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Academic encounters? International Relations Studies and the “Carceral Archipelago” project

Academic encounters? International Relations Studies and the “Carceral Archipelago” project

My recent appointment as lecturer at the History Department of the Utrecht University has brought me in close contact with the bourgeoning field of International Relations (IR) studies. Inevitably, as I read articles and books on the subject, and design and teach related courses, I am comparing the theoretical and methodological assumptions of IR with […]

The double-minded revolutionary

The double-minded revolutionary

In 1884, a Russian woman by the name of Liudmila Volkenshtein was found guilty of anti-tsarist “terrorism” by a military court in St Petersburg. Her crimes were bound up with her membership in an underground group called “The People’s Will” (Narodnaia Volia), an organization that in 1881 had carried out the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. Volkenshtein herself […]

Attitudes to Convict Ancestry: Documentary Review

Attitudes to Convict Ancestry: Documentary Review

In this blog post I review the documentary ‘A Secret History of my Family: Gadbury Sisters’, which aired in 2016, and discuss how it reflects changing attitudes to convict ancestry amongst British and Australian descendants. It is re-blogged from the the wonderful History on the Box in which postgraduate students from the School of History, Politics and IR at the […]

The Two Fredericks: A snapshot of male intimacy in prison

The Two Fredericks: A snapshot of male intimacy in prison

In the 1840s, campaigners for the abolition of convict transportation engaged in a campaign of scare-mongering about the prevalence of sexual acts between male convicts (dubbed “unnatural acts”).  This strand of anti-transportation rheotirc was particularly effective because it suggested that a system that was supposed to engender moral reform actually produced moral degradation.[1] Panic about rampant homosexual activity […]

In my prison notebook

In my prison notebook

Last year I came across a rare archival find: multiple editions of a 19th century prison newspaper covertly produced by Russian inmates between 1890 and 1905. The newspaper editions, now brittle paper manuscripts fraying brown along their edges, were archived along with a note of introduction by the editor-in-chief. The editor describes the way in […]

The case for ‘remain’ in the EU referendum – my view as the director of a €1.5 million European funded research project in History

The case for ‘remain’ in the EU referendum – my view as the director of a €1.5 million European funded research project in History

  At the end of last week, thirteen Nobel prize-winning scientists wrote a letter to the right leaning newspaper The Daily Telegraph, urging Britain to vote ‘remain’ in the forthcoming European Union (EU) referendum. The scientists warned of the consequences of a British exit (or ‘Brexit’) from the EU, drawing attention to the fact that […]

The forgotten success of penal transportation reform in late Imperial Russia: the lowering of prisoner mortality in the transfer system (1885-1915)

The forgotten success of penal transportation reform in late Imperial Russia: the lowering of prisoner mortality in the transfer system (1885-1915)

By Mikhail Nakonechny. The late Imperial Russian prison and exile system is almost unequivocally considered to be the traditional embodiment of brutality, institutional inhumanity and injustice. The popular image of endless convict suffering in vastness of Siberia, supported in the English speaking world by the influential George Kennan’s work on Siberian exile[i] and enhanced by […]

Protection for Whom? Aboriginal rights in the Swan River Colony

Protection for Whom? Aboriginal rights in the Swan River Colony

by Kellie Moss   In June 1829, Governor James Stirling founded the Swan River Colony on the mainland of Western Australia. Whilst the hype surrounding the new colony attracted almost 2000 people to Swan River in the first year, few of these initial settlers concerned themselves with the rights of those they were dispossessing. Furthermore, […]

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