[vc_row margin_bottom=”15″][vc_column][dt_banner image_id=”11923″ min_height=”270″][/dt_banner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][dt_quote]The Eccles Centre Fellowship provided me with crucial time and financial assistance to complete research on the arguments of proponents and opponents of the Vietnam War between 1964 and 1973, says Fabian Hilfrich, Eccles Centre Visiting Professor 2013-2014. The diversity of anti-war opinion in these publications was even more wide-ranging than expected.[/dt_quote][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]I had the privilege and opportunity to be an Eccles Centre Visiting Professor at the British Library in the academic year 2013-14. Although I have not yet been able to use all the funds — the funders have graciously agreed that I carry some funds over into this academic year – I already spent three weeks at the British Library, from 1-14 September 2013 and from 2-8 June 2014.
The main purpose of my time at the British Library was to do research for a manuscript on the arguments and ideologies prevalent among proponents and opponents of[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]the Vietnam War between 1964 and 1973. For that purpose, I am trying to establish a diverse and representative sample of opinion, drawing on archival material from presidential libraries, anti-war groups, social action groups, and important individuals. While I have done most of this research in the United States, the British Library is the only institution in the United Kingdom that holds other relevant material – most notably a complete run of the National Review, the important neo-conservative weekly, and, above all, the Underground Newspaper Collection. This collection, microfilmed in the 1970s and 1980s, contains a wide array of politically very diverse underground publications, ranging from full and long-running alternative newspapers, such as the Berkeley Barb, short and short-lived anti-war GI publications, such as FTA, to Liberation News Service, an attempt to establish an alternative radical news agency. This range allowed me to access opinions that might otherwise have escaped my focus on prominent organizations and individuals.
So far, the results have outstripped my expectations. First of all, some of the publications covered stories, which did not find much mention in the establishment press. More importantly, the diversity of anti-war opinion in these publications was even more wide-ranging than I had expected. Although most of the papers could be classified as ‘radical’, anti-war opinion ranged from the dogmatically radical to the moderate liberal spectrum. I was also struck by the fact that many of these differences related to identities – majority white male anti-war opinion differed from that of women, which again differed from that of minorities. These observations are absolutely essential to a nuanced portrayal and interpretation of anti-war attitudes in my project. In addition to that, the material also suggested a ‘rethink’ of conventional opinion in some areas not directly related to my current research. These observations may very well provide the basis for future research, e.g. on the relations between and mutual perceptions of anti-war activists and soldiers/veterans. When I return to the British Library in June or July of this year, I will finish my research into this unique resource.
Finally, my time at the British Library also allowed me to supplement secondary source reading of books and journals that are not available in Edinburgh. In summary, the Eccles Centre Fellowship provided me with crucial time and financial assistance to complete vital research for the completion of my current research project and manuscript. I am enormously grateful for this opportunity and the flexibility of the funders. I would like to thank Phil Davies (whom I had the opportunity to meet in London) and the Eccles Centre staff personally for all the assistance they provided. I also greatly enjoyed a couple of Eccles Centre lectures I listened to while in London.
Fabian Hilfrich is Senior Lecturer in American History at the University of Edinburgh.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]Archive