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Month: April 2017

Newspaper poetry and Anglophone Print Culture in the Cape colony

Newspaper poetry and Anglophone Print Culture in the Cape colony

This case study focuses on the literary culture of the Cape Colony during the 1820s. Cape Town in the 1820s was establishing an Anglophone ‘bourgeois public sphere’ that accompanied the socio-economic transformation that followed the departure of the Dutch in 1806. (Mackenzie 1998:90) Industrialisation and the removal of government restrictions on trade led to the arrival of British merchants and their families, creating an urban, Anglophone middle-class. In the 1820s, the colony’s independent newspapers and literary periodicals emerged in parallel with…

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‘Zoning in’ on Geographies of Empire

‘Zoning in’ on Geographies of Empire

In Culture and Imperialism (1993), Edward Said argues that empire rests on crucial spatial and geographical mappings that involve a ‘hierarchy of spaces’. For Said, the struggle over space is ‘complex and interesting because it is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings’ (Said 1993: 58). Over the last thirty years, historians, literary scholars, and cultural geographers have taken up Said’s challenge to think about the intersections between geography and postcolonial…

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Library Catalogue Glosses

Library Catalogue Glosses

The Book Catalogues of the Southern Hemisphere (BCSH) database aims to provide an explanatory gloss on each of the nearly 500 surviving auction, bookseller, and library catalogues pertaining to the British-controlled Southern Hemisphere and Straits Settlements. These brief glosses will eventually be available on our main website and will contain summaries of the number, type, genre, material format, and provenance of book holdings;  information relating to the owners, distributors, sellers, and auctioneers of catalogued books; and, if relevant, information relating…

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A New Reading Public: The Mechanics’ Institute in the Colony of Victoria

A New Reading Public: The Mechanics’ Institute in the Colony of Victoria

Discussing the merits and importance of establishing a Mechanics’ Institute in Melbourne in 1839, an article in the Port Phillip Gazette argued for the “great practical benefit” of the mechanics’ institutes, in particular for “the working classes of these colonies, and especially the youth of every class” (6). Urging the public for support in this endeavour, the writer pleaded that they who are possessed of talent let them cultivate these for the rational and useful field of display which now…

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The Singapore Library, 1845-1873

The Singapore Library, 1845-1873

The Singapore Library forms just one small part of our larger, cross-regional study of how the holdings of libraries in the colonial southern hemisphere and Straits Settlements changed over space and time, but this case study is especially important for the history of books and reading in colonial Singapore because the library eventually evolved into the state’s national public library: first, as the Raffles Library and Museum (1874-1960) and then as the National Library of Singapore (1960-). The Singapore Library…

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SouthHem Library Catalogue Database

SouthHem Library Catalogue Database

In order to examine how the nature of book holdings changed over space and time in the colonial Southern Hemisphere and Straits Settlements in the nineteenth century, we are creating a database of Book Catalogues in the Southern Hemisphere (BCSH). The catalogues that form our database include: library catalogues (for institutions like subscription libraries, mechanics’ institutes, public libraries, institutional libraries, private collections etc.); auction catalogues (which were by far the most prevalent before 1840); and bookseller catalogues. The aims of…

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