Bernadette Devlin: The Disparaged Woman of the Troubles

By Katherine Behnke

Bernadette Devlin became the youngest Member of British Parliament in 1969 at twenty-one years old. On January 31, 1972, House of Commons’ protocol did not allow Devlin to recount what she witnessed between the Irish nationalists and British paratroopers on what became known as Bloody Sunday. In frustration, she crossed the room and hit Reginald Maulding, the British Home Secretary, in the face. The aftermath Devlin encountered as a result of her actions toward Maulding highlights the gender order in Northern Ireland during the violent era from 1968 to 1998, known as the Troubles.

I recently completed an online exhibit about Bloody Sunday, the deadly civil rights march on January 30, 1972 in Derry, Northern Ireland that became a turning point in the Troubles. While researching the exhibit, I discovered the lack of scholarship written exclusively on Devlin, showing the disparity between the remembrance of women and men in the Troubles. Male authors have written many of the secondary sources, and plenty of books exist either written by or about men who participated in the Troubles, such as Austin Currie and Martin McGuiness. Academics Tim Pat Coogan and Feargal Cochrane and authors Don Mullan and Douglas Murray mention Devlin when discussing the Troubles, but only a book written by Devlin herself from 1969, a thesis focused on Devlin to understand Northern Ireland during this time written by Barbara Ann Oney in 1972 and edited publications of her speeches comprise the sources which focus on her exclusively.[1] In popular culture, filmmaker, Lelia Doolan, made a 2011 film called Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey that premiered at the BFI London Film Festival with the specific goal to keep Devlin from being forgotten in Irish history.[2] Investigating this lack of scholarship on Devlin highlights the need to include her in the history of the Troubles rather than finding excuses, such as her critical statements, radical actions or lapses in her memory, as justifications to exclude her.

Bernadette Devlin and Bloody Sunday  

Growing in prominence during the Troubles of Northern Ireland, Devlin’s political career began at a young age. Nationalist Catholics and unionist Protestants disagreed over whether Northern Ireland should unite with the Republic of Ireland or remain a part of the United Kingdom.[3] After building a presence as part of the civil rights movement, Devlin won the election to become the Member of Parliament for Mid-Ulster in 1969. Her unionist critics, who called her “Castro in a miniskirt,” began to grow in number as she sharply criticized anyone who discriminated against the nationalists in Northern Ireland, including the police and the British parliamentary elite.[4] Also, by 1969, Devlin had already written a book about her life thus far called The Price of My Soul to explain how Northern Ireland’s economic, social and political problems created the public’s fascination with Bernadette Devlin.[5] Although she may not have enjoyed living in the public eye, her story is neglected by scholars.

Bloody Sunday, January 30, 1972, highlights how the press dealt with Devlin. What began as a civil rights march against internment, the arrest of suspected members of paramilitary groups without a trial, became deadly after the British soldiers and nationalist protestors met in the streets of Derry.[6] Although the Stormont government had banned public processions, nationalist marchers met anyway, and shooting began after the British Parachute Regiment tried to block off the city centre.[7] In total, fourteen men died, and the debate over who started the shooting lasted for decades.[8] Devlin attracted the attention of the press after she hit the British Home Secretary in the face at Westminster the next day.[9] Afterwards, the press asked her whether her emotions played a role in her decision to hit Maulding. Devlin responded with, “It wasn’t an emotional reaction. It was quite coldly and calmly done.”[10] Instead of focusing on the events Devlin saw on Bloody Sunday that led her to her reaction to Maudling, the press used her actions to criticize her. Their criticism aligns with political scientist Christine Sylvester’s argument that historically women have not been seen as soldiers because they are not emotionally prepared.[11]

Devlin’s male counterparts did not experience the same level of criticism from the press about their emotions. Martin McGuinness, another controversial figure of the Troubles at this time due to his membership in the Provisional Irish Republican Army, received the blame for firing the first shot at Bloody Sunday.[12] Although he may not have liked what the authors wrote, McGuinness’s story received attention, such as Liam Clarke and Kathryn Johnston’s Martin McGuinness: From Guns to Government.[13] McGuinness received criticism for his involvement in the Troubles, but his emotions were never mentioned as motivation for his actions. Therefore, this brief comparison gives insight into the gender bias Devlin received.

Devlin’s memory has come into question many times over the years. Austin Currie, who rose in the civil rights movement with Devlin, wrote his autobiography in 2004.[14] Currie disagreed with Devlin’s account of a civil rights march near Coalisland on August 24, 1968. Devlin claimed in her 1969 book that men stopped at pubs along the march’s route, and they became very drunk.[15] However, Currie stated that only one bar existed on the route, and his friend, who marched with Currie that day, claimed the pub was closed when he tried to use the restroom there.[16] In this way, Currie became skeptical of Devlin’s presence at the march even though he wrote decades after the Troubles while Devlin wrote her book in 1969.

In his book, Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry, Douglas Murray, an author and political journalist, recounts what happened on Bloody Sunday and the Saville Inquiry. While he uses witness statements, tribunal sittings and Lord Saville’s final report, he does not cite individual parts in his book, but rather, he lists the sources used in each chapter at the end of the book. Therefore, he provides valuable information, but Murray does not include specific citations. He directs his readers to go to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry website to find all the evidence he uses in this book. He claims that on January 31, 1972 in Parliament Devlin recalled a Tory Member of Parliament hitting her, resulting in another Member of Parliament hitting the Tory, and that as she left she observed “a pile of MPs literally boxing on the floor of the House.”[17] Murray does not identify a source for Devlin’s account. However, he then goes on to cite Hansard, the official record of the House, as having a different account of the day. It has different Members of Parliament stating their opinions either in support or opposition to Devlin hitting Maulding. Hansard contains no account of further fighting.[18] While Murray references Hansard, his claims lack validity due to his absence of citations.

At the Saville Inquiry, the Counsel questioned Devlin’s memory again. Due to decades passing between Bloody Sunday and the Saville Inquiry, many witnesses who testified also had trouble remembering events.[19] To her credit, Devlin conceded in her testimony that she had an “unreliable memory.”[20] Multiple Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) organizers and Derry civilians recalled in their testimonies of seeing Devlin at the march.[21] When the Inquiry brought up a Times interview from January 31, 1972 that quoted Devlin discussing an eight-year-old boy being shot in the back and a film clip from the same day of her stating that a young girl had also been shot in the back, Devlin could not justify her false claims.[22] Therefore, these accounts saw Devlin stretching the truth based off claims she heard from other people present on January 30 in order to show the nationalist protestors were the victims of the day. Lord Saville ultimately concluded that the British soldiers fired unprovoked into the crowd of protestors.[23] While her recollection of events may prove problematic, Devlin’s lapses in memory do not serve as an excuse for excluding her from the Troubles in Northern Ireland narrative. Her honesty in her memory failures should be admired, especially when Devlin was asked to remember events from decades earlier.

In conclusion, Bernadette Devlin deserves recognition for her role in Northern Ireland. Critics and scholars appear to use her passion about the presence of British soldiers in Northern Ireland, her radical actions and her lapses in memory of past events as justification for excluding her contributions to the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Devlin had many flaws, but an account of her life should not be dismissed from history because her actions as a woman may seem radical to some in society. Devlin played a critical role in the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and scholars need to write about Devlin, to follow filmmaker Lelia Doolan’s lead, in order to preserve Devlin’s contribution to the history of the Troubles. From a young age, Devlin became dedicated to making Northern Ireland a better country, and her life has been full of events during and after the Troubles that require further analysis.

Notes

[1] Barbara Ann Oney, “Bernadette Devlin as a Communicator for Social Change within Northern Ireland” (master’s thesis, Ohio State University, 1972), 10.

[2] Maggie O’Kane, “A new film asks ‘where is Bernadette Devlin,’” The Guardian, last modified October 14, 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-womens-blog-with-jane-martinson/2011/oct/15/bernadette-devlin-london-film-festival.

[3] Feargal Cochrane, Northern Ireland: The Reluctant Peace (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 4-5.

[4] Cochrane, Northern Ireland: The Reluctant Peace, 42.

[5] Bernadette Devlin, The Price of My Soul (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969), vii.

[6] Cochrane, Northern Ireland: The Reluctant Peace, 59.

[7] Douglas Murray, Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry (London: Biteback Publishing, 2011), 30.

[8] Don Mullan, Bloody Sunday: Massacre in Northern Ireland-The Eyewitness Accounts (Niwot: Robert Rinehart Publishers, 1997), picture and BBC, “Bloody Sunday in maps,” BBC News, last modified March 17, 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/8572763.stm.

[9] Cochrane, Northern Ireland: The Reluctant Peace, 42.

[10] BBC. “Bernadette Devlin attacks British Home Secretary,” last modified January 27, 2012, accessed November 20, 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00nm166.

[11] Christine Sylvester, War as Experience: Contributions from international relations and feminist analysis (New York: Routledge, 2013), 38.

[12] Murray, Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry, 241.

[13] Ibid., 232.

[14] Ibid., 42.

[15] Devlin, The Price of My Soul, 92-3.

[16] Austin Currie, All Hell Will Break Loose, (Dublin: The O’Brien Press, 2004), 104-5.

[17] Murray, Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry, 75.

[18] Ibid., 76.

[19] Murray, Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry, 240.

[20] Ibid., 86.

[21] Murray, Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry, 78-9.

[22] Ibid., 86-9.

[23] Ibid., 303.

 

Bibliography

Amazon. “Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry.” https://www.amazon.com/Bloody-Sunday-Truths-Saville-Inquiry/dp/1849541493.

BBC. “Bernadette Devlin attacks British Home Secretary.” BBC One. Last modified January 27, 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00nm166.

BBC. “Bloody Sunday in maps.” BBC News. Last modified March 17, 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/8572763.stm.

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry. http://www.bloody-sunday-inquiry.org.uk.

Cochrane, Feargal. Northern Ireland: The Reluctant Peace. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013.

Currie, Austin. All Hell Will Break Loose. Dublin: The O’Brien Press, 2004.

Devlin, Bernadette. The Price of My Soul. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969.

Goodreads. “The Price of my Soul.” Goodreads Inc. Last modified 2018. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1848819.The_Price_of_my_Soul.

Mullan, Don. Bloody Sunday: Massacre in Northern Ireland-The Eyewitness Accounts. Niwot: Robert Rinehart Publishers, 1997.

Murray, Douglas. Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry. London: Biteback Publishing, 2011.

O’Kane, Maggie. “A new films asks ‘where is Bernadette Devlin.’” The Guardian. Last modified October 14, 2011. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-womens-blog-with-jane-martinson/2011/oct/15/bernadette-devlin-london-film-festival.

Oney, Barbara Ann. “Bernadette Devlin as a Communicator for Social Change within Northern Ireland.” Master’s thesis, Ohio State University, 1972.

Publishers Weekly. “The Troubles: Ireland’s Ordeal, 1966-1995 and the Search for Peace.” PW. https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-57098-092-3.

Sylvester, Christine. War as Experience: Contributions from international relations and feminist analysis. New York: Routledge, 2013.

University of Kent. “Professor Feargal Cochrane.” Last modified September 11, 2017. https://www.kent.ac.uk/politics/staff/canterbury/cochrane.html.

Wikipedia. “Don Mullan.” Last modified December 23, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Mullan.

Katherine Behnke is a master’s student at Cleveland State University.

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Politics of Peace and Gender + Digital Humanities

By Shelley Rose

For a couple years now, department colleagues have encouraged me to find a space where my research in protest movements and gender intersected with my interests in digital humanities and pedagogy. The product of those conversations is a course I offered in Fall 2017, “The Politics of Peace and Gender.” Excited by the possibility of sharing my passion for these fields with my students, I had three main goals:

  1. Focus the course on the interdisciplinary work of geographers, political scientists, sociologists, historians, anthropologists, musicologists, and activists;
  2. Emphasize the transferable skills our department and the AHA argue are an essential part of history education;
  3. Pilot this course as a methods course for a future certificate or minor program in digital humanities at CSU.

Here is the description from the syllabus:

This course investigates perceptions of peace and gender in politics, drawing on insights from international relations and human rights history to study gendered conceptualizations of peace as “feminine” and assumptions that militarism and war are historically “masculine.” The chronology of the course begins with Bertha von Suttner’s pacifist novel Lay Down your Arms! (1889) and ends in the present day. Through primary and secondary research, students will evaluate the importance of gender analysis in the study of war and its opponents. In particular, this course emphasizes the various roles of men and women participating in protest events and the spaces they choose occupy. The course fosters a transnational perspective, highlighting different historical and geographical contexts such as 19th– century nationalism in Europe, the experience and aftermath of World War I, international debates around disarmament including nuclear disarmament, gendered violence during the dirty wars in Latin America, and more recent mass transnational protest events such as the Women’s March on Washington and the Occupy Movement.

“Politics of Peace and Gender” enrolled 13 undergraduates, 2 graduate students, and 3 “Project 60” students. This was one of the most academically diverse groups of students I have ever taught in an upper-level history course. Not only did students range in technical ability, they came to the course from various majors and programs including Asian Studies, Black Studies, Education, English, Gender and Women’s Studies, History, Political Science, Psychology, and Social Studies. Early in the semester, I adopted the strategy of pulling key terms from our daily readings and posting them on the course chat (in this case we used university-supported Microsoft Teams). I also wrote the term list on the whiteboard in the classroom before each discussion. While I took attendance, students could walk to the board and put a checkmark next to the term(s) they wanted to be sure we reviewed during our session. This turned out to be a valuable exercise due to the interdisciplinary nature of both the materials and students. For instance, a term like “thick description” is familiar to history and anthropology students, but often unfamiliar to psychologists and others in the room.

In order to emphasize transferable skills, I approached this course as a digital methods course where students created an Omeka exhibit on a protest event of their choice as a final project. I drew heavily on my experience with project-based learning (PBL) and used the student-created exhibits from the Colored Conventions Project as a model to design a series of weekly skill-based labs that provided a foundation for the final project. I thought carefully about the branding for this course, and ultimately decided to use the word “lab” for work sessions. While the idea of a laboratory is borrowed from STEM fields, I use it to emphasize that these sessions are a time to experiment with digital methods. I made a conscious effort to convey to my students that it was ok to stumble, or even fail, when creating digital content – just like many scientists.

I love that digital humanities methods and projects challenge the assumption among academics and students that all assignments must represent a “finished” product. I stress to my students that it is fine to have work in progress. After all, academics present their own work at conferences before polishing ideas into an article or book. This is the reason why I grade labs separately from the final project (which deviates slightly from the traditional PBL model). My goal is to provide students with space to grow and, I hope, to be more courageous in their final project. Students were able to use network diagrams, maps, and other elements from their labs, but they were not required to use all of them in order to preserve the element of choice that is considered key to PBL.

Project-based learning calls for a public product for the final projects. The “Politics of Peace and Gender,” student exhibits are posted on a public Omeka site. All students were required to present their exhibit at the DigitalCSU working group research showcase in our library at the end of the semester. At the time, I hosted the site as a subdomain on my own website. I am now in the process of working with the CSU library to archive this site on their servers to ensure sustainability and to link it more clearly to the university’s Bepress site, EngagedScholarship @ CSU. Students were evaluated according to this rubric.

As a special topics course “Politics of Peace and Gender” was cross-listed for both undergraduate and M.A. students. Each M.A. student completed the Omeka exhibit and also wrote an academic blog post. You can read Katherine Behnke’s post on Bernadette Devlin here on the Peace & Change blog. It’s a great example of how her research for the digital exhibit revealed a significant gap in the historiography of a well-known protest event.

Student exhibits covered topics from The 1919 May 4th Incident in China to Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland. You can view them all on http://csuhisppg.shelleyrose.org/.

Shelley E. Rose is Associate Professor of History and Director of Social Studies at Cleveland State University. Follow her on Twitter @shelleyerose

New Essays on the “Peace History” Website

By Roger Peace

What would history look like if the disciplines of diplomatic, military, and peace history were merged?

This could well describe the U.S. Foreign Policy History & Resource Guide website – alias “peace history.”  Launched in January 2016, the website examines the major wars and foreign policies of the United States from a peace-oriented, humanitarian perspective and includes substantial coverage of peace movements.  Seven of sixteen planned sections have been completed, most recently, “Yankee imperialism,’ 1901-1934,” and “Central America wars, 1980s.” Each entry contains about 80 pages of text, is divided into numerous subsections for easy assimilation, and includes dozens of photographs and images (103 in the Central America essay).

In “’Yankee imperialism,’ 1901-1934,” authored by myself with assistance from Ann Jefferson (Univ. of Tennessee) and Marc Becker (Truman State Univ.), U.S. motives and rationales for interventionism are critically examined, the policies of succeeding U.S. administrations are reviewed, and six case studies of U.S. interventions are presented:  Cuba, Panama, Mexico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua.   The eclectic anti-interventionist movement gathered steam after World War I and helped to turn the tide of public opinion against U.S. military occupations in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua as well as to avoid war with Mexico in the mid-1920s.

In “Central America wars, 1980s,” authored by Ginger Williams (Winthrop Univ.), Jeremy Kuzmarov (Univ. of Tulsa), and myself, with assistance from Richard Grossman (Northeastern Illinois Univ.), Brian D’Haeseleer (Lyon Univ.), and Michael Schmidli (Bucknell Univ.), the Reagan administration’s rhetoric and policies toward Central America are placed in historical perspective and critically examined.  Historical background is also provided on El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua before proceeding to the 1980s.  The Central America movement that rallied in opposition to U.S. interventionism was remarkably creative in fostering transnational activities and cultivating understanding and empathy across national borders.

Peace History Society members and friends – instructors and students – can avail themselves of these essays, as the website is an open public resource.  Check out the website and use it!  Assign sections to students. Send feedback through the website contact system.

The next essay will focus on World War I, the subject of the excellent PHS conference in Kansas last fall.  Chuck Howlett, the unofficial dean of peace movement history, and Jeremy Kuzmarov, co-author of The Russians Are Coming Again (Monthly Review Press, May 2018), are part of the writing team.  For those who have expertise in an area not yet covered (see website home page) and would like to help with the planning, writing, or reviewing of future essays, please send me a note.  –  Roger Peace (rcpeace3@embarqmail.com)

Peace History and U.S. Foreign Policy

Image courtesy of Roger Peace

Is it possible to cultivate a peace perspective while studying American wars? I think it is, if value-based questions are asked and a corresponding framework for analysis is offered.

The peacehistory-usfp.org website, which I am developing with the support of the Peace History Society and Historians Against the War, asks whether each foreign war fought by the United States was just and necessary. This is the entry point for critically evaluating U.S. wars and foreign policies.

The standards for evaluating wars are situated outside of Washington but within the real world. They are rooted in the developing moral architecture of international norms, including prohibitions against national aggression written into the Charter of the United Nations (1945), human rights guidelines as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and subsequent human rights treaties, and humanitarian laws governing the conduct of war as set forth in the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
Having taught many U.S. history survey courses at the community college level, including 35 “U.S. in the World” courses, I have struggled to find appropriate resources that offer alternative perspectives to the dominant nationalistic viewpoints that infuse undergraduate textbooks and popular websites. Wars are typically evaluated on the basis of whether American power and interests were advanced, with little concern for “just war” principles or the harm done to others.

The goal of the website is to fully examine every U.S. war and major foreign policy orientation over the course of 240 years. Thus far, four of the eighteen planned entries have been completed: War of 1812, U.S.-Mexican War, War of 1898 and U.S.-Filipino War, and Korean War. Each entry comprises a short book of 28,000-32,000 words (roughly 85-95 pages), supplemented with images.

I invite educators to utilize the website by assigning sections for student reading. Feedback is welcome. I also invite scholars to participate in developing new entries, whether by suggesting resources, creating outlines, writing sections, or reading drafts.
The website does not purport to reveal an “untold story,” but rather to parlay critical perspectives commonly found at higher levels of academia into accessible narratives for non-history majors and the general public (history majors will benefit as well). In the War of 1812 entry, for example, I relied on the authoritative accounts of historians Donald R. Hickey, Carl Benn, and Alan Taylor, experts on the subject, among others. The perspective put forth is “new” only in the sense that U.S. textbooks and popular history have privileged the official (Madison) administration viewpoint, minimizing or excluding British, Canadian, and Native American views, and treating dissenting Federalists and peace advocates as losers. It will nonetheless appear new to many.

Peace scholars have added much to our understanding of the role of peace movements and antiwar voices in policy debates and protests. The intent of the website is not to fashion the story around these movements and individuals, but to give them more prominence and highlight their critiques. Readers and students should become thoroughly familiar with the idea that the prospect of war has typically engendered intense debate and opposition, that U.S. leaders have often resorted to underhanded methods to push the nation into war, and that militant patriotism has been used to intimidate and silence antiwar voices.

Apart from historical entries, there are two other parts of the website that have yet to be developed. One is a subsection in “Resources” to be titled “For Educators,” which might include lesson plans and curricula/syllabi for courses. Another is the “Connections” section, which I envision as highlighting recent newspaper and website articles connecting past and present.

To take one example, the New York Times (9/7/16), in covering President Obama’s visit to Laos, reported that “the United States had dropped more than two million tons of bombs on this country during the height of the Vietnam War, more than it dropped on Germany and Japan during World War II.” Obama offered $30 million to help clean up the still-unexploded bombs, which “lie buried under fields and forests, killing and maiming thousands of children, farmers, and others who stumble on them.” The war has not ended for Laotians.

In the end, I hope that the website leads students and citizens to intelligently question both current and past U.S. foreign policies, and to consider alternative international arrangements that build on international cooperation, mutual security, and common problem-solving. More immediately, I hope it serves as an outreach vehicle for the Peace History Society and Historians Against the War.

 


Roger Peace earned his doctorate in American Foreign Relations from Florida State University and taught U.S. and world history courses for 17 years. Prior to teaching, he worked as a local peace organizer and foundation director for nearly two decades. He is the author of A Call to Conscience: The Anti-Contra War Campaign (University of Massachusetts Press, 2012). Contact him at rcpeace3@embarqmail.com.

HathiTrust

In the world of digital collections and archives, few organizations compare to the HathiTrust. The multi-institutional library brings together the individual collection of its more than 100 partner institutions to create a digital clearinghouse of nearly 14 million total volumes, including books, journals, magazines and other print material. For scholars of interested in peace research, HathiTrust includes documents from a number of peace organizations, including the American Peace Society and the National Council for Prevention of War. It also includes numerous documents related to the U.S. government and a large catalog of digital books. In fact, roughly 39% of the works hosted by HathiTrust are in the public domain.

Below is an example of the type of documentation that can be found in HathiTrust. It is a program for the Fourth Annual American Peace Congress held in St. Louis, Missouri between May 1 and 3, 1913.

HathiTrust also creates digital tools and software designed to facilitate researchers’ navigation through the library’s massive amounts of digital text. HathiTrust is a valuable resource for educators and researchers, housing numerous documents while generating better tools to access them with.

EDIT – An earlier version of this article claimed that HathiTrust houses 39% of the works in the public domain. This is incorrect. The accurate claim is that 39% of the materials held HathiTrust are in the public domain.

StoryMap JS

Later this week we will have the first post from Alisha Baginski (follow her on Twitter at @BAGINS_), Peace and Change’s student intern, who will be unveiling a digital project she created using StoryMap JS. Before the post debuts, I thought that I would introduce our readers to the digital tool that she is using and its applications in the classroom and beyond.

StoryMap JS is an open-source tool that allows users to create web-based, multimedia-rich narratives that emphasize the importance of geography. Developed at Northwestern University’s Knight Lab, the tool can be used by those looking for a simple means of telling a story ground in space. Built using Knight Lab’s Gigapixel, StoryMap JS also allows for the creation of media rich stories that incorporate videos as well as photographs, maps, works of art and any other image file.

Numerous news organizations, such as The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, and CNBC, have used StoryMap JS maps to report on events around the globe. However, the tool is not intended for journalists alone and has seen significant use in the classroom. At Colorado State University, students under Dr. Robert Jordan have created impressive projects using StoryMap JS, such as this student project that tracked indigenous language in North and South America.

Because of the relative ease of access and engaging interface, StoryMap JS is a tool with potential for both educators and professionals. We at Peace and Change are excited by the opportunity to publish using the tool and introduce it to our readership.  

FoundSF

I recently came across a unique, and very useful, digital archive documenting the history of San Francisco called FoundSF. The archive is a wiki – a website that is maintained and edited through the collaborative processes of its users – that catalogs and presents historical artifacts from the San Francisco area. It contains digitized newspapers, videos, and pictures of San Francisco and the communities that call it home. The themes of the collection found on FoundSF range from broad discussions on race, gender, and the area’s ecology, to remembrances of San Francisco theme parks and attractions.

Perhaps to the surprise of few, there is much space dedicated to the various protest movements that rocked San Francisco over the latter half of the twentieth-century. In fact, a certain rebelliousness pervades the entire archive, with many of the conventions of impartiality ignored. As the curators point out, “FoundSF does not have a mission to present a ‘neutral point of view.’ Instead, we are focused on presenting real artifacts of history, and some of the best of these are highly biased and provocative.”

Although one should not take what is written on FoundSF as the gospel truth – and let’s be honest, most of the readers of Peace and Change are used to giving their sources a careful inspection – the documents held in the archive are fascinating.

For example, there are interviews with activists that highlight the intersection of the Gay Rights movement with pro-FSLN activism in the 1970s and 1980s.

Video interview: Chris Carlsson, edited by Joe Caffentzis

There are also remembrances of the 1968 San Francisco State student strike, accompanied by pictures of the unrest.

Photo: Lou de la Torre via FoundSF

Although admittedly tendentious, FoundSF is a treasure trove of documents detailing the turbulent history of San Francisco and is a valuable source for both researchers and educators.

Swarthmore College Peace Collection

In our efforts to better understand the width and breadth of peace scholarship, we at Peace and Change will begin a regular series of posts in which we examine the digital resources available to students, teachers, scholars, and activists. We will shine a spotlight on those tools and archives that forward our understanding of peace studies by either cataloging resources, facilitating student learning, or providing a unique lens through which to view the subject. Through these posts, we hope to introduce readers to resources that may help them improve their scholarship, enhance student learning outcomes, and strengthen their activism.

We chose to begin our series with the Swarthmore College Peace Collection (SCPC), an archive at Swarthmore College, obviously, that houses thousands of documents, including those from the Peace History Society.

The SCPC was founded as a library and archive for the books and papers of Jane Addams, as well as the files for Women’s Peace Party and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Over half of the collections documents pertain to women, and cover subjects related to “pacifism, women and peace, conscientious objection, nonviolence, civil disobedience, progressivism, the Vietnam era, African-American protest and civil rights, feminism, civil liberties, the history of social work, and other reform movements.” The website also houses a number of digitized photographic collections and links to peace organizations and their history.

The SCPC website provides finding aids to help navigate the archives large collections, as well as links to other online collections.

For those interested in the intersection of race, gender, and class with peace history, the Swarthmore College Peace History Collection is a useful hub that will satisfy the needs of scholars, the teachers, and students.