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The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Despite established clinical associations among major depression (MD), alcohol dependence (AD), and alcohol consumption (AC), the nature of the causal relationship between them is not completely understood. We leveraged genome-wide data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and UK Biobank to test for the presence of shared genetic mechanisms and causal relationships among MD, AD, and AC.
Linkage disequilibrium score regression and Mendelian randomization (MR) were performed using genome-wide data from the PGC (MD: 135 458 cases and 344 901 controls; AD: 10 206 cases and 28 480 controls) and UK Biobank (AC-frequency: 438 308 individuals; AC-quantity: 307 098 individuals).
Positive genetic correlation was observed between MD and AD (rgMD−AD = + 0.47, P = 6.6 × 10−10). AC-quantity showed positive genetic correlation with both AD (rgAD−AC quantity = + 0.75, P = 1.8 × 10−14) and MD (rgMD−AC quantity = + 0.14, P = 2.9 × 10−7), while there was negative correlation of AC-frequency with MD (rgMD−AC frequency = −0.17, P = 1.5 × 10−10) and a non-significant result with AD. MR analyses confirmed the presence of pleiotropy among these four traits. However, the MD-AD results reflect a mediated-pleiotropy mechanism (i.e. causal relationship) with an effect of MD on AD (beta = 0.28, P = 1.29 × 10−6). There was no evidence for reverse causation.
This study supports a causal role for genetic liability of MD on AD based on genetic datasets including thousands of individuals. Understanding mechanisms underlying MD-AD comorbidity addresses important public health concerns and has the potential to facilitate prevention and intervention efforts.
Effective methods to increase awareness of preventable infectious diseases are key components of successful control programmes. Rabies is an example of a disease with significant impact, where public awareness is variable. A recent awareness campaign in a rabies endemic region of Azerbaijan provided a unique opportunity to assess the efficacy of such campaigns. A cluster cross-sectional survey concerning rabies was undertaken following the awareness campaign in 600 households in 38 randomly selected towns, in districts covered by the campaign and matched control regions. This survey demonstrated that the relatively simple awareness campaign was effective at improving knowledge of rabies symptoms and vaccination schedules. Crucially, those in the awareness campaign group were also 1·4 times more likely to report that they had vaccinated their pets, an essential component of human rabies prevention. In addition, low knowledge of appropriate post-exposure treatment and animal sources of rabies provide information useful for future public awareness campaigns in the region and other similar areas.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
The ability to predict upper respiratory infections (URI), lower respiratory infections (LRI), and gastrointestinal tract infections (GI) in independently living older persons would greatly benefit population and individual health. Social network parameters have so far not been included in prediction models. Data were obtained from The Maastricht Study, a population-based cohort study (N = 3074, mean age (±s.d.) 59.8 ± 8.3, 48.8% women). We used multivariable logistic regression analysis to develop prediction models for self-reported symptomatic URI, LRI, and GI (past 2 months). We determined performance of the models by quantifying measures of discriminative ability and calibration. Overall, 953 individuals (31.0%) reported URI, 349 (11.4%) LRI, and 380 (12.4%) GI. The area under the curve was 64.7% (95% confidence interval (CI) 62.6–66.8%) for URI, 71.1% (95% CI 68.4–73.8) for LRI, and 64.2% (95% CI 61.3–67.1%) for GI. All models had good calibration (based on visual inspection of calibration plot, and Hosmer–Lemeshow goodness-of-fit test). Social network parameters were strong predictors for URI, LRI, and GI. Using social network parameters in prediction models for URI, LRI, and GI seems highly promising. Such parameters may be used as potential determinants that can be addressed in a practical intervention in older persons, or in a predictive tool to compute an individual's probability of infections.
In the late 1920s, the colonial government of French Equatorial Africa decided to employ Chinese workers to complete their railway line. The employment of Chinese indentured labor had already become the subject of considerable international criticism. The Chinese government was concerned that the French could not guarantee worker health and safety and denied their application. However, the recruitment went ahead with the help of the government of French Indochina. This article explores the nature of Chinese worker protest during their time in Africa and their struggle against French notions of what constituted appropriate treatment of so-called “coolie” labor.
On Friday December 9, 2016, Columbia teaching and research assistants elected the Graduate Workers of Columbia-United Auto Workers (GWC-UAW) Local 2110 as their union with 1602 yes and 623 no votes. On December 22, a preliminary count for the Harvard Graduate Students Union-UAW was not conclusive, with 314 challenge ballots exceeding the margin between 1,272 yes and 1,456 no votes. Both elections were possible because the National Labor Relations Board, ruling on a suit brought by Columbia students, overturned a 2004 decision that prohibited the formation of graduate unions in private colleges and universities.
This article examines debates over Chinese indentured labor in the Australasian colonies at the height of the gold rushes. It does so through the testimony of Chinese gold miners who protested the seizure of their gold by customs officials in Sydney Harbour. As a result of these protests, a “New South Wales Select Committee into the Seizure of Gold from Chinese Miners” was established in 1857 to investigate customs law and “coolie” rights. The findings of this committee uncovered Chinese and white settler memories over failed coolie transportation schemes, revealing the ways in which the legacies of coolie migration continued to shape understandings in the Australian colonies of law, labor rights, and fair taxation well after the cessation of such schemes in the 1840s. The archive of Chinese grievance against the colonial state, preserved in testimonies given to the select committee, reveal the long shadow of slavery in the British Empire, the complexities of multiracial communities, and the role of law and legal institutions in shaping both.
For 22 days during the month of October 2016, more than 750 cooks, food servers, dishwashers, and cashiers struck Harvard University's dining halls. This was the first open-ended strike in the 380-year history of the institution. It drew national and international press and inspired many students, faculty, and members of the university community to rally in support of the workers. The strike's picket lines, marches, acts of civil disobedience, and building occupation became a collective repudiation of the corporate logic of the contemporary American university, one that privileges endowments, budgets, and HR departments over community, humanitarian values, and families. This was summed up in the slogan chanted thousands of times in Harvard Yard: “If we don't get it, SHUT IT DOWN!”
This article examines transnational connections between African American emancipation in the United States and Chinese and Indian indenture within the British Empire. In an era of social upheaval and capitalist crisis, planters and colonial officials envisioned coolies as a source of uninterrupted plantation labor. This vision was often bound to the conditions of African American emancipation. In British Honduras, colonial officials sought to bring emancipated African Americans to the colony as labor for sugar plantations. When this project failed, interest turned toward indentured Chinese labor managed by white planters from the U.S. South. In India’s North-Western Provinces, the outbreak of famine came to be seen as a “kindred distress” to the crisis in Lancashire’s textile industry. Unemployed English factory workers were seen as suffering from famine due to the scarcity of slave-produced cotton, just as colonial subjects suffered from scarcity of food. While some weavers in the North-Western Provinces were taken into the coolie trade, the emigration of unemployed Lancashire weavers was looked to as a possible alternative to indenture. Drawing upon archives in Australia, Belize, Britain, India, and the United States, this article explores connections between seemingly disparate histories. By focusing upon their interrelation, this article locates the formation of crisis not in raw materials, but rather within a transnational struggle over racialized labor exploitation, or what W.E.B. Du Bois called the “dark and vast sea of human labor.”
Struggles over social reproduction intensified and took on new forms in Japan during the interwar period, as the state found it increasingly difficult to secure the foundations for the continued accumulation of capital. Landlord-tenant disputes that erupted nationwide in the midst of Japan's post-World War I agricultural recession was one concrete manifestation of these struggles. While the significance of tenant disputes has been analyzed in great detail by scholars, there has been a surprising lack of historical scholarship on the role that female tenant farmers played within them. This absence is a manifestation of two tendencies: First, gendered assumptions surrounding the figure of the tenant farmer have led scholars of agrarian social movements to work from a relatively limited understanding of what constitutes struggle and by extension, who its protagonists have been. Second, the conflation of waged work as productive work and by extension, non-waged work as unproductive has unwittingly relegated many forms of struggle that working women participated in to the realm of the pre-political. This paper contends that far from being mere supporters – the wife corps – of what was ultimately a male-driven movement, female participants in tenant disputes produced their own powerful critiques of the way that the Japanese state and capital undervalued their lives and labor. As such, they should be understood as one link in a rich history of proletarian feminist struggle both within and outside of the Japanese empire.
In 2014 the conservative Australian Institute of Public Affairs called for the abolition of the minimum wage—at the time AU$16.87, the highest in the industrial world and twice that of the United States. The Australian minimum, enacted in Victoria in 1896, was the first in the world. Other nations copied it, and the International Labor Organization inscribed it as an international convention in 1928. Responding to calls for its abolition, University of Melbourne historian Marilyn Lake reminded Australians that the minimum wage was a “symbol of Australian values.” Envisioned as a “living wage, sufficient to meet the variety of needs of a person living in a civilized community … [it] recognized workers as human beings and equal citizens,” she wrote.
The transformation of global capitalism, labor, and class relations in our own day is having a marked effect on how we study those subjects historically. Yet, as happens repeatedly in our historical discipline, insights gained from the juxtaposition and recognition of deep structural affinities between the present and the past also carry the risk of a distorted mirror effect. What questions we carry to the past and what lessons we, in turn, extract from it must be handled with care. As couriers between worlds of time as well as space, our work as historians inevitably reflects the ignorance as well as intelligence attending the message (as well as the messenger) of the given moment. With these caveats in mind, I want to explore the link between today's global crisis in worker welfare—perhaps most commonly summoned up by the twinned terms “neoliberalism” and the “precariat”—and a new historical preoccupation with coerced laborers of the past. With due deference to the aims of this collection, I will concentrate on the connection between the coolie question, as it developed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with the plight (and possible strategies) of low-wage global workers today.
This essay considers the biomedical framing of labor in tropical Australia from the late-nineteenth century until the early twenty-first century. This entails critical inquiry into racialized estimates of labor capacity or fitness, as well as skeptical examination of medical assumptions of risk and danger. Racial theories and medical conjectures have constituted flexible analytic toolkits that might adjust, adapt, and justify a variety of exploitative labor practices in Australia’s tropical north. Debates about coolie or indentured labor were never simply economic calculations: They also concerned notions of races and their proper places, and expressed particular moral sensibilities and medical fears. Thus labor history becomes entangled with histories of racial formation and of science and medicine
In 1915, as the Great War was consuming Europe and its colonial empires, W.E.B. Du Bois completed The Negro, one of the first comprehensive histories of Africa and its diaspora ever published in the United States. Overshadowed today by his more well-known writings, The Negro meditated on how “the problem of the color line” was nothing if not the result of centuries of global capitalist development dependent upon coerced labor, especially African chattel slavery in the Atlantic world. For Du Bois, peering back in time through the smoking ruins of total war, slavery's postemancipation legacies of political disenfranchisement, landlessness, poverty, and segregation had birthed a global proletariat of color exploited by white Europeans and Americans in an international order divided more and more along imperial lines.
This article analyses how in the 1970s a segment of Italian radical activists belonging to the tradition of operaismo (workerism) appropriated and interrogated the history of the International Workers of the World (IWW) using it as a tool of political intervention in the Italian context. Following the upheaval of the ‘Hot Autumn’, the IWW provided to the Italians an inspiring comparison with a militant labour organisation in times of changing composition of the working class and of transformation of the organisation of production. The importance of this political use of the past lies in the way it illuminates the particular context in which these activists operated. In the course of the 1970s, Italian radicals responded to the normalization of industrial relations by joining groups that endorsed a political line tinted with Leninism and advocated a revolution led by a vanguard of militants. This was in contrast to the tenets of shopfloor-centered strategy and grassroots and shopfloor participation typical of operaismo. The – eventually – failed attempt of the ‘militant historians’ to revive, through their distinctive interpretation of the IWW, that political tradition sheds light on the success of the backlash against shopfloor working class militancy at the end of the decade, when vanguard groups had become marginal in the factories and reformist unions lacked a political clout to oppose company restructuring and relocation. This article is based on articles, memoirs and interviews that are evidence of the politically-driven debate about the IWW among Italian radicals. It improves on the existing historiography of the Italian labour movement by resisting its teleological impulse to explain the backlash on the 1980s as an inevitable outcome. It also contributes to the burgeoning transnational labor historiography; it challenges methodological nationalism in the study of workers’ insurgency by charting the influence of US history far beyond its borders and across time, adopting a transnational approach that is, unusually, both geographical and a diachronic. This story tells us more about Italian history than it does about American history, but it is testimony to a far reaching influence of American history and to entanglements that crossed borders through the work of the activists, scholars, and translators who acted as transnational vehicles of ideas and political practices.
The importation of more than 60,000 Chinese laborers to work in the Witwatersrand gold mines in South Africa between 1904 and 1910 remains an obscure episode in the history of Asian indentured labor in European colonies. Yet the experience of the coolies on the Rand reverberated throughout the Anglo-American world and had lasting consequences for global politics of race and labor. At one level, the Chinese laborers themselves resisted their conditions of work to such a degree that the program became untenable and was canceled after a few years. Not only did the South African project fail: Its failure signaled more broadly that at the turn of the twentieth century it had become increasingly difficult to impose upon Chinese workers the coercive and violent exploitation that had marked the global coolie trade in the era of slave emancipation. At another level, the Chinese labor program on the Rand provoked a political crisis in the Transvaal and in metropolitan Britain over the “Chinese Question”—that is, whether Chinese, indentured or free, should be altogether excluded from the settler colonies. Following the passage of laws limiting or excluding Chinese immigration to the United States (1882), Canada (1885), New Zealand (1881), and Australia (1901), Transvaal Colony and then the Union of South Africa, formed in 1910, likewise barred all Chinese from immigration—making Chinese and Asian exclusion, along with white rule, native dispossession, and racial segregation the defining features of the Anglo-American settlerism.