‘Conditions analogous to slavery’: Workers in the British West Indies after emancipation

Although the slave trade had been abolished throughout the British Empire in 1807, it would not be until 1833 that the Slavery Abolition Act would be passed, and on the 1st of August the following year slaves in the British West Indies would begin their lives as free men and women. The controversial ‘Apprenticeship’ system […]

Winston Churchill and the Rise of Bolshevism 1917–1927

Winston Churchill and the Rise of Bolshevism 1917–1927 The period 1917 to 1927 was one of significant social and political upheaval and revolution across the world, but nowhere so much as in Russia, when on 7 November 1917, the Bolshevik Revolution took place. Power was transferred to the soviets across the country, ousting the Provisional […]

Class and Shell Shock during the First World War

PDF with references available >here< How did class influence the diagnosis and treatment of shell-shock in Britain during the First World War? The Great War was the largest, most industrialised and destructive war that had ever been fought. And the effect of war on the Western Front on the minds, as well as the bodies, of […]

Is Marxism too ‘eurocentric’? A critique of postcolonial IR theory

This is an essay originally written to discuss the charge of ‘western-centrism’ in international relations (IR) theory as a whole, though I have adapted it to address the charge against marxism in particular. I initially wrote this around October 2013. Postcolonialism is a post-positivist theory, or critique, meaning that it rejects the idea that knowledge is static and material, and […]

Lenin, Stalin and the ‘continuity theory’

Was Lenin any different to Stalin in terms of personality, policies and the way he governed the USSR? Parallels between Lenin and Stalin have been drawn time and time again by many scholars; the common charge is that Stalin’s path to dictatorship was paved by Lenin, each being equally as villainous. Indeed, this is essentially […]

Capitalism and Freedom

Is a capitalist economic and social system essential for the flourishing of human freedom? The idea that freedom is unattainable without the flourishing of a capitalist, free-market economy and social system is the hegemonic belief in Western society today. ‘Freedom’ has been referred to time and again by governments to account for both domestic and […]

Why was masturbation such a medical concern in the 19th century? 

Before the 1700s, masturbation had been condemned on specifically religious grounds. It was considered sinful because it ‘denied the “natural” function of sexuality’, i.e. procreation. As A. N. Gilbert writes, ‘[a]s a sexual act, it meshed easily with the traditional Christian distrust of sensuality and bodily pleasure.’ But by the nineteenth century onwards, doctors had […]