National Service life stories: masculinity, class and the memory of conscription in Britain

The introduction of National Service had an enormous impact on the lives of the 2.3 million young men called up in Britain between 1949 and 1960. Many deferred until the end of their education or training, some failed the medical but most went into the Army, some to the Royal Air Force, and a few to the Navy. In uniform, the experiences of individual men could be very different indeed. A minority served in the front line, fighting wars in Korea or Malaya. Many had two years of boredom in camps in Britain.

Looking for life in the UV: fluorescence as a tool for planetary exploration

Whether or not the Solar System has provided environments conducive to microbial life beyond Earth is a major focus of current space exploration. This endeavour is driven by the identification of a great diversity of extraterrestrial environments, such as ancient lakes on Mars and subsurface oceans on the icy moons of Jupiter. Investigating the habitability of these environments requires new tools and technology to be developed.

Veiled voyagers: Muslim women travellers from Asia and the Middle East

To evoke ‘the Muslim woman’ in the contemporary political climate is to conjure images of black veils and shrouded faces. The hijab becomes a symbol of clipped horizons and curtailed movement. And yet many Muslim women throughout history have countered these omnipresent images by participating in that most liberating form of movement: travel. For many Muslims, Islam’s central requirement to go on hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, provided motivation and opportunity to travel.

People and place: the making of the Kingdom of Northumbria 300–800 CE

Charting the emergence, size and longevity of the early state has challenged many anthropologists and archaeologists; the scope, duration and ethnic composition often proving elusive because of the lack of appropriate data. The kingdom of Northumbria 300–800 CE, was a powerful, contested territory and a linguistic and cultural melting pot. It provides an ideal laboratory in which archaeologists can explore the processes of early political formation, through the analysis of populations that lived through the significant social transformations of this time. 

In Place of War: international network of cultural spaces

The power of the arts to sustain communities and to affect political and social change is a key focus of In Place Of War, a project that has been researching art in sites of conflict for over ten years. The project has many partners creating, or trying to create, their own cultural spaces. This project will formalise a global network of cultural spaces in sites of conflict, war and upheaval and explore what role they play.

Translating feminism: transfer, transgression, transformation (c. 1960–1990)

‘Sisterhood is global’, claimed feminists during the ‘second wave’ (1960s–1980s). The fact that those in the northern hemisphere tended to skim over the differences between women’s situations globally as well as power relations within feminist groups, has been duly critiqued since, mainly by women in post-colonial societies and non-white women in the West. 

Purikura and the social gaze

Purikura are Japanese photo booths, which have remained a prevalent and influential form of vernacular photography for almost two decades. Since 1995, purikura has been driven by female consumers between the ages of 16–25, who also participate in other subcultural movements in fashion, music and anime fandoms. The social and technological facilitations of gender, performance and representation found in purikura are inextricably linked with the lived experience of being a young woman in Japan, but have much to tell us about conceptualisations of gender itself.

The exceptional early Jurassic fossils of Strawberry Bank, Somerset

The marine ecosystems of the Early Jurassic have been yielding their secrets since the days of Mary Anning (1799–1847) who excavated fossils from the Dorset coast. One might think there was little more to discover in the South of England, yet there is at least one exceptional fossil site, excavated in the 1840s, but essentially ignored since then: Strawberry Bank in Ilminster, Somerset.

The Nagara tradition of temple architecture: continuity, transformation, renewal

The Nagara tradition of temple architecture has been the predominant northern Indian tradition since its formative stages in the fourth and fifth centuries CE. A subtle architectural language was created, drawing on the imagery of earlier timber forms. The concept of a formal type was central, but the shrine types were not static and fixed. Temple architects developed increasingly complex designs through combinations of different types in composite arrangements, drawing forth new designs from old ones.

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