As we enter the final week of Hilary Term, our Easter vacation borrowing begins today on standard loan items. Items can be taken out throughout the vacation with a due date of Monday 25th April in week one of Trinity Term. Loan limits will increase on Thursday 20th March to allow for 20 items to be taken out over this period and short loans can also be borrowed from Thursday as vacation loans. We hope you have a lovely break.
The University will maintain its current COVID-19 health guidance from 19 July, including current policies on face coverings and social distancing. This decision has been taken in light of the high level of cases locally, and with due consideration to the government’s guidance that ‘everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious’. The University is entitled to keep its restrictions in place on University premises.
You must wear a face covering properly in our libraries including when sitting at a desk. If you are medically exempt, we request you display an exemption card or sunflower during your visit. Alternatively you can confirm to a staff member on arrival that you are exempt to avoid being disturbed during your visit. We will not ask for details of the reasons for this exemption.
Please stay alert when using our buildings:
- Keep your 2 metre distance
- Wash your hands
- Wear a face covering (or display an exemption card)
- Have symptoms? Stay at home and get a test
- Contacted by track and trace? Stay at home
Readers that compromise our practices will be asked to leave. Thank you for working with us to protect our community.
If you are travelling from outside of the UK, please make sure you follow the current government rules for entering England before you access our libraries.
More details about visiting our libraries.
June is Pride month in the UK. To mark the occasion, we have put together a display books dedicated to LGBTQ+ history, which you’ll find in the Upper Gladstone Link.
Pride is online this year and you can find more information about celebrating virtually by following this link.
As well as the physical books on our display, the Bodleian Libraries have lots of e-books covering LGBTQ+ history. Click on the book covers below to access the SOLO record. You just need to sign in on SOLO, with your Single Sign On, in order to access the e-books themselves.
Please note that Byzantine Intersectionality and Sapphistries are available online until 6/9/21.
Browse and Borrow – 30 minute session
From Monday 12th October, the History Faculty Library will be offering bookable “Browse and Borrow” sessions:
- You can remain in the library for up to 30 minutes
- You are free to browse the shelves in all reading rooms
- You can use the PCAS machines to copy or scan material
- Books can be issued using the self-issue machine or at the staff desk
- You may not sit at any desks to study during a Browse & Borrow slots as seating capacity cannot be increased to accommodate this.
For further information see: https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/using/browse-and-borrow
To book a session go to the booking page for the Radcliffe Camera https://tickets.ox.ac.uk/webstore/shop/viewItems.aspx?cg=BODBL&c=RRHFLBL
Click and Collect – withdrawn for History Faculty Library
This service was introduced in early July to facilitate access to the collections when libraries were still closed to readers. It will no longer be possible to place a request via SOLO for this service for History Faculty Library items, as we are not able to offer this service on a wider scale to cope with term-time lending demand. As we have increased the number of slots to access the collections, this will offer more opportunity to our readers to have non-mediated access to collections.
We will continue to offer Click and Collect via email where appropriate (e.g. proxy collection for self-isolating or vulnerable readers).
Seating in reading rooms – more slots available!
We are increasing the number of slots available, as we extended our opening hours and introduce additional seating in the Gladstone Link and Duke Humfrey’s Library. Please be mindful that seating capacity is reduced, so we encourage you to only book the number of slots you need to access print collections or electronic Legal Deposit material. Please also let us know as soon as possible if you need to cancel slot – we are working on improving the process for cancelling a slot.
We appreciate that the Lower Camera is very popular but this reading room has the fewest number of seats available. If you can’t get a seat in the Lower Camera then do consider booking a seat in one of the other reading rooms – from Monday 12th October access via the Gladstone Link tunnel will be reinstated so you can fetch material from any reading room on site and return to your desk.
Returning books on loan
- You do NOT need to book a slot to return books.
- Avoid arriving at the following times at the Radcliffe Camera as there are more likely to be queues of readers with seat booking.
Monday to Friday = 9:30 / 13:30 / 17:00
Saturday = 10:00 / 13:00
Sunday = 12:00 / 15:00
- We have temporarily increased renewals for standard loan items so that you don’t have to return books on Monday 12th October
- There is currently a grace period in operation for fines, so if you can’t return or renew then don’t panic and get in touch with us.
- We are still offering FREE postal return including international courier service. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
Services for self-isolating students
- LibraryScan & Scan&Deliver – https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/using/scan-and-deliver
- Ebooks and other electronic resources via SOLO
- Click & Collect via a friend (proxy borrowing agreement pre-arranged with library)
Returns of loans via friends
- Online learning – https://libguides.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/home/workshops
- 1-1 online consultations with subject librarians
- Live Chat via SOLO
Do get in touch to discuss your individual needs and with library contacts. All of our services are dependent on staffing levels but we will do our best to help you where possible.
- Take advantage of access to online resources via SOLO
- Be organised and book a visit to the library in advance
- Book a Browse and Borrow slot of you only need to access something quickly
- Don’t book multiple slots unless you need extended access to print/eLD collections
- Cancel a slot if you don’t need it via email@example.com
Due to government guidelines, we are required to strictly manage access to our libraries to ensure that we are operating according to social distancing guidelines including NHS Test and Trace. We have introduced new services and adapted existing services in response to unprecedented circumstances and have planned our Michaelmas Term services, as best as we can but there will be inevitable teething issues. We fully anticipated that term time will be challenging and we will be closely monitoring the demand on our services and making changes where required.
Thank you for your patience and please get in touch if you have questions or feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org
October is Black History Month in the UK and we have put together a display of books from the History Faculty Library’s collections which explore Black British history. You’ll find the display in the Upper Gladstone Link.
The university is hosting various online talks and events to mark Black History Month 2020. Margaret Casely-Hayford, CBE, will deliver the university’s Black History Month lecture. For information about this, and other virtual events taking place throughout October, follow this link.
Below are E-books on Black British history which are available to Oxford University members- simply click on the book cover to access the SOLO record. This is just a handful of what’s available. To find more, you could run a search for the subject ‘Blacks — Great Britain’ and filter the results to ‘online resources.’
Further, we would like to highlight the LibGuide for BME Studies which is part of the Bodleian’s ‘Changing the Narrative’ project championing diversity in collection development.
If you’re not in Oxford and are unable to return your loans to our Returns hubs, you can now send your books back to us via the Bodleian’s new free Postal Returns service!
1. Click on this link for the Royal Mail’s Tracked Service.
2. Follow the instructions to either print off a package label at home, or to use a QR code, sent to you by email, to print the label at a Post Office.
3. Package the books following Royal Mail’s guidance as best you can. Take the package with label or QR code to your nearest Post Office. As this is a prepaid service, you won’t be asked to pay any postage on your parcel.
If you have books from multiple Bodleian Libraries, you can send them all back in the same package and once they reach Oxford they will be distributed to their owning libraries. Please don’t be concerned if you see that posted items remain on your SOLO account over the summer, as it will take staff some time to process them all. You will not be charged any fines while books are awaiting check-in; only fines accrued before the library’s closure in March will be payable.
If you are currently outside the UK, if you are unable to get to a Post Office to drop off your books, or if you have a large number of books on loan, you can get in touch with the Bodleian’s Returns team at email@example.com and they will find another option for you.
NB. Please note that the free postal service is for those readers who are unable to return books in person. If you are currently in Oxford, or planning to visit over the summer, and you are able to bring your books back in person, we would be grateful if you could do so via our Returns hubs (details here: https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/using/loanreturns).
Bodleian New History eBooks: May 2020 – Masculinities
The question of what makes a man a man, or what exactly is meant by “masculinity”, is one which has been asked innumerable times in recorded history in sources as different as ancient theatre and medieval chronicles, early modern letters and nineteenth-century pedagogic tracts, or 20th-century movies and self-help books. Humans, both men and women, have tried to answer it in a similarly wide range of media, not only explicitly in academic papers and studies, but both explicitly and implicitly in self-help manuals, popular culture, feminist ideas, psychoanalytic theory, or simply in the daily interactions between boys and their fathers, husbands and wives, or children and their teachers.
Ideas of masculinity are inextricably intertwined with history – in their volume on What Is Masculinity? Arnold and Brady explain that the habit of masculine domination is bound so closely both to social power and to the idea of “how things are” that it is a prime example of “history turned into nature” (p. 1). There is, then, a question of whether there is a need for a “men’s history”, or a “history of masculinity” at all – as highlighted in the March edition of this New Books blog, the aim of the feminist movement and women’s history often is to re-balance history and redress the exclusion of women from it. But since men, their lives, and their activities in the public sphere are already the substance of traditional historiography, is there really a need to re-examine historic masculinities today?
Sussman in his Masculine Identities argues that it is specifically the conflict between the historical (or even pre-historical) male image with the realities of male life today that accounts for much of the questions about and discontent with their identity in contemporary men. There is no doubt that the question is very much part of our contemporary culture – while originating in the 1990s, the term “toxic masculinity” came to prominence in media use only in the 2010s; the coinage, only half a decade ago, of such emotionally and culturally charged portmanteaus as “mansplaining” and “manspreading” points to a very current discussion of masculinity and male stereotypes; and the #MeToo movement just over two years ago highlighted a widespread hegemonic masculinity even in countries which are considered frontrunners of gender parity.
One argument for a history of masculinities is that the flip side of privilege is disadvantage, and while undoubtedly men as a group are privileged, there is much insight to be gained from considering the costs of such privileges and the ways in which not all men are granted equal access to them, whether on account of their race, class, or sexuality – similar to women’s history, gay history is a historiography which charts repression, resistance and self-discovery. The main argument for a history of masculinities, however, is that masculinity really only has meaning in relation to other identities, whether of gender, sexuality, class, age, religion, or culture – contextualisation and interconnectedness are the crucial factors. Any historical approaches to masculinity thus never stands alone – rather than a free-standing strand, the history of masculinities today can be understood as an enrichment of a large variety of other emphases, from the history of the family to women’s history, post-colonial history, workers’ history, political or cultural history. As John Tosh explains it in his chapter on “The History of Masculinity: An Outdated concept?“, a historical perspective and experience within our lifetimes shows manliness as constructed by culture and also changed by it, so that masculinity “takes its place as one lens, among several, through which the texture of society and culture may be more fully understood” (p.20). This is also the reason that we speak of masculinities in the plural, rather than masculinity in the singular – to account for the many variations of the concept in different historic era and cultures, but also in the self-perception of the individual. The new eBooks on the topic of masculinities which have been added to the Bodleian over the past weeks, and which I would like to highlight in this blog, take full advantage of the potential widths and depths of this field, and study masculinities in historic eras from Antiquity to the present, in connection with issues from class to politics, religion and magic, and in relationships from homosocial to homosexual.
In a fascinating piece of macrohistory spanning historical eras from Antiquity until late Modernity, Aleardo Zanghellini’s The Sexual Constitution of Political Authority looks at the issues of sex and power, specifically related to homosexuality. He examines the relationship between ideas of political authority and male same-sex desire in a series of case studies of statesmen whose (sometimes only alleged) homosexuality was seen to problematize the good exercise of public powers. Studying the sometimes literal, sometimes metaphorical “trials” of same-sex desire, the book begins with the Roman emperor Hadrian and moves on to the Middle Ages and early modern period with chapters on the English kings Edward II and James I, through the Victorian Age with the Dublin Castle and the Cleveland Street scandals of the 1880s, and finally to the 20th century with the McCarthy-era and the 1950s Montagu-trials which led to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain.
Greek and Roman Masculinities
Situated at the early end of these historic eras, in ancient Rome, Maud W. Gleason’s Making Men on the other hand is a fascinating piece of microhistory which compares the careers of two popular 2nd-century public speakers. Celebrities in their day, the differences of self-presentation in features such as gait, gesture, facial expression, and voice between the orator Favorinus, a eunuch, and Polemo, a man who met conventional gender expectations, offers many insights into the ways ancient Romans constructed masculinity during a time marked by anxiety over manly deportment. Halperin’s One Hundred Years of Homosexuality is another study which focuses on the question of masculinity and more broadly sexuality in Antiquity, with a look at the original “Greek love” and the erotics of male culture in ancient Greece. Contrary to his title, however, Halperin argues that the modern concept of “homosexuality” is actually inadequate for understanding this facet of sexual life in this period, and instead urges us to look at the native Greek terms which contenporaries used to construct sexuality and sexual experiences in the ancient Mediterranean world.
Early Modern Masculinities
For the early modern era, Frances Timbers singles out one particular facet of cultural history to examine gender in her Magic and Masculinity, with a study of how in early modern England, the practice of ritual or ceremonial magic both reinforced and subverted existing concepts of gender. Drawing on records of well-known magicians such as John Dee as well as unpublished diaries and journals, contemporary literature and legal records, her examples include a wide range of practitioners from male magicians in their customary patriarchal positions of control to those who used the notion of magic to subvert gender roles, and to females who employed magic to undermine the patriarchal culture. A wider view of early modern English gender is taken by the contributors to English Masculinities, 1660-1800, a collection of specially commissioned essays which draws on diaries, court records and prescriptive literature to provide a social view of the masculine identities of late Stuart and Georgian men – from fops to gentlemen, blackguards to men of religion, and heterosexuals to homosexuals. In their efforts to explore the complex and disparate masculinities enacted by the men of this period, the different contributions touch on such a variety of topics as the correlations between masculinity and Protestantism, the connection of masculinity with taciturnity, the impact of changing representations of homosexual desire, misogyny, the literary and metaphorical representation of the body, and the roles of gossip and violence in men’s lives.
Starting in the Victorian era, but moving into the later 20th century, Masculinities and the Nation in the Modern World provides some fresh perspectives on the role of masculinities in various processes of nation-building in the modern world between the early nineteenth century and the 1960s. The contributions concern the production and perpetuation of nationalized hegemonic masculinities in Western societies, highlighting their ambiguities in transnational contexts created by colonialism and imperialism, where transnational processes of exchange, translation, and adaptation allowed Western nations to subdue and marginalize non-Western and non-white masculinities. The individual papers collected in this volume discuss these issues with respect to the Confederate States in the 1860s, Mormon polygamy, the American family of the early 20th century, the masculine ideal in fascist Italy, competing notions of masculinity in the United States and Nicaragua, the emasculation of the Mexican community in the second half of the 19th century, or martial masculinities in late Meiji Japan. Taking up the thread at the turn of the 20th century is Helen Smith’s Masculinity, Class and Same-Sex Desire in Industrial England, 1895-1957, which explicitly focuses on the experiences of working-class men in areas outside of London, and in this offers not only a new chapter in the history of homosexuality, but also widens our more general understanding of masculinity, working-class culture, regionality and work in the period. Drawing on a wide range of primary sources on the lives of men who have been forgotten, Smith shows how, contrary to perceived ideas, same-sex desire could be a part of everyday life in the industrial towns of early 20th century England.
Finally, Anthony W. Clare’s On Men: Masculinity in Crisis offers an exploration of the challenged state of masculinity in a post-feminist society of gender equality at the turn of the 21st century. With shifting gender roles many men have lost their traditional position of provider for their families, and modern law, family constellations and medical advances mean that men are also getting pushed out of similarly traditional roles as protectors, parents, and even procreators. Male violence is no more a source of honour and pride, but a threat to our culture and civilisation, and the dying-out of the assertive, authoritative, dominant man is mirrored by a rise in male suicides. Practising psychiatrist Clare brings his knowledge of science and medicine as well as his understanding of the human mind to this readable, fair-handed and sympathetic examination of the male in today’s society.
Colleagues in the Taylor Institution Library have set up trials to some online Droz French resources. Two of these will be of interest to early modern history, history of the book, intellectual history, religious history, and European history. You will need SSO for remote access. Please send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Droz Humanisme et Renaissance collection offers a collection of sources and studies on Humanism (Politien, Ficin, Erasmus, Budé…), the French Reformation (Lefèvre d’Etaples, Calvin, Farel, Beza…) and the Renaissance (literary and artistic, Hieronymus Bosch or Rabelais, Ronsard or Primaticcio), as well as the medicine, science, philosophy, book history, and all forms of knowledge and human activity from the long sixteenth century, roughly from 1450 to the death of Henry IV in 1610, the threshold of the classical age.
This portal presents all the texts by or about John Calvin which have been published by the Librairie Droz from 1960 to 2012, with an initial focus on Geneva, Calvin, and the beginnings of the French evangelical movement with Lefèvre d’Etaples and Marguerite de Navarre.
Related resources already available in Oxford:
This database comprises the writings of French Catholics against the doctrines of John Calvin (1509-1564) and other protestant leaders. France was a major centre in the clash between Catholics and Protestants during the sixteenth century. Much of the Protestant literature was in French in the hopes of converting the French people. In response, the Catholic Church preserved its position in France with these documents. This archive includes both sixteenth-century attacks on Calvinism and Protestantism as well as defences of the Catholic doctrine.
This collection offers a comprehensive survey of the original writings of the French Huguenot authors, from the first stirrings of radical dissent in the 1530s through to the end of the century. The selection privileges first and foremost original writings of authors writing within France and for an exclusively French audience. Thus whereas Calvin’s Genevan writings are not included, the tracts penned by Theodore de Bèze as part of the polemic exchange during the Colloquy of Poissy (1561) do appear here.
All told the writings collected here reveal an intellectually vibrant movement, meeting unprecedented challenges and later hardship with that mixture of confidence, aggression, and resolution in the face of adversity that characterises Calvinist churches of this era throughout Europe.
In short, just under 1.5m books (but growing) are being made available, drawing on collections from selected US libraries. They are US-heavy (publishers and subjects) but tens of thousand of digitised books from the 20th century can be accessed. Many subjects are covered, including history.
Enormous thanks must go to US librarians and the Internet Archive for making this possible so quickly.
- Go to National Emergency Library and create an Internet Archive if you don’t already have one.
- Search or browse for your books.
- To see the full-text, you need to “borrow” it. You can borrow upto 10 books for 14 days.
This Sunday, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. To mark the occasion, this month we have book display of works which explore the history of women’s suffrage. The display is located in the Upper Gladstone Link so do take a look the next time you visit the library.
As well as physical books, we have lots of e-resources on the topic of women’s suffrage across the world (see previous blog post for information about Bodleian’s trials on Women’s studies e-resources). Below you’ll find books covering women’s movements in Asia, Europe, America, New Zealand, the Netherlands, as well as Britain. These are available online to University members, outside the library- just make sure you’re signed on with your single sign-on. Click on the book cover below to access the SOLO record:
There’s lots going on across Oxford, to mark International Women’s day. Musicians from across the university will perform this evening at Somerville College, performing choral and instrumental works by female composers. St Hugh’s College has a series of talks and exhibits to celebrate their alumni who worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. Christ Church College will host a wikipedia edit-a-thon aimed at increasing the visibility of women in academia.