BSJ

The Butler Scholarly Journal

Category: Themed Issues

  1. Beyond the Olympic Spectacle: Displacement for Development

    As the first South American host, the 2016 Olympics in Rio are eagerly anticipated as an opportunity to attract tourists and business, as well as providing employment and training to assist the city’s economic growth. However, beyond the spectacle and perceived benefits of the event lies a darker interpretation, which implies that the Olympic games are an opportunity for cities to justify removing the poor to enable the accumulation of capital. The large-scale and forced displacement of Rio’s informal ‘favela’ settlements demonstrates how Olympic development enables cities to justify the removal of undesirable, poor and marginalised groups. After hosting the…

  2. Olympic Legacies: Culture vs. Sport

    The notion of an ‘Olympic Legacy’ is often invoked to reiterate the longevity and importance of the global sporting event. The prestige of the games and celebrity of the athletes lodge in the imagination of the audience, promising a summer of sporting celebration that will aim to inspire a new generation of athletes and encourage even the laziest of us to take up a new sport. However, whilst sport seems the most obvious of Olympic legacies, it would seem that in the long term, cultural projects running alongside the Olympic Games provide another layer of continuity. In fact cultural legacies…

  3. Sport: A Tool of Colonial Control for the British Empire

    Sport, as we know it, found its roots in the British Empire. Many of today’s most popular sports including cricket, football and tennis, were organised and codified by the British in the nineteenth century.[1] However, assessing the motivations behind this vast programme of sporting dissemination still remains relatively under-explored. This is puzzling considering that the spread of sports was a key branch of cultural imperialism, much like the spread of Christianity across the colonies. Sport, like religion, provided an opportunity for Britain to take cultural control of her Empire, whilst also encouraging British attitudes towards class and race to spread….

  4. The Olympic Games: A Matter of Commercialisation and (Over) Conformity?

    With the Rio 2016 Olympic Games now just a few months away, it is time to ask the critical questions of who will benefit from the Games, and crucially, whether we can trust the athletes who compete. Sport has never been more popular. As a result, there has never been such a desire among multi-million pound companies and enterprises to claim a stake in what was once seen as a simple pastime that could enhance one’s health and well-being on a physical, psychological, and social level. Subsequently, the extrinsic benefit from sporting success has never been greater. Inevitably this has resulted…

  5. Sex in Governmental Legislation from the Victorian to the Edwardian Period

    Most Britons are aware that once upon a time Britain possessed the largest empire in history. At its zenith, a fifth of the world’s total population came under rule or administration of the United Kingdom, and the Empire encompassed almost a quarter of the globe’s land mass (1). Queen Victoria’s reign spanned an extraordinary sixty-five years of Britain’s imperial century and she was internationally associated with this period of British superiority. However, accompanying the awareness of their once great Empire, most Britons are also aware that this is no longer the case. It is undeniable that there was structural change…

  6. Kelvin’s Aethereal Knots – The Origins of the Periodic Table and Knot Theory

    c. 1867, University of Glasgow: William Thomson, or Lord Kelvin (namesake of the temperature scale and the man who coined the term ‘kinetic energy’) as he is today more frequently known, turns his considerable intellectual ability towards the daunting question of how all material in the universe might exist. At this time in scientific history, the idea that matter was composed of individual atoms of varying type was becoming increasingly accepted by academics. However, what remained a complete mystery to all was how these atoms could themselves exist. The person who could suggest a working theory to answer such a…

  7. Invention and Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century: How Science Strengthened the British Empire

    The nineteenth century is widely known to have witnessed revolutionary developments in science and technology, in areas ranging from healthcare to transportation. Naturally, it follows that these innovations provided Europeans, particularly the British, with effective tools for the expansion and consolidation of their empires. Not only was this the case, but a new rationale for imperialism developed as a result of the scientific developments of the Victorian era. This is a theme which can be explored through two examples; firstly, the use of quinine prophylaxis as a more successful medicine to combat malaria, and secondly, the invention and introduction of…

  8. The Irresistible Illusion of Success: Has Britain Learnt Anything From Afghanistan?

    On 16 January 2015, the last Victorian died. It is an incredible idea that at the start of 2015, Ethel Lang, who was born a subject of Queen Victoria, was even alive. During the course of Ethel’s life there have been many game-changing historical events: the founding of the British Labour party, two World Wars, the production of atomic weapons, and the invention of the Internet, Facebook, and the iPad, to name but a few. Thus, it is no wonder that crinoline-clad Victorianism in the present day feels alien. This feeling, however, is illusory. The Victorian era should not be…

  9. The World’s Greatest Weapon

    What is the greatest weapon that the world has ever seen? There are a number of strong contenders: the bow and arrow is one of the most enduring and effective weapons in history, whose origins date back 12,000 years; the AK-47 is the most popular gun in the world with between 75 and 100 million in existence; the atomic bomb has the ability to wipe out whole cities in the blink of an eye. These weapons have been ruthlessly efficient at inflicting harm on people across the globe, but in this author’s opinion, none of them count as the world’s…

  10. Perception, Interpretation and Remembrance of the Great War Through Poetry and Fiction

    The First World War has undoubtedly taken an unprecedented and exalted role in British and world history, culture and imagination with a pervasive rhetoric of tragic heroism, sacrifice, ultimate futility and both the rejection and celebration of the concept of chivalric suffering. The literature of the Great War has contributed significantly to the overriding perception of the conflict over the last century and has to a certain extent provided the lens through which we view the years 1914 to 1918 and beyond. But how far has fiction and poetry alone actively ‘shaped’ and sculpted our view, independent of the realities…