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Global History and Culture Centre Blog

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Golden Fever in the 1920s–30s and the Soviet Reception of Medieval Alchemy

The reception of alchemy in the early USSR remains a completely unknown field. This is despite the fact that many historians now work extensively on the history of alchemy more broadly. However, there were many mentions of alchemy both in the occult and the science literature in Russian in the 1920s and 1930s. In this blog entry, PhD student Sergei Zotov discusses how transnational connections in the beginning of the twentieth century shaped the reception of alchemy in the USSR.

Why Are We Not Reading More Histories on Italian Imperialism and Museum Collections?

PhD student Fleur Martin discusses the challenges of researching and writing histories of Italian imperialism and museum collections. Through the figure of the Italian imperial explorer Vittorio Bottego (1860–97), Martin explores issues of training, historiography, support, and memory. In doing so, Martin reflects on the meaning of 'decolonisation' in the context of Italian museum collections.

‘A Very British Way of Torture’: Researching for a TV documentary

PhD student Niels Boender had a chance to research for, and be part of, the Channel 4 and Al Jazeera documentary ‘A Very British Way of Torture’, also featuring Professor David Anderson. The documentary focuses on the use of torture by the British colonial authorities in Kenya against members of the anti-colonial Man Mau movement, and traces the historical research into official British attempts to cover this up. Niels reflects on the research here.

The Limits of ‘International Man’: Émile Giraud, Global Human Rights, and Decolonisation (1947-1962)

In this post, Emanuele Podda explores the life and works of French jurist, Christian Democrat politician, and international civil servant Émile Giraud (1894-1965). Giraud, a hitherto neglected historical figure, worked for most of his life for the League of Nations (1927-1946) and the United Nations (1947-1954) Secretariats. While at the UN, he acted as head of the Research Section of the Human Rights Division between 1947 and 1950, contributing to the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948).

Tiny Traces: African and Asian Children at London’s Foundling Hospital

Collaborative Doctoral Projects offer a PhD candidate the opportunity to work with an external partner on a project devised jointly by the organisation and the university. In this blog, Hannah Dennett highlights her experience of curating an exhibition with the Foundling Museum, as part of her PhD project to uncover the lives of African and Asian children taken into London’s Foundling Hospital during the long eighteenth century.