The Coronavirus era has cemented 2020 as an unprecedented year. Throughout all of the continuing hardships, we have had to persevere in order to regain some semblance of functionality and control in our daily lives. For this issue, I wanted to draw parallels to moments in history where people had to recover after troubling periods, almost a rebirth or ‘renaissance’, in order to inspire confidence and hope for the coming months.
I am delighted to be in charge of this great online magazine as it allows students to express themselves and their history freely. In terms of my plans for the future of this magazine, I would love to carry on promoting readership and encouraging contributions so that we further raise the profile of a great Sheffield student-led initiative.
Mya Badhan – Project Lead
As the new Editor-In-Chief for 2020-21, I have decided to create a PDF edition of New Histories. I hope it adds something special to your reading experience. (It will be made available through email). In this issue, a wide range of topics are covered, from the AIDS epidemic, to Anti-War Feminists, to the end of the Cold War and the 2012 Olympics. The aim of this issue was to highlight hardships within history but to also show humanity’s resilience and ability to hope for a better future – even in the most difficult circumstances.
I am so happy to have been selected for this role, as New Histories is a brilliant project to be involved with. Any area of history can be explored and the magazine gives you a chance to develop your writing skills in a friendly and encouraging environment.
There seems to be an incorrect assumption within the LGBTQ+ community that before the Stonewall riots in the summer of 1969, queer individuals lived in secrecy. However, we only have to turn to the vibrant night-life of 1920’s Berlin and the pioneering work of the Institute of Sex Research to uncover a thriving gay scene and powerful political activism that challenged the rampant homophobia of the era. There was hope for a better life despite the hardships.
In light of the confusing and unpredictable times we find ourselves in, it seems appropriate to look back at an epidemic which primarily affected the LGBT+ community – a societal group who endured hardships through the oppressive discriminatory laws and attitudes embedded in the twentieth century. The AIDS/HIV epidemic remains one of the most significant health crises in history, with the discovery of the first treatment method in 1987 being regarded by many as a significant move forward for not only the scientific community but also the LGBT+ community, notably homosexual males. Such discovery provides us with a sense of hope not solely in regard to resolving the coronavirus pandemic, but also to the fact that there is potential for marginalised groups in society to be alleviated from their suffering.
In light of the events that took place during this summer in regards to the Black Lives Matter movement, historians have been forced to reflect on their approach to history. Undoubtedly, racism within the academic field has caused people of colour to be excluded from the narrative. With this in mind, I wanted to explore the life of George Arthur Roberts. He was a brave soldier, a pioneering civil rights activist and a fearless firefighter. His life was full of hardships – two world wars and rampant discrimination to name but a few – but he fought for justice for all and helped others throughout his life.
Historians agree that the dawn of modernity led to a rise in genocide, but there is disagreement on which causes were the primary galvaniser in mass violence. The debate can be categorised into two sections, that twentieth century genocide was caused by colonialism or genocide was driven by postcolonial nation building. I believe that the primary factor of twentieth century genocide is colonialism because the nature of colonialism allowed the concepts of retribution, postcolonial nation building, mass violence and prejudice against a specific community to develop and these are all instrumental in twentieth century genocide.
As a nation, we often reflect on the service and dedication of those in armed forces; yet, on such occasions, we tend to overlook the sacrifices that have been made by military spouses in supporting and enabling their partner to carry out their duty.
Set against the backdrop of war in Vietnam, the aftermath of two World Wars, and the looming possibility of global nuclear war, the twentieth century was the point at which women solidified their place as political actors. Women had previously had little formal representation in politics, and were restrained by the existing narratives surrounding women’s social role, but as the Women’s Liberation Movement took hold, spreading into anti-war activism, feminist activists found a way to set out a clear political space. One particular way in which this was done, was through feminist anti-war activism, which was crucial in establishing a role for women within traditionally male dominated political spaces.
The Olympics has always been a time for hope. In Ancient Greece, there would always be a truce across the land so athletes and supporters could travel easily to Olympia. Peace and the games go hand in hand.