Monday, 20 October 2014

New Series Announcement - Rethinking the Nineteenth Century

Manchester University Press
Series editors:
Anna Barton, University of Sheffield
Andrew Smith, University of Sheffield

Editorial board:
David Amigoni, Keele University
Isobel Armstrong, Birkbeck, University of London
Philip Holden, National University of Singapore
Jerome McGann, University of Virginia
Joanne Wilkes, University of Auckland
Julia M. Wright, Dalhousie University

‘Rethinking the Nineteenth Century’ is a new series that seeks to make a significant intervention into the critical narratives that dominate conventional and established understandings of nineteenth-century literature. Informed by the latest developments in criticism and theory the series will provide a focus for how texts from the long nineteenth century, and more recent adaptations of them, revitalise our knowledge of and engagement with the period. It will explore the radical possibilities offered by new methods, unexplored contexts and neglected authors and texts to re-map the literary-cultural landscape of the period and rigorously re-imagine its geographical and historical parameters. To that end the series welcomes provocative approaches to the literature of the long nineteenth century that will contribute to or ignite debate on any aspect of nineteenth-century literature. Relevant topics include but are not limited to: the development of the period from ‘Romantic’ to ‘Victorian’ to ‘Modern’ and the complex inheritances that make up and/or challenge the genealogy of the long nineteenth century (1780-1914); the global contexts within which literary and cultural exchanges take place throughout the period; the opportunities provided by cross-disciplinary approaches to rethink the literary in relation to different kinds of textual production and knowledge exchange; and the presence of the nineteenth-century in contemporary literature and culture and the development of the neo-Victorian, which uses text and non-text based media to deconstruct, reconstruct and market the nineteenth-century in ways that might illuminate our own.

Please send expressions of interest to:
 Anna Barton:
Andrew Smith:

The making of British bioethics - Open Access Q & A

To celebrate open access week our first open access author, Duncan Wilson, has taken part in a Q and A, with Editorial Director, Emma Brennan, about the open access process and his new book The making of British bioethics.

EB: What is it about open access that appeals to you both in general, and for your book in particular?

DW: I am always keen that my work should reach as many people as possible, including public as well as academic audiences, and I see open access as an important way of achieving this. This is particularly true of my work on the history of bioethics. The emergence of bioethics in recent decades reflects important shifts in the politics of science and medicine, where philosophers, lawyers, social scientists and others now discuss and help regulate issues that used to be left to doctors and scientists, including in vitro fertilisation, embryo research and ‘assisted dying’. The ways in which bioethicists discussed and helped regulate these often controversial procedures influenced public debates and the choices available to patients, so it’s important that we understand how and why bioethicists acquired such authority. Since bioethics continues to have significant public and political impacts, I think my book should be easily accessible to anyone who is interested in the ethics of science and medicine.    

EB: Do you see any downsides to your book being on open access?

DW: Like some colleagues, I was concerned that anyone might be able to copy my work and present it as their own. There are ways to prevent this though, and my book is published under a license that stops anyone copying and not attributing it to me.

EB: Are there specific groups of people who you think will be able to read your book on open access who might otherwise not have been able to do so?

DW: Definitely. High book prices often put off many of the people I’d like my work to reach the most. It would be great if the book was widely read by undergraduate or postgraduate students in history and bioethics, amongst other fields, who’d borrow a book from the library but wouldn’t normally buy it. Articles I’ve previously published open access have been downloaded by students, and I hope the same happens with the book. I also hope it’s read by members of the public who are interested in bioethics, but wouldn’t normally pay for an academic book on the subject.

EB: Would you advise others to go open access with their books too?

DW: Yes, absolutely.

EB: Has open access or open access publishing changed the way you approach a research project?

DW: I wouldn’t say so. I’ve always looked to research issues that interest a wide range of people, both inside and outside of universities. I’ve always tried to write clearly too, in the hope that non-specialists will be interested in my work.  That hasn’t changed with the advent of open access publishing, but I do hope it means that my work will reach a much wider audience than it did before.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Eva Gore-Booth - Sonja Tiernan

Sonja Tiernan has been interviewed by Susan Cahill, Talking Books, on Newstalk radio. You can listen to the interview in full here

For further information on Sonja's book, Eva Gore-Booth, please visit 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Jill Liddington Book Events

Jill Liddington, author of Vanishing for the Vote, has a number of book events coming up. Please see the below poster for more details.

Vanishing for the vote recounts what happened on one night, Sunday 2 April, 1911, when the Liberal government demanded every household comply with its census requirements. Suffragette organisations urged women, all still voteless, to boycott this census.

Many did. Some wrote ‘Votes for Women’ boldly across their schedules. Others hid in darkened houses or, in the case of Emily Wilding Davison, in a cupboard within the Houses of Parliament. 

Yet many did not. Even some suffragettes who might be expected to boycott decided to comply – and completed a perfectly accurate schedule. Why?

Vanishing for the vote explores the ‘battle for the census’ arguments that raged across Edwardian England in spring 1911. It investigates why some committed campaigners decided against civil disobedience tactics, instead opting to provide the government with accurate data for its health and welfare reforms.

This book plunges the reader into the turbulent world of Edwardian politics, so vividly recorded on census night 1911. Based on a wealth of brand-new documentary evidence, it offers compelling reading for history scholars and general readers alike.

Sumptuously produced, with 50 illustrations and an invaluable Gazetteer of suffrage campaigners.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Professor Jackie Stacey in conversation with Dr Frances Pinter, CEO, MUP – On Interdisciplinarity

Jackie Stacey is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Manchester where she is currently Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts and Languages (CIDRAL). Her publications include: Star Gazing: Female Spectators and Hollywood Cinema (1994) and Teratologies: A Cultural Study of Cancer (1997) and The Cinematic Life of the Gene. (2010).  She has also co-edited a number of books, including most recently: Queer Screens with Sarah Street (2007) and Writing Otherwise: Experiments in Cultural Criticism with Janet Wolff (2013). She has been a co-editor of Screen since 1994.

FP: As you know, Manchester University Press has an excellent reputation for in-depth scholarly monographs. When we met last year I told you that I was keen to strengthen MUP’s contribution to interdisciplinary approaches to scholarship. Is this something you’d encourage us to do?

JS: Absolutely. Maybe you could even set up a series that champions interdisciplinary projects. There is a real need for innovation in this area in the current climate, which is in danger of being too defined by REF anxieties about disciplinary conformity. I’d like to see much more interdisciplinary work, which inspires academic writing to take risks and be more imaginative. 

FP: How would you define an interdisciplinary book in the humanities or social sciences?

JS: For me, it would be a book produced from a particular kind of thinking across conventional academic boundaries – one that could not have been conceptualized from within the traditions of one field.  Some of the most interesting interdisciplinary work, I think, sits in between the humanities and the social sciences, perhaps combining usually incommensurate scales or registers: for example, the economic and the textual, or the empirical and the poetic. Usually, these books help us think across several fields (rather than just combining two) and they often unsettle our world views, leaving us in a new place that might reframe our research focus. Sometimes, though not always, the best interdisciplinary writing has a strong conceptual mission that literally picks us up and puts us down somewhere we had not already quite imagined through our existing academic frameworks.

FP: We’ve published specialist books that are read by more than the core audience to which it is directed. Would you call these interdisciplinary?

JS: Not exactly, no. I think there’s a crucial distinction between books, which speak to more than one discipline, and perhaps would be of interest to people beyond their disciplinary focus (for example, the work of a cultural historian might be read by literary critics working on a similar topic) and books, which are interdisciplinary in aim and scope. Often, the latter seek to mark out new spaces through which to approach intellectual questions, rather than just combining two existing approaches.

FP: Bookshops, libraries and online databases all seem to still rely on the old discipline distinctions. Do you have any recommendations as to how we should let people know about any truly interdisciplinary works?

JS: Good question. I wish I had a single brilliant suggestion to remedy this but I suspect it’s a more complex challenge, which would involve a series of intersecting interventions by some kind of alliance between publishers, academics and librarians committed to promoting interdisciplinary research. And it would be great if the AHRC, the ESRC and indeed the REF panels were all asked to set out some new proposals of how to address the continuing problems of ruling interdisciplinary work out of the main frame.

FP: The Academy is still pretty much defined by well-established disciplines. What advice would you give young scholars who want to approach important issues via truly interdisciplinary means? Will this help or harm their future prospects?

JS: Well, it’d be easy just to say that there are plenty of highly successful academics whose careers have been built on interdisciplinary work; and we could claim that many of the most influential thinkers who have shaped our intellectual landscapes today have been interdisciplinary in their worldviews (think of Marx, Freud and Foucault, for example, or think of Spivak, Hall, Haraway and Butler). But I wouldn’t want to suggest to young scholars that there are not real barriers and risks involved in not being intelligible to a disciplinary appointment committee or a funding council. I suppose in the end, the necessary skill to develop if you want to pursue an interdisciplinary research career is one which ensures your work translates relatively clearly into a number of more disciplinary fields. In this sense, it’s a question of knowing your audience and being able and willing to invite them into your way of thinking that is sufficiently interesting, and most importantly perhaps, rigorous, to engage them successfully in your intellectual project. 

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

MUP’s CEO, Dr. Frances Pinter is also the founder of Knowledge Unlatched and was recently in Lyon to accept the IFLA/Brill Award for Open Access 2014 at the International Federation of Library Association’s annual congress.

Knowledge Unlatched was chosen as the most outstanding and game-changing initiative in the field in 2014. The Knowledge Unlatched model depends on many libraries from around the world sharing the payment of a single Title Fee to a publisher, in return for a book being made available on a Creative Commons license via OAPEN and HathiTrust. The Title Fee represents the basic cost of publishing a book. Because the Title Fee is a fixed amount, as more libraries participate in Knowledge Unlatched, the per-library cost of ‘unlatching’ each title declines.

The jury of the IFLA/Brill award stated that they were ‘deeply impressed with the simplicity and elegance of the original concept, with the daring scope of the project, bringing together libraries, publishers and other organizations from around the world, and with the highly successful outcome of the pilot phase that tested the concept’. Read the full press release here

MUP was one of the 13 distinguished university presses and academic publishing houses from the UK, Europe and the USA that participated in the pilot with the book, Making and unmaking in early modern English drama by Chloe Porter.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Geoff Pearson comments on the latest behaviour of football fans and social media

As the football season around Europe got underway, two stories relating to match-going fan behaviour and social media hit the headlines. At Old Trafford, Manchester United announced that fans would not be able to bring IPads or other tablets into the stadium, citing rather unconvincing security concerns.  Meanwhile, Dutch club PSV Eindhoven were announcing what they thought would be welcome news – the arrival of Wifi in their stadium. However it was this second policy that drew to most complaints.


Both stories tapped into the concerns of many match-going fans about the continuing gentrification of football support. Many United fans reacted with delight that tablets were being banned – although in their view not for the right reason. The sight of ‘tourist’ fans holding up IPads and filming matches has annoyed many fans who believe that football support should be about getting behind the team rather than taking videos to prove ‘I was there’. At PSV, fans orchestrated a protest at the introduction of Wifi, making a similar point: football fandom is about actively and vocally supporting the team, rather than spending the game checking Twitter or uploading selfies. The PSV fans also protested against stewards telling them to sit down at matches, again claiming that this was lessening the ‘atmosphere’ at matches.


Traditional match-going fans have been resisting the commercialisation and gentrification of football for many years now, and protests and organisation fan movements to improve atmosphere in grounds are becoming more common (for example the recent introduction of a ‘singing section’ at Old Trafford and the activities of Crystal Palace’s ‘Holmesdale Fanatics’ and Celtic’s ‘Green Brigade’). The number of fans standing at matches is also on the rise, as is the use of pyrotechnics – an irritation to the authorities but potentially also the start of a wider fan rebellion against ‘modern football’.


We should not forget of course that these fan groups are just a small sub-culture within the wider match-going support of clubs – many fans want to be able to check the internet at matches or upload photos on their tablets for their friends. However, in European football at least, it is the traditional ‘home-and-away’ match-going groups (or ‘carnival fan’ groups) who dominate football culture. Their voice is always heard the loudest, as well as usually being respected by other fan sub-cultures who may not join in but enjoy watching the match in a colourful, noisy and vibrant atmosphere.


The irony in both the PSV and United stories is that actually these carnival fan groups are typically big users of social media to encourage atmosphere, arrange meeting points at matches, secure tickets, build internal social cohesion, and actively promote their mode of fandom as being ‘authentic’ to a wider audience. For re-living previous matches and building up to the next fixture, social networks and the internet are now essential, it’s just that on the whole they would prefer match-day focus to be on the ‘serious business’ of getting behind the team on the pitch.


Dr Geoff Pearson

Director of Studies (MBA Football Industries)

Senior Lecturer in Sports Management and Law
University of Liverpool, Management School

An ethnography of English football fans is now available in paperback in the New Ethnographies series.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Vanishing for the vote - census schedules

1911 was a time of frenzied political activity - including of course the Votes for Women campaigns. With the Liberal government's forcible feeding of hunger-striking suffragettes in prison now in its second year, militant suffragette organizations called for a boycott of the census. Many did support the boycott.

The following 18 census schedules detail responses of those who refused to sign - 'no vote, no census'.

Vanishing for the vote recounts what happened on one night, Sunday 2 April, 1911, when the Liberal government demanded every household comply with its census requirements. Suffragette organisations urged women, all still voteless, to boycott this census.

The book plunges the reader into the turbulent world of Edwardian politics, so vividly recorded on census night 1911. Based on a wealth of brand-new documentary evidence, it offers compelling reading for history scholars and general readers alike.

Sumptuously produced, with 50 illustrations and an invaluable Gazetteer of suffrage campaigners. 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

New CEO for Manchester University Press

Manchester University Press is delighted to announce that after an international search and appointment process Dr Frances Pinter has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Manchester University Press (MUP).

Dr Frances Pinter

Friday, 7 February 2014

British Queer History

As we celebrate this year’s LGBT History month, we should commemorate an important milestone in the struggle for gay rights. 2014 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the setting up of the Wolfenden Committee—or, to give it its full title, the Departmental Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution, chaired by Sir John Wolfenden, Vice Chancellor of Reading University. In 1954, Winston Churchill’s Conservative government was worried about homosexuality for numerous reasons. These included a recent spike in prosecutions for homosexual offences thanks to more vigorous policing; greater public awareness of homosexuality spread by the popular press; increased medical, scientific and religious questioning of sexual deviance over the previous decades; public order concerns about the state of London’s streets, and the prevalence of cruising and prostitution, especially around the time of the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953; ripples from the Cold War, equating homosexuality with espionage and treason in the wake of McCarthyism in America and the defection of Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean to the Soviet Union in 1951; and the high profile trial and imprisonment in 1954 of three prominent men—landowners Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and Michael Pitt-Rivers and the Daily Mail journalist Peter Wildeblood—for having sex with men in private.

The Wolfenden Committee, which consisted of fifteen Establishment figures—twelve men and three women—heard evidence over the next three years. The testimonials and written statements of witnesses before the committee, all of which can be consulted at the National Archives at Kew, provide by far the most complete and extensive array of perspectives we have on how homosexuality was understood in Britain in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Those giving evidence, individually or through their professional associations, included: police chiefs, policemen, magistrates, judges, lawyers and Home Office civil servants; doctors, psychiatrists, psychotherapists and biologists (including Alfred Kinsey, the author of the famous Kinsey Reports into male and female sexuality in the US); prison governors, medical officers and probation officers; representatives of the churches, morality councils and progressive and ethical societies; schoolteachers and youth organization leaders; representatives of the army, navy and air force; and three self-confessed homosexuals (two of them anonymous): Peter Wildeblood, Patrick Trevor-Roper (a distinguished eye surgeon) and Carl Winter (Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge).

The range of opinions varied between those (mainly in the law enforcement community) who favoured continued criminalization of gay sex, and those (mainly in medical, religious and ethical ranks) who tended to believe that homosexuality was a medical, not a legal, problem, that it was either innate (as sexologists like Havelock Ellis would have it) or acquired at some stage during childhood development (the Freudian perspective). In addition to these pronouncements, there is much fascinating information in the Wolfenden archive about the multifarious attempts at discovering aetiologies and prescribing treatments, and about the policing of public sex and of cottaging—even a set of instructions on how to conduct physical examinations for sodomy in the Royal Navy. There are also many case studies of homosexuals and how they lived their lives. The focus is on men since the law was silent on sex between women, but occasionally some of these expert commentators shared their thoughts on lesbians as well.

The Wolfenden Report came out in 1957. It recommended that homosexual sex between two males over the age of 21 in private be decriminalized, drawing a very firm public/private distinction, and that (female) street prostitution be more strictly regulated. The latter was acted upon swiftly, but it took another decade before the gay sex suggestions were enacted, in the Sexual Offences Act of 1967. Regardless, Wolfenden has long been recognized as a landmark in moves towards gay law reform. But scholarly opinion has been divided. Some see the report as merely opening up a limited space for respectable, domesticated, straight-acting homosexuals, clamping down upon public expressions of homosexuality and a diverse array of queer acts and identities. Others see it, in spite of its  limitations, as helping enable the radical politics of the Gay Liberation Front and the flourishing of a vibrant gay commercial culture in the 1970s. So the debate surrounding Wolfenden is still intense. But, whatever one’s perspective, its significance for British Queer History is beyond doubt.

Brian Lewis
Professor of History
McGill University