Dilke, Greater Britain: a record of travel in English-speaking countries during 1866 and 1867 (Philadelphia,

1869), p. 332.


46

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

them, preferring to ‘live on their income, like

ladies and gentlemen’. This opinion that indigenous

populations should not be granted land

ownership shows a radical change in metropolitan

British views from the late eighteenth century

and the respect for indigenous land rights

held by Pitt, Call, and their contemporaries.

Attitudes towards indigenous populations

of the Pacific also changed significantly in

the respect held for their lives and freedom in

this period. Violence against them became increasingly

common and was often sanctioned

by colonial governors. This change was not as

clear in attitudes to land rights, as these were

often split between those held by humanitarians

and the Colonial Offic , and those of settlers

and racialists. There was a clear respect

for the lives of indigenous populations at the

start of the period. The exact instructions given

by Lord Morton to Cook prior to his first

journey stated that ‘shedding the blood’ of any

indigenous people they encountered would be

‘a crime of the highest nature’. 18 Cook’s actions

on his subsequent journeys demonstrate the

strength of this high regard for the lives of indigenous

peoples. His determination to act as

an ‘enlightened leader’ led him to respect even

the life of Kahura, the man principally responsible

for the killing of a number of Cook’s men,

despite other Maori groups and his own men

urging him to kill him. 19 Like Cook, Phillip was

instructed to treat the indigenous people he

encountered well, and protect them from the

convicts and sailors. 20 These instructions were

taken seriously, reflecting the British colonialists’

belief in these at the start of the period:

Phillip forbade anyone from harming Aboriginal

warriors, despite the violence they visited

on settlers who travelled into Aboriginal

lands. 21 Governors of New South Wales continued

this role as protectors of indigenous populations:

In 1813 Governor Davey condemned

violence towards Aboriginal people and Governor

King of New South Wales ordered ships

from Sydney not to ill-treat Māori workers in

1805. 22 It should be noted however that a split

in attitudes became evident even from early in

the period – unlike the more sympathetic Cook

and Phillip their men often ignored the instructions

to respect indigenous lives. In 1799,

after two settlers were killed by Aboriginal warriors,

other settlers killed two young Aboriginal

men in retribution. 23 The settlers responsible

were arrested and tried for murder, indicating

a clear split in attitudes between settlers and

the colonial government. 24

This split became more evident by the

1830s. While the paternalistic humanitarian involvement

of movements such as the Aborigines

Protection Society (APS) in the Pacific region

grew, settlers continued violence and the

colonial government began to show less respect

for the lives of indigenous peoples. The APS

was formed in 1837 at a time of metropolitan

humanitarian concern around the treatment of

indigenous populations under the British Empire.

25 It expressed concern for their lives and

wellbeing, comparing ‘modern colonization’

to the slave trade and wishing to prevent future

suffering in light of past oppression. 26 It

expressed a similar approach to Lord Morton

in terms of the equality of indigenous popula-

18 J.C. Beaglehole (ed.), Voyage of the Endeavour, p. 514, in Williams, “The Pacific” pp. 558-59.

19 Anne Salmond, The trial of cannibal dog: Captain Cook in the South Seas (London, 2004), p. 4.

20 Governor Phillip’s Instructions, 27 April 1787, in Watson 1914-1925, Historical Records of Australia, series 1, vol

1:1,13-14, in Grace Karskens, “Red Coat, Blue Jacket, Black Skin: Aboriginal Men and Clothing in Early New South

Wales.” Aboriginal History, vol. 35, (2011), p. 11.

21 Grace Karskens, “Red Coat, Blue Jacket, Black Skin: Aboriginal Men and Clothing in Early New South Wales”,

Aboriginal History, vol. 35, (2011), p. 15.

22 Ann McGrath, “Tasmania: 1”, in Ann McGrath, (ed.), Contested Ground: Australian Aborigines under the British

Crown, (St Leonards, 1995), p. 317; Orange, The Treaty of Waitangi, p. 8.

23 Karskens, “Red Coat, Blue Jacket, Black Skin”, p. 17.

24 Ibid., p. 18.

25 Aborigines Protection Society (Great Britain), The First Annual Report of the Aborigines Protection Society: Presented

at the Meeting in Exeter Hall, May 16th, 1838: with List of Officers, Subscribers and Benefactors, (1838), p. 9.

26 Ibid., pp. 7, 23.


ORTEGA - ABORIGINAL PEOPLES IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC

47

tions, speaking of ‘eternal…rectitude between

man and man’. 27 The Colonial Office also continued

to express humanitarian attitudes towards

the populations of the Pacifi . Their formal

promise in the Treaty of Waitangi that the

Māori people would be granted ‘all the rights

and privileges of British subjects’ was unusual

in contemporary British colonial policy. 28 The

anti-slavery movement also pressured colonial

governors into maintaining an appearance

of acting humanely towards indigenous peoples.

29 Some began to condone violence however—Governor

Stirling in Western Australia

led a group of settlers in the Pinjarra massacre

of 1834, where they killed a number of Binjareb

people. The split in attitudes between the British

and colonial governments is exemplified

here—Secretary of State Glenelg reprimanded

Stirling, making it clear the government did

not want acts of violence or injustice against

the Aboriginal peoples, and that Stirling had

acted against the position of the British government.

30 The colonial government’s involvement

in allowing the killing and capturing of indigenous

people became especially prominent

in Van Diemen’s Land. Lieutenant Governor

Arthur authorised a mission led by ex-soldier

Nicholas Fortosa, and that Fortosa would receive

a reward in return for Aboriginal people

killed in the process of capture, thus sanctioning

the killing of Aboriginal people – an act of

genocide. 31 Despite the humanitarian concern

nominally expressed by the Colonial Office—a

charade of ‘voluntary removal’ was maintained

in the removal of survivors to Flinders Island—hundreds

of Aboriginal people were

killed through colonial violence during the key

years of the Vandemonian war. 32 By this point

in the period the colonial government had actively

chosen to remove all Aboriginal people

from Van Diemen’s Land, and to continue this

policy despite fatalities so high that they recognised

it could lead to extinction. 33 Again, the

colonial government chose to exile survivors to

Flinders Island, where children were severely

mistreated by official , showing consistent disregard

for the lives of Aboriginal people that

differed greatly from the attitudes of the late

eighteenth century. 34

In addition to the great questions of

whether indigenous peoples should be treated

equally in terms of rights to land, life and

freedom, European attitudes towards the treatment

of indigenous people when there was no

interracial or land conflict also changed. Early

interactions between Europeans and indigenous

peoples of the Pacific had occurred on

fairly equal terms, involving positive social

interaction and cultural exchange—eating together,

admiring music, even friendship. Over

the course of the period however this attitude

of friendly and equal cooperation gave way to

ideas of European cultural superiority which

governed interactions with indigenous populations.

Early explorations of the Pacific yielded

many positive accounts of interactions with

indigenous populations. This period saw a

‘springtime of trust’, where explorers and colonists

actively sought to socialise and trade. 35

Numerous expeditions shared meals at sea or

on the shore with the people they encountered,

expressing a willingness to place themselves

at an equal level with them, and recog-

27 Ibid., p. 9.

28 Orange, The Treaty of Waitangi, p. 32; Hobson, The Treaty of Waitangi, p. 258.

29 McGrath, “Tasmania”, p. 317.

30 A. G. L. Shaw, “British policy towards the Australian Aborigines 1830 1850”, Australian Historical Studies, vol. 25,

(1992), p. 271.

31 Nicholas Dean Brodie, “The Vandemonian War as Genocidal Moment: Historiographical Refrains and

Archival Secrets”, Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 20:3, (2018), p. 473; McGrath, “Tasmania”, p. 306.

32 Ibid., p. 480.

33 James Boyce, Van Diemen’s Land (Melbourne, 2009), p. 296.

34 Gaye Sculthorpe and Leonie Stevens, Aboriginal History, vol. 42, (2018), pp. 187-88.

35 Inga Clendinnen, Dancing with strangers: Europeans and Australians at first contact (New York, 2005), p. 285.


48

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

nising a common humanity. 36 Cook’s voyages

saw him associate closely with various chiefs,

and his attempts to impress his Tongan hosts

with fir works suggests an eagerness to put on

a cultural display of his own and that he saw

them as worthy of entertaining. 37 This initial

interest and rapport is also evident in reports

of sailors from D’Entrecasteaux’s 1793 expedition

and Aboriginal men linking arms, and one

young man playing a joke on the sailors, with

diarists referring to the Aboriginal people as

‘our good friends’. 38 This positive and equalist

attitude towards interacting with Aboriginal

people was also reflected in official British

policy to include them in the town of Sydney,

and by receiving important figure , such as

Bennelong and his wife Barangaroo, at Government

House. 39

But these attitudes shifted over time,

and with greater settlement social relations

changed dramatically. Colonists became the

superiors in a new hierarchy which privileged

European customs and culture, leading to their

imposition, and the segregation of indigenous

and non-indigenous populations. Unlike in interactions

with early expeditions, where both

groups mixed freely with each other, ate at the

same table and danced together, towns in Australia

were marked with boundary posts which

Aboriginal people could cross into only when

clothed and in daylight. 40 Segregation in Van

Diemen’s land was imposed by Lieutenant

Governor Arthur’s April 1828 Proclamation of

Demarcation. This separated settlers and Aboriginal

people by expelling the latter (on threat

of force) from “settled districts”, the demarca-

tion of which was enforced with military posts. 41

Aboriginal people were further distinguished

by the requirement for Aboriginal leaders to

possess a passport signed by the Governor in

order to travel, marking them as aliens who

could not move freely through settled areas. 42

Segregation was entrenched in settler-indigenous

relations not only through physical barriers—mid-eighteenth-century

artwork featuring

Aboriginal people almost never depicted

them as part of the European settler world.

In an 1838 watercolour (‘Feast given to the natives

by Governor Gawler’) the group of Aboriginal

people are depicted as standing clearly

separate from the Europeans. The appearance

of one Aboriginal man adorned with feathers

and body paint, chained and excluded in the

background, reinforces their subordination.

It also displays the forfeit for not assimilating

to European culture—even in pictorial representation

Aboriginal people were forced to

comply with European cultural norms in order

for their very presence to be accepted. 43 European

practices such as those of time, space and

clothing seen in the prohibition of Aboriginal

people entering certain areas unclothed or at

night encoded differences which underpinned

European social and cultural supremacy. 44 The

demarcation of space in particular underlined

the segregation and inequality of settlers and

Aboriginal peoples. As McGuire has shown

through her analysis of gender in this period

the spatial opposition of inside and outside the

sacred homestead separated settlers not only

from the “wild” environment in which Aboriginal

peoples lived, but from the people them-

36 McGrath, “Tasmania”, pp. 311-12.

37 Salmond, The trial of cannibal dog, p. 431; John Gascoigne, Encountering the Pacific in the Age of Enlightenment, (Cambridge,

2014), p. 466.

38 Stephanie Anderson, “French Anthropology in Australia, a Prelude: the Encounters between Aboriginal Tasmanians

and the Expedition of Bruny D’Entrecasteaux, 1793”, Aboriginal History, vol. 24, (2000), p. 216.

39 Karskens, “Red Coat, Blue Jacket, Black Skin”, p. 15.

40 H. Ling Roth (ed.), Julien Marie Crozet, and James R. Boosé, Crozet’s Voyage to Tasmania, New Zealand, the Ladrone

Islands, and the Philippines in the Years 1771–1772 (1891; Cambridge 2011), p. 25; Fiona Paisley, The American Historical

Review, vol. 111, no. 2, (2006), p. 456.; Margaret E. McGuire, “The Legend of the Good Fella Missus”, Aboriginal History,

vol. 14, no. 1/2, (1990), p. 126.

41 McGrath, “Tasmania”, p. 319.

42 Ibid., p. 320.

43 McGuire, “The Legend of the Good Fella Missus”, p. 127.

44 Ibid., p. 126.


ORTEGA - ABORIGINAL PEOPLES IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC

49

selves. 45

The establishment of this hierarchy was

accompanied by increasing paternalistic interest

in “civilising” indigenous peoples, assuming

European culture and practice to be superior,

and its distribution to indigenous peoples

to be an act of charity. Many of these attempts

were through missionaries’ efforts, such as

George Augustus Robinson’s attempt to civilise

and convert the indigenous population of

Bruny Island in 1829. 46 The APS too expressed

a wish to ‘civilise’ and to ‘rescue and elevate the

coloured races at large’, allocating Europeans

the role of saviours able to lift indigenous peoples

from their inferior social and cultural situation.

47 The organisation supported efforts in

New South Wales to do this by ‘instructing’ the

Aboriginal population, teaching them ‘habits

of industry’, and building ‘asylums’ for them. 48

This attitude was echoed in New Zealand as

well. Gorst’s view that the Māori needed ‘to be

managed’ suggests he saw them as inferiors

who should be subservient to the colonists. 49

His belief the Māori should be ‘civilised’—by

European standards – privileged British law

and order above Māori identity, and he worked

actively against Māori nationalism in editing

the newspaper Pitroihoi Mokemoke, which

aimed to combat the Māori King movement’s

newspaper Te Hokioi. 50

In close relation to the changes in attitudes

as to how indigenous peoples should

be treated beliefs about their character also

changed. Attitudes underwent a notable trans-

formation in ideas of the “savage” and indigenous

people’s natural characteristics during the

late eighteenth century. Understanding shifted

away from positive ideas about the “noble savage”

that were used in reference to populations

of the Pacific in the wake of discoveries from

the 1760s. By the 1790s, in the wake of the death

of Cook, were replaced by an understanding of

the violent “ignoble savage”.

Accounts of early encounters from the

1770s emphasised the positive qualities of indigenous

peoples and their lifestyles. Tahiti was

imagined as a utopian ‘new Garden of Eden’ in

Europe, and peoples encountered in the South

Pacific were repeatedly associated with ‘joy’. 51

French naturalist Labillardiere described the

people he encountered on Van Diemen’s Land

as peaceable, and the d’Entrecasteaux expedition

similarly were impressed by their ‘innate

goodness’. 52 ‘Wistful’ suggestions were made

that earlier stages of existence, similar to that

of the peoples encountered in the Pacifi , were

better, and that European man had degenerated

from this state. 53 Europeans also displayed

appreciation for indigenous culture: on Cook’s

third voyage he and his men lauded the singing

they heard in Tonga, asserting it would impress

an audience in Europe. 54 They also recognised

similarities between themselves and indigenous

peoples: in Peron’s account of the 1802

Baudin expedition he noted the vanity and maternal

care expressed by Aboriginal women as

being the same as of any race. 55

Following the deaths of famous naviga-

45 Ibid., p. 125.

46 Robert Clarke and Anna Johnston, “Travelling the sequestered Isle: Tasmania as penitentiary, laboratory and sanctuary”,

Studies in Travel Writing, vol. 20:1, (2016).

47 First Annual Report of the Aborigines Protection Society, pp. 7-8.

48 Ibid., p. 23.

49 Gorst, The Maori King, p. 390.

50 E. J. Feuchtwanger, “Gorst, Sir John Eldon (1835–1916), politician and lawyer”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,

(2011).

51 John Gascoigne, “Motives for European Exploration of the Pacific in the Age of the Enlightenment”, Pacific Science,

vol. 54, no. 3, (2000), p. 229; Anderson, “French Anthropology in Australia”, p. 215.

52 McGrath, “Tasmania”, p. 311.; Anderson, “French Anthropology in Australia”, p. 216.

53 Glyndwr Williams, “‘Enlarging the sphere of contemplation’: The exploration of the Pacific 1760-1800” in P.J.

Marshall and G. Williams (eds.), The Great Map of Mankind: British Perceptions of the World in the Age of Enlightenment,

(London, 1982), p. 258.

54 Gascoigne, Encountering the Pacific, p. 466.

55 McGrath, “Tasmania”, p. 311.


50

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

tors such as Cook and Marion du Fresne, public

attitudes shifted towards blaming the ‘native as does the public support for attempts at “civi-

ship indicates a change in public perception,

character’ and a less friendly stance towards the lisation” and conversion. Interest was in indigenous

peoples’ heathenism, rather than their

indigenous peoples of the Pacific developed. 56

Accounts began to stress negative characteristics,

such as warfare, over characteristics such Pictorial depictions often focussed on

customs and culture.

as peaceability, and pictorial representations practices such as cannibalism or depicted indigenous

peoples as inhuman. For example,

in particular changed to reflect these attitudes.

W. Fitzgerald’s poem ‘Ode to the Memory of the 1837 publication of the woodcut Human

the late Captain James Cook (1780)’ portrayed Sacrifice at Tahiti (1784) in the LMS pamphlet

‘th’inglorious native’ as plagued by misery and Missionary Sketches differed from the original

voyage illustration it was based on. It por-

violence resulting directly from the ‘savage

life’, and Julien Crozet’s ‘Nouveau voyage à la trayed the Tahitians as ‘a squat, very swarthy…

mer du Sud’ condemned the ‘savage character’. people’, and placed the illustrated skulls closer

Crozet’s view on emotional volatility in particular

showed a distinct change in attitudes to-

through drunkenness was also commonly as-

to the fore for emphasis. 59 Moral degeneration

wards indigenous peoples. This had previously sociated with indigenous peoples, as in a caricature

from 1838 depicting Aboriginal peo-

been interpreted as evidence of virtue amongst

champions of the benefits of the more natural ple drinking and fightin . 60 An accompanying

‘primitive’ state, but he perceived it as dangerous.

Smith argues this indicated a significant and infused with ‘basest passion’, emphasising

poem describes the drunk men as ‘stupefied

turning point in European attitudes, changing their drunken state. 61

from the popular concept of the ‘noble savage’ This understanding of indigenous ‘savage’

peoples as naturally disposed to violence

to that of the ‘ignoble savage’. 57

There was a harshening of views on the continued to be widely circulated during the

character of indigenous peoples from this point nineteenth century. Contemporary sources

onwards. The portrayal of indigenous peoples painted their history as one of war, infanticide

as violent and depraved gained strength with and cannibalism, using vivid cautionary tales

the increase in popularity of the missionary to illustrate this. 62 Darwin, in his Descent of

movement in the 1830s and 1840s. Missionaries

returning from overseas missions became who would not rest after the death of his wife

Man, recounted the story of a man in Australia

public heroes in the way explorers such as until he had killed another woman, stressing

Cook had been. 58 But, whereas explorers had the deadly nature of Aboriginal practices. 63

been credited for their scientific discoveries Similarly, both Dilke and Froude emphasised

and gathering of knowledge, missionaries were the Māori’s proclivity for war and cannibalism,

applauded for braving encounters with violent telling of a chief who ‘boiled and ate an ambassador…The

ambassador’s master…boiled the

heathens. This shift in recipients of hero-wor-

56 Bernard Smith, European Vision and the South Pacific, (New Haven, 1985), p. 122.

57 Ibid., pp. 121-23.

58 Anna Johnston, “George Augustus Robinson, the ‘Great Conciliator’: colonial celebrity and

its postcolonial aftermath”, Postcolonial Studies, vol. 12:2, (2009), p. 160.

59 Smith, European Vision, pp. 317-18.

60 Artist unknown, ‘Real life in Sydney’, lithograph, c1838, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales,

B1106, in Karskens, “Red Coat, Blue Jacket, Black Skin”, p. 3.

61 Saunders Rev John (attrib) cc1838, poem accompanying ‘Real life in Sydney’, lithograph, with letterbook 1834-

1847, Mitchell Library, Sydney, in Karskens, “Red Coat, Blue Jacket, Black Skin”, p. 1.

62 James Anthony Froude, Oceana, or, England and Her Colonies (1886; Cambridge, 2010), p. 271.; Charles Darwin, The

Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871; London, 1890), p. 46.

63 Darwin, The Descent of Man, p. 115.


ORTEGA - ABORIGINAL PEOPLES IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC

51

other in the same pool, and dined on him in

return’. 64

Attitudes towards indigenous peoples

of the Pacific also became increasingly negative

in the scientific understanding of their

place on the ladder of civilisation. This was accompanied

by the idea that indigenous populations

were “dying races” on the verge

of extinction, something that was not

suggested by explorers’ accounts of the

previous centu-ry. By the 1840s the

ethnologist Robert Knox claimed that

extinction of indigenous peoples was ‘sure’,

pointing to Australia and New Zea-land as

places where the population would be

‘cleared’ as it had been in Van Diemen’s

Land. 65 Darwin too suggested that Aboriginal

peoples were being ‘supplanted’ by

‘civilised nations’ in the process of survival of

the fittest. His claim that ‘civilised nations’

had intellects ‘perfected through natural

selection’ implied indigenous peoples were

biologically inferior, lacking the ‘arts’ to

survive. 66 Popular newspa-per poems and texts

such as Charles Bonwick’s The Last of the

Tasmanians (1870) expressed pity towards

these “dying races”. 67 By the sec-ond half of

the nineteenth century Aboriginal peoples in

particular were commonly held to be at a

more primitive stage of human development.

68 Froude’s one encounter with

Aborigi-nal people at Corranderrk in Oceana

expresses no curiosity or admiration for their

ingenuity, only pity: ‘we turned aside to see a

native set-tlement…very hopeless, but the

best that could be done for a dying race.’ 69

This period saw change in how

Europe-ans perceived the indigenous

populations of the Pacific in relation not only

to their place within the imperial project of

settlement and colonisation, but also their

scientific nature and stage of development.

Attitudes became increasingly negative, and a

shift in opinion, beginning in the 1790s and

having taken hold by the 1830s, led to the

formation of long-last-ing and negative racial

stereotypes. Anthropo-logical and

ethnological ideas of development underlined

their difference from Europeans, and

attitudes became more fatalistic with the

birth of new scientific theories. As inferior beings,

indigenous peoples were stripped of

their rights; as they were perceived to have

no laws they had no right to land, as subjects

to British law they had no right to contest

land owner-ship policy. They were massacred

or captured and imprisoned where tensions

were present, a far cry from the respect for

life insisted upon in Cook’s instructions.

Their inferiority was enforced through

segregation and the imposi-tion of British

culture in attempts to “civilise” them, another

sharp contrast from the cultural exchange and

friendship demonstrated in ear-ly encounters.

64 Froude, Oceana, pp. 275-6; see also the story of Hangi massacring the Mokoia Islanders, Ibid., p. 273.

65 Robert Knox, The races of men: a philosophical enquiry into the influence of race over the destinies of nations (1850; London,

1862), p. 230; Clare L. Taylor, “Knox, Robert (1791–1862), anatomist and ethnologist”, Oxford Dictionary of National

Biography, (2004).

66 Darwin, The Descent of Man, p. 128.

67 McGuire, “The Legend of the Good Fella Missus”, p. 126.

68 Anne Maxwell, “‘Oceana’ Revisited: J. A. Froude’s 1884 Journey to New Zealand and the Pink and White Terraces”,

Victorian Literature and Culture, vol. 37, no. 2, (2009), p. 384.

69 Froude, Oceana, p. 148.


EAST ASIA & THE

ENVIRONMENT

How have insights from environmental history

developed and/or demystified the role of the state

in East Asian history?

Francis Braddell-Dawson

This essay will demonstrate how in the expansion

of the East Asian state towards its frontiers,

it continually adapted the nature of its administration

and presence to local culture-nature

relations. With a specific focus on the state’s

response to the changing natural environment

of different frontier regions, this essay

will seek to demonstrate how the East Asian

state was composed of an evolving state structure,

that at times concentrated power, whilst

at others it dissolved political power and relied

on the support of local communities. Firstly

it will look at Qing expansion westwards into

Xinjiang during the reign of Emperor Qianlong

(1735-1796), where mass state-sponsored

migration was part of the reclamation of agricultural

settlements. The extreme aridity of

the land meant that the success of such settlements

was based on crucial local Turkestani

assistance, especially in the maintenance of

regional water systems. The frontier province

of Yunnan proved even more environmentally

challenging than Xinjiang, which resulted

in an even greater decentralization of the

Qing administration there. Qing approaches to

Yunnan evolved over time, from indirect rule

through the native chieftainship system under

Emperor Kangxi’s reign (1661-1722), to a

more aggressive military interventionist policy

of Qing administration under Emperor Yongzheng

(1722-1735). Lastly we will turn towards

Japanese expansion into the northern Ainu

inhabited island of Sakhalin, where Matsumae

lords promoted trading with Ainu hunters, and

established a fishery near Shiranushi. Whilst

the introduction of commerce allowed Ainu

hunters to purchase goods from a pastoral and

agricultural economy through trade networks,

over-hunting saw a disruption in the local culture-nature

balance. In this instance the East

Asian state again demonstrated its ability to

overcome issues related to environmental degradation

as it re-opened trade routes through

its own Tokugawan channels. As shall be seen

in this essay, this frontier culture presents an

alternative perspective on the East Asian state,

as neither one of Oriental despotism, nor one

of a ´laissez-faire` approach as argued by Per-


BRADDELL-DAWSON - EAST ASIA AND THE ENVIRONMENT

53

due, but instead structures continually changing

and adapting.

The environment has been a source of

new understandings of the nature of the East

Asian state, and more recent scholarship has

laid particular emphasis on the close relationship

between environmental and frontier history,

as argued by Perdue. 1 However, we must

firstly contextualize western scholarship on

the relationship between the state and the environment

in East Asia. Witffogel´s hydraulic

despotism theory understood the East Asian

state as controlling the country’s water resources,

and being capable of coercing the required

labour force to maintain this ‘hydraulic

state’. 2 On frontiers, however, state power was

often limited and coercion was often replaced

with incentives to increase productivity. The

state often found itself in a position of negotiation

with local peoples, in the creation of

sub-bureaucratic structures of indirect rule. In

departing from Wittfogel, Owen Lattimore introduced

the agency of environmental factors,

through a perspective of ´ecological determinism`,

in which China´s lack of a consistent ecological

regime meant it did not experience the

same industrial development as the west. 3 Lattimore´s

writings on the influence of natural

boundaries associated with terrain and climate

shaping the political boundaries of the state

can be seen in the writings of Perdue, who

argued that the uniformity of the ecological

zones in Eurasia, where most of the land is flat

and surrounded by mountains, meant it was

difficult to draw cultural or politically motivated

boundaries. 4 Thus, in Eurasia, both empires

and their borders were constantly shifting and

being negotiated.

Qing expansion into Xinjiang revealed

how the state was not in complete control over

the direction of its expansion on the frontier,

and instead was continually changing and

adapting in both its presence and administration.

5 Contrary to the nationalist perspective,

in which Qing expansion into Xinjiang was

part of a premeditated state plan focused on

advancing social and economic development,

it seems the real Qing motivations for westward

expansion were related to security and

self-sufficienc . 6 Furthermore, the ruling Qing

elite that oversaw the process of expansion

into Xinjiang neither claimed the region was

historically Chinese, nor did they conceive of

expansion into Xinjiang as part of a wider process

of ideological unification 7 The conquest

of the western regions was part of no long term

state vision, but was actually a reactionary occurrence

due to the betrayals of certain state

allies. 8 Three interlocked projects that brought

together a large quantity of data on the new

western territories would provide a basis for

the ideological conception of the Qing state in

central Asia. 9 These were: the Qianlong Atlas,

an imperial gazette commissioned to provide

information about the newly conquered lands

of Zungharia and Altishahr, and another gazette

called the ´Unified language gazetteer of

the Western Regions`, that sought to standardize

Chinese and Manchu transcriptions of all

the local regional names. 10 Such scientifi , cultural

and geographic gathering of information

was similar to that collected by European expansionist

states, used to assert their own national

and imperial control. 11 Thus, although it

1 Perdue, Peter C., China Marches West, (Cambridge, MA, 2005), p. 17.

2 Wittfogel, Karl August, Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power, (New Haven, 1967), p. 47.

3 Rowe, William T. “Owen Lattimore, Asia, and Comparative History.” The Journal of Asian Studies, 66.3 (2007), p. 764.

4 Perdue, China Marches West, p. 333.

5 Ibid., p. 540.

6 Ibid., p. 336.

7 Ibid., p. 334

8 Millward, James A. “Coming onto the Map: “Western Regions” Geography and Cartographic Nomenclature in the

Making of Chinese Empire in Xinjiang.”, Late Imperial China 20.2 (1999), p. 65.

9 Ibid., p. 64.

10 Ibid., p. 70.

11 Ibid., p. 76.


54

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

had never been the intention of the Qing state

to expand westwards, the process resulted in a

reconfiguration of the state itself, and contrary

to Wittfogel´s perspective, Xinjiang´s environment

would distinctly shape the construction

of state presence there.

Xinjiang´s low natural and agricultural

productivity posed distinct challenges to the

success of imperial settlement schemes, and

saw a major intervention on the part of the

Qing state to try and maintain the military and

eventually civilian settlements it established.

The crisis that emerged in Turfan during the

early Qing expansion westwards illustrates

how such environmental limitations created

distinct problems for the security of livelihood

there. For instance, after the community could

no longer produce enough grain to sustain its

population due to continuous Zunghar raids,

it was left to local chieftain Imin Kwaja to lead

a mass migration of 10,000 people across 700

kilometres of desert until they reached Xin

Guazhou. 12 In order to resolve the lack of grain

supplies, the Qing state sought a massive investment

into the primary resource productivity

of Turkestan, so that it could sustain a civilian

population and military presence. 13 One

of the ways in which the Qing accomplished

this was through state sponsored migration.

In an article titled ´A proposal to establish the

western regions as a province`, Gong Zizheng

promoted the agricultural settlement and reclamation

of Xinjiang through an influx of Han

and Manchu workers from the interior, in order

to ramp up agricultural productivity and

extraction of mineral resources. 14 In 1761, the

poor Han peasantry of Gansu were sponsored

by the state to migrate to Urumchi, and the

state paid for their transport costs, agricultural

tools, seed and even housing. 15 Although such

state sponsored migration reflected the power

of the Qing, there were also limitations to the

effectiveness of such a state-led programme of

agricultural reclamation. Certain cultivators

soon began to neglect what they considered

´state-land`, and in 1804 Governor Song Yu of

Huining turned collective holdings into private

property, and established state granaries

to purchase any surplus grain. 16 This resulted

in a greater incentive for cultivators to grow

beyond subsistence requirements, and thus increased

local agricultural productivity.

State-sponsored migration and settlement

of Xinjiang was not enough to guarantee

the success of the colonies there, as the Qing

increasingly relied on a decentralized administration

of begs (local landlords) alongside

the assistance of local communities and local

practice in the context of harsh environmental

conditions. Aside from being given an official

status and land, local begs also received tax

exemptions in return for their collaboration

with Qing official . 17 They were also crucial intermediaries

between Qing officials and the

large population of Turkestani´s, who inhabited

many of the oases in Xinjiang. 18 The beg

system demonstrated how the nature of Qing

rule on the frontier was increasingly shaped by

central Asian customs and was progressively

less similar to that of the Han dominated civil

administration in the interior. 19 However, such

adaptations in local administration in Xinjiang

were necessary, particularly regarding the

management of water supplies in a region that

was extremely arid and where the paucity in

rainfall placed even more pressure on agricultural

productivity. The reconstruction bureaus

set up around Xinjiang were established to

increase local grain production, which included

conducting land surveys, measuring soil

12 Perdue, China Marches West, p. 332.

13 Ibid., p. 333.

14 Millward, “Coming onto the Map”, p. 83.

15 Perdue, China Marches West, p. 344.

16 Ibid., p. 347.

17 Lavelle, Peter, The Profits of Nature: Colonial Development and the Quest for Resources in Nineteenth-Century China,

(New York, 2020), p. 124.

18 Ibid., p. 125.

19 Perdue, China Marches West, p. 340.


BRADDELL-DAWSON - EAST ASIA AND THE ENVIRONMENT

55

fertility and assessing water supplies. 20 These

surveys were conducted by local headmen,

who reported on the condition of local water

supplies to Qing official , as well as recruiting

local Turkestani civilians for repairing the hydraulic

infrastructure. 21 Turkestani inhabitants

proved they were far more adept at managing

local water supplies, as their villages were composed

of ´elaborate canal networks` fed by diverted

water from nearby rivers to irrigate the

crops, as demonstrated by the inhabitants of

both the Niya and Keriya oases of the southern

Tarim basin. 22 In its attempt to adapt to the

environmental circumstances in Xinjiang, the

Qing state depended on a significant amount

of local support.

In the case of the Yunnan frontier region,

the mountainous environment there was

considerably less adaptable to the lowland arable

cultivation that had been promoted in Xinjiang,

and ecological circumstances became

the prominent limiting factor to Qing control.

David Bello has described Yunnan as having

proved ´the greatest environmental challenge

to Qing borderland formation`. 23 In 1682 Governor

General of Guizhou and Yunnan, Cai

Yurong, in his ´Ten measures for providing

for Yunan` argued that too few fields and too

many mountains meant that Yunnan couldn´t

produce enough crops to sustain itself. 24 The

problem of establishing self-sustaining settlements

was similar in Yunnan, where Qing officials

could not rely on local cultivation as it

had done with the Turkestani´s. Tribal cultivation

was of no use to imperial arable cultivation,

as it produced small quantities and was

limited to ´slash and burn agriculture`. 25 Furthermore,

there was also a limited potential in

state-sponsored migration of Han peasants due

to the widespread existence of malaria which

had only a very short non-infectious season.

26

Such environmental conditions meant that

if Qing officials wanted to maintain any form

of consistent presence in Yunnan, it had to be

through an even more decentralized mode of

administration than that of Xinjiang. On the

frontier, the exportation of a monocultural or

anthropocentric approach was clearly not effective,

as the state adapted to both variations

in human culture as well as the non-human

aspect of the changing ecology of borderland

areas. 27 In Yunnan the cultural element of such

border relations would take precedence due to

the difficulties posed by the region’s environmental

conditions. Contrary to the beg system

in Xinjiang, chieftains retained considerably

more autonomy and resembled allies rather

than subjects. Bello argues that these constituted

an ´inner frontier`, of a ´direct state

presence on one side and a vacuum of state

authority on the other`. 28 The extent of state

decentralization can be understood through

Charles Patterson´s position that the tusi system

of native officials never really became a native

official system tusi zhidu, as demonstrated

by the fact that the term doesn’t appear in Qing

documents of the time. 29 Instead, it seems Qing

officials constantly had to adapt their relations

with native chieftains, to the local, individual

indigenous context. The attempt to introduce

a more standardized policy of administration

in Yunnan can be seen through the introduction

of educational programmes that bore a

distinctly ideological undertone. From 1702 to

1722, seventy-four Chinese public schools had

20 Lavelle, The Profits of Nature, p. 121.

21 Ibid., p. 122.

22 Ibid., p.124.

23 Bello, David, Across Forest, Steppe, and Mountain: Environment, Identity, and Empire in Qing China’s Borderlands,

(Cambridge, 2016), p. 14.

24 Bello, Across Forest, Steppe, and Mountain, p. 178.

25 Ibid., p. 180.

26 Ibid., p. 202.

27 Walker, Brett, The Conquest of Ainu lands: Ecology and Culture in Japanese Expansion, 1590-1800, (Berkely, 2001), p. 2.

28 Bello, Across Forest, Steppe, and Mountain, p. 173.

29 Giersch, Charles, Asian Borderlands: The Transformation of Qing China’s Yunnan Frontier, (Cambridge, MA, 2006), p.

11.


56

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

been set up in Yunnan, and by 1705, Beijing

had notified native chieftains that legitimate

successors to the position of chieftain, not

only had to be direct male descendants, but

also had to attend Chinese school and prove

they had ´learnt their lessons well`. 30 Such educational

programmes were reversed under

Emperor Yongzheng, and Governor General

Ortai of Guizhou and Yunnan led more than

one thousand troops against what he called

´the great scourge`. 31 The policy of aggressive

Qing military intervention and forced conversion

of Yunnan´s indigenous communities to

an imperial administration focused on arable

cultivation ultimately failed. In a rescript to a

memorial by Governor Chen Shen in 1707, he

stated the need for a careful balance in Qing

imperial presence in Yunnan, that was neither

too strict, nor too lax ´for if we interfere too

much in native chieftain affairs, we will only

end up with an uncontrollable situation`. 32

In the same way that Qing frontier expansion

differed from its interior civil administration,

Matsumae policy in northern Ainu

lands differed substantially in its geographic

and commercial vision to that of the Tokugawa

imperial polity. Japanese Matsumae of -

cials developed a strong commercial interest

in Ainu lands, as demonstrated at the Island of

Sakhalin where the first permanent Japanese

fishery was set up in 1790 near Shiranushi. 33

As expansionists on the periphery, Matsumae

traders dealt with a variety of different groups

at Sakhalin, including Manchu´s, Tungu´s, Satan,

Ugan and Sakhalin Ainu´s. 34 To use Perdue´s

expression, they developed a ´frontier

culture` that evidenced the mobilization of

commerce and culture, which could be seen

across different frontier regions in East Asia. 35

At the Shiranushi post, local Ainu profited in

trading Chinese textiles with the Japanese, and

in 1786 one Ainu elder Yaen Koroaino reportedly

traded ´one approximately six-yard length

of crimson silk for several bales of rice, yeast,

barrels of sake, and used clothing`. 36 However,

prior to this trade, the Ainu, who were hunters

of fur-bearing animals, had already traded their

own animal pelts with the Chinese, to get the

silk that they need to trade with the Japanese.

In order to meet the required number of horses

for their military campaigns in Xinjiang, Qing

officials equally relied on trade with Kazakhs

who controlled large pastures of horses, and in

exchange offered them Chinese brocades, tea,

cloth, medicine, metal utensils and porcelain.

37

Contrary to the ecological determinism of the

environment shaping the human community,

the hunting economy of the Ainu allowed them

to engage in a trade that provided them with

the resources they wouldn’t otherwise have

had as a pastoral or agricultural economy. 38

However, though the arrival of Japanese

trade enabled local Ainu to work above subsistence

levels and no longer be conditioned

by their natural context, the growing pressures

of Japanese commercial markets resulted in

the over-hunting of fur-bearing animals by the

Sakhalin Ainu. By the late 18th century Sakhalin

was unable to sustain the hunting of such

animals at the level required by commercial

Japanese and Qing. 39 Returning to Governor

Chen Shen´s commentary on a limited state

intervention that was neither too interventionist

nor too relaxed, it seems particularly apt in

this course of commercial expansion in Sakhalin,

before the culture-nature balance was disrupted.

Indeed the state would continue to

demonstrate its power in managing the economic

strain on communities of the frontier,

inflicted by both human disturbances and eco-

30 Perdue, China Marches West, p. 353.

31 Bello, Across Forest, Steppe, and Mountain, p. 187.

32 Herman, John E. “Empire in the southwest: Early Qing reforms to the native chieftain system.” The Journal of

Asian Studies 56.1 (1997), p. 68.

33 Walker, The Conquest of Ainu Lands, p. 141.

34 Ibid., p. 143.

35 Perdue, China Marches West, p. 15.

36 Walker, The Conquest of Ainu Lands, p. 144.

37 Perdue, China Marches West, p. 355.

38 Lattimore, Owen. “The geographical factor in Mongol history.” The Geographical Journal 91.1 (1938), p. 6.

39 Walker, The Conquest of Ainu Lands, p. 147.


BRADDELL-DAWSON - EAST ASIA AND THE ENVIRONMENT

57

logical limitations. As we have seen, Zunghar

raiding in Xinjiang meant that the community

inhabiting Turfan, struggled to sustain grain

production in an environment where cultivation

was already precarious. Just the same way

the Qing state set out a massive campaign to

reclaim the agricultural settlements of Turfan,

the Edo Shogunate took over the northern

Santan trade in Sakhalin and Ezo. Through

the restructuring of the trade, the Shogunate

also repaid the 5,456 pelts to Chinese

traders between 1809-1812, after the Ainu had

over-hunted the fur-bearing animals. 40 In years

of over-hunting, the Shogunate maintained

a warehouse outside Shiranhushi, in which

stocks of iron kettles and other items could

be used as substitutes for the animal skins. 41

Though Shogunate policy, which banned

Sakhlain Ainu from trading with the continent

and replaced them with Shogunal official ,

severed long-standing commercial and maritime

ties between the Ainu and the continent,

the state had demonstrated its power to solve

the crisis of over-hunting amongst the Sakhalin

Ainu. By the 1810´s, the Sakhalin Ainu had

been fully immersed in both the political as

well as commercial orbit of Tokugawa Japan. 42

In conclusion, through looking at the

expansion of two East Asian states into their

frontier regions, it seems that it was largely a

case of the state shaping the environment as

much as the environment shaping the state.

This essay has also sought to demonstrate that,

building on the Eurasian similarity thesis, the

expansion of Qing China and Tokugawa Japan

on the frontier, shared similarities with

the expansion of western states, although retaining

their own individuality in the process.

In both Xinjiang and Yunnan, as well as in

Ainu Sakhalin, the state adapted the nature

of its administration to the environment

and more specifically the culture-nature relations

that existed there. Whilst the state could

demonstrate its full power on the frontier, it

equally depended on locally existing political

structures, creating sub-bureaucratic

structures that relied on local assistance and

expertise. The frontier was thus a site of continual

state negotiation with local people, and

state adaptation to the local environment.

Distinct environmental conditions, whether

the aridity of Xinjiang, the mountainous and

malaria ridden nature of Yunnan, or the cap

on fur-bearing animals in Sakhalin, sought a

careful balance between human-nature relations.

As demonstrated through the case studies

in this essay, the East Asian state continually

proved its fl xibility in working towards

attaining such a balance during its expansion

in the early modern period.

40 Ibid., p. 151.

41 Ibid., p. 152.

42 Ibid., p. 153.


HOLOCAUST

CITIES

What do spatial practices of

the ‘Holocaust city’ reveal

about the nature of World

War II regimes?

Alexandra Beste

Recalling her experiences during World War II,

Judit Kinszki from Budapest stated,

I have never been back to the house on

Akacfa Street where the ghetto was. When I

walk on that corner, I stop – to enter the yard

where we stayed, where they separated us;

the Arrow-Cross men were shouting that they

would give us fi e minutes, and we heard the

gunshots upstairs […] I can’t go in there. 1

Judit’s memory reveals the reality for millions of

Jews who underwent systematic persecution by

the Nazi regime and its allies during the Holocaust.

2 In cities, this systematic persecution took

the form of ghettoisation, a spatial practice aimed

at segregating and concentrating Jews. While

historians used to engage in an ‘intentionalist’

versus ‘functionalist’ debate about the reasons

behind ghettoisation policy, 3 the recent ‘spatial

turn’ in history has led scholars to consider the

1 ‘Judit Kinszki’, Centropa, accessed 10 March 2020

<https://www.centropa.org/biography/judit-kinszki>.

2 ‘Introduction to the Holocaust’, Holocaust Encyclopedia,

accessed 10 March 2020 <https:// encyclopedia.ushmm.

org/content/en/article/introduction-to-the-holocaust>.

3 Christopher R. Browning, ‘Nazi Ghettoization Policy in

Poland: 1939-41’, Central European History, 19.4 (December

1986), particularly pp. 343-345; Tim Cole and Graham

Smith, ‘Ghettoization and the Holocaust: Budapest 1944’,

Journal of Historical Geography 21.3 (1995), pp. 300-302; Tim

Cole, Holocaust City: The Making of a Jewish Ghetto (New

York and London, 2003), pp. 29-35.


BESTE - HOLOCAUST CITIES

physical nature of ghettos themselves. 4 This

essay seeks to go beyond Cole’s work on Budapest,

firstl , by offering comparative analysis

of different ghettoised cities and, secondly, by

taking a closer look at the people impacted by

ghettoisation. 5 It contends that the Hungarian

capital was not the only ‘Holocaust city’,

but one of several ‘Holocaust cities’, in which

World War II regimes employed spatial practices

in an effort to exercise power through

territoriality. This territoriality, however, was

constantly renegotiated through local and international

actors. In this context, the term

‘spatial practices’ shall be understood in reference

to Lefebvre as the production and reproduction

of social relations, 6 and shall be applied

to the reproduction of relations between

the state, Jews, and ‘non-Jews’. Meanwhile,

territoriality shall be understood in reference

to Cole as ‘the exercise of power through the

control of space’. 7 Focusing on three Nazi-occupied

and allied cities – Vienna, Warsaw, and

Budapest – I will first examine how authorities

tried to separate urban landscapes into ‘Jewish’

and ‘non-Jewish’ spaces, before addressing

the limitations of ghettoisation and the agency

of local and international figure .

Over the course of the war, municipal

and state governments across different European

countries developed similar approaches

to racially segregated cities. Cole argues in regards

to Budapest that authorities wanted to

develop a system of inclusion and exclusion

59

predicated upon spaces of ‘Jewish presence’

and ‘Jewish absence’. 8 This process, however,

was not unique to the Hungarian capital.

In fact, it was based on international precedent.

After the Anschluss in 1938, the Viennese

City Council pursued a negative social policy

of ‘Aryanisation’, which dictated that Jewish

businesses and homes should be expropriated

and given to ‘Aryans’. While the Austrian

Property Control Office and Schutzstaffel-authorities

(SS) oversaw the forced evictions, the

Jewish Kultusgemeinde was tasked with keeping

files on all Jewish property. 9 By the end of the

year, 44,000 Jewish properties had been confiscated

10 Lilli Tauber witnessed the effect of

this spatial practice on her father, who lost his

shop, and her mother’s friend, who lost her

house. 11 People were relocated into ‘Jewish

houses’, ‘Jewish districts’, and ‘Jewish ghettos’

dispersed throughout the capital, particularly

in Leopoldstadt. 12 Ghettoisation was therefore,

according to Botz, ‘partly a side-effect’ of ‘Aryanisation’

and ‘partly a deliberate policy’ of the

Nazi Party in Vienna. 13

Similarities appear when we compare

the course pursued in Vienna with the one

pursued in Budapest. Following the German

occupation of Hungary on 19th March 1944,

the SS and the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior

directed the concentration and deportation

of Jews across the country. In the capital,

the mayor and the city council were the

ones to pass decrees on the relocation of Jews

4 Erika Szívós, ‘Introduction: Historic Jewish Spaces in Central and Eastern European Cities’, East Central Europe

42 (2015), pp. 139-162; Barbara Engelking and Jacek Leociak, The Warsaw Ghetto: A Guide to the Perished City, transl.

Emma Harris (New Haven, 2009); Cole, Holocaust City; Markian Prokopovych, ‘Introduction’, Urban History 40.1 (February

2013), pp. 30-31.

5 Cole, Holocaust City, particularly pp. 25-48. Reviewers have noted Cole’s lack of comparison between Budapest and

other ghettoized cities as well as his focus on the administrative aspects of ghettoization as opposed to its human

victims. See Yehuda Bauer, ‘Holocaust City: The Making of a Jewish Ghetto Tim Cole’, The American Historical Review,

109.3 (June 2004), p. 999.

6 Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, transl. Donald Nicholson-Smith (Oxford, 1991), pp. 50, 116, 288.

7 Cole’s rewording of Robert Sack’s definition in Col , Holocaust City, pp. 39-40.

8 Ibid., p. 37.

9 Gerhard Botz, ‘The Jews of Vienna from the Anschluss to the Holocaust’ in Ivar Oxall, Michael Pollak and Gerhard

Botz (eds.), Jews, Antisemitism and Culture in Vienna (London, 1987), pp. 195-197; Doron Rabinovici, Eichmann’s Jews: The

Jewish Administration of Holocaust Vienna, 1938-1945, transl. Nick Somers (Cambridge, 2011), pp. 30-32, 59.

10 Botz, ‘The Jews of Vienna from the Anschluss to the Holocaust’, pp. 195-197.

11 ‘Lilli Tauber’, Centropa, accessed 10 March 2020 < https://www.centropa.org/biography/lilli-tauber>.

12 Rabinovici, Eichmann’s Jews, p. 59; Botz, ‘The Jews of Vienna from the Anschluss to the Holocaust’, pp. 195-197.

13 Botz, ‘The Jews of Vienna from the Anschluss to the Holocaust’, pp. 195-197.


60

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

in Budapest, while the Jewish Council took functioned as open ghettos. In Budapest, however,

the situation was slightly more complex.

on administrative responsibilities. 14 Jews were

forced to move into ‘yellow-star houses’, tenement

buildings designated for Jewish occu-

across the city and only became a part of one

Here, the yellow star houses were scattered

pancy. 15 Though somewhat dispersed, 16 the majority

of these buildings were located in Pest. 17 row Cross ordered the construction of a ghetto

closed ghetto in November 1955 when the Ar-

Thus, ghettoisation in Budapest was emblematic

of ghettoisation in Vienna in three ways. Warsaw. Although the Jewish district was al-

wall. 22 The situation was even more volatile in

Firstly, municipal, national and international legedly intended as an open ghetto, a month

authorities played a role in the development after its inception in October 1940, authorities

of anti-Semitic spatial practices in both capitals.

Secondly, expropriation and displacerated,

closed off and isolated’ from the German

built a wall, creating ‘an area artificially sepament

was not only done to concentrate Jews, and Polish districts of the city. We may stipulate

that by the time of the ‘great liquidation

but to move non-Jews into better housing. 18

Ibi Krausz from Budapest recalls that at the Aktion’ in the summer of 1942 – or, at the very

time ‘the Christians […] got the Jewish houses

from downtown, while the Jews moved into April and May 1943 – Warsaw had become the

latest, by the time of the Ghetto Uprising in

their houses.’ 19 Finally, Vienna and Budapest site of a destruction ghetto. 23

both experienced ‘dispersed ghettoisation’. 20 If we were to apply Browning’s contention

that ‘ghettoisation was in fact carried out

In light of these similarities, we cannot claim

that the spatial practices of ‘Holocaust cities’ at different times in different ways for different

emerged in a vacuum. Instead, they developed reasons on the initiative of local authorities’, 24

in relation to each other.

we might simply conclude that the ghettos in

This is not to say that all Jewish ghettos

were exactly alike. Some cities created open different due to the influence of local circum-

Vienna, Budapest and Warsaw were inherently

ghettos, which were unwalled but had restrictions

on entering and leaving. Other munici-

of these urban spaces suggest otherwise: in each

stances. Yet the social and physical dimensions

palities established closed ghettos surrounded case, spatial practices aimed to reproduce the

by physical barriers. The third kind was the destruction

ghetto, a sealed-off, temporary struc-

relationship – between Jews and non-Jews by

relationship – or rather, produce an absence of

ture used to concentrate Jews either to deport separating them. Moreover, Botz notes that the

or murder them. 21 In Vienna, Jewish districts Third Reich viewed the procedures developed

14 Randolp L. Braham, The Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary (Detroit, MI, 2000), pp. 156-157; Máté Rigó,

‘Ordinary Women and Men: Superintendents and Jews in the Budapest Yellow-Star Houses in 1944–1945’, Urban

History 40.1 (February 2013), pp. 71, 75-78; Cole, Holocaust City, pp. 169-90.

15 Rigó, ‘Ordinary Women and Men’, pp. 75-78; Prokopovych, ‘Introduction’, pp. 30-31; Cole and Smith, ‘Ghettoization

and the Holocaust’, p. 312.

16 Braham has argued that dispersed ghettoization was performed because urban planners believed it would protect

non-Jews from Allied bombing if Jews were scattered throughout the city. For a discussion of Braham’s argument,

see Cole and Smith, ‘Ghettoization and the Holocaust’, p. 304.

17 Rigó, ‘Ordinary Women and Men’, pp. 75-78; Prokopovych, ‘Introduction’, pp. 30-31; Cole and Smith, ‘Ghettoization

and the Holocaust’, p. 312.

18 Cole and Smith, ‘Ghettoization and the Holocaust’, pp. 304-306.

19 ‘Ibi Krausz’, Centropa, accessed 10 March 2020 < https://www.centropa.org/biography/ibi-krausz>.

20 Cole and Smith, ‘Ghettoization and the Holocaust’, pp. 300, 304-308; Rabinovici, Eichmann’s Jews, p. 146.

21 ‘Types of Ghettos’, Holocaust Encyclopedia, accessed 10 March 2020 <https://encyclopedia. ushmm.org/content/en/

article/types-of-ghettos>.

22 ‘Budapest’, Holocaust Encyclopedia, accessed 10 March 2020 <https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/ content/en/article/

budapest>.

23 For dates and events related to the Warsaw ghetto, see Engelking and Leociak, The Warsaw Ghetto, pp. 65-101.

24 Cole, Holocaust City, p. 32.


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in Vienna as a solution that could be extended

to other places in its sphere of power. 25 Thus,

the involvement of Nazi authorities in the formation

of the Warsaw and Budapest ghettos

evinces that communication about the segregation

and concentration of Jews occurred not

only at the local and national level, but also at

the supranational level. Warsaw certainly differed

from Vienna, and Budapest from Warsaw,

but the capitals were connected as part of a

network of ‘Holocaust cities’.

Ultimately, authorities experienced certain

limitations in their ability to create urban

spaces of exclusively ‘Jewish presence’

and ‘Jewish absence’. To understand this better,

we must ask who was being ‘ghettoised’.

In Budapest, Christians frequently ended up

residing in yellow-star houses. This was partially

due to the authorities’ stance on mixed

marriage. Whereas Christians were allowed to

live with their Jewish partners or children in

a Jewish household, Jews were not allowed in

Christian dwellings. 26 The idea of Jewish space

was therefore obfuscated. Instead, as Cole and

Smith state, these spaces were ‘mixed’. While

the two historians claim that this ‘was tolerated’

by authorities, there may be more to it 27 –

authorities may have ‘had’ to tolerate the fact

that Christians and Jews existed together in

spaces of ‘Jewish presence’ because, logistically,

there was no way around it.

The boundaries between ‘Jewish’ and

‘non-Jewish’ spaces were similarly blurred in

other cities during World War II. According

to Rabinovici, due to the nature of dispersed

ghettoisation in Vienna, many Jews lived

throughout the city and continued to have

contact with non-Jewish neighbours. 28 In fact,

members and affiliates of the Nazi Party affected

by ghettoisation complained about the

continued presence of Jews in their districts. 29

61

Even in cities with closed ghettos, such as Warsaw,

‘Jewish’ and ‘non-Jewish presence’ could

overlap. Apolonia Starzec remembers that after

the ghetto burned down, her sister, along with

several other Jews, were placed in an apartment

in Praga. The person that took them in

was a non-Jewish janitor, who had previously

worked and lived in the closed-off camp before

being relocated. 30 Accounts such as these reveal

that the ‘Jewish’ district contained people

with different ethnic backgrounds.

It also serves to consider the age and

gender dimensions of Jewish ghettos. Since

young men were usually conscripted into

forced labour or the army, they spent less time

in the ghetto. This is reflected in the first-hand

accounts of Holocaust survivors from Budapest.

As a girl, Edit Deutsch lived in a yellow-star

apartment with her mother, siblings,

and grandmother. Her father was in forced labour

and could only visit once a week. 31 Miklos

Braun, meanwhile, was one of the young men

drafted to work in the motorised-unit of the

Hungarian army. His parents, wife and children

lived in the Pest ghetto. 32 It was therefore

primarily children, women, and the elderly

that stayed in the ‘Jewish’ buildings. Overall,

these ethnic, gender, and age topographies tell

us two important things. For one, ghettos did

not exclusively contain Jews, raising questions

about the efficacy of demarcating places of

‘Jewish presence’. For another, ghettos did not

confine all Jews. It therefore follows that Jews

could inhabit spaces outside of the ghetto, raising

questions about places of ‘Jewish absence’.

These topographies gain further signi -

cance when we consider how everyday people

were able to renegotiate space within Nazi-occupied

and allied cities. Hilberg contends that

after centuries of persecution, Jews had learned

to refrain from resistance and hence primarily

25 Botz, ‘The Jews of Vienna from the Anschluss to the Holocaust’, pp. 195-197.

26 Tim Cole and Graham Smith, ‘Ghettoization and the Holocaust’, pp. 304-309.

27 Ibid., p. 309.

28 Rabinovici, Eichmann’s Jews, p. 146.

29 Botz, ‘The Jews of Vienna from the Anschluss to the Holocaust’, pp. 195-197.

30 ‘Apolonia Starzec’, Centropa, accessed 10 March 2020< https://www.centropa.org/biography/ apolonia-starzec>.

31 ‘Edit Deutsch’, Centropa, accessed 11 December 2019 <https://www.centropa.org/biography/edit-deutsch>.

32 ‘Miklos Braun’, Centropa, accessed 11 December 2019 <https://www.centropa.org/biography/ miklos-braun>.


62

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

responded to the Holocaust with compliance. 33 the Warsaw district also protected themselves

Rabinovici, however, has contested this position,

claiming that it rests on ‘anti-Semitic cli-

people started digging bunkers, fitting them

by creating hiding places. In autumn of 1942,

chés’. Instead, he argues that in places such as with mattresses, and stocking them with food

Warsaw, where Jews were more concentrated, and medicine. Izaak tells us that some of the

people could gather together and resist; in Vienna,

this was not possible because Jews were sewage and electricity system. 37 To survive the

bunkers were even hooked up to the municipal

more dispersed. 34 This essay seeks to counter day-to-day, members of the Warsaw district developed

the Aleynhilf, or ‘Self Help’, a network

Hilberg’s position and reconsider the argument

made by Rabinovici. If we understand of soup kitchens, children’s day care centers,

resistance as any act that challenged or defied and more that provided support to Jewish families.

38 Similar communal initiatives were taken

– either in secret or in public – the territoriality

of the Nazi regime, then we can identify resistance

efforts across all three cities examined she and her family sometimes went to a kitch-

up in Pest Ghetto. Edit Deutsch reports that

here.

en on Sip Street where they occasionally received

cooked meals. 39

Within the ghetto, people countered the

power of authorities by setting up communal Most efforts on the inside depended on

help initiatives. For one, men that were ghettoised

often formed guard units. Living in the the ghetto wall, though built as a border, func-

contact with the outside world. Cole states that

Warsaw Jewish district, Izaak Warcek Kornblum

remembers how his dad set up a ‘backversive

trespassing and covert transactions. 40 It

tioned as a ‘liminal space’, allowing for subyard

self-defence’: ‘People helped one another, should be noted that the bunkers described

it was done both for social reasons and for the above were also a type of ‘liminal space’, since

sake of maintaining order. 35 Here, the self-defence

was formed to ensure a degree of peace times even connected to the rest of a city. Both

they redefined the layout of ghettos and some-

among residents of the ghetto. In comparison,

male Jews living in Budapest yellow-star the wall became the key to survival and helped

in Warsaw and in Budapest, smuggling across

houses guarded major entrances in order to to develop an internal economy. 41 Engelking

protect the building dwellers against surprise and Leociak explain that smuggling was the

raids. 36 Ironically, therefore, non-Jewish police primary method of compensating for food

officers and Jewish ghetto residents guarded shortages in the Warsaw Jewish district. 42 Consequently,

we may presume that the Aleynhilf

the ghetto against each other. Inhabitants of

33 Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 3rd edn, vol. 3 (New Haven, 2003), p. 1112; Rabinovici, Eichmann’s

Jews, pp. 196-199.

34 Rabinovici, Eichmann’s Jews, pp. 146, 196-199.

35 ‘Izaak Warcek Kornblum’, Centropa, accessed 10 March 2020 < https://www.centropa.org/ biography/

izaak-wacek-kornblum>.

36 Braham, The Politics of Genocide, p. 157.

37 Engelking and Leociak, The Warsaw Ghetto, pp. 480, 736-737, 781-786; ‘Izaak Warcek Kornblum’, Centropa; ‘January

- April 1943: Preparing for the Uprising and Building Bunkers’, Voices from the Inferno: Holocaust Survivors Describe

the Last Months in the Warsaw Ghetto, accessed 10 March 2020 <https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/warsaw_

ghetto_testimonies/preparing_ uprising.asp>.

38 Samuel Kassow, ‘The Warsaw Ghetto in the Writings of Rachel Auerbach’, in Glenn Dynner and Francois

Guesnet (eds.), Warsaw: The Jewish Metropolis: Essays in Honor of the 75th Birthday of Professor Antony Polonsky (Leiden

and Boston, MA, 2015), pp. 509-514.

39 ‘Edit Deutsch’, Centropa.

40 Cole, Holocaust City, p. 44.

41 Engelking and Leociak, The Warsaw Ghetto, pp. 446-459; Cole and Smith, ‘Ghettoization and the Holocaust’, p. 313;

Cole, Holocaust City, pp. 43-44.

42 Engelking and Leociak, The Warsaw Ghetto, p. 446.


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63

soup kitchens distributed food brought in from a lot of time in the city’s streets, which, after

the ‘Aryan’ side of the city. 43 Other things, such the closing of the Pest Ghetto, were technically

spaces of ‘Jewish absence’. 50 Jewish women

as news, could also be passed on over the wall.

The Polish Home Army newspaper, Biuletyn Informacyjny,

for instance, was notable because an capital. Olga Banyai, for example, laboured

were also employed throughout the Hungari-

one of its reporters and later editors, Jerzy at the Csepel brick factory during the German

Grasberg, was a resident in the Warsaw ghetto.

44 Non-Jews could use the ghetto border to Jewish hospital at Bethlen Square. 52 Although

occupation, 51 while Zsuzsanna G. worked at the

their advantage as well. Rigó’s study of Budapest

yellow-star houses examines how superish

workforces, the fact that they had to travel

both women were employed in primarily Jewintendents,

charged with policing the Jewish to get to their respective places of work demonstrates

they maintained a degree of mobility

residents, could negotiate racial discrimination

and segregation ‘on the micro level’. 45

throughout the city despite ghettoisation.

To a certain extent, people also had The situation was slightly different in

agency to either avoid or leave the ghetto. One Warsaw, where several factories were set up

wealthy Jewish lawyer in Budapest was able to inside the ghetto. Jews that were capable of

get false papers as a Christian wine-dealer and doing labour, such as Hanna We, Izaak Warcek

thus dodged living in one of the yellow-star Kornblum, and Apolonia Starzec, were forced

buildings. 46 Lucia Heilman from Vienna managed

to evade ghettoisation because her father’s managed to escape the Jewish district were

to work at these ‘shops’. 53 However, those who

non-Jewish friend hid her and her mother in sometimes able to find employment on the outside.

The aforementioned Apolonia Starzec got

his metal workshop. 47 In Warsaw, Hanna We

escaped from the ghetto by hiring smugglers a job delivering wool, which required her to

who helped her climb over the wall, 48 and Anna walk and ride streetcars around different Warsaw

neighbourhoods. She was nearly caught

Lanota escaped by paying off a guard 49 . In all

of these cases, the people trying to escape the on a few occasions, but managed to get away. 54

ghetto had help – whether voluntary or bought Certainly Apolonia’s was an exceptional case;

– from people ‘on the Aryan side’ of Holocaust nevertheless, her story illustrates that people

cities, thereby demonstrating how both Jewish found ways to resist the spatial demarcations

and non-Jewish local actors mediated the territoriality

of the Nazi regime.

out of the ghetto, they did not always hide

enforced by authorities. Once someone broke

Another way for Jews to cross the somewhere on the ‘Aryan side’ – sometimes,

boundaries between Jewish and non-Jewish they traversed the urban space.

spaces was work. As a labourer for the army Lastly, local inhabitants received assistance

from international actors to evade fascist

stationed in Budapest, Miklos Braun spent

43 Kassow, ‘The Warsaw Ghetto in the Writings of Rachel Auerbach’, pp. 509-514.

44 Joshua Zimmerman, ‘The Polish Underground Press and the Jews’, in Glenn Dynner and Francois Guesnet (eds.),

Warsaw: The Jewish Metropolis: Essays in Honor of the 75th Birthday of Professor Antony Polonsky (Leiden and Boston,

MA, 2015), p. 451.

45 Máté Rigó, ‘Ordinary Women and Men’, p. 91.

46 The case is discussed in Máté Rigó, ‘Ordinary Women and Men’, p. 89.

47 ‘Lucia Heilman’, Centropa, accessed 10 March 2020 < https://www.centropa.org/node/83045>.

48 ‘Hanna We’, Centropa, accessed 10 March 2020 < https://www.centropa.org/biography/hanna-we>.

49 ‘Anna Lanota’, Centropa, accessed 10 March 2020 < https://www.centropa.org/biography/anna-lanota>.

50 ‘Miklos Braun’, Centropa.

51 ‘Olga Banyai’, Centropa, accessed 11 December 2019 <https://www.centropa.org/biography/olga-banyai>.

52 ‘Zsuzsanna G.’, centropa, accessed 11 December 2019 <https://www.centropa.org/biography/ zsuzsanna-g>.

53 ‘Hanna We’, Centropa; ‘Izaak Warcek Kornblum’, Centropa; ‘Apolonia Starzec’, Centropa.

54 ‘Apolonia Starzec’, Centropa.


64

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

urban practices. For instance, although British its peak when, after the Ghetto Uprising of

policy towards Jewish refugees was mixed, 55 1943, the Warsaw ghetto was destroyed. 63 One

some British organizations were able to arrange eyewitness remembers, ‘I saw the ghetto burning.’

64 Yet in spite of these repressive measures,

Kindertransporte to help Jewish children emigrate

(though without their parents) from continental

Europe to England. Lilli Tauber mandermine

anti-Semitic spatial practices. Indeed,

Jews and other locals exhibited agency to unaged

to flee Vienna this way because her uncle the fact that municipal and state authorities

had connections to the Bnei Brit lodge. 56 In resorted to violence reflects the very fragility

of their territorial power. Thus, any act that

Budapest, the International Red Cross placed

certain buildings under protection to provide blurred the lines between spaces of ‘Jewish

safety to Jews. 57 Furthermore, diplomats from absence’ and ‘Jewish presence’ functioned as a

other countries, such as the Swiss vice-consul

Carl Lutz and the Swedish representative Contrary to Cole, Budapest was not the

form of resistance against ghettoisation.

Raoul Wallenberg, started issuing ‘protective only ‘Holocaust city’ during World War II. As

letters’ to Jews in the Hungarian capital. 58 Erika

Izaak’s grandmother and nephew were two and the Hungarian capital have shown, sever-

the foregoing case studies of Vienna, Warsaw,

recipients of such letters. 59 This ultimately led al cities in Nazi-occupied or allied states employed

spatial practices to segregate, persecute,

to the creation of the ‘International Ghetto’,

where Jews with foreign protection passes and concentrate Jews. While there existed a

were allowed to reside. 60

degree of local variability in the implementation

of these practices, the foundation of any

Indubitably there were severe restrictions

on peoples’ ability to negotiate territoriality.

Between November 1944 and January 1945, Reich’s attempt to exert territoriality. This is

urban ghetto ultimately reflected the Third

far-right Nyila gangs raided the ghettos, hospitals

and streets of Budapest to kill Jews. 61 Hun-

resistance. Both local inhabitants as well as in-

not to say that ghettoisation was met without

dreds, such as Gyula Foldes’ father and uncle ternational actors found ways to undermine,

as well as Miklos Braun’s uncle were shot into renegotiate, or directly challenge the imposed

the Danube (the latter fortunately managed to urban boundaries between spaces of ‘Jewish

swim away). 62 Violence against Jews was committed

in other ghettos, too. After a series of practices of ‘Holocaust cities’ therefore reveal

presence’ and ‘Jewish absence’. The spatial

daily searches and raids in the Warsaw ghetto the internal contradictions and instabilities of

during 1941, the Biuletyn reported escalations to municipal governments, states, and regimes

the ‘German liquidation Aktion’, which reached during World War II. In order to further ex-

55 Anthony Grenville, ‘Introduction’, in Andrea Hammel and Bea Lewkowicz (eds.), The Kindertransport to Britain,

1938/1939: New Perspectives (Amsterdam, 2012), p. 2.

56 ‘Lilli Tauber’, Centropa. For more information, see Andrea Hammel and Bea Lewkowicz (eds.), The Kindertransport

to Britain.

57 ‘Chronology’, Yellow Star Houses, accessed 10 March 2020 <http://www.yellowstarhouses.org/ chronology>.

58 ‘Chronology’, Yellow Star Houses; ‘Budapest’, Holocaust Encyclopedia; Cole and Smith, ‘Ghettoization and the Holocaust’,

pp. 310-311.

59 ‘Erika Izaak’, Centropa, accessed 10 March 2020 < https://www.centropa.org/biography/erika-izsak>.

60 ‘Chronology’, Yellow Star Houses; ‘Budapest’, Holocaust Encyclopedia; Cole and Smith, ‘Ghettoization and the Holocaust’,

pp. 310-311.

61 Cole and Smith, ‘Ghettoization and the Holocaust’, p. 312. In one particularly brutal case on December 23, Nyila

gangs stormed the Jewish hospital on Bethlen Square, occupied it for twenty-four hours, and massacred twenty-eight

Jews. See Braham, The Politics of Genocide, p. 196.

62 ‘Gyula Foldes’, Centropa, accessed 10 March 2020 < https://www.centropa.org/biography/gyula-foldes>; ‘Miklos

Braun’, Centropa.

63 Zimmerman, ‘The Polish Underground Press and the Jews’, pp. 451-459.

64 Anna Lanota’, Centropa.


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pand our awareness of this topic, we need to

investigate on a larger scale the links between

65

the vast numbers of towns and cities impacted

by the Holocaust.


APARTHEID

& RESISTANCE

How did black political agitation develop in the early

years of the Union of South Africa?

Dylan Cresswell

In 1916, six years after the inauguration of the

Union of South Africa, Solomon Plaatje wrote

that ‘the South African Native found himself,

not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of

his birth’. 1 While Apartheid was not formalised

until 1948, the preceding decades played host

to a raft of racial legislation which limited the

rights of black Africans, enacted colour-bars

across society and laid the groundwork for severe

segregation. Increasing repression was opposed

by nascent African political movements,

whose methodology and influence fluctuated

in response to government measures, changing

membership and ideological variance. Prior to

the wartime emergence of mass movements,

organisations such as the African National

Congress (ANC) eschewed revolution and advocated

for the gradual expansion of European

rights to South Africa’s black majority. Writ-

ers during the later Apartheid years, reflecting

upon the increasingly violent contemporary

struggle for equality, disparaged the efforts of

‘the pre-war African proletariat-in-the-making…

[as] barely more than brave beginnings’

which ‘at no time posed any credible threat to

the total political and economic hegemony of

whites’. 2 Since the end of Apartheid, a growing

revisionist literature for the period has

emerged, allowing for a fair reappraisal of the

early struggle against discrimination. This revision

hinges upon an understanding that before

the Hertzog Government’s reforms in the late

1930s, which finally excluded blacks completely

from white political and legal institutions

and subjected them to the direct rule of baasskap

(Afrikaans, denoting a model of ‘boss-ship’

instead of white trusteeship), ‘the full implications

of segregation were not yet clear’. 3

1 S. Plaatje, Native Life in South Africa, Before and Since the European War and the Boer Rebellion, https://www.sahistory.

org.za/sites/default/files/Nati e%20Life%20in%20South%20Africa_0.pdf (accessed February 6, 2020), p. 16.

2 G.M. Gerhart, Black Power in South Africa (Los Angeles: 1978), pp. 30-31.

3 S. Dubow, The African National Congress (Stroud: 2000), p. 7.


CRESSWELL - APARTHEID & RESISTANCE

This essay analyses black activism between

1910 and 1930, while attempting to avoid

the condescension of posterity which inevitably

clouds the period’s presentation in broader

teleological histories of the struggle against

Apartheid. Significant attention must be given

to groups other than the ANC, which remained

small and conservative until its postwar

growth. The Industrial and Commercial

Workers’ Union and the Communist Party of

South Africa vied with the ANC to become the

recognised voice of the oppressed black majority,

each with their own ideology and methods

for reversing segregation. Meanwhile, the

proliferation of spontaneous action in localised

strikes and rural millenarian movements

is evidence of a serious black political consciousness

which existed outside the confines

of official organisations. Obstacles to effective

action were high and activists were frequently

forced to adjust their stances, but these hardships

were a necessary challenge in the development

of a defined post-war African nationalism

which could combine liberal equality,

racial identity and united proletarian strength.

The Union of 1910 provided stimulus for

the first emergence of nationwide black political

activism in South Africa. The 1909 South

Africa Act which created the Union flagrantly

ignored the non-racial liberal tradition of the

Cape, including sections prohibiting ‘The sale

of intoxicating liquor to natives’ and making

separate dispensations for the alienation and

administration of African-owned land. 4 Section

35 of the Act contained an especially menacing

threat to black political rights: in Cape Colony,

the largest constituent part of the Union,

the historic inclusion of blacks in a multiracial

qualified franchise could be overturned by a

simple two-thirds majority in the new national

legislature. 5

67

The tone of black political activism in

the first decade of Union was heavily determined

by the nature of its constitutional settlement.

Only a small section of property-owning

Africans who met the Cape’s franchise quali -

cation were eligible to vote, and thus agitators

were drawn heavily from their ranks. This was

clearly reflected in the founding membership

of the South African Native National Congress

(SANNC, later renamed the ANC in 1923),

which was formed in 1912 to protest the marginalisation

of blacks in the new Union. The

Congress was dominated by middle class, European-educated,

Christianised Africans who

stood to lose heavily from the loss of political

rights. Due to their social status, men such as

John Dube, Solomon Plaatje and Pixley ka Isaka

Seme were not political outsiders. Plaatje,

for example, had held positions in the colonial

civil service, and his correspondence reveals

personal relationships with several notable

white politicians. 6 The SANNC therefore held

a moderate stance: its leaders had benefited

from the educational and occupational opportunities

provided by British colonial rule, and

hoped that the principles of liberty and justice,

which were preached at the imperial metropole

and in their Anglicised education, would

prevail over the alarming segregationist solutions

to the ‘Native problem’ which were being

propagated by the South African Government. 7

In later years, the founders of the SAN-

NC would be criticised as aloof ‘tea drinkers’

by radical sections of the African nationalist

movement. 8 In retrospect, their deference to

official institutions had achieved little, allowing

segregation to encroach seemingly unchallenged.

This, though, is not a fair reflection of

the efforts of early activists. The unified African

nationalism which would allow the ANC

to evolve into a mass movement in the 1940s

4 South Africa Act 1909, cs. 15, 147. Available at https://media.law.wisc.edu/s/c_8/jzhy2/cbsa1.pdf (accessed March 10,

2020).

5 Ibid., cs. 35.

6 Sol Plaatje, Letter to Henry Burton, Minister for Native Affairs, November 8, 1910. Available at https://duo.dur.ac.uk/

bbcswebdav/pid-5515360-dt-content-rid-20406418_2/courses/HIST1561_2019/Plaatje%20letter%20to%20Burton_

Nov1910.pdf (accessed March 10, 2020).

7 H.M. Feinberg, ‘The 1913 Natives Land Act in South Africa: Politics, Race, and Segregation in the Early 20th Century’,

The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 26, No. 1 (1993), p. 86.

8 Gerhart, Black Power in South Africa, p. 30.


68

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

was in its infancy in first decade of Union. Although

Union had created a single South African

state, its identity was clearly European

and did not belong to its black majority. The

anti-African character of the new South African

state forced black activists to search for a

new identity, which they found in their rights

and responsibilities as citizens of the British

Empire. 9 This is starkly evident in Sol Plaatje’s

1916 book Native Life in South Africa, written

during the voyage of the 1914 SANNC deputation

to Britain. In Native Life, Plaatje remonstrated

directly to the British public, hoping to

generate the momentum required to force the

imperial government to protect the ‘fi e million

loyal British subjects who shoulder “the

black man’s burden”’ in South Africa. 10 The

British identity of the early SANNC was firmly

embedded in the traditional liberal style of its

activism, with persuasion, petitioning and formal

writing assuming particular importance. 11

As the following photograph from the 1914 deputation

shows, the SANNC’s conceptualisation

of themselves as British citizens even manifested

itself in their dress. There is therefore abundant

evidence for Khwezi Mkhize’s claim that

these activists were ‘black Victorians’, an identity

which superseded their increasingly abject

status as ‘Natives’ in South Africa. 12

SANNC deputations to Britain in 1914

and 1919 were unsuccessful in their aim of

overturning the 1913 Natives Land Act, but

still managed to access key figures of authority

such as Lewis Harcourt, Secretary of State

for the Colonies, and Prime Minister David

Lloyd George, who was moved to discuss the

matter with Jan Smuts. 13 The ultimate failure of

the deputation cannot therefore be attributed

to any lack of commitment from its members.

Firstly, recent precedent had demonstrated

the power of the British public to influence

imperial politics on moral grounds. In 1906,

public outcry against the working conditions

of Chinese indentured labourers imported to

South African gold mines had resulted in intensive

Parliamentary scrutiny, the end of the

programme and a landslide general election

which brought the collapse of the Balfour Government.

14 Unfortunately for the SANNC, the

arrival of the 1914 deputation in London was

immediately followed by the outbreak of war in

Europe, which distracted the British political

establishment from their cause. An Afrikaner

rebellion in the Transvaal further diminished

any chance of imperial intervention which

might spark unrest amongst a community only

recently subdued after the war of 1899-1902.

The lack of further discriminatory legislation

during the First World War is misleading.

If one instead focuses upon the increased

virulence with which African landowners were

pursued under existing laws, it becomes clear

that the South African Government was determined

to continue the process of alienation licenced

by the Natives Land Act. A letter from

Pixley ka Isaka Seme to Silas Molema in February

1918 particularly exemplifies the rapid

wartime encroachment upon African land and

property rights. It describes events following

the failure of Paramount Chief John Montsioa,

a large Barolong landowner, to pay back

a loan. Despite the loan being a private matter,

Seme claimed that ‘people here [in Johannesburg]

are pressing all their worth to make him

9 P. Limb, ‘Early ANC Leaders and the British World: Ambiguities and Identities’, Historia, Vol. 47, No. 1 (2002), p.

61.

10 Plaatje, Native Life in South Africa, p. 14.

11 B. Willan, ‘Native Life in South Africa: Writing, publication, reception’, in J. Remmington, B. Willan & B. Peterson

(eds.), Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa: Past and Present (Johannesburg: 2016), p. 2.

12 K. Mkhize, ‘To See Us As We See Ourselves’: John Tengo Jabavu and the Politics of the Black Periodical’, Journal

of South African Studies, Vol. 44, No. 3 (2018), pp. 413, 417.

13 ‘Early Resistance, the 1913 Land Act and deputations to London’. Available at https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/

early-resistance-1913-land-act-and-deputations-london (accessed March 10, 2020).

14 ‘Treatment of the Witwatersrand Coolies’, Hansard, HC Deb 22 February 1906 vol 152 c500. Available at https://api.

parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1906/feb/22/treatment-of-the-witwatersrand-coolies (accessed March 11,

2020).


CRESSWELL - APARTHEID & RESISTANCE

pay this amount and to disgrace him and the

nation’. 15 The vigorous mobilisation of white

public opinion against black landowners undermined

the SANNC’s vision of racial cooperation

in South Africa, auguring the decline

of the organisation in the 1920s.

The Congress of the 1920s suffered

greatly due to its wartime stance. Officiall , the

organisation staunchly supported the imperial

war effort, with ‘the Bantu people… prepared

to offer every assistance’, including the

temporary cessation of all protest against the

South African Government. 16 This was a calculated

political move. As a 1918 memorial to

King George V shows, SANNC activists hoped

that wartime loyalty would be rewarded with

the end of ‘discrimination on account of colour

and creed’, and African inclusion in ‘the right[s]

of citizenship, freedom and liberty’. 17 However,

this stance proved futile. In the aftermath of

a ruinous conflict Britain was unwilling to interfere

in South African politics. Furthermore,

it appears that the SANNC underestimated

the entrenchment of segregationist ideology

amongst South Africa’s European community,

which had come into increasing conflict with

black workers as they migrated into towns and

cities to fulfil the industrial demand for wartime

labour.

After the War, the SANNC (renamed the

ANC in 1923) entered a period of rapid decline

in membership and resources. Limb proposes

that this was the result of a significant undermining

of the organisation’s faith in Britain

and its traditional Anglocentric protest methods.

18 South African blacks, in contrast with

their rebellious Boer compatriots, had pro-

69

vided valuable services to the war effort, with

21,000 men serving in the South African Native

Labour Corps on the Western Front. 19 However,

after much enthusiastic African service in the

British causes of justice and liberty, imperial

authorities still refused to extend those principles

to South Africa. At that point, men such as

Saul Msane, who remained doggedly attached

to their British identity, came into conflict with

the growing Garvey-inspired Africanist wing

of Congress, led by Josiah Gumede. 20 The exigencies

of war drove a wedge between those

who were willing to wait for British action and

those who were compelled to action, and it

was perhaps for that reason that Silas Molema

identified opposing ‘optimistic’ and ‘pessimistic’

camps within the African nation in 1920. 21

After Pixley Seme was severely cautioned by

the Union Government for publishing an uncensored

war report in Zulu, subversive action

began to carry a serious risk of reprisal which

would threaten the status and property of the

traditional grandees. Limb argues that this crucially

changed the character of activism in the

post-war years, which began to develop along

distinctly anti-imperialist and black nationalist

lines. His work brings forward evidence of the

advance of increasingly radical men, such as

James Thaele and Josiah Gumede, in the ANC

leadership, which corresponded with the withdrawal

of conservatives, such as John Dube,

who lost the presidency in 1917, having been

judged as overly compromising on the issue of

segregation. 22 This, though, is hardly sufficient

evidence that the First World War caused the

ANC to transition from its traditional British

imperial approach to new African nationalism.

15 Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Letter to Silas Molema, February 1, 1918. ‘Silas T Molema and Solomon T Plaatje Papers,

1874-1932’, A979.Aa4. Available at http://www.historicalpapers.wits.ac.za/index.php?inventory_enhanced/U/Collections&c=199519/R/A979-Aa4

(accessed March 11, 2020).

16 SANNC, Memorial to King George V, December 16, 1918. ‘Silas T Molema and Solomon T Plaatje Papers, 1874-

1932’, A979.Cc9. Available at http://www.historicalpapers.wits.ac.za/index.php?inventory_enhanced/U/Collections&c=199665/R/A979-Cc9

(accessed March 11, 2020).

17 Ibid.

18 Limb, ‘Early ANC Leaders and the British World: Ambiguities and Identities’, pp. 72-79.

19 B. Willan, ‘The South African Native Labour Contingent’, The Journal of African History, Vol. 19, No. 1 (1978), pp. 61-

86.

20 Limb, ‘Early ANC Leaders and the British World: Ambiguities and Identities’, p. 73.

21 S.M. Molema, The Bantu - Past and Present (Edinburgh: 1920), p. 348.

22 Limb, ‘Early ANC Leaders and the British World: Ambiguities and Identities’, p. 79.


70

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

The dominant focus of the organisation

remained firmly upon winning political rights

for Africans within the existing European

South African state, not upon Garveyite ideas

of African self-determination. When agitators

attempted to shift the movement towards a

nationalist path, as Elliot Tonjeni and Bransby

Ndobe did in the Western Cape in the mid-

1920s, they were firmly rebuked; Tonjeni and

Ndobe were expelled from the ANC in 1927 and

forced to channel their ideology into a splinter

group, the ‘Independent ANC’. 23 Their failure

to redirect the ANC’s ideology might be explained

by the lack of a grassroots nationalist

movement in the 1920s.

As late as 1938, a leading social worker

in Johannesburg asserted that there were ‘few

signs of the development as yet of a race consciousness

among urban Africans’. 24 In towns,

declared to be a ‘European area in which there

is no place for the redundant Native’ by the

Native Affairs Commission in 1921, black workers

were usually migrants whose lives were too

transient to allow the consolidation of communities

necessary for a national or racial identity

to develop. 25 Furthermore, works on the attitudes

of urban Africans share a consensus that

the development of race consciousness was

stifled by the complete reliance of unskilled

migrant workers on European industry for

employment: it was difficult to conceptualise a

South Africa run exclusively by Africans when

the existing fabric of society was fundamentally

based upon European constructions. 26 Meanwhile,

urban Africans shared little more than

a common oppressor with their rural counterparts.

Black farmers faced significantly different

problems, notably in fencing and dipping

regulations, which were commonly viewed as

‘part of a more general white invasion whose

object was to dispossess Africans of their livestock’.

27 Pass laws preventing rural blacks from

leaving their homeland engendered a tribal parochialism

which prevented the emergence of

nationalism in the countryside.

Localised challenges to authority,

though, should not be written off due to their

lack of success. It is more appropriate to consider

the widespread but unfocused protests of

the 1920s as evidence that Africans were already

beginning to protest racial discrimination with

great energy, but lacked a movement with the

organisational and ideological strength necessary

to unite their localised struggles. In the

Eastern Cape, Wellington Buthelezi led a highly

popular Africanist movement, preaching a

millenarian message that African Americans

would arrive in aeroplanes to liberate South

Africa from European rule. The widespread

belief in this fantastic claim indicates a low

level of education amongst the black peasantry,

but the enthusiasm for Buthelezi’s other messages

reveals a serious political engagement in

increasingly oppressed rural African communities.

Thousands of students were drawn away

from mission schools by Buthelezi’s teaching,

which focused on challenging European

schools which were ‘imposing alien cultural

values and ideologies on African children, divorcing

them from traditional beliefs and conditioning

them to accept subservient positions

in the church dominated system’. 28 These ideas

were heavily influenced by the work of African

American black nationalists. Buthelezi, as later

remembered by Walter Sisulu, referred to

himself and his followers as ‘Americans’, and

his promotion of an independent African culture

which did not seek European influence

indicates a keen familiarity with the contemporary

beliefs of Marcus Garvey. 29 The African-

23 Dubow, The African National Congress, p. 16.

24 R. Philips, The Bantu in the City (Alice, Eastern Cape: 1938), p. 381.

25 Gerhart, Black Power in South Africa, pp. 23, 28.

26 I.D. MacCrone, Race Attitudes in South Africa (Johannesburg: 1965).

27 I. Hofmeyr, “We spend our years as a tale that is told”: Oral Historical Narrative in a South African Chiefdom (Portsmouth:

1993), p. 71.

28 C. Millar, S. Raynham & A. Schaffer (eds.), Breaking the Formal Frame: Readings in South African Education in the

Eighties (Cape Town: 1991), p. 246.

29 R.T. Vinson, The Americans Are Coming! Dreams of African American Liberation in Segregationist South Africa (Athens,

Ohio: 2012), 103-19.


CRESSWELL - APARTHEID & RESISTANCE

ist ideology promoted by Buthelezi was beyond

consideration to the moderate agitators of the

ANC, who held fundamentally opposed views

about the role of European institutions and

culture in South African society. As a result,

the ANC became increasingly out of touch with

the Africans whom it claimed to represent, and

black political activism began to develop in a

new style.

In the absence of a unifying national

identity, growing class consciousness played a

crucial role in the growth of a popular African

political conscience in the 1920s. In a process

which was accelerated by the demands of the

First World War, the early twentieth century

had been marked by rapid industrialisation in

South Africa. Mining and manufacturing operations

expanded, bringing a growing number

of black migrant workers to urban areas to provide

labour for these industries. This process

heightened the racialised fears of Europeans,

who successfully forestalled the emergence of

a racial or national conscience amongst urban

Africans by preventing them from settling permanently

in towns. 30 Through the collection

of four hundred personal histories, the Institute

of Race Relations estimated that African

migrant workers would frequently serve in as

many as ten industries in different locations

during their lifetime. 31 With many jobs lasting

a year or less, - hardly time to learn a new trade

- Africans were unable to develop personal

bonds with their colleagues. However, the migrant

labour system failed to stop the rise of

class consciousness among urban blacks, who

were united by the oppressive economic conditions

which they faced.

The high incidence of strikes in the

post-war years could be viewed as evidence of

71

a growing working class identity amongst urban

black South Africans. There had been little

public involvement in the predominantly

intellectual activism of the pre-war years, and

thus the large strikes of 1918-19 marked the first

serious coordinated popular protest against

segregation. These strikes are pivotal to understanding

the development of black political

activism. When sanitary workers in Johannesburg

struck over issues of pay, they were joined

in solidarity action by African miners on the

Rand and stevedores in Cape Town, leading

one to question whether this solidarity was

based on race, class or a mixture of common

identities. Race did, of course, play a significant

role which is insufficiently covered by Garson

in his analysis of the period. 32 The exploitation

which drove sanitary workers, miners and stevedores

to strike was fundamentally based on

racial labour legislation, and the post-war African

proletariat was essentially defined by colour-bars

which relegated all blacks to the ranks

of low-pay, unskilled labour. However, in spite

of the wide proliferation of Garveyite messages

of racial independence, black labour organisers

frequently strove for cooperation with their

white working class colleagues. In 1928, the

Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union

(ICU) - the largest black trade union in South

Africa - applied (albeit unsuccessfully) for affiliation

with the white-dominated South African

Trades Union Congress. 33 Meanwhile, the

Communist Party, which became increasingly

Africanised after the 1924 National-Labour

electoral pact brought white labour within the

segregationist establishment, always remained

committed to a two-stage revolution, where the

end of segregation was viewed as only the first

step towards the elimination of capitalism, the

30 Gerhart, Black Power in South Africa, p. 27. Until the 1940s, European measures such as the 1923 Natives (Urban Areas)

Act were successful in preventing blacks from laying down roots in urban areas. By 1936, women made up only

36 percent of blacks living in urban areas, indicating that most African families remained in rural areas while their

men migrated to towns in search of work.

31 Desmond Hobart-Houghton, Evidence given to the South African Institute of Race Relations, Pretoria: May 12,

1952, ‘Commission on the Socio-Economic Development of the Native Areas within the Union of South Africa’,

AD1783.A1.066. Available at http://www.historicalpapers.wits.ac.za/?inventory_enhanced/U/Collections&c=124960/R/

AD1783-A1 (accessed March 21, 2020).

32 N.G. Garson, ‘South Africa and World War I’, in N. Hillmer & P. Wigley (eds.), The First British Commonwealth (London:

1980), pp. 74-75.

33 P.L. Wickens, The Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union of South Africa (Cape Town: 1973), p. 470.


72

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

true enemy of all workers. 34 These examples indicate

that for black workers, a strong non-racialised

proletarian conscience coexisted with

their identity as a marginalised race.

The popularity of Marxist messaging

even compelled new ANC President Josiah

Gumede to suggest that the Congress co-operate

with the Communists in 1927. In recent

travels around Europe, Gumede had attended

the first conference of the League Against Imperialism

and visited the Soviet Union. He had

been constantly surrounded by international

agitators who propagated dogmatic Marxist interpretations

of the struggle of South African

blacks, which may well have detached him from

the true demands of his countrymen. Gumede’s

new sympathies led to his removal as ANC

President in 1930. This, though, could easily be

said to reflect the underlying conservatism of

the ANC, which elected Pixley ka Isaka Seme, a

stalwart of traditional pre-war SANNC politics,

to replace Gumede. 35 Following the decision

to reject Marxism in favour of nationalism, the

Congress entered a period of severe weakness,

with membership in both urban and rural areas

reaching a new low. This suggests that Gumede’s

ideological conversion was not merely

the result of Soviet indoctrination or pressure

from Comintern, but based on a shrewd analysis

of the increasingly proletarian tone of domestic

protests against South Africa’s white

government.

Garson’s argument that economic conditions,

and not racism, drove black workers to

strike is compelling. 36 Insufficient wages guaranteed

that rather than protesting structural

issues, most black workers were concerned

primarily with their own subsistence. When

strikes achieved a rise in wages, interest in further

action rapidly dissipated. For example, in

Cape Town in 1919, striking stevedores who

were granted an additional daily four pence

quickly returned to work at the cost of their

less fortunate colleagues who gained nothing. 37

If black workers across South Africa

were simply striking in order to ameliorate

their own personal working conditions, claims

of a growing class consciousness may be undermined.

However, the popularity of organised

working class movements demonstrates that

this was not the case. The ICU was founded by

Clements Kadalie in 1919, and represented an

important progression in the development of

black political activism. Primarily a trade unionist

movement, the ICU was the dominant

force in black politics throughout the 1920s,

rising prolifically as the ANC’s liberal ideology

dwindled in popularity. It was the first organisation

to mobilise South Africa’s black population

en masse, accumulating 100,000 members

by 1927. 38 Unlike the local strike movements of

1918-19, this growth was not based on industrial

workers’ economic grievances. In fact, the

ICU drew the majority of its membership from

rural areas, where independent African farmers

stood to lose their autonomy and culture if

successfully forced into wage labour on white

farms. 39 Rural members faced a very different

set of socio-economic problems to their urban

counterparts, and thus the great enthusiasm

for the ICU amongst both groups suggests

the existence of a latent desire for unity in the

black South African community which surpassed

trade unionism.

Comments made by Lord Brockway in a

1927 panegyric, including that Kadalie and the

ICU ‘brought South Africa nearer to a nonwhite

revolution than it has ever been’, do not

bear truth. 40 Claims that the ICU had revolutionary

credentials may have been based on

its huge membership in both rural and urban

African communities. The ICU, though, was

34 Dubow, The African National Congress, pp. 12-13.

35 C. Saunders, ‘The Founder: An Ambiguous Figure’. Available at https://www.sahistory.org.za/archive/founder-ambiguous-figure-

hris-saunders (accessed March 25, 2020).

36 Garson, ‘South Africa and World War I’, pp. 74-75.

37 Wickens, The Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union of South Africa, p. 36.

38 Ibid., p. 598.

39 ‘Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU)’. Available at https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/industrial-and-commercial-workers-union-icu

(accessed March 23, 2020).

40 Tribune, May 15, 1970 (London), p. 7.


CRESSWELL - APARTHEID & RESISTANCE

at heart a syndicalist organisation, which encouraged

local labour organisation but never

developed a national platform for strikes in the

same mould as post-war British labour movements.

As Wickens points out in a comprehensive

study, the movement’s leadership was not

especially radical or proletarian: Kadalie was

mission-educated, with a social background

more consistent with earlier SANNC activists

than the working class which he claimed to

represent. 41 Despite this, the growth of the ICU

remains of crucial importance to understanding

the development of black political agitation

in the 1920s. While the movement lacked a clear

message, this ambiguity allowed a plethora of

oppressed groups across black South African

society to flourish under one umbrella organisation.

One common interpretation of the

ICU acronym highlights what the movement,

the first to present a truly popular united front

against oppression, meant to many marginalised

blacks: ‘I see you, white man’. 42

In the first two decades following Union,

black political agitation in South Africa was

dominated by the issue of defining a national

identity. The explicitly racist Union settlement

of 1910 did create a unified South African

state, although this state was the preserve of

the white South African nation. Excluded from

their own governance, blacks within the new

Union were forced to search for unifying bonds

of common experience in order to build up imagined

communities where they could attain

some level of self-determination. Until 1918,

these efforts, centred on the SANNC, focused

on the common rights of South African blacks

as British imperial citizens. Early activists were

optimistic, finding hope for legal equality in

the Cape’s only recently discontinued non-ra-

73

cial constitution. Their optimism was reflected

in peaceful methods of protest centred around

literary and oratory appeals to the Victorian

liberal sensitivities of the British elite.

After the First World War, changing socioeconomic

conditions wrought by industrialisation

shattered any optimism which still remained

in the black community and gave rise

to two newly emboldened identities of race

and of class which drove political agitation

down an increasingly radical path. Both identities

have been addressed at length, although

the question of which assumed primary importance

to the African community in the 1920s is

extremely difficult to quantify. While ideas of a

‘Native’ South African populace featured heavily

in European thinking, it is impossible to

pinpoint the moment at which tribal identities

were superseded by the notion of a common

racial experience in black political conscience.

Furthermore, race and class were inextricably

linked in South African society, in a matrix

which exists to this day. The emergence of a

black working class was itself the result of racialised

policy-making which conceived blacks

as a reserve of cheap industrial and agricultural

labour. Africans who engaged in political

agitation in the 1920s, whether it was with the

ANC, ICU, Communists, or spontaneous local

protest, were all subject to both racism and

proletarianisation, the balance between the

two varying in each individual case. The agitation

of the 1920s, which largely centred around

industrial action and the trade unionist ICU,

suggests that while there was a predominantly

racial motivation for policies which marginalised

blacks, their effects manifested themselves

through a proletarian framework of low wages

and cultural detachment.

41 C. Kadalie, My Life and the ICU: the autobiography of a black trade unionist in South Africa (London: 1970), p. 31.

42 C.R.D. Halisi, Black Political Thought in the Making of South African Democracy (Bloomington, Indiana: 1999), p. 34.


MEMORY & CIVIL

RIGHTS

‘The petty contentions of the day’? The implication and

politicisation of memory in the civil rights movement:

1960 and beyond

Amy Swain

Although activists did not directly use memory

as a political tool to gain Civil Rights, the concept

was heavily implicated in the Civil Rights

Movement. Memory functioned both as an outgrowth

of the movement and a tool used by it.

Whilst African American social memory was

always in existence, it had been denied mainstream

cultural authority since the end of the

American Civil War. 1 The dominant narrative in

the American South was the white supremacist

ideology of the ‘Lost Cause’, that persisted long

past its origins in the nineteenth century. By

the 1960s, as a direct result of the Civil Rights

Movement, African Americans gained a formal

political voice as well as social and cultural

confidence that allowed them to challenge the

‘Lost Cause’, asserting their own social memory.

Memory was also mobilised within the Civil

Rights Movement through the use of Freedom

Songs. Freedom Songs established continuity

between the struggles of slavery and segregation,

as well as providing an integral source of

unity and perseverance for activists.

In order to answer the question of how

memory was implicated in the Civil Rights

Movement, this essay must first define the

broader concepts of memory. Pierre Nora has

shown that the modern development of professional

history has meant that collective memory

no longer holds a natural, organic or spontaneous

form. Instead, memory has become a

social construction. 2 The dwindling of milieu

de memoire, or ‘real environments of memory’

have given way to lieux de mémoire or constructed

and curated ‘sites of memory.’ 3 In lieux

de mémoire, monuments, anniversaries and archives

serve as a deliberate construction of a

social memory that is tied to a place, group and

1 William F. Brundage, The Southern past: A Clash of Race and Memory, (Cambridge, MA, 2005) p.10

2 Pierre Nora, ‘Between Memory and History: Les Lieux De Mémoire’ Representations, no. 26 (1989.) p.12

3 Ibid., pp. 7


SWAIN - MEMORY & CIVIL RIGHTS

collective identity. 4 Modern social memory as a

construction, is inherently unstable and something

that must be reproduced and maintained

through lieux de memoire in order to survive. 5

For the American South, this has been

the reproduction and maintenance of the

‘Lost Cause’. As with all constructions of social

memory, this was a process of selectively

remembering and selectively forgetting. 6 The

‘Lost Cause’ glorified slaveholders as compassionate

paternalists, playing on the trope of the

loyal, happy slave. It created a sense of sectional

brotherhood by asserting that Union and

Confederate soldiers were both committed to

noble, but seperate causes of freedom, omitting

both the horrors of slavery and its integral

role in causing the Civil War. 7 In doing so, this

narrative could be used for the political purpose

of enabling sectional reconciliation, but it

also laid the foundations of Jim Crow. 8

The ability to create a dominant social

memory is dependent on the power of the

group constructing it, as power determines access

to the political and civic institutions necessary

to create monuments, anniversaries and

commemorations. 9 White Southern memory

formed the dominant popular understanding

of history. African American social memory

at the time had no mainstream public face or

strong coherence. 10 Nonetheless, by the 1960s,

African Americans were able to gain a platform.

The celebration of public anniversaries is

a memory practice in which its architects and

audience are met with the opportunity to renegotiate

and alter the significance of a social

memory to the present day. 11 The occurrence of

the Civil War Centennial in 1957 provided this

75

opportunity. Architects favoured the reproduction

of the ‘Lost Cause’. However, with the

Civil Rights Movement at its height, African

Americans and their allies were able to challenge

dominant white constructions of memory

by mobilising the autonomous construction

of an African American social memory.

The Civil War Centennial celebrations

saw two dominant influences direct decision

making. First was the underlying need to maintain

and reproduce the ‘Lost Cause’, which

supported Southern regional identity and Jim

Crow. Second was the overriding foreign policy

issue of the day, the Cold War. 12 From the

outset, the Civil War Centennial Commission

(CWCC) headed by Major General Ulysses

Grant III and Karl Betts, promoted ‘Lost

Cause’ narrative by encouraging dedications

to Confederate soldiers in the form of marking

graves and battles sites, as well as building memorials

to them, such as the Texas Monument

at Vicksburg. This reproduced an image of the

Civil War which was by this point was already

deeply ingrained in popular memory. 13

The ‘Lost Cause’ was well suited to the

problem of the Cold War. Racial strife in the

United States had become a focal point of

Russian propaganda, as civil rights conflicts

undermined the United States’ claim as a

bastion of freedom in the world. By ensuring

that the Centennial narrative showed a face

of unity to the international community, the

government could attempt to deflect international

criticism. 14 As a result, celebrations were

as far divorced from domestic racial strife as

possible. Alan Nevins, a CWCC leader and historian

commented: ‘My own feeling is that we

4 Ibid., pp. 7-12.

5 Robert J. Cook, Troubled Commemoration: American Civil War Centennial 1961-1965 (Baton Rouge, LA, 2011) p. 3.

6 William F. Brundage, Where These Memories Grow: History, Memory, and Southern Identity (Durham, NC, 2000) p. 3.

7 David W. Blight, American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era (Cambridge, MA, 2011) p. 4.

8 Cook, Troubled Commemoration, pp. 4-5.

9 David Glassberg, American Historical Pageantry: The Uses of Tradition in the Early Twentieth Century, (Durham, NC,

1990) p. 2.

10 Brundage, Where These Memories Grow, pp.10-11.

11 Glassberg, American Historical Pageantry, p. 1.

12 Richard M. Fried, The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! (Oxford, 1999) p. 77.

13 Cook, Troubled Commemoration, p.160 and United States, 1958, Guide for the Observance of the Centennial of the Civil

War, Washington D.C.: Civil War Centennial Commission pp. 7-11.

14 Fried, The Russians Are Coming!, pp. 100-105.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

ought to lift this particular commemoration far

above the immediate and temporary political

or social contentions...we can elevate our commemorations

far above the petty contentions

of the day’. 15 He also commented that CWCC

must ‘discourage observances that are cheap

and tawdry or divisive’. 16 Through thinly veiled

language, it is clear that the CWCC recognised

the potential instability of the Centennial, and

actively chose to distance the memory of the

Civil War from the Civil Rights Movement.

Similarly, the CWCC pamphlet, ‘Facts About

the Civil War’ was published with no acknowledgement

of slavery. 17 The equivalent pamphlet

produced by the Texas chapter, followed suit.

18

The tone of the National handbook and the

celebrations were set by an address from President

Eisenhower, whose reference to emancipation

was tacit. He wrote, ‘In this context we

may derive inspiration from their deeds to renew

our dedication to the task which yet confronts

us- the furtherance, together with other

free nations of the world, of the freedom and

dignity of man and the building of a just and

lasting peace’. 19

From this we see that both the pamphlet

and the Centennial were intended to be an exercise

in promoting a distinct type of patriotism

in the context of the Cold War, that prized

unity as the most important legacy of the Civil

War and largely ignored the legacies of slavery

and the Emancipation Proclamation. 20 This appeared

to take hold of the public. The South

Carolinian Newspaper the Daily Tar Heel in

1961 advertised a showing of the Gone with

the Wind with the intent of “SALUTING THE

CIVIL WAR CENTENNIAL!.” 21 The equation

of the Civil War with a heavily romanticised

version of the antebellum South is demonstrative

of the role of non-governmental authorities

in memory constructions, as the reception

of the public to memory practices is also open

to negotiation. This obscured African American

perspectives on the Civil War. Although

the practice of writing African American academic

history had existed in the early twentieth

century, its impacts were largely unseen. 22

By the 1960s, African American academic journals

such as The Negro History Bulletin, introduced

the idea of using African American

memory as a political tool. 23

White supremacist attacks on Freedom

Rides and the desegregation of schools and sitins

triggered a backlash against the Civil War

Centennial celebrations that ensued in the

assertion of African American social memory.

24

The Baltimore Afro-American demonstrated

a direct opposition to the ‘Lost Cause’ in writing

that the CWCC ‘thought it would be dandy

if colored Americans were restricting with the

old plantation pattern of singing and dancing’.

25

The North Carolinian University Newspaper

the Campus Echo published a disapproving

quote from John Hope Franklin commenting

that Centennial celebrations ‘resembled a national

circus’. 26 The Pittsburgh Courier wrote

that ‘right now enemies of the Negro, the Ku

Klux Klan and others, are feeling especially

cocky. They are celebrating the Civil War Centennial,

when for two years the South defeated

the North shamefully...[giving] a big boost to

Southern pride’ . He went on to publish his

15 Cook, Troubled Commemoration, pp. 170-172.

16 Fried, The Russians Are Coming!, p. 110.

17 Ibid., p. 107.

18 United States Texas, 1961, Texas Civil War Centennial Program: 1961-1965 for 1861-1865.

19 United States. 1960. Facts about the Civil War. Washington, D.C.: Civil War Centennial Commission. p.2.

20 Cook, Troubled Commemoration, pp. 9-15.

21 Advertisement for a showing of ‘Gone with the Wind’ in The Daily Tar Heel, July 06 1961, p. 5.

22 Lary May, Recasting America: Culture and Politics in the Age of Cold War (Chicago, 1989) p. 249.

23 Cook, Troubled Commemoration, pp. 155-157.

24 John Weiner, ‘Civil War, Cold War, Civil Rights: The Civil War Centennial in Contest 1960-1965’ in Alice Fahs and

Joan Waugh, The Memory of the Civil War in American Culture (Durham, NC, 2004) p. 208.

25 Cook, Troubled Commemoration, p. 178.

26 ‘John Hope Frankin Deplores Civil War ‘Circus’ The Campus Echo, October 27, 1961, p. 1.


SWAIN - MEMORY & CIVIL RIGHTS

own pamphlet acknowledging the contributions

of African American troops for the Union

which he distributed in order to ‘supplement

the splendid work of the Freedom Riders’. 27

References to Freedom Riders demonstrates

the importance of Civil Rights in prompting

the assertion of an African American social

memory. Criticisms made their way into the

mainstream press. The New York Times called

the Centennial a ‘blasphemy and disgrace.’ 28

For the first time, African American social

memory had a public face and had gained

enough cultural authority to challenge the

dominant narrative of the Lost Cause. Because

of this, attempts from the CWCC to divorce the

celebrations from racial strife were not successful.

The Centennial was unable to be celebrated

without many of its decisions attracting

significant controversy. When the CWCC

travelled to South Carolina for the Charleston

celebrations, an African American member

of the committee was denied lodgings at the

segregated host hotel. 29 Under the pressure of

public outrage from activists, President John F.

Kennedy reluctantly took action, announcing

that the CWCC should ‘assure equal access to

all its activities’. 30 This saw the event hosted at

a desegregated U.S. naval base. 31 In addition to

this, activists received some federal endorsement

for their cause. In 1962, during the Emancipation

Ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial,

Kennedy acknowledged that, ‘much remains

to be done to eradicate the vestiges of discrimination

and segregation, to make equal rights a

reality for all of our people, to fulfil finally the

promises of the declaration of independence.’ 32

The Centennial was not a linear or dichotomic

progression from the dominance of

white social memory to mainstream acknowledgement

of African American social memo-

77

ries. In fact, the victories of assertions of African

American were largely underwhelming.

The speech from Kennedy came only as a

pre-recorded message, and thus the cause of

desegregation lacked the earnest, widely public

endorsement from the federal government that

it hoped for. 33 Despite being warned that a lack

of real-life presence would be unwise, Kennedy

valued political expediency, cautious not to alienate

Southern Democrats. 34 Additionally, the

lack of African American Civil Rights Leaders

actually speaking at the Centennial prompted

calls for a boycott, leading last-minute invitations

to be hurriedly addressed to Thurgood

Marshall and Mahalia Jackson. 35 Regardless,

the significance of the Civil War Centennial

lies not in the ‘wins’ or ‘losses’ but in the

development of public memory practices. The

political changes and development of a stronger

social and cultural confidence caused by

the Civil Rights Movement, African American

newspapers and academics enabled the thrust

of an autonomous African American social

memory into the public sphere. African Americans

came to recognise the power of memory

or popular history as a political tool, and their

newfound leverage made some limited, but significant

hange.

The assertion of the African American

social memory and history as an outgrowth of

the Civil Rights Movement was not confined to

national anniversaries. In the wake of the 1954

Brown v. Board decision, the dominance of the

Lost Cause narrative was also fought in Southern

Schools. The teaching of history in schools

is often omitted in favour of national celebrations

and anniversaries in histories of memory.

However, the school curriculum remains a

valid form of production of social memory as

they formed the basic understandings of re-

27 Blight, American Oracle, pp.15-16.

28 Weiner, ‘Civil War, Cold War, Civil Rights’ p. 212.

29 Ibid., p. 211.

30 Fried, The Russians Are Coming!, p. 108.

31 Ibid., p. 108.

32 Cook, Troubled Commemoration, pp. 176-177.

33 Fried, The Russians Are Coming!, p. 111.

34 Weiner, ‘Civil War, Cold War, Civil Rights’ pp. 219-220.

35 Blight, American Oracle, pp. 18-19.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

gional history that most children would bring

to adulthood without graduate-level study.

In addition to what schools taught, the

schools themselves acted as ‘sites of memory’.

During the mid-twentieth century, the ‘threats’

of communism, desegregation and post-war

industrialisation were bound up in the fear of

a threat to the ‘Southern way of life’. 36 This resulted

in the hardening of the Lost Cause narrative

through the revision of school textbooks,

acting as another opportunity for the renegotiation

of social memory. In 1964 Journalist Benjamin

Muse commented that: ‘the idea that the

movement to end racial segregation was part

of a Communist conspiracy took hold among a

vast number of white Southerners. Many were

ready to believe that Communists dominated

not only the NAACP but the federal government

and the Supreme Court’. 37 His speculations

were founded, as the Southern States

Industrial Council warned Virginians against

‘Civil Rights propaganda’ that may ‘infiltrate

schools. 38

Fears of communism within the Federal

Government and the ongoing Civil Rights

Movement in the South saw the creation of a

State Commission to oversee the creation of

new textbooks that were ‘suitable texts on Virginia

history, government and geography.’ 39 In

examining the content of revised textbooks, it

is clear that the ‘suitable texts’ were only those

that propagated the ‘Lost Cause’. Sections of

text written by historians who did not support

this idea were removed from the textbooks. 40

Sympathetic Historians like Dr. Francis B. Simkins

were carefully selected. Simkins wrote

that slavery was ‘an educational process which

transformed the black man from a primitive to

a civilised person’. 41 Students learnt that “slavery

made it possible for negroes to come to

America and make contact with civilized life.”

42

The ‘Lost Cause’ provided a universal solution

to the fears of white Virginians. By teaching

young Virginians that the greatest legacy of

the Civil War was sectional reconciliation, and

that slaves were loyal to their compassionate

masters, it was reasoned that they would be

less susceptible to Communist and Civil Rights

propaganda. 43 The hardening of the Lost Cause

narrative in response to threats of Communism

to the South presented another arena in which

the history of the South could be contested.

In recognising the processes taken by

the Virginian government to harden the ‘Lost

Cause’, African Americans began to rally attacks

on government textbooks. The Association

for the Study of Negro Life wrote that,

‘with the beginning of public-school integration...some

people may presume that emphasis

upon Negro history should be unnecessary.

Nothing could be further from the truth!’. 44 In

1961 the NAACP expressed similar sentiments

alongside the Urban League in 1963 and Congress

of Racial Equality in 1965. 45 Much like the

assertion of African American social memory

during the Civil War Centennial, battles over

textbooks were not a linear process. Many

schools did not change their textbooks, citing

that due to freedom of choice, local schools

could not be forced to adopt new textbooks.

The memory battles that took place in

schools continued into the 1970s and beyond.

In Portsmouth the cancellation of Black History

week led to fiery protests. Police dogs had

36 Fred R. Eichelman, ‘The Government as Textbook Writer: A Case History’ The Phi Delta Kappan 57, no. 7 (1976.) p.

456.

37 Benjamin Muse, Ten Years of Prelude: The Story of Integration since the Supreme Courts 1954 Decision (Viking Press,

1964) quoted in Adam Wesley Dean, ‘“Who Controls the Past Controls the Future”: The Virginia History Textbook

Controversy’ The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 117, no. 4 (2009) p. 322.

38 Brundage, The Southern Past, p. 282.

39 Dean ‘“Who Controls the Past Controls the Future”’ p. 324.

40 Eichelman, ‘The Government as Textbook Writer’ p. 457.

41 Ibid., pp. 326-328.

42 Brundage, The Southern Past, p. 282.

43 Dean, ‘“Who Controls the Past Controls the Future”’p. 322.

44 Brundage, The Southern Past, p. 281.

45 Ibid., p. 281.


SWAIN - MEMORY & CIVIL RIGHTS

to be called and hundreds of students were arrested.

Similar protests in James Island, South

Carolina, led to the closure of the school for a

short period. 46 Criticisms of textbooks mounted.

The Roanoke Star Magazine published

‘Your Child is Getting a Sugar-Coated Version

of Virginia History’ 47 criticising the romanticisation

of slavery, and the Virginia Journal of

Education published multiple articles taking

the same position. In some cases, texts went as

far to ask whether Virginian history should be

studied at all. 48 By 1972, faced with the enfranchisement

of African Americans as a result of

the Civil Rights Movement and mounting critiques

of Virginian textbooks in newspapers as

African American history was more widely acknowledged,

old texts were voted into disuse. 49

Contests over textbooks were not merely

in response to the hardening of the Lost Cause,

but also the loss of sites of African American

memory as a result of the desegregation of

schools. It was clear to African American students

that their social memory, previously attached

to all-black schools, was at stake with

integration. African American children moved

from schools named after black leaders like

Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglas,

to schools named after Confederate heroes Nathan

Bedford Forrest and Robert E. Lee. 50 Professor

of Political Science, James Bolner found

in his studies that African American students

overwhelmingly favoured integration as an ‘abstract

principle.’ 51 However, once integrated, all

simultaneously demonstrated an attachment to

segregated schools as integration could mean

a loss of pride and identity, especially through

the loss of black teachers. 52 Other contemporary

studies by Thomas F. Pettigrew, Nancy

79

Hoyt and Robert L. Williams came to the same

conclusion. 53 The testimonies of children also

confirmed these assertions. Brenda Tapia was

an African American student in a newly integrated

school noting that ‘one of the differences

that I saw in being educated in segregated

schools as opposed to an integrated school is

that black teachers taught you not only the

academics but taught us about life...you were

constantly being given your history in informal

ways’. 54 Another student commented that ‘it

wasn’t really our school. Like we had lost our

own school, you know, and all we had was the

whites’ school’. 55 The loss of all-black schools

and black teachers saw the loss of African

American sites of memory, as African American

students moved to predominantly white

schools. Here it is clear that despite the success

of the Brown decision, the Civil Rights Movement

remained heavily implicated in ongoing

contests over memory in schools. The Virginia

Textbook controversy remained into the 1970s,

and the expiry of misinformed and racist textbooks

was not an inevitable victory, as the Virginian

government invoked the principle of

freedom of choice regarding textbooks. Even

once textbooks were voted into disuse, African

American students were left feeling a loss of

collective identity as they moved into integrated

schools.

Memory was not only implicated in the

Civil Rights Movement as a political outgrowth,

but was used as a means of creating unity, fuelling

perseverance and restoring this lost sense

of identity. The singing of Freedom Songs was

an inherent form of mobilizing memory, as they

were fashioned on slave spirituals. ‘We Shall

Overcome’’ was based upon the slave spirituals

46 Ibid., pp. 280-282.

47 Eichelman, Fredric, A Study of the Virginia History and Government Textbook Controversy, 1946-1972, p. 106.

48 Ibid., p. 113.

49 Brundage, The Southern Past, pp. 282-284.

50 Ibid., p. 279.

51 Bolner, James, and Arnold Vedlitz, ‘The Affinity of Negro Pupils or Segregated Schools: Obstacle to Desegregation’

The Journal of Negro Education 40, no. 4 (1971) p. 320.

52 Ibid., pp. 314- 32.

53 Ibid., pp. 315-318.

54 Brundage, The Southern Past, p. 280.

55 Ibid., p. 279.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

‘Many Thousands Gone’ and ‘No More Auction

Block.’ 56 The mobilisation of memory through

the singing of Freedom Songs had multiple

purposes. Firstly, they brought forth African

American social memory by bringing the history

of slavery into the public sphere. They did so

in an explicit sense as they were performed virtually

unchanged from slave spirituals, usually

with only some alteration of lyrics, to befit the

current situation. “Come En Go Wid Me” was

a slave spiritual that had its lyrics altered from

“if you want to go to heaven, come and go wid

me” to “if you want your freedom, stay off King

Street”. 57 Secondly, Freedom Songs served to

provide unity and identity to African Americans

in the Civil Rights movement. This was

because they evoked a popular social memory

of slavery that provided activists with common

social memory, aiding them in their collective

action. 58 As the ‘Lost Cause’ constituted a deliberate

construction, the construction of public

and unified African American social memory

was not a result of a ‘natural historical truth’

prevailing but was a result of conscious agency.

Although a long held African tradition,

singing did not emerge naturally from the Civil

Rights Movement. Many African Americans

had come to reject freedom singing as an unwanted

reminder of the subjugation of slaves,

associating it with over-emotional rural ‘backwardness’.

59 Others simply did not see any use

in singing. William “Bill” Saunders argued ‘why

waste time with something that you aren’t gonna

get anything out of at all?’ 60 Impetus from

Guy Carawan was pivotal in the propagation

of freedom songs and their use as a political

tool for the Civil Rights Movement. Carawan

campaigned for the use of Freedom Songs

through his “Sing for Freedom” workshops at

the Highlander Centre in 1960. 61 Ultimately,

Carawan’s efforts to revive Slave Spirituals as

Freedom Songs was successful: as an invocation

of memory, Freedom Songs proved to be

a source of unity and motivation for activists.

According to Carawan, members of the SNCC

found singing Freedom Songs to be a “revelation”

because they sang “songs from the days of

slavery that sang of freedom in their own way.

They began to realize how much of their heritage

had not been passed onto them’. 62 Bessie

Jones said that Freedom Songs were “the only

place where we could say that we did not like

slavery, say it for ourselves to hear”. 63 Freedom

Songs acted as a source of unity as African activists

collectively related to the past of slavery.

Thirdly, the mobilisation of memory

through Freedom Songs had a strong psychological

purpose for the Civil Rights Movement.

Activists saw Freedom Songs as a connection

to the spirit, heart and soul to motivate

them and give them strength to continue the

movement, which had many useful purposes. 64

Freedom Songs were sung at the beginning of

meetings to help and ‘break the ice’ between

individual activists to create a sense of unity

and remind them of their cause. 65 The style in

which Freedom Songs were performed made

them especially apt for the purpose of building

unity and identity through which activists

could find strength. The call and response style

of songs, swaying, clapping and marching encouraged

unity, as the performance of songs

depended on the involvement of all. 66 The

Journalist Robert Shelton attended the ‘Salute

56 Ethan J. Kytle, and Blain Roberts. Denmark Vesey’s Garden: Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of Confederacy (New

York, 2018.) p. 260.

57 Ibid., p. 260.

58 Sanger, “When the Spirit Says Sing!” p. 22.

59 Peter J. Ling, “Spirituals, Freedom Songs, and Lieux De Mémoire: African-American Music and the Routes of

Memory.” Prospects 24 (1999.) p. 224.

60 Kytle, Denmark Vesey’s Garden, p. 268.

61 David Spener, We Shall Not Be Moved/No Nos Moverán: Biography of a Song of Struggle (Philadelphia, 2016). pp. 64.

62 Kytle, Denmark Vesey’s Garden, p. 265.

63 Ibid., p. 270.

64 Spener, We Shall Not Be Moved/No Nos Moverán, p. 29.

65 Ibid., pp. 66-68.

66 Sanger, ‘“When the Spirit Says Sing!”’ p. 18.


SWAIN - MEMORY & CIVIL RIGHTS

to Southern Freedom’ concert at Carnegie Hall

and demonstrated the psychological impact of

Freedom Songs in his subsequent article. He

was moved by the ‘rhythmic drive’ and ‘sense

of conviction’ 67 of singers. He also noted that

‘[Mahalia Jackson]…consistently swayed her

audience eliciting hand-clapping during and

cheers after each number’. The way that Shelton

draws attention to these rhythmic movements

demonstrates the distinctness of this

inclusive form of singing.

The deep spiritual connection felt by

Freedom Singers encouraged them to conquer

their fears in pursuing activism against the

very real threats to their lives. 68 Testimonies

from Freedom Singers show this. “Singing is

the backbone and the balm of this movement”,

‘[Singing] is like an angel watching over you’

‘This song represented the coming together ...

You felt uplifted and involved in a great battle

and a great struggle’. 69 In this way freedom

singing was both a product of and producer

of the Civil Rights Movement. The use of freedom

songs allowed African American Civil

Rights activists to find an autonomous past,

reminding them of fellow African Americans

who had struggled through slavery with spirituals

at their side to help them survive. Activists

also found a sense of unity through the collective

memory practice of Freedom Singing. The

deep spiritual emotions evoked by Freedom

Songs helped activists muster the strength

to continue fighting for their cause. Further,

whilst Freedom Songs had many uses, their

occurrence did not constitute a natural or inevitable

feature of the Civil Rights Movement,

but was a deliberate, negotiated assertion of

African American social memory.

The Civil Rights Movement led to African

American political empowerment and

social and cultural confidence which enabled

the assertion of an African American social

81

memory that challenged the long dominant

‘Lost Cause’. Memory processes between the

advocates of the ‘Lost Cause’ and asserters of

African American social memory played out

in arenas for the negotiation of social memories,

such as the Civil War Centennial and the

republishing of Virginian school textbooks.

Collective memory practices were not simply

a result of the Civil Rights Movement but

were used within it. Freedom Songs provided

an integral source of unity and perseverance

for activists, as well as creating an autonomous

African American historical consciousness by

linking the struggles of slavery to those of the

1960s. Due to the brevity of this essay, a number

of other arenas in which social memory

was contested as a result of the Civil Rights

Movement, have been neglected, but are just

as significant For example, the constructions

of historical tourism in the South during the

mid-twentieth century that ignored slavery or

propelled the trope of the loyal slave, saw contests

from African American organisations. 70

Additionally, this essay raises multiple questions.

What was the role of peripheral white

figures like Guy Carawan in the shaping of

African American social memory? What was

the specific content and dynamic workings of

African American Social Memory? Similarly,

there is a longer history of African American

academic historians before the 1960s, that goes

unconsidered in this essay, but could be linked

to the battles of social memory. 71 The history

of the implication of memory during the Civil

Rights Era should continue to be pursued

by historians as processes of memory remain

highly relevant to contemporary political debates.

The Civil War Centennial gave birth to

its own memory practice in the use of the Confederate

Flag as a symbol of ‘white resistance’

and ‘states’ rights’, often cited alongside the

‘Lost Cause’ narrative today. 72

67 Robert Shelton, ‘Negro Songs Here Aid Rights Drive’ New York Times Jun 22, 1963 p. 15.

68 Spener, We Shall Not Be Moved/No Nos Moverán, p. 70.

69 Sanger, ‘“When the Spirit Says Sing!”’ pp. 16-17.

70 Kytle, Denmark Vesey’s Garden, pp. 292-230.

71 See V.P. Franklin, ‘Introduction: Symposium on African American Historiography’ The Journal of African American

History 92, no. 2 (2007) pp. 214-17.

72 Weiner, ‘Civil War, Cold War, Civil Rights’ p. 221.


SUDAN & UGANDA

Have national and international development policies

exacerbated conflicts in Sudan and Uganda?

Natasha Livingstone

From the colonial period to the early twenty-first

century, the development machine was

not only anti-politics, but also anti-gender. National

and international development policies,

directed towards gender or not, exacerbated

conflicts in Sudan and Uganda by perpetuating

a toxic, militarised masculinity. Most of

the literature has accepted that development

aggravated conflict in the region, but gender

has been overlooked. This essay seeks to rectify

that by adapting Ferguson’s ‘anti-politics machine’,

which argues that development institutions

generate their own discourse to construct

countries as objects of knowledge, creating a

structure of knowledge around that object. Interventions

are organised on this basis, which,

while failing on their own terms, have regular

effects, including the expansion of bureaucratic

state power alongside a representation of

economic and social life which denies ‘politics’

and suspends its effects. 1 This essay contends

that, from the colonial period to recent conflict

, development policies depoliticised and

degendered conflicts in Uganda and Sudan.

This negatively impacted masculinity, aggravating

conflict and xacerbating gender violence.

This essay is split into two sections, firs -

ly assessing development policies not focused

on gender, followed by policies that explicitly

aimed to improve gender equality. In both

contexts, international development ‘experts’

were blind to how national governments deliberately

used gender to evoke conflict The first

half will outline how the colonial government

undermined traditional masculinities and

modelled a violent male identity which, unintentionally

promoted by the development industry’s

anti-politics and anti-gender machine

in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century,

continued to exacerbate conflict Drawing

largely on Dolan’s work in Uganda, the second

section will analyse how female empowerment

1 James Ferguson, The Anti-Politics Machine: “Development”, Depoliticization, and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho, (Minneapolis,

1994), p. xiv.


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83

jects, such as the Gezira and Zande schemes,

policies exacerbated conflict by focussing exclusively

10 Ibid, p. 623.

on women, failing to tackle toxic mas-

culinity, and thus how the policies themselves

promoted this masculinity through development

agency staffers who modelled the behaviour.

This essay defines national development

policies as those constructed by the Ugandan

and Sudanese governments and international

policies as those articulated by outside actors,

were efforts to impose social engineering, 5 and

Bernal similarly argued the Gezira scheme

‘represent[ed] the triumph of modern civilisation

over… ignorant tradition’. 6 While both

articles chose not to explore how this imposition

undermined Sudanese masculine identity,

primary sources highlight the consequences.

Government correspondences regarding

including non-governmental organisations, the Gezira Irrigation Project (1924) reveal how

the United Nations and foreign governments.

Development policies are understood using

Cowen and Shenton’s idea of intentional development,

meaning the deliberate attempt to

use policy to construct desired change. 2 Some

of the primary sources refer to ‘aid’ rather than

‘development’, but the actors mentioned are,

or operate in the same sphere as, development

agents. Conflict is defined on a micro and macro

level, considering how intra and intergender

relations contributed to macro-level conflicts

in Sudan (1963-72), (1986-2005), Uganda (1986-

2006), and South Sudan (2013-2018).

In both countries, development policies

not focussed on female empowerment have

exacerbated conflict by causing gender instability

since the colonial period. Colonial governments,

like modern development agencies,

created their own form of discourse to make

their colonies objects of knowledge. 3 Development

policies undermined traditional masculine

identities while the state, in their efforts

to impose their projects, simultaneously modelled

a violent masculinity. 4 Most historians

have overlooked this analysis. Rolandsen and

Leonardi described how development prothe

British altered patriarchal land settlement

practices. Traditionally, ‘a man’s property [was]

divided equally among his heirs’, but colonial

officials decided ‘that the odd shapes and

boundaries of the individual holdings were

totally unsuitable to laying out an irrigation

scheme’ and rented the area from its registered

owners. 7 Rolandsen and Leonardi demonstrate

how the Gezira scheme influenced the Zande

cotton-growing project, implying the latter had

similar features in the south.

Having undermined men’s lived experiences

of their own masculinity, the British

promulgated a violent male identity to impose

development and colonial rule. 8 Rolandsen

and Leonardi have explained how the justific -

tion of state violence following the Torit Mutiny

(1955) fed the rhetoric of violent opposition

that ultimately escalated into civil war from

1963. 9 This militant definition of masculine

power filtered into the 1970s post-colonial era,

epitomised by the President of the High Executive

Council of Southern Sudan’s declaration

‘if we have to drive our people to paradise with

sticks we will do so for their own good’. 10

Dolan similarly highlighted how the

2 M. P. Cowen and R. W. Shenton, Doctrines of Development (Routledge, 1996), p. 50.

3 Ibid., p. xiv.

4 Margrethe Silberschmidt, ‘What Would Make Men Interested in Gender Equality’, in Andrea Cornwall, Jerker

Edström and Alan Greig (eds), Men and Development: Politicising Masculinities (Zed Books, 2011), p. 103.

5 Øystein H. Rolandsen and Cherry Leonardi, ‘Discourses of violence in the transition from colonialism to independence

in southern Sudan, 1955–1960’, Journal of Eastern African Studies, 8:4 (2014), p. 611.

6 Victoria Bernal, ‘Colonial Moral Economy and the Discipline of Development: The Gezira Scheme and “Modern”

Sudan’, Cultural Anthropology, 12, (1997), p. 451.

7 Cd, 2171 Gezira irrigation project, 1924, p. 42.

8 Chris Dolan, Understanding War and Its Continuation: The Case of Northern Uganda (London, 2005), p. 279.

9 Rolandsen and Leonardi, ‘Discourses of violence’, p. 622.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

colonial period undermined Ugandan men’s Macrae argued that OLS failed to address the

sense of self. 11 The 1925 Report of the East Africa

Commission documented colonial interflict

and, by mixing aid and developing in the

political framework which precipitated convention

in gender relations: ‘One of the root ‘relief-to-development continuum’, signalled

problems we have to face is… the Bantu custom

whereby the bulk of the agricultural work (GOS) development agenda. 16 The OLS review

donor support for the government of Sudan’s

was done by women and not by the men. It problematised this: ‘One cannot work with the

should be clearly part of the universal native government as a development partner and…

policy to encourage male labour on the land relate to it as a warring party for humanitarian

and to discourage female labour’. 12 Authoritarian

development projects continued, includvelopment

process in Sudan is linked to the

purposes… when… the actually existing deing

a hydro-electric station near Jinja in 1946. war aims of the GOS.’ 17 OLS was endorsing

13

Historians have failed to link colonial authoritarian

developmental rhetoric to violence in actors and causes, corroborating Riehl’s argu-

warring parties by depoliticising the conflict s

post-colonial Uganda. However, like in Sudan, ment that NGO’s prolonged the war in South

it is plausible that the state’s undermining of Sudan. 18

traditional masculinity and offering of a modern,

violent masculinity set in motion a process conflict as one the many ‘unplanned and con-

Duffield labels OLS’s exacerbation of

that contributed to post-colonial conflict tradictory consequences’ of development. 19

In the late twentieth century, national This fits with Ferguson’s anti-politics machine,

and international development actors continued

to exacerbate conflict by perpetuating the side effects… become legible… as unintend-

where ‘outcomes that first appear as mere

anti-politics and anti-gender machine, curating

a culture of toxic masculinity. This section ‘state power, while simultaneously exerting a

ed yet instrumental elements’ that expand

will first address literature discussing the depoliticization

of conflict before adding gender cus on state power must be adapted for this

powerful depoliticising effect’. 20 Ferguson’s fo-

analysis. Finnström has criticised international context. While accurate in the colonial era,

development schemes in Uganda for allowing Hulme demonstrated the role of NGOs in undermining

the state in northern Uganda, ar-

conflict to continue by shunning political analysis

and licensing the status quo. 14 Operation guing that voluntary aid agencies operated as

Lifeline Sudan (OLS), established in 1989, is local administrations. 21 Tvedt similarly argues

a prime example of the anti-politics machine. 15 that, after the Addis Ababa agreement (1972),

11 Chris Dolan, ‘Militarised, Religious and Neo-Colonial: The Triple Bind Confronting Men in Contemporary Uganda’,

in Andrea Cornwall, Jerker Edström and Alan Greig (eds), Men and Development: Politicising Masculinities (Zed

Books, 2011), p. 128.

12 Cmd. 2387 Report of the East Africa Commission, 1925, p. 32.

13 Will Kaberuka, ‘Uganda’s 1964 Colonial Development Plan: An Appraisal’, Transafrican Journal of History, 16 (1987),

p. 201.

14 Sverker Finnström, Living with Bad Surroundings: War, History, and Everyday Moments in Northern Uganda (Duke

University Press, 2008), p. 134.

15 Joanna Macrae, et al, ‘Conflict the Continuum and Chronic Emergencies: A Critical Analysis of the Scope for

Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Planning in Sudan’, Disasters, 21:3 (1997), p. 224.

16 Ibid., pp. 225, 227, 240.

17 Operation Lifeline Sudan: A Review (1996), p. 3.

18 Volker Reihl, ‘Who is ruling in South Sudan? The role of NGOs in rebuilding socio-political order’, Studies on

Emergencies and Disaster Relief, 9 (2001), p. 10.

19 Mark Duffield ‘Aid and Complicity: The Case of War-Displaced Southerners in the Northern Sudan’, The Journal

of Modern African Studies, 40 (2002), p. 84.

20 Ferguson, The Anti-Politics Machine, pp. 20-21.

21 Reihl, ‘Who is ruling?’, p. 4.


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NGOs extended their bureaucratic structures

in southern Sudan and unintentionally eroded

the state’s weak authority, increasing the likelihood

of civil war. 22

By the early 1990s, the Sudanese and

Ugandan governments were using the anti-politics

machine to their advantage. 23 International

agents were increasingly concerned about

securitisation and began investing in external

state security forces. Fisher argues that from

the early 2000s, Kampala had been persuading

Washington that military assistance to fight

the LRA was beneficial for America’s national

security. This culminated in 2011, when Obama

dispatched 100 military advisers to Uganda. 24

South Sudan also showed signs of attempting

a similar tactic by hijacking a donor-funded

disarmament, demobilization and reintegration

programme from 2009 to fund its military

patronage network. 25

The historiography therefore offers a

persuasive argument that international development

agencies depoliticised and exacerbated

conflict by eroding state structures, mixing aid

and development to endorse those responsible,

as well as funding Ugandan and Sudanese military

security interests. This understanding is

incomplete without considering gender. Dolan

sheds light on how the international development

community overlooked the Ugandan

government and Lord’s Resistance Army’s use

of toxic masculinity as a conflict weapon. Writing

in 2005, he proposed that ‘the situation

is not primarily one of war between the LRA

and the Government of Uganda, but instead a

form of mass torture, which I call Social Tor-

85

ture’. Dolan added that the state promoted a

militarised masculinity to handle the LRA and

belittled attempts to model non-violent forms

of masculinity based on negotiation and reconciliation.

26 The government used the conflict

to consolidate expectations of hegemonic

masculinity and undermine men’s lived experiences

of their own masculinity, aggravating a

process set in motion by colonialism. The state

thus played a central role in thwarting men’s

ability to live up to the masculine model, which

involved particular relationships of power over

women and youth and offered no acceptable

alternative. 27 The state’s creation of internal

displacement camps also made this masculine

model less and less possible to achieve. 28 This

effectively genders Finnström’s analysis of how

the internally displaced person (IDP) identity,

propagated by the Ugandan state and international

development actors between 1986 and

2006, destroyed the Acholi people’s sense of

self. 29

Dolan further argues that, responding

to the collapse of their own masculinity, some

men resorted to acts of violence against themselves,

including alcohol abuse and suicide, but

also against others, through domestic violence

and joining the armed forces, government or

rebels. 30 This assessment of toxic masculinity

can be strengthened by including Turshen’s

analysis of how government and rebel forces

systematically raped women as a deliberate

policy decision. 31 Therefore, while the government

and LRA were the most visible perpetrators

in this period, donor governments, multilateral

organisations, and NGOs were complicit

22 Terje Tvedt, ‘The Collapse of the State in Southern Sudan after the Addis Ababa Agreement: A Study of Internal

Causes and the Role of the NGOs’ in Sharif Harir and Terje Tvedt (eds), Short-Cut to Decay: The Case of Sudan (The

Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, 1994) p. 91.

23 Jonathan Fisher and David M Anderson, ‘Authoritarianism and the securitisation of development in Africa’, International

Affairs, 91:1 (2015), p. 138.

24 Ibid., p. 149.

25 Ibid., p. 137.

26 Dolan, Understanding War, p. 311.

27 Ibid., p. 279.

28 Ibid., p. 311.

29 Finnström, Living with Bad Surroundings, p. 240.

30 Dolan, Understanding War, p. 279.

31 Meredeth Turshen, ‘The Political Economy of Violence against Women During Armed Conflict in Uganda’ Social

Research, 67 (2000), p. 805.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

bystanders in exacerbating a militarised, toxic

masculinity by perpetuating policies that were

blind to politics and gender, including funding

the Ugandan government. 32

The same process applies to Sudan.

Duffield outlines how OLS failed to acknowledge

Dinka displacement as a political act, ignoring

the negative psychological consequences

of the IDP identity that benefited the state. 33

Applying Dolan’s analysis, this IDP identity

perpetuated a violent masculinity, exacerbating

conflict between men and towards women.

Hale curated the term ‘gendercide’ to discuss

the prolific violence against women in Darfur

and the Nuba Mountains in early 2000s. While

focussing on a separate conflict in western Sudan,

it has parallels to Dolan’s understanding

of ‘social torture’. Reconceptualising genocidal

rape in terms of culture, Hale argues women

were intensely targeted as a pathway to destruct

culture and society. 34

Primary sources indicate that similar

violence, resulting from a toxic, violent masculinity,

was seen in the South Sudanese civil

war from 2013. A UN report stated in 2016

that ‘credible sources indicate groups allied

to the state are being allowed to rape women

in lieu of wages’, adding that ‘the prevalence

of rape suggests its use in the conflict has become

an acceptable practice by SPLA soldiers

and affiliated armed militias’. 35 An Amnesty International

report similarly attributed prolific

violence against women to ‘South Sudanese

authorities [who] have repeatedly failed to carry

out decent investigations into crimes of sexual

violence… mainly due to lack of resources

and unwillingness to address the issue.’ 36 In-

ternational development policies thus aggravated

conflict in southern Sudan and northern

Uganda at the macro-level by supporting the

national governments who, by perpetuating a

violent masculinity set in motion in the colonial

era, exacerbated inter and intragender violence

throughout the late twentieth and early

twenty-first century and made a peaceful resolution

unappealing.

Having established the damaging role of

development policies not focussed on gender,

the next section will analyse how depoliticised

and degendered female empowerment policies

exacerbated conflict a factor ignored by most

historians. 37 The UN’s Millennium Development

Goals (MDG) included the ambition ‘to

promote gender equality and empower women’

by 2015. 38 This represented a shift in the

1980s from ‘women in development’ (WID) to

‘gender and development’ (GAD). Woodburn

argues that gender development practices still

followed the WID model, focusing on female

empowerment rather than a more sophisticated

understanding of gendered relations

including men. 39 Silberschmidt furthers this

argument, explaining how gender initiatives

that undermined men’s income-earning power

only perpetuated a masculinity identity that

prioritised female control. 40

While largely agreeing with Silberschmidt,

Dolan emphasises that female empowerment

policies also led to violence between

men. He argues that the Ugandan government

deliberately used female empowerment initiatives

to exacerbate violence, receiving blind

support from the international community.

Dolan highlights an example from 1989, where

32 Dolan, Understanding War, p. 2.

33 Duffield ‘Aid and Complicity’, pp. 93-4.

34 Sondra Hale, ‘Rape as a Marker and Eraser of Difference: Darfur and the Nuba Mountains’ in Laura Sjobery, Sandra

Via, Cynthia Enloe (eds), Gender, War and Militarism: Feminist Perspectives (Westport, 2010), p. 109.

35 United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissione , ‘South Sudan: UN report contains ‘searing’

account of killings, rapes and destruction’, 2016.

36 Amnesty International UK, ‘Report: Sexual Violence in South Sudan, 2018.

37 Andrea Cornwall, Jerker Edström and Alan Greig (eds), Men and Development: Politicising Masculinities (Zed Books,

2011), p. 1.

38 World Health Organisation, Millennium Development Goals.

39 Ursula Woodburn, ‘IDPs and the reconstruction of northern Uganda: Gender and social transformations in Gulu

town’, L’Afrique des Grands Lacs (2008), pp. 445 – 6.

40 Silberschmidt, ‘What Would Make Men Interested in Gender Equality’, pp. 99- 100.


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87

key government figures were involved in programmes

distributing cattle to women to anger ever, they clearly focussed on women, later

tions, and of programmes on gender’. 47 How-

Acholi men. 41 Kyomuhendo similarly emphasises

that the 1995 Ugandan Constitution, which differences… will play a large role… particu-

stating ‘it is increasingly apparent that gender

guaranteed formal equality between the sexes, larly as women are more frequently left without

their male representative in the traditional

failed to bring improvements because gender

equality was used to undermine traditional structures’. 48 A UNICEF Report on Women in

power blocks and exacerbate social tensions. 42 Southern Sudan (1994) similarly ignored men,

NGOs were aware that their own gender-equality

programmes, including distributganisations

(NCA, OXFAM, ACROSS, SCF)

advising that ‘field-based gender sensitive oring

food to women in camps and female-targeted

credit schemes, heightened gender opment and women economic empowerment’.

should take the lead... in the direction of devel-

49

tensions. Several NGOs and officials working Like in Uganda, development agencies did

in the Gulu district even indicated that programmes

targeting women led to an increase im Report for South Sudan discussed the need

not learn from their mistakes. The 2004 Inter-

in gender-based violence (GBV). 43 This issue for ‘closer collaboration with national and international

agencies, donors, the private sector

continues into recent history. A UN report on

a scheme to reduce GBV in northern Uganda and institutions working to empower women

between 2011 and 2013 noted that ‘resistance to and girls in southern Sudan’. 50 This reveals

the programme was noted from men who “felt how OLS and other development actors paid

their power base was being challenged”. Overall

progress in reducing social tolerance of ignore men. Using Dolan’s analysis, these gen-

lip-service to gender issues, but continued to

GBV was therefore reported as limited.’ 44 Similarly,

the 2015 Uganda MDG report lamented ed to the ‘massive use of rape as an instrument

dered development initiatives likely contribut-

the failure to ‘promote gender equality and of terror and weapon of war’ in South Sudan,

empower women’, 45 but, the same year, Porter condemned by a UN report in 2016. 51 Unsurprisingly,

the report did not highlight UN poli-

highlighted how gender development projects

in the Acholi community still failed to dedicate cies as a potential causal factor.

attention to violent expressions of masculinity.

46

ternational agents also exacerbated violence

Gender development policies from in-

In Sudan, development policies for gender

equality similarly exacerbated conflict by ciently with toxic masculinity in conflict . The

because top-down policies failed to deal suf -

ignoring the role of men. The 1994 OLS Southern

Sector Needs Assessment had a short par-

the periods discussed here but represent how

following primary sources are slightly outside

agraph explaining ‘it is essential to understand late the topic began to get attention in the development

sphere. A 2013 British government

the impact of gender of programme interven-

41 Dolan, Understanding War, p. 35.

42 Woodburn, ‘IDPs’, p. 459.

43 Ibid., p. 445.

44 Anasuya Sengupta and Muriel Calo, ‘Shifting gender roles: an analysis of violence against women in post-conflict

Uganda’, Development in Practice, 26 (2016), p. 295.

45 Holly Porter, ‘Say no to bad touches: Schools, sexual identity and sexual violence in northern Uganda’, International

Journal of Educational Development, 41 (2015), p. 271.

46 United Nations Development Programme, Final Millennium Development Goals Report for Uganda 2015, 2015.

47 OLS, OLS Southern Sector Needs Assessment (1994), p. 30.

48 Ibid, p. 30.

49 UNICEF/OLS, Report on Situation of Women in Southern Sudan, (1994), p. 22.

50 The New Sudan Centre for Statistics and Evaluation, Millennium Development Goals: Interim Report for South Sudan

(2004), p. 27.

51 UNDP, Final Millennium Development Goals Report (2016).


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

report outlined that ‘vital preventative and aware of sexual exploitation and abuse by its

emergency responses to violence against women

and girls are not accorded enough priority it has given to the problem has not matched

own personnel for years, but the attention that

by donors,’ adding ‘DIFID must get tough with the challenge’. 56 While historians have generally

overlooked this issue, Madut corroborates

multilateral aid agencies which continue to

ignore basic measures for safeguarding women

in refugee camps and other displacement agency workers, who were predominantly male,

that toxic masculinity was modelled by relief

sites.’ 52 In 2018, another British government report

blamed the ‘structural gender imbalance He outlined how workers blamed women for

in southwestern Sudan between 1993 and 1995.

[that] persists within the sector… Aid organisations

should follow the example of the UN how ‘one relief worker once asked a crowd of

male sexual practices and rape, highlighting

and aim to achieve gender parity on boards, at women in a demeaning tone why... the Dinka

senior management level, and throughout the population was still so large’, while another,

workforce’. 53 The absence of sources from development

agents discussing toxic masculinity ‘these women cry all the time about where to

an employee of Médecins Sans Frontiers, said

in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century

demonstrates that the issue was not prior-

birth again… displaced women do not think

feed their children, but next year they will give

itised by development ‘experts’.

economically’. 57

Even in 2020, the problem persists. An To conclude, it is clear that national and

ICAI report earlier this year condemned the international development policies, focussed

failure of the first global conference against on gender equality or otherwise, exacerbated

sexual violence in war. Having been launched conflicts in Sudan and Uganda by facilitating,

in 2014 following pressure from celebrity Angelina

Jolie, the report complained that sexual viity

that increased violence between men and

and in some cases modelling, a toxic masculinolence

in conflicts continues ‘with almost total towards women. This would come as no surprise

to the south Sudanese and Ugandan gov-

impunity’, because ‘after the summit, nothing

was done to translate the pledges into practical,

measurable steps.’ 54 Madut is the only his-

masculinity and used gender equality policies

ernments who deliberately endorsed violent

torian to have partially addressed this problem as tactics of war. Yet the international development

community have repeatedly feigned

in Sudan. In 1998, he highlighted that, despite

UNICEF commissioning studies into women’s shock at continuing conflict while simultaneously

denying that their well-intended policies

reproductive health problems during conflict

OLS programs did not reflect a willingness to contribute to that same conflict Having traced

deal with it. 55

the problem back to the colonial period, it

The final analysis of how gender equality begs the question of why development continues

despite its failures. The answer lies in this

policies exacerbated conflict is the most shocking.

There is undisputable evidence that development

agency staffers themselves reinforced exacerbation of conflict represents just anoth-

essay’s adaptation of Ferguson’s argument: the

a toxic, violent masculinity. Again, the primary er unintended consequence of the anti-politics

and anti-gender machine, which actually

evidence used here is modern because, tellingly,

earlier documents discussing the issue serves to entrench its institutional power. It

do not exist. A 2017 British government report is a huge oversight by historians to overlook

stated ‘the aid sector, collectively, has been gender when analysing the negative impact

52 International Development Committee, Violence Against Women and Girls (2013).

53 International Development Committee, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in the Aid Sector (2018).

54 The Independent Commission for Aid impact, Review: The UK’s Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (2020).

55 Jok Madut Jok, Militarisation, Gender and Reproductive Health in South Sudan (The Edwin Meller Press, 1998), p. 270.

56 International Development Committee, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in the Aid Sector (2018).

57 Madut, Militarisation, pp. 274, 287.


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of development policies and can only be explained

by the relatively recent introduction of

gendered historical analysis in the 1970s. 58 This

essay hopes that gender will become a more

prominent focus in development historiogra-

89

phy, with historians taking the analysis further

to explore the role of the church and local

NGOs in contributing to development and expressions

of gender, or broadening the study

beyond Sudan and Uganda.

58 Joan W. Scott, ‘Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis’, The American Historical Review, 91 (1986), p. 1054.


6,000

WORDS


91

FERNAND BRAUDEL

& THE ANNALES

How and why should historians revise their understanding

of the creation of Fernand Braudel’s La

Méditerranée?

Toby Donegan-Cross

Introduction

Fernand Braudel’s The Mediterranean needs little

introduction. In the years after publication,

the work was so well received that its author

complained that it had been ‘criticised (too

seldom) and praised (too often).’ 1 Peter Burke

argued that the work should ‘be regarded as

the most important work of history of the century.’

2 Veneration was also directed towards its

author, who Oswyn Murray has argued was ‘the

greatest historian of the twentieth century,’ a

sentiment echoed by J. H. Hexter, David Moon,

Hugh Prince, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Olivia Harris

and others. 3 Secondary literature on The Mediterranean

has focused as much on the book’s

creation as on its arguments, meaning historians

have sought to understand the book’s major

contributions – its tripartite conception of

time (le courté, moyénne and longue durée), the

pre-eminence of geography, and insignificance

of individuals – as a product of Braudel’s own

life experience. It is, of course, beneficial to

reflect on an historian’s influence . As Aurell

has reminded us, ‘we are part of the records we

keep.’ 4 Therefore, considering how Braudel’s

life shaped his work offers the opportunity for

a richer understanding of his historical contributions.

In the case of The Mediterranean, the

narrative most often put forward (I will refer to

this as the ‘conventional’ or ‘traditional’ narrative)

has emphasised in particular the relationship

with Lucien Febvre, one of the founders

of Annales, in developing his thesis. It is also

posited that Braudel’s time as a prisoner of

war in World War Two helped him to move beyond

temporal events, embracing instead the

pre-eminence of the longue durée in shaping

man’s destiny. This experience made him see

events as the ‘crests on the waves,’ while the

more important longue durée privileged a temporality

that transcended rupture and discontinuity.

5 This essay contends that it is now time

to move beyond the over-simplistic conventional

interpretation of how Braudel came to

conceive of time in a tripartite structure, while

also seeking to explore the reasons why the

account described above has proved so pervasive.

The essay will begin (II) by arguing that

1 Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, (London, 1972), p. 1238.

2 Peter Burke, Sociology and History (London, 1980), p. 26.

3 Oswyn Murray, ‘Introduction’ in Fernand Braudel, Memory and the Mediterranean (New York, 2001), p. ix.

4 Jaume Aurell, ‘Autobiographical Texts as Historiographical Sources: Rereading Fernand Braudel and Annie

Kriegel’, Biography, 29:3 (2006), p. 427.

5 Olivia Harris, ‘Braudel: Historical Time and the Horror of Discontinuity’, History Workshop Journal, 57 (2004), p. 162.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

the traditional understanding is premised on

a mischaracterisation of Braudel’s relationship

with the older and (at that point) more infl -

ential Febvre, often overlooking the significant

difference between their structuralist and voluntarist

philosophies. This fl wed argument is

sometimes buttressed by an unsophisticated

understanding of the Annales school in general,

which over-privileges the influence of a few

individual figurehead , and wrongly assumes

that the ‘school’ (a much-debated term) had a

uniform ideology or method. The second part

(III) of the essay addresses the excessive focus

on Braudel’s time as a prisoner of war and illustrates

that this account does not add up logically

or in terms of the evidence on which it is

argued. The enduring hold of this understanding

owes in large part to its inherent strengths

as a romantic narrative, as well as having been

repeated and ossified by respected scholars.

Having tried to deconstruct the current understanding,

the final section of the essay (IV) offers

suggestions which seek to situate the conception

of The Mediterranean in an altogether

longer chronology, drawing attention to Braudel’s

rural background, international perspective,

and, perhaps most overlooked of all, his

marriage.

Febvre the father and Braudel the son

The first section of this essay argues that a

mischaracterisation and overemphasis of

Braudel’s relationship with Febvre, as well as

an over-simplistic account of how the Annales

school functioned, has somewhat impeded an

accurate understanding of the origins of Braudel’s

theory of time in The Mediterranean. The

relationship between Febvre and Braudel began

with a few disparate letters. However, after

a chance meeting and ‘twenty days of laughter’

spent aboard a ferry from South America to

France in 1937, their relationship became more

intimate: ‘It was there’, Braudel wrote, ‘that

I became more than a companion to Lucien

Febvre – a little like a son. His house… became

my house, his children my children.’ 6 This endearing

passage suggests that the relationship

between the two men was first and foremost

personal. Because of this relationship’s perennial

presence in the literature surrounding The

Mediterranean, the distinction between personal

and professional is often obscured. An apposite

example is Burke’s argument that Febvre

‘adopted him [Braudel] as an intellectual

son (un enfant de la maison).’ 7 This problematic

understanding has meant that Braudel’s thesis

has been characterised as a continuation

or fulfilment of Febvre’s aims for the Annales

journal, with some even suggesting that Braudel

displayed voluntarist tendencies. For example,

Harris has argued that The Mediterranean

often included ‘catastrophist visions of history,

which recognised and privileged individual

moments.’ 8 Similarly, Burke has drawn attention

to how Braudel treated the individual as a

driver in history. 9 This analysis closely resembles

Febvre’s oeuvre, but fits less comfortably

with The Mediterranean, in which individual

figures and events are relegated to products of

the longue durée.

The misleading account of their relationship

can be clarified if historians recognise

the significant but often overlooked difference

between patronage (personal relationships potentially

leading to institutional progression)

and academic influence (the ability to affect

someone’s views on their discipline). It is certainly

credible to argue that in the early stages

of his career, Braudel relied on Febvre to progress.

By 1937, when he and Braudel first met,

Febvre had a large amount of institutional power

and personal influenc . Because the French

historical establishment had a highly centralised

structure, almost all research had to be

channelled through a few individuals. 10 Maurice

Aymard has shown through his studies of

6 Valensi, Lucette ‘The Problem of Unbelief in Braudel’s Mediterranean’, in Ruiz, Teofilo ., Symcox, Geoffrey, and

Piterberg, Gabriel (eds.), Braudel Revisited: The Mediterranean world, 1600-1800 (Toronto, 2010), p. 26.

7 Peter Burke, The French Historical Revolution: the Annales School, 1929-2014 (Cambridge, 1992), p. 33.

8 Harris, ‘Braudel’, p. 161.

9 Burke, The French Historical Revolution, pp. 40-41.

10 Geoffrey Parker, ‘Braudel’s Mediterranean: the Making and Marketing of a Masterpiece’, History, 59 (1974), p. 242.


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the letter exchanges between Febvre and Marc that ‘We like to talk about the machine which

Bloch, that Febvre worked hard to persuade we create and which enslaves us. But machines

Bloch to accept the young Braudel. Bloch took are not only made of steel’. 15 This reflection illustrates

that Febvre believed not only that in-

issue with Braudel’s criticisms of more senior

historians, particularly since he was yet to dividuals were not entirely ‘enslaved’ by structures,

but also that individuals had a hand in

publish anything of great significance himself.

11

Further insight into Braudel and Febvre’s relationship

can be gleaned from a close reading expressed here could partly explain Febvre’s

creating structures in the first place. The view

of Braudel’s acknowledgements in The Mediterranean,

which thank Febvre on a personal gory of biography, most notably Martin Luther.

exceptionally accomplished work in the cate-

level. Braudel expressed gratitude for Febvre’s In a later reflection on his studies of the Reformation,

he wrote that ‘Of all the people who

‘affectionate and energetic concern’ and ‘His

encouragement and advice.’ 12 Braudel himself lived in those troubled times it was the best,

appeared to downplay the academic influence noblest and liveliest minds who endeavoured

of his patrons. When reflecting on what made to make… a faith adapted to their needs.’ 16 In

a good historian, Braudel said that the true historian

was not the one who repeats his masters’ Luther, were the agents of the Reformation. In

other words, exceptional individuals, including

experiments, but instead one who set up his stark contrast, Braudel, in The Mediterranean

wrote that ‘When I think of the individu-

own historical shop. 13 Despite any fascination

he may have had with Febvre or Bloch, Braudel al, I am always inclined to see him imprisoned

aimed to build on and ultimately divert from within a destiny in which he himself has little

the work of his patrons.

hand.’ 17 In other words, structures imprisoned

To further develop this argument, a and governed individuals.

closer comparison between Febvre and Braudel’s

work illustrates the differences in the turalist view of History was essentially at odds

It is often argued that Braudel’s struc-

way in which they conceived of the role of with the third section of The Mediterranean,

the individuals and the role of structures. Although

pigeonholing Febvre as a ‘voluntarist’ events, individuals, wars and treaties. 18 Some

which focused on the courté durée, meaning

and Braudel as a ‘structuralist’ is potentially a historians have gone so far to suggest that this

crude dichotomy, it helps to highlight the main was essentially an act of appeasement for the

differences between them, and therefore reinforce

the argument that Febvre’s influence on the work of Leopold Von Ranke) historical es-

Rankian (a school of history associated with

Braudel was primarily personal. Braudel wrote tablishment, who would have found Braudel’s

at the end of The Mediterranean that he was ‘by honest view of the insignificance of the courté

temperament a structuralist, little tempted by durée too radical. 19 To reinforce this view, historians

have pointed to the fact that Braudel

the event, or even by the short term conjuncture.’

14 In contrast, Febvre, while accepting the significantly reduced the size of this section in

existence and importance of structures, argued his second edition. 20 However, this relies on an

11 Maurice Aymard, ‘One Braudel or Several?’, Review, 24:1 (2001), p. 19.

12 Braudel, Mediterranean, p. 22.

13 Valensi, ‘The problem of unbelief’, p. 31.

14 Braudel, Mediterranean, p. 1244.

15 Lucien Febvre, A New Kind of History (London, 1979), p. 258.

16 Ibid., p. 88.

17 Braudel, Mediterranean, p. 1244.

18 Gabriel Piterberg, Teofilo . Ruiz, and Geoffrey Symcox, ‘Introduction’ in Piterberg, Ruiz and Symcox (eds.), Braudel

Revisited, p. 10.

19 Geoffrey Symcox, ‘Braudel and the Mediterranean City’ in Piterberg, Ruiz and Symcox (eds.), Braudel Revisited, p.

39.

20 Ibid., p. 40.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

inaccurate representation of the third section.

Take, for example, Braudel’s account of Don

García de Toledo, the Spanish naval commander

in The Mediterranean, who in 1565 was slow

to relieve Malta from its siege by the Turks.

Braudel argued that ‘Historians have blamed

Don García for his delay, but have they always

examined thoroughly the conditions under

which he had to operate?’. 21 This example illustrates

that although the third section takes

as its subject the individual, it subverts the

traditional Rankian view of the individual by

showing, in Braudel’s own words that, ‘All [individual]

efforts against the prevailing tide of

history… are doomed to failure.’ 22 As Burke has

helpfully pointed out, ‘ [In] The debate over the

limits of freedom… it is extremely difficult for

historians to go beyond a simple assertion of

their own position.’ 23 A determinist view of the

individual – such as Braudel’s view of man imprisoned

in structures – is therefore incompatible

with one which emphasises any individual

freedom, such as Febvre’s.

Having argued that Febvre’s influence

on Braudel’s development of his theory of time

in The Mediterranean was potentially less important

than has been assumed, there is an opportunity

to evaluate a more complex network

of academic influences on Braudel. In particular,

there is significant evidence to show influence

on Braudel from Claude Lévi-Strauss

and Ernest Labrousse. Although Lévi-Strauss

and Braudel gravitated towards different disciplines,

similar questions of continuity and

discontinuity, and the importance of structures

motivated both their studies. 24 Symcox

has compellingly argued that the work of Lévi-Strauss

helped fundamentally reconceptu-

alise Braudel’s approach. Lévi-Strauss, having

dismissed historians as ‘collectors of information’,

argued that only anthropologists could

‘unravel the secrets of human nature: historians…

are occupied only with the surface phenomena.’

25 It is likely that the time they spent together

in Brazil between 1935-38 brought these

debates to the fore, and encouraged Braudel

to place greater emphasis on long-term structures,

above other political or cultural factors. 26

In a later reflection on the similarities between

their disciplines, Braudel asked ‘who would

deny that the great questions of the continuity

or discontinuity of our social destiny, which

the anthropologists are so busy discussing, are

essentially a question of history?’ 27 This shows

self-conscious recognition from Braudel of the

similarity between the two.

Beyond Levi-Strauss, Braudel showed

deep admiration for Ernest Labrousse, the

Marxist economic historian who held the chair

of History at the Sorbonne from 1943. In his

paper ‘History and the Social Sciences,’ which

focused on the longue durée, Braudel called

Labrousse’s book The Crisis of the French Economy

the ‘greatest work of history… in the last

twenty-fi e years.’ 28 Braudel also said that were

it not for Labrousse’s work, ‘historians would

never have set to work as willingly as they did

on the study of wages and prices.’ 29 Labrousse’s

approach was quantitative and clearly infl -

enced Braudel methodologically, as seen in

the over 150 graphs and tables in The Mediterranean.

Since Braudel was typically snobbish

towards Marx, whom he thought had been ‘too

much discussed’, and what he called ’Sorbonnistas’

(his derogatory slur against those who

worked at the Sorbonne), the praise he af-

21 Braudel, Mediterranean, p. 1017.

22 Ibid., p. 1244.

23 Burke, The French Historical Revolution, p. 40.

24 Ulysses Santamaria and Anne M. Bailey, “A Note on Braudel’s Structure as Duration”, History and Theory, 23:1

(1984), p. 83.

25 Symcox, ‘Braudel and the Mediterranean City’, p. 43.

26 Ibid., p. 48.

27 Harris, ‘Braudel’ p. 163.

28 Burke, The French Historical Revolution, p. 55.

29 Fernand Braudel, The Wheels of Commerce: Civilization and Capitalism (London, 1982), p. 343.


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fords Labrousse is all the more exceptional. 30 sulated this fl wed approach when referring

Therefore, it is much more beneficial to think to Braudel’s The Mediterranean, arguing that

of a broader web of academic influences on after its publication, ‘he became a living legend,

the incarnation of the historical energies

Braudel, rather than the near-exclusive grip of

Febvre, and thus to see The Mediterranean as a of two, if not three, generations of historians,

product of a longer, more complex process. and a dynamic creative force.’ 34 The hero status

assumed by the journal editors has greatly

Much of the myth surrounding Febvre’s

influence on Braudel, and the similarities of obscured a more faithful understanding of the

their historical instincts, is founded not only school and partly explains why historians have

on a misreading of their work but also on a come to overemphasise Febvre’s influenc , as

simplistic view of the Annales school. A more one of the leaders of the first generation, on

nuanced insight into understanding Annales Braudel, the leader of the second generation.

comes from its most vocal British advocate, There are perhaps two major reasons

Burke, who argued that Annales should be understood

first as a reaction against a tradition-

have been so seriously misrepresented. Firstly,

Annales, and thus Braudel’s place in the school,

al narrative of events, secondly, as a rejection the notion of a ‘French School’ of history – often

epitomised, but not exclusively referring

of political history to the exclusion of a wider

range of human activity, and finall , as an interdisciplinary

pursuit. 31 The strengths of Burke’s glosphere. For example, Burke called his book

to the Annales – is a notion unique to the an-

definition are that it is broad, and reflects the The French Historical Revolution. Braudel pointed

out that this perception does not match

plurality of different practices and individuals

that made up Annales. Furthermore, the defin - how the French understood Annales. ‘French

tion is more about what the ‘school’ is not than school? A Frenchman hardly dares utter the

what it is. By this logic, Braudel and Febvre were phrase, and beset with a sense of all the internal

divergences, he hesitates to repeat it.’ 35 As a

both Annales historians in the truest sense, despite

their significant differences, because they result of the notion of a ‘French school’, generalisation

abounds, and historians have sought

both rejected the pre-eminence of the ‘event’

and embraced an interdisciplinary approach. to reduce the school’s diversity and strength

Burke argued that instead of a ‘school’, it might with broad brushes of homogeneity. Thus, The

be more helpful to talk of an Annales ‘movement’

to account for the lack of organisation uct of the Annales, but only insofar that one

Mediterranean should be understood as a prod-

of Annales. 32 However, both ‘school’ and ‘movement’,

to some extent, assume some sort of the school or the lack of a neat progression be-

also appreciates the lack of uniformity across

uniformity and ideology, and so create similar tween different generations. The second major

problems.

reason, which will be developed further in the

The tendency to describe the Annales next section of this essay, is that this understanding

has reinforced itself through the rep-

as a school or movement has led to an excessive

focus both on a few individuals as well as etition of some of the most significant modern

the idea of ‘generations’ of historians with a scholars whose views carry strong authority.

unique set of aims building on a previous generation,

Bloch and Febvre being first Braudel

the second, and so on. 33 Hufton has encap-

30 Macfarlane, Alan, ‘Fernard Braudel and Global History’ (1996), J. H. Hexter, “Fernand Braudel and the Monde

Braudellien,” Journal of Modern History, 44 (1972), p. 483.

31 Ibid., pp. 2-3.

32 Ibid. p. 4.

33 Michael Harsgor, ‘Total History: The Annales School’, Journal of Contemporary History, 13:1 (1978), p. 3.

34 Olwen Hufton, ‘Fernand Braudel’, Past and Present, 112 (1986), p. 208.

35 Ibid., pp. 20-21.


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‘Down with occurrences, especially vexing by showing how Braudel often used the imagery

of imprisonment in his later work to ex-

ones!’: Braudel and the War 36

plain his theory of time. 41 Caygill concludes by

The second arch of the traditional narrative of saying that the fact that The Mediterranean was

Braudel’s conception of time concerns his experiences

during the Second World War. This ‘reflection on time which was at once a work of

conceived in imprisonment makes it a work of

narrative is on the surface captivating and has memory, a search for consolation, and above all

been much-repeated since the 1970s. However, an act of resistance.’ 42

a closer analysis suggests that it requires revision.

The conventional account of the con-

certainly profoundly influential to his life, how-

Braudel’s experience in the camps was

ception of The Mediterranean posits that the ever some evidence suggests it may not have

unique conditions of the prisoner of war camps had the same impact on his writing as he, and

in Lübeck and Mainz are integral in explaining

how Braudel came to understand time and flatly contradicts himself in the 1963 preface to

later scholars, have suggested. Firstly, Braudel

the longue durée. This was initially suggested by the second edition of his thesis: ‘The Mediterranean

does not date from 1949, when it was first

Hexter in 1972, however has been most cogently

described by Howard Caygill, who argued published… The main outline of the book was

that ‘Time for detainees was a burden, not only already determined if not entirely written by

because of the dreary routines of the prison 1939…’ 43 This much overlooked passage throws

regime but also because of the sense of being considerable doubt on the notion that the

detached from crucial historical events and book’s ‘outline’ – which almost certainly refers

helpless to intervene in them.’ 37 The story goes to the tripartite time-based structure – relied

that viewing events of the Second World War on the gruelling condition of the prisoner of

as ‘crests’ on the waves, not the deep ocean – to war camp. Rather, it appears that the courté,

use Braudel’s terminology – actually became a moyenné and longue durée were conceived before

the War.

type of coping mechanism as much as a new

way of conceiving historical time. 38

Two other pieces of evidence from the

Braudel himself emphasised the infl - 1920s create a more complete picture, one a

ence of this context. In his ‘Personal Testimony,’

also published in 1972, he wrote that only Municipals de Saint-Dié, Alsace, and the other

report which remains buried in the Archives

his memory allowed him to write such a ‘tour an early paper written by Braudel while in Algeria,

much overlooked and still untranslated

de force. Had it not been for my imprisonment,

I would surely have written quite a different into English (a rarity for Braudel). The report

book.’ 39 Elsewhere, he wrote that ‘In the course explains Braudel’s summer plans for 1928. The

of gloomy captivity, I fought hard to escape the Chinese historian Chen-Chung Lai, one of

chronicle of these different difficult years. To the few to examine the evidence, commented

reject the events and… not too much to believe that as well as showing young Braudel’s ‘eagerness…

ambitions… methodologies’, it is most

in them.’ 40 There is no doubt that this origin

story has qualitatively changed how historians remarkable for showing ‘how similar the initial

project was to the finished book that was

view his work. Moon has elaborated this case

36 Aurell, ’Autobiographical Texts’ p. 436.

37 Hexter, ’Fernand Braudel’, pp. 509-10.; Howard Caygill, ‘Braudel’s Prison Notebooks’, History Workshop Journal, 57

(2004), p. 152.

38 Braudel, Mediterranean, p. 21.

39 Fernand Braudel, ‘Personal Testimony’, Journal of Modern History, 44 (1972), p. 453.

40 J. H. Hexter, On Historians: Reappraisals of Some of the Masters of Modern History, (Harvard, 1986), p. 104.

41 David Moon, ‘Fernand Braudel and the Annales School’ (lecture, 2005).

42 Caygill, ‘Braudel’s Prison Notebooks’, p. 155.

43 Braudel, Mediterranean, p. 15.


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published in 1949.’ 44 Likewise, Braudel’s first

academic paper, ‘Les Espagnols et L’Afrique

du Nord’ (‘The Spanish in North Africa’), without

using the terminology of the longue durée,

is unmistakably Braudellian in its approach.

For example, the introduction cautions historians

that ‘we must not allow ourselves to be

misled by the long list of military events of the

period’. 45 Finally, there is also a serious logical

inconsistency in the P.O.W. account, in that

the account typically emphasises the torment,

physical exhaustion and drudgery of daily life,

while also explaining that the environment

was essential for the book’s conception and

production. However, surely these conditions

would have made it much more difficult to

write a 600,000-word thesis practically and

psychologically. This evidence illustrates that

while Braudel’s approach may have consolidated

when in the prisoner of war camp, changes

to his view of time were of essence and not

substance. The theory of time, without a doubt,

preceded the war.

It is possible that Braudel enjoyed the

romanticism of the prisoner of war story, and

recognised its potential practical benefit . The

underappreciated master, confined in a brutal

reality, his thoughts fermenting in gloom and

despair, but ultimately emerging triumphant,

with a ‘miracle of historical scholarship’, to

use Hexter’s phrase. 46 The historian John Marino

has added considerably to this debate by

treating The Mediterranean as a site or island

of memory, employing Pierre Nora’s stimulating

ideas. 47 What this means, in Marino’s view,

is that at a certain point, the book became as

much an artefact of history as a work of historiography.

This change meant that it was now

subject to ‘forgetfulness, manipulation, erosion

through honest mistakes that we might

call “tricks” of memory.’ The work was also, for

Braudel, an opportunity for ‘propagandistic

monumentalization,’ meaning Braudel could

use and abuse the success of the book for

his own professional advancement. 48 This approach

allows reconciliation of the favourable

and unfavourable views of Braudel. On the one

hand, Braudel’s lapse may have been a victim

of the ‘tricks’ of memory, but there could also

be a case of what Marino calls ‘propagandistic’

purposes.

Despite its inconsistency, the mythic

P.O.W. element of The Mediterranean’s origins

has ossified into orthodoxy. One central

reason is that the narrative has been consistently

repeated by later scholars. A key turning

point in the historiography of this account was

a 1972 edition of the Journal of Modern History

dedicated to Braudel’s thesis, which includes

his own ‘Personal Testimony’, as well as substantial

works by Hexter, then professor at Yale,

and Hugh Trevor-Roper, Regius Professor at

Oxford, both of whom were highly acclaimed

scholars at the height of their academic powers.

Later on, Burke, a professor at Cambridge,

published his otherwise excellent review of

the Annales school, in which the account of

Braudel was virtually identical to Hexter’s. 49 A

second revised edition, published in 2015, saw

no change to this component of the story. 50

Put simply, a network of scholarship including

some important historians has reinforced this

narrative, its basic components emphasised

but never challenged.

Although the emphasis on Braudel’s

time as a prisoner of war has been reinforced

by this ‘network’, it is also simply a compelling

narrative, and this has helped its propagation.

It is, without doubt, more romantic than a thesis

conceived and written in a musty Parisian

offic . More significantl , it evokes a parallel

between Braudel and Henri Pirenne, an important

historian of a past generation. Burke

noted the parallel between their stories when

44 Cheng Chung Lai, ‘Braudel’s Memories of the Mediterranean’, The European Legacy, 7:2 (2002), p. 226.

45 Fernand Braudel, ‘Les Espagnols et L’Afrique du Nord,’ Revue Afrique, 337 (1928) p. 351.

46 Hexter, On Historians, p. 111.

47 John A. Marino, ‘The Exile and His Kingdom: The Reception of Braudel’s Mediterranean’, The Journal of Modern

History, 76:3 (2004), p. 626.

48 Ibid., p. 626.

49 Burke, pp. 30-55.

50 Peter Burke, The French Historical Revolution: the Annales School, 1929-2014 (Cambridge, 2015).


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

talking about Pirenne’s Muhammed and Charlemagne

: ‘Curiously enough, although this was Braudel memorably said in his ‘Personal Tes-

vidual action and the shockwaves of events. 53

Pirenne’s last book, the idea for it came to him timony’: ‘I was in the beginning and I remain

in a prison camp during the First World War, now a historian of peasant stock.’ 54 He went

while Braudel worked on his in a prison camp on to nostalgically boast that he ‘could name

in the Second World War.’ 51 Although Burke the plants and trees of this village in eastern

sees this parallel as a coincidence, it seems France … I observed the yearly rotation of the

more probable that a compelling personal story

could somehow bolster perceptions of the ray, said that Braudel chose ‘resolutely to iden-

crops.’ 55 One of his biographers, Oswyn Mur-

quality of an historian’s work. The quasi-mythic

status of Braudel, as has been noted, was cer-

and to escape from the bourgeois Parisian estify

himself with the margins of French society

tainly reinforced by the 1972 Journal of Modern tablishment.’ 56 If Murray’s view is elaborated,

History edition, with Trevor-Roper comparing we could see Braudel’s theory of time, and his

Bloch, Febvre and Braudel to the first Roman involvement in the ambitious but fringe movement

of the Annales partly as a result of his so-

triumvirate, and Hexter going further, to compare

Braudel and Febvre to Rome’s founders, cio-economic background, or, more specifica -

Romulus and his son. 52 The narrative therefore ly, as a result of the combination of the closed,

saw Braudel’s The Mediterranean as the culmination

of the first and second generation of the gemonic historical establishment, with his

privileged, Sorbonne, Rankian-obsessed, he-

Annales School, not only because of its quality more humble and self-conscious view of his

as a piece of history, but because of its compelling

origins.

There is substantial evidence to suggest

own background.

that Braudel’s peasant background permeated

his view of the pre-eminence of the longue

Moving beyond the conventional narrative durée in The Mediterranean, and, further down

his career, his editorship of the Annales Journal.

Again, telling insight comes from Paule

Situating Braudel and The Mediterranean in a

longer chronology – as in, more than a product Braudel, his wife, who revealed that, upon leaving

the Sorbonne, his ambition was to become

of his relationship with Febvre and experience

as a prisoner of war – allows a more rich and the historian of his home Meuse region, ambitions

which self-evidently changed. Despite

nuanced account of Braudel’s development

of his theory of time. This section offers three the expansive nature of The Mediterranean, allusions

and references to agrarian life are pep-

suggestions for further study and aims ultimately

to show how the conventional narrative pered throughout. Paule Braudel revealed that,

has impaired constructive development of our upon a visit back to the Meuse region, a historian

of the region remarked, to his amusement,

understanding of Braudel’s academic growth.

The first overlooked factor is Braudel’s that he found ‘all the allusion to the village of

early years in Lume’ville, a small agrarian village

in Alsace province, which potentially gave local history writ on a larger scale.’ 57

Lume’ville’ in The Mediterranean, as if it were ‘a

him a different perspective on time, meaning Braudel’s imagination, which was built

he was more interested in slow-changing structures

which minimised the influence of indi- formed how he wrote his history. The historian

on his childhood rural experience, clearly in-

51 Ibid., p. 38.

52 Trevor-Roper, Hugh, ‘Fernand Braudel, the Annales, and the Mediterranean’, The Journal of Modern History, 44:4

(1972), p.472; Hexter, ’Fernand Braudel’, p. 494.

53 Marino, ‘The exile and his kingdom’, p. 646.

54 Braudel, ‘Personal Testimony’, p. 448.

55 Ibid., p. 461.

56 Murray, ‘Introduction’, p.ix.

57 Marino, ‘The exile and his kingdom’ p. 643.


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McNeill has gone so far to say that recollections

of his childhood ‘undoubtedly provided the inspiration

for the longue durée that Braudel investigated.’

McNeill also compellingly demonstrates

that this side of the book explains its

relative commercial success in France, evoking

as it did a ‘past quickly vanishing in the modern

world.’ 58 Braudel’s interest in the slower

pace of agrarian life was also reflected in his

period as editor of the Annales Journal, a period

that has been described as exemplifying

‘the journal’s preoccupation with the life of

the fields and villages.’ 59 The preoccupation

with rural life was equally concerned with rural

people, and Braudel later said his proudest

achievement as editor of Annales was that ‘we

never lost sight of real human beings who toil

and talk, feel and reflect ’ 60 The DNA of Braudel’s

view of time, as seen in The Mediterranean

and later in his editorship of Annales, then,

owes much to his early years.

Potentially as important as his peasant

background was formative time spent in Algeria

between 1923-29 and in Brazil between

1935-38. These experiences gave him a global

rather than provincial perspective, and also

confirmed the importance of geography as a

discipline to the new types of history he sought

to write. Braudel later summed up the effect

of his time abroad, writing ‘Surprise and distance,

those important aids to comprehension,

are both equally necessary for an understanding

of that which surrounds you, surrounds

you so evidently that you can no longer see it

clearly.’ 61 This passage reinforces the argument

that The Mediterranean was a product of an altogether

longer chronology.

In Algeria, then a French colony, Braudel

taught what he described as ‘a superficial histo-

ry of events’ at a Lycee. 62 Even though what he

taught was conventional, his world was forever

changed by his experiences. ‘It was for me such

a surprise! I did not know the sea. I saw the

Mediterranean, avowing that it is a present of

the gods!’ 63 Braudel later memorably said that

Algeria allowed him to see ‘the Mediterranean

from below.’ This meant that he could move

beyond a Eurocentric and Christianised world

view, and, indeed, his early work reflects this

shift, even if Algeria was the most heavily settled

of all of France’s overseas territories. 64 The

article published in 1928, already mentioned in

the context of showing Braudel’s earlier suspicion

of the event, was written in Algeria and

takes as its main protagonist sophisticated Islamic

organisation and development, which

made conquest difficult for the Spanish invaders.

65 This focus would not technically fit with

Braudel’s conception of the longue durée, instead

being more at home in the moyénne durée.

Nonetheless, it is significant in that it rejects

the centrality of events, individuals, or armies

in governing history. Algeria, then, can be seen

as an environment which stimulated Braudel

to ask questions of conventional history, even

if his ideas were developing rather than fully

formed.

If Algeria had been youthful exploration,

Brazil marked an altogether more mature level

of consolidation for Braudel’s theory of time.

This was partly, as was discussed in the first

part of this essay, as a result of the relationship

between Braudel and Claude Lévi-Strauss.

Brazil was to Braudel yet another world to

discover, as well as, practically, a ‘paradise for

work and reflection ’ 66 In addition, Brazil in the

1930s was, in Aymard’s view, a porthole to the

‘Ancien Régime’, due to surviving forms of soci-

58 McNeill, William H., ‘Fernard Braudel, Historian’, The Journal of Modern History, 74:1 (2001), p. 135.

59 F. Roy Willis, ‘The Contribution of the Annales School to Agrarian History: A Review Essay’, Agricultural History,

52:4 (1978), p. 538.

60 Robert Forster and Orest Ranum, Food and Drink In History (Baltimore, 1979), p. vii..

61 Burke, The French Historical Revolution p. 24.

62 Braudel, ‘Personal Testimony’, p. 450.

63 Pierre Daix, Braudel (Paris, 1990), p. 50.

64 Braudel, ‘Personal Testimony’, p. 450.

65 Braudel, ‘Les Espagnols et L’Afrique du Nord’, pp. 351-371.

66 Thomas E. Skidmore, ‘Lévi-Strauss, Braudel and Brazil: a Case of Mutual Influence Bulletin of Latin American

Research, 22:3 (2003), p. 345.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

etal control, treatment of the labour force, and ent manuscripts for publication, including the

persistent archaic agrarian practices. 67 Furthermore,

like the Mediterranean, Brazil was a of France and Memory and the Mediterranean. 74

second part of Braudel’s work on The Identity

‘racial melting-pot.’ 68 These two qualities potentially

helped Braudel to reconceptualise the in any of Braudel’s six prefaces and acknowl-

The fact that Paule was never acknowledged

Mediterranean of the fifteenth and sixteenth edgement sections in different editions of The

century, in line with his experiences in Brazil. Mediterranean, or in any other of his works, is

He later said that ‘I came to understand life in more suggestive of the masculine-dominated

a different way’ in Brazil, acknowledging the French historical landscape than of her lack of

immense amount he owed to his experience influenc . Although the evidence this essay has

there. 69 considered is incomplete, it is suggestive of a

Finally, the third avenue which merits dialectical and fruitful intellectual partnership

further exploration as an influence is Paule of equals. There is no suggestion that Paule

Braudel, Braudel’s second wife. He married Braudel worked exclusively in an administrative

capacity.

her in 1924, having taught her as a student in

Algeria. 70 Paule deliberately stayed out of the

limelight throughout Braudel’s career, but

what we can glean from the sources suggests Conclusion

her role was integral to his success and thought

process. Having been taught by Braudel, she There is something deeply ironic in the fact

quickly occupied the same rank in the Lycee, that Braudel, whose view of history was primarily

built on a deeply-held rejection of the

becoming a teacher of history. 71 Professionally,

at an early stage, they were equals. During the Rankian view of history, has been repeatedly

time when Braudel worked on his thesis, Paule lionised as a solitary creative genius, to the extent

that he has assumed almost mythic status,

became an ‘assiduous and skilful reader’ of the

infinite number of microfilms he accumulated. and criticism of his work verges on the sacrilegious.

This essay has aimed to complicate, not

To reduce eye strain, they shifted roles from

time to time and discussed back and forth. 72 simplify, the traditional account of the creation

This no doubt helped clarify Braudel’s of The Mediterranean, arguing that it is essential

to understand the book as a product of a

thoughts. As has already been discussed, in interviews

she gave after Braudel’s death to Marino,

she elaborated on Fernand Braudel’s pro-

It is, of course, beneficial for historians

longer chronology with no simplistic causes.

cess, or, more accurately, lack of process. The to, in E. H. Carr’s words, ‘study the historian

tone that Marino conveys is gently mocking, as before you begin to study the facts.’ 75 Historiography

is not only a necessity, but in fact pro-

if Braudel was, in these early stages of working

on his thesis, confused and frustrated. 73 It vides an opportunity to better understand historical

interpretations. These days, even those

is not hard to imagine, therefore, that having

Paule there influenced Braudel’s development who reject Braudel’s view of history feel the

of The Mediterranean. After he died in 1985, need to venerate him somewhat. However, this

Paule extensively edited and compiled differ- hero-worship – which is cultivated over time

67 Aymard, ‘One Braudel or Several?’, p. 18.

68 Ibid., p. 24.

69 Murray, ‘Introduction’, p. x.; Aymard, ‘One Braudel or Several?’, p. 21.

70 McNeil, ‘Fernand Braudel, Historian’, pp. 136-7.

71 Ibid., p. 146.

72 Marino, ‘The Exile and His Kingdom’, p. 633.

73 McNeil, ‘Fernand Braudel, Historian, p. 143.

74 Immanuel Wallerstein, ‘Braudel on Capitalism, or Everything Upside Down’, Journal of Modern History, 63:2 (1991),

pp. 359–361.

75 E. H. Carr, What is History? (London, 1972), p. 22.


DONEGAN-CROSS - FERNAND BRAUDEL & THE ANNALES

101

through repetition - impedes a faithful account

of his life and work, and gainful work in the

future can only be achieved once the over-simplistic,

over-romantic, and largely unsubstantiated

interpretation of Hexter and Trevor-Roper

is revised, if not altogether dismissed.


ART, SOCIETY &

SEXUAL VIOLENCE

To what extent is Maria Tatar’s Lustmord a valid

contribution towards the sphere of the study of

sexual violence and art?

Eleanor Radcliffe

The purpose of this essay is to analyse the value

of Maria Tatar’s Lustmord: Sexual Murder in psyche becomes his own ‘doing and undoing’. 1

fer to the murderous Täter, whose traumatized

Weimar Germany. Tatar splits her book into two It is through this that Tatar can explain that her

sections, of which the first one sets out the use of Lust in Lustmord does not actually relate

theme of sexual murder in Weimar Germany to the English word ‘lust’ or ‘desire’, but rather

to the ‘enthusiasm’ and ‘emotion’ present in

through the introduction of three very real

murder cases from the early 1920s. These cases

range from cannibals to homosexual killers, their grief by retaliating against the displaced

the self-perceived victims of war, dealing with

such as Fritz Haarman. The second part depicts enemy through the medium of a pen, a knife, a

figurations of war, women and the city in the camera or a paintbrush. 2

work of Otto Dix, Georg Grosz, and in Döblin’s My initial sense of motivation for this

Berlin Alexanderplatz and in Lang’s M. The importance

of this structure shall become appar-

from her intrigue with such morbid topics

investigation into Tatar and her book stem

ent later, when analyzing Tatar’s writing style. and the link to today’s fascination with serial

The modernist movement in Weimar Germany

is depicted through the work of the afore-

murderers such as Ted Bundy. As our under-

killers, shown through a mass media surge of

mentioned artists, underlining the notion of standing of the psychology behind sexual violence

has changed with the evolution of sci-

Lustmord as a ‘murder of passion’. The way she

uses this word comes down to a concern with ence and technology, so has the historiography

procreative power, wherein agency, duty and surrounding the excess of art from that period

culpability are deviated from the female Op- that was directly influenced by ideas of brutal,

1 Maria Tatar, Lustmord: Sexual Murder in Weimar Germany (Princeton, 1995) p.34.

2 Ibid, p.25.


RADCLIFFE - ART, SOCIETY & SEXUAL VIOLENCE

103

sexual murder. The purpose of this investigation

is to analyze the novelty and influence of the artists who depict it. 5

inal killer who commits the murder as well as

Tatar’s scholarship in the wider range of historiography,

while investigating the value in her World War and ended with Hitler’s rise to pow-

Tatar’s timeline began with the First

ideas and case studies. No matter how much er. She even explicitly analyzes certain real-life

criticism a piece of scholarship receives for its sexual murderers in Weimar, alongside their

writing style, evidence, or structure, the actual public response. Tatar draws a parallel between

importance of a book is the legacy it carries, real-life murderers, such as Fritz Haarmann

and it is the ultimate goal of this investigation and Peter Kürten, and the Nazi vilification

to examine the legacy of Lustmord.

of Jews. The understanding of this occurs as

The beginning of this project must start Haarmann and Kürten both use medical language

to characterize their Opfer as pathogens

with the most compelling contextual evidence

in the twentieth century, namely the two World who threaten to infect their entire country and

Wars. Tatar uses the First World War and its must thus be annihilated, as the Nazis did with

traumatic impact on the male psyche to highlight

her argument that the violent sexual na-

of femininity, Jewishness, disease and crimi-

the Jews. Lang’s M highlights the porousness

ture of the Weimar period had a wider spectrum

and was linked to more concepts than just ian-Jewish actor Peter Lorre in the confession

nality in the 1920s through the use of Hungar-

German artists in the interwar era. 3 There was scene of the child-murderer; it was futile to

a wide-spread opinion, exclaimed by George mention one without implicating the others. 6

Bernard Shaw, that the Germans ‘lack talent Alongside this however, Tatar does not forget

for two things: revolution and crime novels.’ 4 to emphasize that the gender struggle in Weimar

Germany did not just appear out of thin

This concept was still accepted in the

mid-nineties, half a decade after the fall of the air, it escalated upon the catalyst of WW1 traumas

and problems of ‘maternity, mastery and

Berlin Wall, up until Maria Tatar published

Lustmord and questioned this judgment completely.

Tatar’s study of sexual murder in Wei-

contested issues, such as procreation, link with

procreation’. 7 This explains how pre-existing

mar Germany shows that between both wars, the newer defamation of the female body to result

in artworks such as Murder on Acker Street

crime novels, paintings and films were fervently

produced. It is true that plenty of historiography

on the Weimar period already existed Tatar chooses to move freely across the

by Grosz.

prior to Tatar’s work, although little attention boundaries of time and nationality. This is a

had been paid to the exploration of sexual violence

in contemporary art. Tatar examines a sexual violence against women has always ex-

seamless way of portraying her argument that

repeatedly overlooked aspect of twentieth-century

representations of criminality, namely the Germany are simply an episode within a freeisted

and that the instances of it in Weimar

images of the Täter and Opfer in the act of Lustmord.

She seeks to understand the symbolism the war. 8 Rather than seeing the Weimar peristanding

timeline influenced by the effects of

of the broken female corpse that is ‘put on display

or shielded from sight’ and to investigate a bridge between two ‘cataclysmic historical

od as distinct from the two wars, Tatar builds

‘the aesthetic and psychological motives of the events’. 9 She sees interwar sexual violence

agent’– with ‘agent’ being defined as the orig- against women as directly linked between the

3 Ibid, p. 35.

4 Todd Herzog, review of ‘Maria Tatar, Lustmord: Sexual Murder in Weimar Germany’, in MLN, Volume 110, Number

4, p.990.

5 Tatar, Lustmord, p.19.

6 Ibid, p.64.

7 Ibid, p.28.

8 Sackett, review of ‘Lustmord’, p.839.

9 Tatar, Lustmord, p.67.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

trauma and aggression of the first and second Freudian complex is alluded to in this, presenting

a very interesting notion that will be

world wars. Interestingly, Tatar does not begin

her analysis of the paintings with the very objects

themselves, but rather with the biograph-

‘theory of the female’. Tatar depicts Weimar

investigated later, in conjunction with Tatar’s

ical works of Grosz and Dix. They both fought Germany’s modernist culture as one steeped in

in the First World War and published their artworks

upon their return.

German oppression of women with the trau-

extreme misogyny. 14 By combining the Imperial

This slots right into Tatar’s deduction mas experienced in the First World War, Tatar

that the psyche of the war survivors, wherein concludes that the representations of violence

the male body was violated on the battlefield demonstrated by the images of women being

was damaged, leading to the translation of this raped, eviscerated and dismembered, provided

a release of the psyche for the male crea-

aggression to the female body upon their return.

It functioned as a release of artists’ creative

energies and legitimized the representa-

that this is a very interesting concept to start

tors of these art pieces. 15 Most reviews agree

tion of brutal violence towards women on a a book off with, it provokes the reader to want

domestic front rather than men on a military a greater understanding of this topic by laying

out the cultural background and pain of

battlefield 10 The depictions of mutilated and

exonerated women represented ‘a continuation

of war by other means and with a very dif-

that both preceded and succeeded them. The

the artists themselves, in relation to the wars

ferent adversary’, as the men worked through use of this notion of the traumatized psyche

their trauma by converting it to their domestic expressed through art is a strong contribution

lives. 11 The psychological trauma inflicted on to the studies of the effects of the First World

the soldiers of World War One is transcribed War on the soldiers and thus is valuable in the

through Dix’s and Grosz’ paintings, and in larger sphere of research on this topic.

particular their depiction of sexual violence. The next noteworthy and controversial

Tatar’s analysis of these artworks leads to her choice that Tatar makes is her use of the ‘theory

of the female’, as Robert Sackett calls it.

ability to explore the translation of violence

16

on the battlefield to aggression in a domestic At the beginning of her book, she starts her

setting. Her attention to detail in the writing argument off by laying down the backbone of

of culture-specific aspects of German society her investigation, namely the theory behind

linked to contemporary psychic anxieties, defining

her argument in connecting art, moth-

artistic mistreatment of women, Tatar cites

her scholarship. In an attempt to explain male

erhood, procreation, and violence. 12

Walter Benjamin and Elisabeth Bronfen to

Tatar’s argument is familiar as it explains demonstrate the idea of one’s femininity dying

that male anxiety is formed from the outcome whilst one’s masculinity prevails. This would

of a ‘double horror of maternal power and of only occur after the creation of art, in which

tabooed female sexuality’, which were formerly

united in the phallic mother as an object desires or their fear of ‘engulfment’ by women.

male artists projected their own hated sexual

of terror but also of craving. 13 17

The infamous Feminism had greatly played upon men’s fears

10 Ibid, p.68.

11 Ibid, p.68.

12 Susan Kassouf, review of ‘Maria Tatar, Lustmord: Sexual Murder in Weimar Germany’, in German Studies Review,

vol. 21, no. 1, (1998) p.153.

13 Elizabeth Boa, review of ‘Maria Tatar, Lustmord: Sexual Murder in Weimar Germany’ in The Modern Language

Review Vol. 94 (1999) p.593.

14 Tatar, Lustmord, p.57.

15 Andrew Lees, review of ‘Maria Tatar, Lustmord: Sexual Murder in Weimar Germany’ in The Historian, vol. 59, no. 1,

p.205.

16 Sackett, review of ‘Lustmord’, p.839.

17 Ibid, p. 839.


RADCLIFFE - ART, SOCIETY & SEXUAL VIOLENCE

105

of their inferiority, so by lashing out at women, other periodical works, wherein the fusion

men sought to demonstrate the superiority of of prostitution, the biology of the female and

their own masculinity. Tatar chose the Weimar womanhood in general, would be personified

Republic to act as the canvass for her investigation,

as it was a time where sexual violence paintings of these women pertained to the nar-

through certain synchronic symbols. Images or

against women was only the beginning of the rative of their male murderers. It is here that

decline of society, wherein they were preparing

for an even greater crime against humanity. her theory on, comes into play: in the eye of

the infamous role reversal, which Tatar bases

The rise of the ‘modern woman’ and the rise the narrator, his crimes are exculpated as he

of feminism are acknowledged by Tatar as being

the wave against which artists who identi-

in Lang’s M, when the killer of the young girl is

becomes the Opfer. This theory is very visible

fied with sexual murder felt they had to protect composed as being a vulnerable man, helpless

themselves. 18

to the urges within himself. 21 Moreover, he denotes

that a similar responsibility to the crime

Tatar’s theory understands this through

the relationship between the Täter and the must be attributed to the mothers who failed to

Opfer being destabilized and reversed so that look after their children.

the sexual murderer – or simply the artist – While M offers the most forthright example

of the blurring of the Täter and the Opfer,

saw himself as the Opfer defending himself

against the primal force of the female, wherein

the only means of survival was to kill. The functions of the psyche, demonstrating how the

it is the periodic painters who best portray the

link that Tatar composes between this and Nazi effects of artistic violence against women may

Germany is one of a ‘logical next step’. 19 The have served the artists themselves. Tatar argues

Nazis were ready to project the German state as that due to war-induced trauma alongside the

a heroic one that was wounded. It was a victim disillusionment with the military effort, these

that was defending itself from the alien enemy

who was so ruthless that the only way to fort to convert hellish military memories into

men played a significant role in the postwar ef-

ensure the survival of the German nation was sexual nightmares in which women appeared

to certify that ‘corruption’ was destroyed in the either as ‘orchestrators of unspeakable atrocities

or as abject victims of male violence’. 22 In

most brutal fashion. It was in this way that the

Jews became, in a sense, Doppelgänger to Grosz order to prove this to those Germans who had

and Dix’s creation of the female corpses, residing

on their canvases. With this logic, the comnent

artists such Dix and Grosz created depic-

not experienced the atrocities of war, promiparison

between the male artists and the Nazis tions of mutilated women as demons to reveal

solidified itself in the notion of the blurring to audiences a fraction of what they had to endure.

Tatar ensures that this point is instilled in

of victim and perpetrator, wherein the former

definitely defined themse es as the Opfer. the reader, as she convincingly demonstrates

The sexuality of the depicted women is how their self-portraits of the Weimar period

defined in this art by their carnal lust defying depict themselves as sexually violent murderers,

like Grosz’ self-portrait of himself as Jack

the sense of their responsibility for their own

destruction. One example of this in the evidence

used by Tatar is the symbolism of Berlin Furthermore, Tatar finds cause to link

the Ripper. 23

as ‘The Whore of Babylon’ in Berlin Alexanderplatz.

20 This was a prevalent theme in many murderers, or artists depicting the murders.

the sense of a ‘Freudian Complex’ with these

18 Tatar, Lustmord, p.19.

19 Sol Gittleman, review of ‘Maria Tatar, Lustmord: Sexual Murder in Weimar Germany’ in The Journal of Interdisciplinary

History, vol. 27, no. 2, (1996) p. 325.

20 Lees, review of ‘Lustmord’, pp. 205–206.

21 Tatar, Lustmord, p.167.

22 Ibid, p.89.

23 Ibid, p.5.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

Upon analysis of the four artists’ works, ‘the tion. A strong opinion is needed to allow for

most prominent explanatory model in our own a convincing piece of scholarship and at times

culture’’ is the idea that a man’s violence comes Tatar fails to reach that cut-off point in her

purely from a woman’s prompting. 24 This would scholarship. She only seems to push her theories

where works support them in order to

often entail taking the form of Freud’s mother

in the model of a hostile arrangement and seduction.

Tatar strongly belittles this argument and make the book readable, almost like a fi -

keep her ‘’journalistic writing style’’ in check

in her research, which in turn disparages her tion in some chapters. 28 Her ability to describe

own argument as it is an important theory in the horrors in a way in which the reader is able

gender studies, which greatly contributes to to comprehend them, while understanding her

her investigation. The ostensibly distinct roles link to art and the broader notion of cultural

history, shows that Tatar has a convincing

of Täter and Opfer become blurred through

this theory. One example of this is in Lang’s M, writing style. This way of telling an interesting

where the murderer Beckert has a strong ‘pathology…linked

to a need for maternal punish-

a convincing argument though. Just because

story cannot be confused with the portrayal of

ment embedded in a fear of maternal surveillance.’

25 Tatar admits that she is not explicitly section of Tatar’s book, or grotesquely shocking

something is an engaging read, like the first

a historian of art but acknowledges that this to look at, such as her large collections of Dix’s

is only a miniscule disadvantage in the grand and Grosz’ artworks, does not mean it offers a

scheme of her argument; however, certain reviewers

disagree, arguing that her background though Tatar’s ‘convenience’ in using her theo-

valid and useful argument. Having said that, al-

in ‘The history of fairytales’ does not suffice to ry detracts from the integrity of her argument,

do justice to this type of investigation.

her fundamental introduction of the ‘theory of

While this lack of knowledge and adamant

opinion of her ‘theory of the female’ may extremely significant when looking at her in-

the female’’ in this sphere of research, is still

work in some cases, it is not foolproof. Dix’s vestigation on a larger scale.

work can be interpreted in this way, as even It is true that Tatar’s analyses are relevant

and fascinating in relation to sexual vi-

the most abstract arguments comment on the

male artists’ need to transcend women’s creativity

and reproductive ability. His paintings Kassouf picks up on an important point. It is

olence and art in Weimar Germany; however,

show a clear boundary between male creative true that her arguments rely on her attention

and female reproductive bodies. 26 Sackett believes

that Grosz leads Tatar to stray from her excluding living female artists, spectators and

to women as victims of sexual violence, whilst

theories, and that she therefore discusses her historical readers. According to Kassouf: ‘To

theoretical approach within the chapters on her credit, women are reinstated in the Weimar

canon; to my dismay, these women are

Döblin and Lang. 27 At times, Tatar is portrayed

as a convincing and intelligent scholar in the invariably dead.’ 29 By describing the Lustmord

media that she analyses. Her voice does carry

a certain assurance, as well as speculation. nomenon as female, there is a risk of the Täter

movement as male and the victims of this phe-

While this does allow for the readers a certain being defined as male and the Opfer remaining

within a female scope. Thus, while the text

amount of freedom concerning the reception

of her argument, it also results in a feeling of was and is revered in relation to the movement

distrust and dissatisfaction in her investiga- to reobserve and demythologize the Weimar

24 Ibid, p.28.

25 Ibid, p.169.

26 Ibid, p.91.

27 Sackett, review of ‘Lustmord’, p.840.

28 Gittleman, review of ‘Lustmord’, p.325.

29 Kassouf, review of ‘Lustmord’, p. 154.


RADCLIFFE - ART, SOCIETY & SEXUAL VIOLENCE

107

Republic, it was published at the very beginning

of the movement of queer and feminist in order to be able to widen her use of evidence

concise in her analysis of artists such as Grosz

historiography. Thus, Tatar’s Lustmord might and apply her theory to a wider range of artists

provoke a very opposed judgement. By instilling

the very stereotypes that modern feminism have been more convincing.

and art pieces. In doing so, her argument might

hopes to dispel - namely, that men are not always

the ‘bad guys’ and women are not always only receive criticism for its supposed conven-

Tatar’s choice of case studies does not

the ‘poor sufferers’’ - Tatar’s scholarship begs ience in fitting her theory, but also for the time

a somewhat skeptical view from the lens of a and geography of her primary evidence, which

modern historian. In the scope of feminism, precedes the Weimar period and dominates

gender studies and queer theory, twenty-fi e her scholarship. German-born playwright

years can seem more like a century as far as Frank Wedekind rattled the art epicenter by

political correctness and modern-day equality anticipating expressionism and epic theatre.

go. While searching for a detail-orientated, yet His Lulu tragedies, Earth Spirit and Pandora’s

compelling scholarship on sexual murder and Box, are a culmination of the slaughter of the

art in Weimar Germany, Tatar’s does remain female earth spirit by Jack the Ripper. 34 As expected,

Tatar never misses an opportunity to

the most accessed and accepted scholarship of

its kind. It is for these reasons that an updated relate past evidence to some sort of fact or fi -

scholarship on sexual violence and art in Weimar

Germany is needed.

lectual history, taking an idea and translating it

tion of the modern day. In the strain of intel-

In my private correspondence with Maria

Tatar, I asked her about Sackett’s comment preciation of the issues at hand, from a fresh

to our contemporary society allows for an ap-

on her ‘theory of the female’, hoping to get an perspective. I appreciate this form of convincing

argument, as it brings some sort of connec-

answer to the questions that other historians

and I have about the ‘‘convenience’’ of this tion and reality to the reader.

theory. 30 However, Tatar seemed to be unclear However, a gap in the historiography

about my mention of her theory in that context.

She did state that when writing her book, tury examples used to relate Weimar art to

can be found in the lack of twenty-first cen-

she was ‘very much focused on uncovering evidence

and examples’, seeing as no one had pre-

is situated. Tatar makes comparisons to David

the media in the period in which the reader

viously focused their attention on these works, Berkowitz, the Son of Sam killer in New York

and ‘corralled them into one big rodeo’. 31 She City; the films of Brian De Palma and Alfred

then compared herself to the female novelists Hitchcock; and Thomas Harris’ novel, The Silence

of the Lambs. However, why are these all

who rediscovered the heroines of The Odyssey

and The Iliad, giving voices to those who were American examples? Where is her comparison

silenced and enslaved, e.g. Barker’s The Silence of Weimar art to post-World War Two, postof

the Girls and Atwood’s Penelopiad. 32

Iron Curtain or simply modern-day German

There is only so much you can analyse literature, paintings, film and photography?

in one book, especially when one’s research is Instead of contrasting Weimar art to Hitchcock

so pivotal and new in the chosen field particularly

as a female academic. However, Tatar does Gein, a Wisconsin murderer and grave robber,

who was American and based Psycho on Ed

have an extreme number of the chapters such Tatar could have chosen some sort of constant

as the one on Grosz, which seem to drag on to maintain. The only connection I can find between

Psycho and Tatar’s argument is that the

slightly. 33 Perhaps she could have been more

30 Sackett, review of ‘Lustmord’, p. 840.

31 Tatar Maria, Private correspondence (27 April 2020).

32 Tatar, Private correspondence.

33 Tatar, Lustmord, p.98.

34 Gittleman, review of ‘Lustmord’, p.325.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

film was extremely popular when it came out, esting choice and is definitely relevant to a certain

field of study, but I just do not think that

similar to the fascination surrounding the art

produced in Weimar Germany. Also, Hitchcock the analysis of sexual violence and art is that

wrote that he sought the impression of a ‘knife chosen field of study. I personally think that

slashing, as if tearing at the very screen, ripping

the film ’ 35

allowed for a more riveting investigation.

staying within the German realm would have

One of Tatar’s major contentions is that Moving on from this omission of accurate

and convincing evidence, the criticism

male artists who depict sexual murder on their

canvasses often identify with an actual female-killing

murderer themselves, which does must also be considered to determine the value

within the four key case studies that Tatar uses

represent a tentative link. Moreover, Gein had of her work. The relevance of her research is

a deceased, domineering mother with a room not limited to Weimar Germany. It extends to

dedicated to her shrine and he dressed in women’s

clothing. This does interestingly connect inal cases. Todd Herzog draws the connection

the modern-day fascination of thrilling crim-

to my previous point about the ‘Freudian Complex’,

but Tatar does not really express it in this al, as he acknowledges the transferable eth-

between such horrors and OJ Simpson’s tri-

manner, so I simply do not know if her reasons nic controversy: replacing ‘black’ and ‘white’

are compelling enough. Upon my research into with ‘Jewish’ and ‘German’. 38 In addition, hyper-masculinity

represents a parallel between

Lustmord reviews, many of them use Psycho as

the revered example of comparison. Psycho, in Weimar society and today’s, but Herzog exemplifies

how this now takes place on the football

its fundamental form, is simply outdated. As

far as horror and psycho thrillers go, there are field rather than a battlefield 39 He also stresses

that hyper-sexuality in tabloid magazines,

many relevant ones in the surge of true crime

media that I feel would be more fittin , in an where the most provocative pictures and stories

of women’s sexual affairs are found, link to

up-to-date version of this historiography.

Again, this is something that I asked Dr the artists’ depictions of females in the 1920s. 40

Tatar in our private correspondence. I mentioned

that she only used American-based cre-

interpret Weimar culture and compare it to a

This is an extremely interesting way to

ators for her modern-day comparisons and she modern-day conundrum, one that would have

agreed, all the while reminding me that ‘the fit nicely into Tatar’s Lustmord. The transposition

of the traumatic disruption of bodily in-

grand master of horror, Hitchcock’, was actually

in Berlin in the 1920s, as well as many German

emigres in the US in the 1930s. 36 Tatar did obliterated and shell-holed trenches, alongside

tegrity onto slaughtered women, so that the

agree, though, with my idea that tracing an arc the exonerated male corpses can be transmuted

into female bodies is extremely important.

moving from Weimar to postwar Germany in

the 1940s and 1950s would be extremely interesting.

37 So, although she stated that it would stalwart and unchanging while the female body

In terms of artistic imagery, the male body is

in fact make more sense to compare the two is horrifically mutant and permeable. The fear

German postwar periods, in order to develop of the loss of manhood is represented through

this arc, her actual aim was to demonstrate how this, in that the feminizing of the corpses links

Weimar films carry ver and influence US ci - into Herzog’s view of the link between hyper

ematic culture. Bringing in the US is an inter- and toxic masculinity in the Weimar period and

35 Tatar, Lustmord, p.35.

36 Tatar, Private correspondence.

37 Ibid.

38 Herzog, review of ‘Lustmord’, p.991.

39 Ibid, p.991.

40 Ibid, p.990.


RADCLIFFE - ART, SOCIETY & SEXUAL VIOLENCE

109

the modern-day era. 41 An extremely interesting have been interesting to see her analysis of female

painters and their depictions of male ag-

link could have been drawn between these two

representations of a male’s most intimate fear, gression too. This genre of research links the

in order for Tatar to produce a compelling argument

of sexual violence and art. This could case histories to result in a hybrid that is de -

literary idea of Pitavalgeschichte with criminal

potentially have led to more support of her nitely worthy of discussion in this sphere of academic

study. The mixture of ‘true and fictional

scholarship. 42

There are in fact tentative arguments on crime’, which allowed the urban resident to act

this topic that Tatar makes in her reading of Berlin

Alexanderplatz 43 . Her understanding of this Weimar period. 46 One notable example of this

as the detective, was extremely popular in the

book is reinforced by Karl and Rosa and Döblin’s

‘The Murder of a Buttercup’, but seems by the police, who then gave the general public

is the case of Peter Kürten, which was unsolved

deficient without the mention of Döblin’s a chance to solve it, by handing it out in 1930.

criminal case history, The Two Girlfriends and Although, Tatar is right in her depiction of the

their Murder by Poisoning, in which he rewrites dread of imposed paranoia in Weimar Germany,

contemporaries felt a certain fascination

how two lesbian lovers murder a monstrous

husband. Döblin links this into the category of due to their inclusion and ability to participate

Lustmord art, meaning it would definitely have in this game of ‘cops and robbers’. 47 Writer

been interesting for Tatar to analyse her thesis Thomas Hartwig was so desperate for acknowledgment

that he staged murders of women to

by reflecting on a different gender, linking back

to the problem of her ‘theory of the female’. He bring himself to the attention of the public.

did also speak out about the crucial nature of The ‘murders’, trial and revelation of the hoax

this criminal case from the viewpoint of a novelist

and psychologist, whereas Tatar only anal-

even if a murder was found to be counterfeit,

made him a best-selling author overnight. So,

yses it from her viewpoint of a historian specializing

in children’s fairy tales. This is not to elevated the simulacrum of the corpse. 48

it was the sensational subject matter itself that

say that this aspect of Tatar’s scholarship does These are just a few examples of evidence

Tatar could have included to elevate her

not lend itself to Lustmord; if anything it brings

a novel perspective to the table. She explained investigation, seeing as some of the case studies

she did include are problematic. Yet ulti-

to me that pathologies have always been of

great interest to her, rather than the good, the mately, Herzog agrees, and so do I, that Tatar

true, and the beautiful, wherein we ‘use stories has given us the best study of a previously unacknowledged

crisis of sexual violence that has

and art to process trauma and pain’. 44 Compelling

novels, film , and works of art need to be always existed, may always exist and is a perfect

parsed and analysed to decode their symbolic medium with which to demythologize the glitz

language so that we can decipher what expressive

culture tells us about our society, who we fine Tatar’s main influence as being somewhat

and glamour of Weimar Germany. I would de-

are, and where we are heading. 45

similar to that of Philippe Aries and his idea of

This is not to say that Döblin’s ignored a theory of childhood. Tatar’s scholarship is an

criminal short story is the only one that deserved

to be analysed in Tatar’s novel. It would German cultural and social studies. However,

incredibly important contribution to Weimar

41 Ibid, p.991.

42 Boa, review of ‘Lustmord’, p.593.

43 Tatar, Lustmord, p.132.

44 Tatar, Private correspondence.

45 Ibid.

46 Herzog, review of ‘Lustmord’, p.991

47 Ibid, p.992.

48 Tatar, Lustmord, p.175.


110

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

there seem to be many historians including

myself, who, after reviewing this book, potentially due to this that it is not taken as

scholarship lends itself to an easy read. It is

conclude that despite the many interesting seriously as it should have been, resulting in

strains of argument, there are definitely areas

lacking in order for Lustmord to be con-

her research.

a lack of interest in widening and deepening

sidered a revolutionary text. This situation is In terms of historiography, in 1995

similar to the legacy of Aries, whose pivotal gender and queer theories were only just

study on childhood led the way for a new starting to thrive. Moreover, they have expanded

immensely in recent years. As a

strain of research but also received lots of

negative feedback. Nonetheless, theoretically

if the book is valuable in the field of study, certain choices that Tatar made, like ignoring

modern historian, I find it hard to ignore

and acts as a form of inspiration and motivation

for other scholars to develop their the feminist agenda completely, keeping the

any female Täter. In doing this she ignores

own research, then it does not really matter woman trapped in the role of Opfer, no matter

how often she deems this ‘blurring of

whether the book is well-received. Although

I personally deem her scholarship to be pivotal,

I don’t think it was picked up as much ography that this creates is further exempli-

roles’’ to be occurring. 52 The gap in histori-

as she hoped it would be. When I asked her fied by the need for a new comparison between

chosen case studies from the Weimar

about this, she confirmed that ‘surprisingly

few people bit’ in regards to her monograph.

49 Ultimately, though, her scholarship post-2008 recession or modern-day German

period and the post-WW2, post-Berlin Wall,

is accepted as a welcome critique on the periods. Moreover, some of the case studies

German modernist canon and is a valid contribution

to the debate on the representa-

as Döblin’s literature.

that she does use are not utilized fully, such

tion of sexual violence.

There are definiti e fl ws in this piece

It is true that more could have been of scholarship but there is only so much criticism

I can give it, because an investigation

achieved by this publication, but that should

not devalue the fundamental significance of into a topic that was previously under-researched

is a difficult task and normally is

what Tatar achieved. This investigation into

sexual violence and art in Weimar Germany not perfect the first time, like Aries’ work. It is

specificall , is the first of its kind. It is just just a shame that this topic has not received

a shame that more people did not ‘bite’, as more attention. Although, there have been a

Tatar put it. 50 Most of the historians that reviewed

Tatar’s book agreed that her inter-

publication, none quite cover the niche that

few pieces of work in the years following her

pretation of the link of sexual violence in she exposed. It would be extremely interesting

to see this gap filled in the coming years,

the Weimar period with the World Wars that

enveloped it is extremely riveting. Highlighting

Grosz and Dix’s backgrounds before display of sexual violence and art - of the

so that the demythologization - through the

analyzing their art in order to offer context Weimar Republic and its connection to other

parts of history can continue. The need

for their artistic choices is clever and allows

her argument to be portrayed convincingly for an updated investigation is an aspect Tatar

actually agreed with during our private

to the reader. But her ‘theory of the female’

receives much criticism, as it is not fledged correspondence, meaning that the ‘creator’

out to its full potential. 51 Moreover, due to the of this niche somewhat supports my criticism,

stating that my email to her ‘reengaged

writing style and layout of the book, Tatar’s

49 Tatar, Private correspondence.

50 Ibid.

51 Sackett, review of ‘Lustmord’, p. 839.

52 Tatar, Lustmord, p. 86.


RADCLIFFE - ART, SOCIETY & SEXUAL VIOLENCE

111

her interest in this topic’. 53 An updated historiographical

work could similarly renew interest ple spaces and temporalities.

in the history of sexual violence across multi-

53 Tatar, Private correspondence.


‘THE

BODY’ IN

RUSSIAN

HISTORY

‘“The body” as a useful

category for workingclass

history’: the case

of female prostitution in

revolutionary and early

Soviet Russia

Emily Wall

Body history and workplace identity

Bodies are defined by their embodiment, meaning

they are characterised by the processes of

becoming a body within a social space. 1 Baron

and Boris conceptualise the body through embodiment

by arguing the body carries additional

significance within the workplace because of

their comparison to the stereotypical worker of

an able-bodied, white male. 2 Embodiment inspires

a politicised historical analysis, according

to Horn’s understanding of the body as a social

phenomenon which is located within neither nature

nor the private sphere, but within the domain

of knowledge and intervention carved out

1 K. Canning, ‘The body as method?: Reflections on the

place of the body in gender history’, Gender & History 11:3

(1999),p. 505.

2 A. Baron. and E. Boris, “The Body” as a Useful Category

for Working-Class History’, Labor 4:2 (2007), pp. 24, 28,

29.


WALL - THE ‘BODY’ IN RUSSIAN HISTORY

through social hygiene, sociology and social

work. 3 Horn contradicts Scarry’s thesis which

argues the experience of pain resists language

since language cannot recreate the physicality

of the experience. 4 Russian historiography has

attempted to understand history in a physical

sense, notably the edited collections Russian

History Through the Senses: from 1700 to the

Present. Despite being interesting reading

their attempts to use language to illuminate

physical experience fall flat for the exact reasoning

Scarry highlights. Once physical experience

is brought forth into language it is no

longer physical. Horn and Scarry highlight the

two bodies of historical analysis, the social and

the physical, both of which have a strong connection

while only one can be fruitfully dissolved

into discourse.

The relationship between social and

physical bodies is seen across a wealth of disciplines.

Gender identity construction, outlined

by Butler, is a result of bodies indicating a world

beyond themselves. 5 For example, the experience

of bearing a child or the physical strength

of men leads these bodies to indicate gendered

characteristics such as feminine care or masculine

aggressiveness. The physical denotes social

traits. This interaction of social and physical,

which Baron and Boris highlight, is important

when using the body as a category of historical

analysis. This begs the question of why the

body is an important historical category since

Horn’s definition reduces it to social analysis.

For Bynum, the body is “not topic or, perhaps,

almost all topics” since the discussion of the

body is not standardised across disciplines

and, instead it is often reduced to discussion

about sex and gender. 6 While Bynum’s analysis

carries weight, she also incidentally points to

the integrity of body history. Everything within

society is defined by sex and gender. Baron

113

and Boris’s argument for embodiment within

the workplace and Butler’s analysis of gender

performativity illustrate that these ideas are

integral to society and body history cannot be

understood without them. Failure to standardise

understanding of body history does not undermine

it as a discipline, but instead proves

how rich and broad a study it can provide.

So, what relevance does this have to

bodies of prostitution specifically within revolutionary

Russia? For Canning, the body’s obvious

presence in prostitution makes it futile

to comment upon its existence. 7 The obvious

nature of the bodies of prostitution, however,

makes the body an integral category for the

historical analysis of Soviet-era prostitution.

Within Russia, the body was characterised

through its expression as a collective experience.

While Butler highlights physical experience

had social implications, in Russia social

ideology dictated physical experience. Sex

threatened Soviet Russia through spermatic

economy, meaning sex used up valuable energy

which should have been used to build the

state. 8 This threat was further exacerbated in a

state marked by war, famine, disease and social

upheaval. 9 When the body is part of the collective

wasting valuable energy while the rest

of the Soviet body is struggling to survive is

fundamentally selfish Bynum’s argument that

body history becomes reduced to a study of

sexuality and gender undermines the integrity

of these categories in a social context. The body

encapsulates both these themes and highlights

their thematic relationship with the upheaval

of Soviet society. If one is to have a very Foucauldian

perspective of sexuality, it is easy to

conclude how sexuality comes to define biopower

within Soviet society. 10 The threat that

sexuality posed to the population facilitated

the state’s control of sexuality. Politics facilitat-

3 D. G. Horn, Social Bodies: Science, Reproduction, and Italian Modernity (Princeton University Press, 1994), p. 4.

4 E. Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 5.

5 J. Bulter, Bodies That Matter: On The Discursive Limits of “Sex” (Routledge 1993) p. 12, ix.

6 C. W. Bynum, ‘Why all the Fuss about the Body?’, Critical Inquiry, 22:1 (1995), pp. 2, 5.

7 Canning, ‘The body as a method?’, p. 500.

8 E. Naiman, Sex in Public: The Incarnation of Early Soviet Ideology (Princeton University Press 1997), p. 75.

9 F. Bernstein, The Dictatorship of Sex: Lifestyle Advice for the Soviet Masses (Dekalb, 2007), p. 133.

10 M. Foucault, The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1: An Introduction (trans.) Hurley., R. (Allen Lane, 1979), p. 139.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

ed the physical experience of control as well as

created the conditions of poverty and unemployment

which made it necessary for women

to engage in prostitution. 11

Sexuality became regulated to protect

the state as well as the citizens. In Soviet Russia,

the state and individual bodies conflated

through, what Starks calls, the “body Soviet”.

12 The metaphorical body of the whole

population generates discussion of physical

and discursive bodies. Soviet citizens’ health,

which was often linked to sexuality, illustrated

the material manifestation of the revolution’s

success. 13 For example, dictating the age of developing

sexuality was integral to protecting

citizens’ health. Medical writers believed if

individuals had sex before the onset of sexual

maturity, between 20 and 22 for women and

23 and 25 for men, the body’s sex hormones

would prematurely deplete resulting in amenia,

premature ageing, the weakening of muscles,

productivity and creativity. 14 If the youth,

who were the foundations of the proletarian

state, had depleted their necessary spermatic

economy then this reflected failure of the new

state. Study of sexual maturation illustrates

how physical processes of the body became

politicised through their connection to the

collective. Logically, sexuality should be perceived

as helpful to the state since it provides

children who will continue state development.

The female body, however, neglected the Soviet

state through her sexuality. The prostitute

is a labour deserter because her energy is not

used for the collective, meanwhile, the mother

who focuses on caring for her child is liable on

the same basis of the prostitute for her neglect

of the state. The mother should give up care of

her child to the state after their first year and

if she continued to care for her children after

that she was no better than the prostitute in

terms of labour desertion. 15 Citizens neglected

their collective responsibility through sexuality.

Regulation of the body was underpinned

by the threat the sexed body, particularly the

feminine sexed body, posed to the state and

collective body which makes study of Russian

prostitution history through a social, bodily

historical analysis fruitful. Starks’ conception

of the ‘body Soviet’ highlights the idea of the

metaphorical social body which is integral to

Soviet ideology. 16 This link between the ideological

and the physical is clearly present in

Soviet Russia, so why remark upon its existence,

especially concerning prostitution where

the body is so obvious? It is precisely the obvious

nature of the links between body history

and Soviet-era prostitution which makes it so

important to connect the two. Although many

works have focused on a bodily perspective of

prostitution, they have failed to place their arguments

implicitly within the ‘bodily turn’ of

working-class history which Boris and Baron

have called for. 17 This failure is tied in with the

discussion of workspace identity.

Space, identity and sexuality all interrelate

within Soviet history. Kondakov’s

frankly brilliant piece on queer urban spaces

illustrates how space could be used as environments

of resistance. Removal of capitalist

spaces of queer expression, such as bathhouses,

and removal of private space by develop-

11 F. Halle, Woman in Soviet Russia (London, 1935), p. 256. As of October 1 1923 there were only 2,294,000 employed

women within the Soviet Union. This was the economic and social context which forced women into prostitution.

12 T. Starks, The Body Soviet: Propaganda, Hygiene, and the Revolutionary State (University of Wisconsin Press, 2008), p.

24.

13 Ibid., p. 4.

14 Bernstein, Dictatorship of Sex, pp. 134-135.

15 A. Kollontai, ‘Prostitution and ways of fighting it Speech to the third all-Russian conference of head of the

Regional Women’s Deparments, 1921 (in) A. Holt, Selected Writings of Alexandra Kollontai (Allison & Busby, 1977), A.

Krylova, ‘Bolshevik Feminism and Gender Agendas of Communism’; (in) S. Pons. S., and S. A. Smith, The Cambridge

History of Communism: Volume 1: World Revolution and Socialism in One Country 1917-1941 (Cambridge, 2017), p. 432.

16 Starks, The Body Soviet, p. 24.

17 Baron and Boris, “The Body” as a Useful Category for Working-Class History’, p. 43.


WALL - THE ‘BODY’ IN RUSSIAN HISTORY

ing common apartment spaces, forced sexuality

into the public. 18 This too was the case for

prostitution through removal of brothels and

as a result, to quote Kondakov, “the private was

forced into the political”. 19 To understand why

the body is important when analysing prostitution,

one must acknowledge the ways space

defined sexuality within Russia. The removal of

privacy illustrates how sexuality in Russia was

a collective matter and this, in turn, shaped

public identities. This was sometimes positive

for prostitutes, since deregulation of prostitution

and removal of brothels meant the institutions

which isolated prostitutes from society

were removed so they could become accepted

as a citizen. Increasing numbers of married

prostitutes throughout the 1920s points further

to their acceptance within the community. 20

The workplace must be consciously acknowledged

as a complex, two-fold concept where

the relationship between place and identity

becomes defined by the body. The destruction

of the physical workplace of the brothel meant

the place of sex was defined primarily through

the body which was the site where prostitution

took place. The geographical location of workspace

was secondary to the physical body as

a site of prostitution, hence, Baron and Boris’

argument surrounding an embodying experience

within a workplace is complicated when

talking about prostitution. This is further illuminated

by Pateman’s ‘sexual contract’ thesis

which argues that the prostitution contract is

unlike any other employment contract since,

rather than entering into a contract with an

employer, she instead enters into a contract

with the male customer who obtains the right

of direct sexual use of her body. 21 The body becomes

the workplace due to the specific nature

of the prostitution contract.

115

The importance of the secondary space

of physical locations must also be acknowledged.

Hubbard emphasises sexual identity as

integrally linked to historical geography. Cities

are sexualised in a way that perpetuates acceptable

and unacceptable sexual identities. Acts

of heterosexuality, such as holding hands, are

acceptable within public environments. Meanwhile,

transgressive sexualities are demonised

and pushed to the margins of society in destitute

areas. 22 There is a specific link of class

identities and poverty associated with transgressive

sexualities such as prostitution. Space

identity associated with the body is integral to

an understanding of Russian sexual culture.

The Devil’s Wheel (1926) illustrates the association

of divergent sexualities within run-down

houses on the outskirts of Leningrad. The film

follows with scenes of male harassment and

the sexual corruption of the sailor, Ivan Shorin.

Shorin ultimately rejects the urban lifestyle

for his life as a sailor. 23 Thus illustrating how

dangerous urban space and transgressive sexualities

stands at odds with individuals participating

within the collective. Schrader develops

this idea of space through the ideas posed by

Scarry surrounding the subjective bodily experience.

By focusing on the sensual experience

of urban space in the Passazh shopping

arcade and its associations with tsar era prostitution,

she highlights how the dim lighting

of these spaces placed women in jeopardy as

they navigated the streets. This danger was exacerbated

by the consumerism of these areas

which led men to perceive women’s bodies as

objects for sale. 24 Her argument surrounding

the unique experience of light alongside ideas

surrounding urban environment and sexuality

illustrates the interrelation of social and physical

which marries Scarry and Horn’s ideas in

18 A. Kondakov, ‘Rethinking the sexual citizen from queer to post-Soviet perspectives: Queer urban spaces and the

right to the socialist city’, Sexualities 22:3 (2019), pp. 405, 406.

19 Ibid., p. 406.

20 E. Waters, ‘Victim or villain: prostitution in post-revolutionary Russia’ (in.) L. Edmondson, (eds.), Women and Society

in Russia and the Soviet Union (Cambridge University Press, 1992), p. 166.

21 C. Pateman, The Sexual Contract (Stanford University Press, 1988), pp. 202-4.

22 P. Hubbard, Sex and the City: Geographies of Prostitution in the Urban West (Ashgate, 1999), pp. 2, 4, 210.

23 The Devil’s Wheel (1926) [film] Directed y G. Kozintsev and L. Trauberg. Soviet Union. Leningradkino.

24 A, Schrader, “Market Pleasures and Prostitution in St Petersburg”, (in) M. Romaniello, and T. Starks, (eds.) Russian

History Through the Senses: from 1700 to the Present (Bloomsbury, 2016), p. 70.


116

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

a nuanced fashion. Her appreciation of space

and its integrity to creation of bodily identity

within a social context makes her argument all

the more compelling. The embodying experience

of space due to the displacement of the

workplace in Soviet-era prostitution means

that spatial identity is a crucial theme to include

within this study.

When discussing the bodies of prostitution,

one needs to keep in mind that the social

context leads from the biological and is infl -

enced by socialist ideology. Historical analysis

must be pursued through an understanding

of the discursive body rather than the subjective

body. The Russian context of the collective

body, and its conflation of the biological and

ideological, makes analysis of the body through

a social context an incredibly useful point of

historical research.

Female Bodies: victim, mother and ‘dangerous’

woman

When applying the scholarly context already

discussed to the context of prostitution during

revolutionary Russia there are a few important

things to note. Boris and Baron illuminate

three categories which are particularly useful

when talking about body history. The first two

categories are representation and regulation.

Representation highlights how the physical

body is perceived within a social context, while

regulation is concerned with the way the state

attempted to control bodies. 25 These categories

of this analysis are of particular importance,

running throughout the analysis of both male

and female bodies within prostitution, and

highlight the ideas already outlined by Horn’s

social and discursive body. Whereas their final

category of corporeality cannot be used within

analysis of these bodies. Their definition of

corporeality in terms of making materiality a

component of representation and discourse

directly parallels Scarry’s ideas. 26 Corporeality

is limited in its usefulness as an analytical category

since it cannot be absorbed into discourse

since language cannot replicate the reality of

physical experience.

To prefix the analysis of the female bodies

of prostitution they must be first broken

down into three different bodies: the victim,

the dangerous woman and the mother. All

these bodies conflate into the single entity of

the female. However, social perceptions and

official discourse separate and compare these

bodies constantly. These bodies are simultaneously

distinct and fundamentally bonded

through official and non-official discourse and

representation.

The female body, although heteronormative

in its gendering of sexual intercourse,

challenges ideas surrounding heterosexuality

by engaging in sexuality for economic gain

rather than insemination. When considering

the first analytical category of representation,

this is illustrated thoroughly. FIG 1 highlights

the visible culture of the prostitute in the context

of challenging the heterosexual norm by

using the ideas of Butler’s gender performativity

to present herself in a way that marks her

body as for sale. 27 The intentions behind her

performativity are to engage within the prostitution

contract rather than conceiving a child,

therefore, her sexuality is transgressive. The

visual imagery of the prostitute illuminates

the connection between biological and social

transgressions further. Her capitalistic dress

was a marker within Soviet society for lack of

hygiene. Since mind and body were thought

to be related, her ideological transgressions

through her dress point to her biological sickness.

28 The cigarette within the image presents

a two-fold point of analysis. The passing of the

flame accompanied with the visibility of the

sore on the prostitute’s upper lip points to the

spreading of disease through a point of contact

illustrating the link of the visual culture of the

25 Baron and Boris, “The Body” as a Useful Category for Working-Class History’, p. 25.

26 Ibid., p. 25.

27 Hubbard, Sex and the City, pp. 4, 165.

28 Starks, The Body Soviet, pp. 23-25.


WALL - THE ‘BODY’ IN RUSSIAN HISTORY

poster and biology. 29 The cigarette is of further

importance due to the state’s concern for pregnant

smokers and the damage it would have on

the unborn child accompanied by the threat

of miscarriage. 30 This example lends itself to a

key theme of understanding the body within

this context which is the dichotomy of a prostitute’s

body with the mothering body.

The visual imagery of the bodies of

motherhood and prostitution is exhibited

within Prostitute, Killed by Life (1926). The

prostitute, Liuba, encroaches on distinctly heterosexual,

female space where a group of women

gather to wash their clothes accompanied

by their children. Liuba hugs one of the children,

illustrated in FIG 2, and is subsequently

met with hostility from the mother who drags

her child away warning her child to stay away

from the “bad woman”. 31 The prostitute’s body

becomes defined by its sexuality which places

it at odds with the mothering body. Social

perceptions, which are exacerbated by the geography

of motherhood, characterise her as a

dangerous woman through her incompatibility

with motherhood. This is further complicated

when considering the associations of venereal

diseases with infertility, miscarriage, infant

mortality and childhood impairment, which

marks the physical and medical dissonance

between the two bodies. 32 The prostitutes’ association

with venereal disease distinguishes

her biologically from the mothering body.

However, the film reflects the attitudes of later

Stalinist cinema through its focus on a female

hero who teaches the viewer to navigate Soviet

society. Patriarchal fantasies are destabilised

throughout the film by diverting attention away

from her sexuality to her victimhood. 33 The

film resolves through placing her within the

context of motherhood by showing her with a

child of her own. The contexts of FIG 2 and 3

117

FIG. 1. “Casual sex: the main source of the spread of

venereal disease” (Moscow). Print run: 10,000 (in) Bernstein,

F., ‘Envisioning Health in Revolutionary Russia:

The Politics of Sexual-Enlightenment Posters of the

1920s’, Russian Review, 57:2 (1998), p. 207.

both show her with the care of a mother as if

it is innate within her biological makeup. It is

the social discourse that changes rather than

visual representation of her care for children.

The discursive body is united with the biological

body through the innate female ability to

29 F. Bernstein, ‘Visions of sexual health and illness in revolutionary Russia’ (in) R. Davidson and L. A. Hall (eds.)

Sex, Sin and Suffering: Venereal disease and European society since 1870 (Routledge, 2001), p. 109.

30 Starks, The Body Soviet, pp. 23-25, 178.

31 Prostitute, Killed by Life (1927). [film] Directed y O.Frelikh. Soviet Union. Belgoskino.

32 C. Parks, J. F. Peiper, D. G. Tsevat and H. C. Wisenfeld, ‘Sexually transmitted diseases and infertility’, American

Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 216: 1 (2017),p. 1; S. Hearne, ‘To Denounce or Defend? Public Participation in the

Policing of Prostitution in Late Imperial Russia’, Kritika 19:4 (2018), p. 725.

33 A. E. Moss, ‘Stalin’s harem: the spectator’s dilemma in late 1930s Soviet film’ Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema,

3:2, (2009), p. 158.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

FIG 2: Prostitute, Killed by Life (1927).

care for children which ultimately serves as

her liberation. The heterosexual norm is challenged

not by the prostitute’s taboo sexuality,

but by the contradictions and compatibilities

of the bodies of the prostitute and the mother.

To further elaborate on the connection of

the different female bodies of prostitution, the

idea of the dangerous female body and its connections

with the themes of bodily autonomy

and identity must be developed. Looking at the

earlier context of late Imperial Russia, Hearne

illustrates how prostitutes sought personal

bodily autonomy by writing to the authorities

concerning their legal status. They drew on

the discourse of legality when disputing their

enrollment onto police lists without their consent.

Sixteen independent prostitutes in Brest

demonstrate this in their 1908 dispute over

the state’s attempt to force them into state-licensed

brothels. 34 These women presented

themselves as compliant citizens, who are biologically

controlled by the state, throughout

their defence of their workplace identity by arguing

they have followed the rules by attending

their weekly compulsory venereal disease

examinations. 35 They characterise themselves

as citizens through discourse and state control

over their bodies while simultaneously claiming

bodily autonomy with their choice of private

workspace. As previously illustrated, this

idea of space is integral to sex worker identity.

While many women would identify themselves

as victims of circumstance when engaging with

legal discourse, they would continue to fight for

this spatial freedom. 36 Space became the main

area of autonomy of which they were entitled

since their bodies would be controlled by the

state and their male clients. These women may

be characterised as dangerous through their

outspoken defence of their workplace identity,

however, the physical reality of their body

continued to represent the victimisation of the

body thereby conflating these two bodies into

a single discourse.

The bodies of the dangerous woman and

the victim were categorised within labour clinics

based on their willingness to conform to the

ideal of the redeemable woman. This was policed

through a form of one hundred questions

based upon their childhood, temperament and

sex life. 37 Since the primary aim of these institutes

was to treat infected prostitutes, willingness

to reform needed to be accompanied by

infection with venereal diseases to be admit-

FIG 3: Prostitute, Killed by Life (1927).

34 Hearne, ‘To Denounce or Defend?’, pp. 720, 734-5.

35 Ibid., p. 741.

36 Ibid., p. 741.

37 S. Hearne, ‘From Liberation to Limitation: The Early Soviet Campaign to “Struggle with Prostitution”’ in L.

Douds, J. Harris, and P. Whitewood (eds), The Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution: Illiberal Liberation, 1917-1941 (Bloomsbury,

2020), p. 235.


WALL - THE ‘BODY’ IN RUSSIAN HISTORY

ted. 38

The link of the social, discursive body

and the physical, biological body is defined

here through the categorical analysis of regulation.

The clinics prided themselves on curing

women ideologically, socially and physically.

Hearne outlines the two schools of thought

within the early Soviet campaign against prostitution.

The first was that it was an economic

problem on account of unemployment which

meant emancipation required financial help,

whereas the other school of thought posed

them as blameless victims of the capitalist

pre-revolutionary regime. 39 Both these official

discourses place the prostitute within the context

of victimhood from which they would be

emancipated through ideological education

and providing them with work. 40

State control, however, did not emancipate

these women from bodily control nor grant

bodily autonomy. Instead, the subjugation of

their body was transferred from male clients to

the state. The very fact that the state discourse

failed to comprehend the willingness of women

to enter prostitution through their own free

will in the first place shows a complex interplay

of autonomy, economic circumstance and gender

hierarchies. 41 Social perceptions colour the

female as a victim and if she were to defend

her bodily autonomy and workplace identity,

like the prostitutes in Brest, she was perceived

as a lost cause. 42 These women, who were categorised

as hardened (zakorenelyi) prostitutes,

were subjected to intense state control through

labour camps. In 1929, ten labour camps were

being set up for these ‘hardened’ prostitutes

who were characterised alongside wreckers

for their failures to engage within productive

labour. 43 Their associations with the capitalist

past alongside their unwillingness to reform

led to the state seizing control over their bod-

119

ies more forcefully. Either way, the prostitute’s

body could not escape being controlled and

regulated. Although Russia was a state defined

by ideological equality, the reality of the situation

illustrated that it remained a state dictated

by patriarchy. The bodily associations with the

mother, the victim and the dangerous woman

all tie to the social perception of the female

body as weak and subjugated under male control.

The autonomy of the hardened prostitute

who sold her body through choice surrounding

her workplace identity, rather than out of

necessity because of her weakness, was a threat

to traditional gender assumptions. The state’s

control of these women through labour camps

illustrates the conflict between autonomy and

control which characterises Russia’s failure

to free itself from gendered assumptions surrounding

female sexuality and the body.

Male Bodies: representation, regulation and

war

Male bodily experience in heterosexual prostitution

is essential to exploring the female

since gendered history is more powerful when

analysed through the interrelation between

genders rather than focusing on the singular.

Study of the male body lends itself perfectly

to the categories of regulation, representation

and corporeality. Venereal diseases associated

with prostitution were significant to the male

body due to the integrity of their bodily health

to state security. Concern over state security,

rather than victimhood or bodily autonomy as

it was for women, facilitated state regulation

of male bodies. As of 1926, 15.5% of sailors in

the Black Sea fleet were infected with venereal

disease which made it the most venereally diseased

fleet worldwide. 44 In line with Starks’ in-

38 F. Bernstein, ‘Prostitutes and Proletarians: The Soviet Labour Clinic as Revolutionary Laboratory’ in W. Husband,

(eds.) The Human Tradition in Modern Russia (Rowman & Littlefield 2000), p. 117.

39 Hearne, ‘From Liberation to Limitation’, p. 231.

40 Bernstein, ‘Prostitutes and Proletarians’, p. 115.

41 Hearne, ‘From Liberation to Limitation’, p. 1 .

42 Ibid., p.234; Hearne, ‘To Denounce or Defend?’, p. 735.

43 Waters, ‘Victim or villain’, p. 161.

44 S. Hearne, ‘The “Black Spot” on Crimea: Venereal Diseases in the Black Sea Fleet in the 1920s’, Social History, 42:2

(2017), pp. 190, 181.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

sistence on the body Soviet, this lack of health

became a reflection of the failure of the revolution

and marked Russia’s backwardness.

The context of the first Soviet peacetime

existence allowed the state to justify turning

their attention away from the threat of impending

enemies to regulating the sailors’ bodies. 45

The Revolutionary Military Soviet of the Black

Sea fleet began controlling the sailors’ behaviour

by making it mandatory to report to their

nearest medical point for prophylactic care following

sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse

often implied engagement with a prostitute

due to the higher wages and free time of the

sailors in the autumn and winter which gave

them the opportunities to visit prostitutes. 46

Comparing this to Germany during World War

One, one can gain insight into the invasive nature

of Soviet regulation.

During World War One the German

state believed, since men were sexually aggressive,

sexual activity was necessary to maintain

troop morale. Their sexuality became nationalised

through procuration of front brothels

and distribution of condoms. Venereal diseases

were not linked to endangering state security

but rather the private household in endangering

their wives and impairing their fertility. 47 In

both cases sexuality was nationalised, however,

the motivations behind it were very different. In

Germany sex was promoted as a necessary biological

function whereas in Russia, while male

aggressiveness was acknowledged, they sought

to promote this use of energy through organising

boxing and wrestling matches to reduce

sexual tensions. 48 Male clients’ bodies were regulated

according to their gender performity of

aggressiveness, meanwhile female bodies were

regulated according to their victimhood. The

dichotomy between these methods illuminates

Butler’s thesis, illustrating how biological assumptions

characterised their social treatment.

Furthermore, the privacy of German sexuality

was exhibited by the use of condoms and concern

over the private household. Whereas the

Russian state-controlled sexuality, by administering

prophylactic care publicly, reflects their

focus on the collective body. Russia failed to

deal with venereal diseases as successfully as

Germany due to shortages of personal prophylactic

kits and condoms. The private act of sex

became a public matter because shortages

meant they were more at risk. 49 The material

reality behind this control meant that the nationalisation

of efforts to prevent prostitution

was evermore integral to state protection.

Bodily invasion and the physical experience

of pain surrounding venereal disease

treatment should be considered within the

context of corporeality. The treatment for gonorrhoea

was administered after sex, involving

urinating, washing the penis with soap and

water then injecting diluted Protargol solution

directly into the urethra. 50 Scarry argues

the language of pain is usually brought forth in

medical terms meaning pain is spoken about

on behalf of those who are in pain. 51 It is impossible,

especially writing as a female, to place

this procedure within the language of physicality.

However, understanding men’s institutional

reaction whenever anyone talks about the

painful invasion of their genitalia, the description

alone plays a powerful role in understanding

the historical experience of men’s bodies.

Considering the bodily invasion was not facilitated

with the concern for the single individual

but rather the collective body who would

be threatened if there was a depleted military

force, the magnitude of the invasion of lack

of privacy can be illustrated. The experience

of the individual body was defined by how it

threatened the collective and its medical treatment

was coloured by this perception thereby

placing it at odds with Germany’s concern for

45 Ibid., pp. 181-182.

46 Ibid. ,pp. 184, 197.

47 E. Domansky, ‘Militarization and Reproduction in World War I Germany’(in) G. Eley (eds), Society, Culture, and the

State in Germany, 1870-1930 (University of Michigan Press 1996), pp. 448-449.

48 Hearne, ‘“Black Spot” on Crimea’, p. 197.

49 Ibid., p. 198.

50 Ibid., p. 186.

51 Scarry, The Body in Pain, p. 6.


WALL - THE ‘BODY’ IN RUSSIAN HISTORY

the individual bodies within households.

Gendered space and Konakov’s spatial

identity thesis are integral to understanding

the male client’s body. Workspace became the

main arena for the construction of male identity

and in the example of war, which was defined

by bodily pain and mass death, this identity

construction took on a very aggressive characterisation.

52 Looking at an earlier context of

World War One, female presence posed a threat

when it encroached on the male space of war.

Non-official underground sources circulated

focusing on the sexualisation of wartime nurses.

The term ‘sisters of comfort’ became sexualised,

betraying its earlier association with the

emotional support provided by nurses. 53 The

idea of the caring woman in this sense links to

her motherly instincts, however, when this is

displaced within the gendered space of war it

121

becomes misconstrued. This private discourse

presented the extent of the overpowering male

identity within this space as shown in FIG 4.

In a highly male charged environment, the female

body became sexualised as men desperately

engaged with crude sexuality to construct

their gendered identity. The image’s vulgarity

highlights the vulnerability of the women who

are powerless to the groups of men in line with

their members ready and waiting. The visual

nature of sexuality here is present within private

discourse, however, the ideas behind it

continue to threaten the state because it undermined

the structures of nursing. Women

were present to care for these men, however,

the performity of masculinity which was exacerbated

by the place of war sexualised this

necessary relation. Nurses would have to conceal

their feminine bodily characteristics with

FIG. 4: Postcard circulated among Russian troops depicting the sexualisation of nurses in L. S. Stoff, Russia’s

Sisters of Mercy and the Great War: More than binding men’s wounds (University Press of Kansas, 2015), p .29.

52 A. Baron, ‘Masculinity, the Embodied Male Worker, and the Historian’s Gaze’, International Labor and Working-Class History,

69 (2006), p. 143.

53 Stoff, Russia’s Sisters of Mercy, p. 267.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

FIG. 5: “Article 15 severely punishes those who infect another with venereal disease” (Moscow). Print run: 10,000

(in) Bernstein, ‘Envisioning Health in Revolutionary Russia’, p. 208.

their nurses uniform to deflect this attention.

However, due to the private discourse around

the sexuality of nurses this uniform came to be

defined by its relation to sex work. 54 There was

a reality to the situation with women dressing

up as military nurses to enter military zones

although to what extent is questionable. 55 The

male behaviour surrounding the situation

highlights the sexuality of gendered relations

and a crisis of masculinity in which men felt

like they had to prove themselves under threat

of female presence. Male workspace identity

became threatened by female workspace identity

and this reduced women to their sexuality

due to male fears over the power of women and

their pressure to perform their masculinity.

Representation of the male body often

centred around villainisation. Criminalisation

of the spreading of venereal disease through

article 15 conveyed that the male was an active

participant in his exchange with a prostitute

and was liable to punishment for its consequences.

56 The villainisation of the male body

centred around the mothering body and domestic

household. FIG 5, following on from

FIG 1 in a Narkomzdrav series on venereal disease,

highlights the villainisation of the male

client and the female prostitute through the

victimisation of the wife. 57 The series highlights

the physical connection of these bodies

through sexual contact where the primary

source of disease remains as the prostitute. Although

the male is responsible, the prostitute

still holds the majority of the responsibility

within these sources as the origins of disease.

The physical connection of these bodies ties in

with the body Soviet and illustrates how Soviet

society is intricately connected, the physical

pain of the body poses a danger to society on

a public level but also poses a tangible threat

54 Stoff, Russia’s Sisters of Mercy and the Great War, pp. 286, 282.

55 Hearne, ‘Sex on the Front’, p. 102.

56 Bernstein, ‘Envisioning Health in Revolutionary Russia’, p. 208.

57 Bernstein, ‘Visions of sexual health and illness’, p. 109.


WALL - THE ‘BODY’ IN RUSSIAN HISTORY

to the private domestic household. Kollontai

contextualised these ideas within Marxist

feminism through her short story Sisters. She

talks about a wife who previously had a comradely

relationship with her husband. Her husband

becomes corrupted following a business

trip with several NEPmen and starts bringing

prostitutes back to their household. The second

prostitute which he brought to their home

tells the story of her suffering to the wife and

they “parted like sisters”. 58 The victimisation of

the prostitute turns her into a comrade which

unites the women in a very inspiring way. It is

the manipulation of the prostitute through the

prostitution contract, which presents itself as a

remnant of the capitalist past since a man who

“buys the favours of a woman does not see her

as a comrade”, which connects the two bodies

through collective ideology. 59 Buying a woman’s

body undermines socialism thereby the

connection of physical culture and social policy

are underpinned. Although Kollontai rejected

prostitution, she does so through the lens

of Marxist feminism, stressing the role of patriarchy

and capitalism in manipulating women.

The idea of the collective body means everyone

has a role within the spreading of venereal

diseases, however, the stress on the victimisation

of the prostitute within official discourse

meant blame was also placed on the male.

123

a state defined by its proletariat. The nature of

this research is obvious which is what makes it

so important in creating a case example of the

integrity of body history within a larger context.

This study can generate a starting point

for changing attitudes towards the ways working-class

history is approached. The body does

not need categorising within corporeality to

produce a fascinating study. The social bodies

of prostitution inspire an analysis of medicine,

state control and propaganda, national security

and socialist ideology, gender and sexuality

just to name a few. The body is the single most

important factor of human existence since

without it there is no existence. Its embodiment

and spatial identity apply to all elements

of social existence, placing it as an important

category for understanding both working-class

history and any other historical endeavour you

can imagine, of which the history of prostitution

is just the tip of the iceberg.

Conclusion

Prostitution is by nature embodied and Soviet

Russia’s history is obviously working-class as

58 A. Kollontai, ‘Sisters’ (1923), trans in L.Lore, A Great Love (Vanguard Press, 1929).

59 Kollontai, ‘Prostitution and ways of fighting it’


#

Durham University History Society Journal: 2020

FEATURED

CONTRIBUTIONS


125

GENDERING THE

METROPOLIS: A

DEBATE

Collected Essays from the Module ‘The Metropolis:

Urban Histories of Modern Europe, c.1790-1990’

Dr Markian Prokopovych

This debate is one of the unanticipated – but

hugely rewarding – outcomes of my module

‘The Metropolis: Urban Histories of Modern

Europe, c.1790-1990’ at Durham University, in

which we critically engage with and challenge

orthodox narratives of European urbanisation.

Capitalising on the interest in gender history

amongst this year’s student cohort, this debate

includes contributions by Georgie E. Caine,

Artemis Irvine, and Alice McKimm. When I

write ‘unanticipated’ and yet ‘hugely rewarding’,

this is because even though the creative

potential of interdisciplinarity and of the

merging of gender and urban history is fairly

self-evident, I did not fully anticipate the richness

and diversity of my students’ approaches

to the topic of gendering the metropolis, each

of them gleaned from a different set of primary

sources.

The debate that the following three

texts engage in is, first of all, a debate with each

other –indicated by their comments on each

other’s work and arguments. But much more

importantly, they approach cities and urbanisation

critically, without the celebratory pathos

that classic urban historical studies have

employed to describe them, and look at the

complexity of the multifaceted urban experi-

ences beyond those that concerned successful

and powerful men. What becomes clear from

the debate is just how much scholarship has

grown since the publication of pioneering

works such as Maureen A. Flanagan’s ‘Women

in the City, Women of the City: Where Do

Women Fit in Urban History?’ 1 – the work that

we read and discussed in class. While women’s

histories of European urbanisation are still not

complete, filling them with further case studies

and broader comparative approaches is no

longer adequate for the participants of this debate.

‘Adding women and stirring,’ as some earlier

studies have done, is no longer sufficient

because the more we learn about the scale of

women’s involvement in these phenomena, the

more fundamental they appear to our interpretation

of urbanisation. In the wake of calls

to decolonise the curriculum, the inclusion

of women into the classic narratives hitherto

dominated by masculinised approaches (such

as those of urbanisation) is complemented by

approaches that incorporate the gendering of

both sexes, as well as by alternative histories of

other, non-heteronormative urban groups.

Of course, typical narratives of nineteenth-century

urbanisation are still predominantly

male, middle-class narratives – but did

1 Flanagan, M. A. (1997). ‘Women in the City, Women of the City: Where Do Women Fit in Urban History?’, Journal of

Urban History, 23(3), pp. 251–259.


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DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

even the middle class conform to such imagined

depictions? In a 1900 Baedeker guide to

London, we only encounter women in ladies’

societies; or when in the dinner invitation etiquette

‘gentlemen’ were expected to ‘remain at

the table, over their wine, for a short time after

the ladies have left.’ 2 But such representations,

as the following essays show, are misleading.

Even some middle-class women would actually

break away with these norms in many different

ways. Cities were full of women: barmaids, waitresses,

middle-class flâneuses – if one accepts

the applicability of the term – as well as those

others who were less visible and yet essential

for the functioning of urban economies, such

as, for example, housemaids, women working

from home, and those employed in numerous

urban sweatshops. And cities were also full of

other, non-heteronormative groups, who each

had their own topographies that reflected urban

power structures and ways to subvert them.

How rigid were the boundaries between

what constituted public and private space in

the city? Was public space threatening – or

even plain inaccessible – to women or gay men

in a way that prevented them from establishing

their own, fairly comfortable urban topog-

raphies for their everyday activities? Was the

strict separation of the public and the domestic

spheres along gendered lines even possible

in a modern metropolis, with its celebrated

sense of anonymity and the opportunity

for a spectator to ‘hide in the crowd’? Should

we continue to stick to nineteenth-century

depictions of ‘disreputable’ urban areas and

neighbourhoods and the often sensationalised

visions of dangers that they presented, from

prostitution and crime to the harassment of

women in such places by fellow men and the

police? What sources and approaches could

one use in an aim to gain a historical view of

the metropolis that would be more inclusive of

hitherto understudied and underrepresented

groups? How powerful was the agency of these

groups in shaping the metropolis? Equally, to

what extent were their actions controlled and

regulated by the police? The participants in

this debate provide different answers to these

questions, but all three agree that asking them

is key to opening unexpected vistas of historical

research that can lead us to a more complex

understanding of cities and urban groups, as

well as modern sexualities and power.

2 Karl Baedeker, Baedeker’s London and Its Environs 1900 (London: Bloomsbury, 2002, Facsimile edition).


RE-EVALUATING

FEMALE AGENCY

IN THE MODERN

METROPOLIS

A Visual Analysis of Nineteenth-Century

London and Paris

Georgie E. Caine

Following the revisionist methodological trend

to study history ‘from below’, alongside a feminist

response to the absence of women as

‘historical subjects’ in the 1970s, a gendered

consideration of urban processes in nineteenth-century

Europe has surfaced, opposing

traditional narratives of the metropolis. 1 Historians

such as Carol Schmid and Erika Rappaport

have evidenced for women’s increased

liberation and autonomy in urban spheres in

Berlin and London respectively, thus challenging

perceptions of urban processes dictated by

patriarchal structures and experiences. 2 Their

work builds on the legacy of earlier scholars,

including Helen Meller and Elaine Showalter,

who have cited the prevalence of male-dominated

urbanisation, particularly in the use of

public areas and the position of women within

both geographical and symbolic space, in urban

historical scholarship. 3 Considering women’s

prominence in mental asylums, purported

scientific essentialism and limitations to women’s

activity within commercial spaces of London

and Paris in the ‘long nineteenth century’,

this essay contributes to this debate by positing

that despite propagations of further female

agency in urban processes, such agency was not

necessarily extensive. 4 Rather, utilising visual

1 Marion Pluskota, ‘Research in Urban History: Recent PhD theses on gender and the city, 1550-2000’, Urban History,

41.3 (2014), pp. 537-538.

2 Carol Schmid, ‘The “New Woman” Gender Roles and Urban Modernism in Interwar Berlin and Shanghai’, Journal

of International Women’s Studies, 15.1 (Jan., 2014); Erika Diane Rappaport, Shopping for Pleasure: Women in the Making of

London’s West End (Princeton, 2000).

3 Helen Meller, ‘Planning theory and women’s role in the city’, Urban History, 17 (1990); Elaine Showalter, ‘Victorian

Women and Menstruation’, Victorian Studies, 14.1, The Victorian Woman (Sep., 1970); Rappaport, Shopping for Pleasure.

4 Elaine Showalter, ‘Victorian Women and Insanity’, Victorian Studies, 23.2 (Winter, 1980); Helen Meller, ‘Planning

theory and women’s role in the city’.


128

DURHAM UNIVERSITY HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL 2020

sources from the period, I argue that women –

particularly working-class women – continued

to be relegated to a domestic and ‘other’ space,

regardless of perceived greater autonomy. In

order to avoid a simplistic reduction of the

term ‘gender’ as a synonym for women, specific

male experiences in the European metropolis

are also examined. 5 Considering these in conjunction

with female narratives also allows the

perception of the industrial revolution as a glorified

process to be re-evaluated: the harsher

realities of marginalised groups are revealed,

such as perpetual fear of arrest and the struggles

faced by the working-class. 6

At the turn of the century, the image of

women in public spaces emerged: riding bicycles,

walking, smoking or socialising. 7 Artwork

depicting women in places typically inhabited

by men elucidates the loosening of control of

urban space and the new liberty afforded to

women to occupy such space. For example,

Van Gogh’s In the Café: Agostina Segatori in Le

Tambourin captures the female owner of a Parisian

cafe smoking and drinking a beer (Figure

1). These actions – entrenched in the nineteenth-century

imagination as virile aspects

of male pleasure and bonding rituals – would

have juxtaposed perceptions of ‘natural’ female

behaviour and challenged masculine hegemony

of public activity, visually and symbolically. 8

This is furthered by Susanna Barrow’s assertion

of the café as ‘primary theatre of everyday

life’. 9 Whilst this denotes the transformation

of quotidian existence into a ‘spectacle’

through the creation of a place from which to

FIG. 1: Vincent van Gogh, In the Café: Agostina

Segatori in Le Tambourin (1887), Van Gogh Museum,

Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons).

observe, it also infers the reciprocal ability to

draw conclusions about societal trends from

activity within cafés. 10

Despite a shortage of historiography and

primary sources regarding the history of Parisian

cafés, it is undeniable that this realm had

previously been dominated by men, being a

communal site of political discourse and cultural

modernity. 11 The appearance of women

within such space connotes a spatial ‘opening

5 Joan W. Scott, ‘Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis’, The American Historical Review, 91.5 (Dec., 1986),

pp. 1055-1056.

6 Matt Houlbrook, ‘“The Man with the Powder Puff” in Interwar London’, The Historical Journal, 50.1 (Mar., 2007);

J. M. Chaumont, M. Rodriguez Garcia, P. Servais, eds. Trafficking in Women 1924-1926: The Paul Kinsie Reports for the

League of Nations. 2 Vols. (Geneva, 2017).

7 Dolores Mitchell, ‘The “New Woman” as Prometheus: Women Artists Depict Women Smoking’, Women’s Art Journal,

12.1 (Spring-Summer, 1991), p. 4; Rappaport, Shopping for Pleasure, p. 15.

8 Mitchell, ‘The “New Woman” as Prometheus’, p. 3.

9 Susanna I. Barrows, ‘Nineteenth-Century Cafes: Arenas of Everyday Life’, in Pleasures of Paris: Daumier to Picasso,

ed. Barbara Stern Shapiro (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1991), p. 17.

10 Vanessa R. Schwartz, Spectacular Realities: Early Mass Culture in fin-de-siècle Paris (California, University of California

Press, 1998), p. 8; Hazel H. Hahn, Scenes of Parisian Modernity: Culture and Consumption in the Nineteenth Century

(New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), p. 31.

11 W. Scott Haine, ‘Privacy in Public: The Comportment of Working-Class Women in Late Nineteenth-Century Parisian

Proletarian Cafes’, Western Society for French History, 14 (1987), pp. 204-212; Julie Anne Johnson, ‘Conflicted Sel es

: Women, Art & Paris 1880-1914’, PhD dissertation, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, 2008).


CAINE - FEMALE AGENCY IN THE MODERN EUROPEAN METROPOLIS

129

up’ in Paris. This may be applicable specifically

to gendered boundaries, the extended use of

public space to incorporate women inferring

greater female freedom of movement. However,

it also echoes a literal ‘opening up’ of physical

places as reflected in Haussmann’s architectural

transformation of Paris, suggesting fluidity

and urbanisation dictated by liberal mobility

rather than the construction and separation of

specific sphere . 12

The ‘gendering’ of department stores in

London also reveal the ‘emancipation’ of women

in public areas, in the words of Gordon Selfridge.

13 Whilst articles in the Globe (1876) reported

the refusal of male admittance into the

Army and Navy Co-operative Society, shops

like Selfridges were personified as feminine. 14

Both Selfridges’ advertising and architecture

called upon feminine associations: adverts

featured majestically attractive women, small

window displays were dainty and building exteriors

were ‘delicately painted’. 15 By appealing

to ‘womanly’ traits and desired femininity, female

shoppers were targeted and subsequently

enticed into the department store. The proliferation

of the London commercial district as

‘feminine’ signified a capitalist victory over the

traditional conservatism of the middle-class.

Recognising the economic benefits of mobilising

women as paying customers, retailers

endorsed and naturalised consumption as a

‘respectable’ female amusement, thereby legitimising

shops and department stores as sites

of female activity. 16 Further autonomy was encouraged

through the ability to buy on cred-

it; this eliminated women’s financial dependency

and thus signalled an appropriation of

economic control. 17 In comparison to having

once required a chaperone to walk ‘alone’, this

progression would certainly have compounded

new power and independence to women. 18

However, this was primarily afforded to the

‘respectable’ middle-class and those who possessed

the time, money and status to participate