From a Cornish Study, collected essays
This 226 page book is now available from Amazon at £9.99 plus postage or direct from me.
Here’s the contents list
PART ONE: Theory
1. In search of the missing ‘turn’: the spatial dimension and Cornish Studies
2. The New Cornish Studies: New discipline or rhetorically defined space?
3. From Cornish Studies to Critical Cornish Studies: reflections on methodology
4. Cornish Studies and Cornish studies: the state of the field
PART TWO: Practice
5. ‘Poor people cannot do all they could’: microhistory and mining families in 1841
6. ‘Nothing but pilchards and mackerel?’: re-thinking Chartism in Cornwall
7. Bishops and teetotallers: Cornish identity politics in the later nineteenth century
8. Persistence without performance: the case of Mebyon Kernow
And here’s a description
Is Cornish Studies just a fun subject? Or does it have a respectable academic presence? In this book I ponder on the theory and practice of Cornish Studies. The first three chapters bring together articles published originally in the early 2000s in Cornish Studies. These explored the possibilities and problems involved in devising a distinct methodology for Cornish Studies. Chapter 1 looks at the role of spatial levels when studying Cornwall. Chapter 2 is a critical analysis of the New Cornish Studies. Chapter 3 puts forward critical discourse analysis as a particularly suitable method for Cornish Studies specialists. Postscripts have been added to each chapter looking back on that project with the luxury of hindsight. This part is completed by Chapter 4, which is an extended, up-to-date critical review of the academic literature on Cornwall since 2002.
The second part of the book moves on to practical examples of a Cornish Studies approach. Chapters 5 and 6 focus on early nineteenth century Cornwall. The first of these makes use of microhistory to explore the conditions of underground and surface workers at Cornish mines in 1841, based on Charles Barham’s contemporary parliamentary report. It asks how far such a source can bring us closer to understanding the lives of our predecessors. Chapter 6 is a major re-assessment of regional Chartism. Chartism has traditionally been seen as having little influence in Cornwall but this chapter argues that a vigorous, if relatively small, band of Chartist activists was present in the towns of west Cornwall throughout the 1840s. It concludes that, far from being insignificant, Chartism in Cornwall maintained a more effective presence than in most of rural southern England.
The final two essays focus on the discourse of Cornishness. The first homes in on two nineteenth century campaigns for special treatment for Cornwall. The unjustly forgotten Cornish Sunday Closing campaign of 1881-1883, which garnered impressive support, was ultimately unsuccessful, unlike the earlier campaign for a Cornish diocese separate from Exeter. Both campaigns made use of historical and ‘Celtic’ arguments to win support. However, the Sunday Closing campaign met its nemesis in the power of a discourse of Englishness in Cornwall. In this chapter I reveal the discourse of Cornishness that lay behind these campaigns and the lessons they hold for twenty-first century campaigners for Cornish recognition. Issues of discourse are also at the heart of the final chapter. This offers a long-overdue comparative analysis of Cornwall’s nationalist party MK in the context of academic work on European ethnoregionalism. It identifies a unique combination of longevity yet electoral marginality and reviews an assortment of reasons for this, ranging from structural and institutional barriers to the ideology and organisation of the party.