Browse Results For:
History > Western European History
Citizen Culture in Baroque Naples
Naples in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries managed to maintain a distinct social character while under Spanish rule. John A. Marino's study explores how the population of the city of Naples constructed their identity in the face of Spanish domination. As Western Europe’s largest city, early modern Naples was a world unto itself. Its politics were decentralized and its neighborhoods diverse. Clergy, nobles, and commoners struggled to assert political and cultural power. Looking at these three groups, Marino unravels their complex interplay to show how such civic rituals as parades and festival days fostered a unified Neapolitan identity through the assimilation of Aragonese customs, Burgundian models, and Spanish governance. He discusses why the relationship between mythical and religious representations in ritual practices allowed Naples's inhabitants to identify themselves as citizens of an illustrious and powerful sovereignty and explains how this semblance of stability and harmony hid the city's political, cultural, and social fissures. In the process, Marino finds that being and becoming Neapolitan meant manipulating the city's rituals until their original content and meaning were lost. The consequent widening of divisions between rich and poor led Naples's vying castes to turn on one another as the Spanish monarchy weakened. Rich in source material and tightly integrated, this nuanced, synthetic overview of the disciplining of ritual life in early modern Naples digs deep into the construction of Neapolitan identity. Scholars of early modern Italy and of Italian and European history in general will find much to ponder in Marino's keen insights and compelling arguments.
The beer of today—brewed from malted grain and hops, manufactured by large and often multinational corporations, frequently associated with young adults, sports, and drunkenness—is largely the result of scientific and industrial developments of the nineteenth century. Modern beer, however, has little in common with the drink that carried that name through the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Looking at a time when beer was often a nutritional necessity, was sometimes used as medicine, could be flavored with everything from the bark of fir trees to thyme and fresh eggs, and was consumed by men, women, and children alike, Beer in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance presents an extraordinarily detailed history of the business, art, and governance of brewing.
During the medieval and early modern periods beer was as much a daily necessity as a source of inebriation and amusement. It was the beverage of choice of urban populations that lacked access to secure sources of potable water; a commodity of economic as well as social importance; a safe drink for daily consumption that was less expensive than wine; and a major source of tax revenue for the state. In Beer in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Richard W. Unger has written an encompassing study of beer as both a product and an economic force in Europe.
Drawing from archives in the Low Countries and England to assemble an impressively complete history, Unger describes the transformation of the industry from small-scale production that was a basic part of housewifery to a highly regulated commercial enterprise dominated by the wealthy and overseen by government authorities. Looking at the intersecting technological, economic, cultural, and political changes that influenced the transformation of brewing over centuries, he traces how improvements in technology and in the distribution of information combined to standardize quality, showing how the process of urbanization created the concentrated markets essential for commercial production.
Weaving together the stories of prosperous businessmen, skilled brewmasters, and small producers, this impressively researched overview of the social and cultural practices that surrounded the beer industry is rich in implication for the history of the period as a whole.
Public Debt, Inequality, and the Intellectual Origins of the French Revolution
Ever since the French Revolution, Madame de Pompadour's comment, "Après moi, le déluge" (after me, the deluge), has looked like a callous if accurate prophecy of the political cataclysms that began in 1789. But decades before the Bastille fell, French writers had used the phrase to describe a different kind of selfish recklessness--not toward the flood of revolution but, rather, toward the flood of public debt. In Before the Deluge, Michael Sonenscher examines these fears and the responses to them, and the result is nothing less than a new way of thinking about the intellectual origins of the French Revolution.
In this nightmare vision of the future, many prerevolutionary observers predicted that the pressures generated by modern war finance would set off a chain of debt defaults that would either destroy established political orders or cause a sudden lurch into despotic rule. Nor was it clear that constitutional government could keep this possibility at bay. Constitutional government might make public credit more secure, but public credit might undermine constitutional government itself.
Before the Deluge examines how this predicament gave rise to a widespread eighteenth-century interest in figuring out how to establish and maintain representative governments able to realize the promise of public credit while avoiding its peril. By doing so, the book throws new light on a neglected aspect of modern political thought and on the French Revolution.
The Trials of Marguerite Porete and Guiard of Cressonessart
On 31 May 1310, at the Place de Grève in Paris, the Dominican inquisitor William of Paris read out a sentence that declared Marguerite “called Porete,” a beguine from Hainault, to be a relapsed heretic, released her to secular authority for punishment, and ordered that all copies of a book she had written be confiscated. William next consigned Guiard of Cressonessart, an apocalyptic activist in the tradition of Joachim of Fiore and a would-be defender of Marguerite, to perpetual imprisonment. Over several months, William of Paris conducted inquisitorial processes against them, complete with multiple consultations of experts in theology and canon law. Though Guiard recanted at the last moment and thus saved his life, Marguerite went to her execution the day after her sentencing.
Prostitution and the New German Woman, 1890–1933
During the late nineteenth century the city of Berlin developed such a reputation for lawlessness and sexual licentiousness that it came to be known as the "Whore of Babylon." Out of this reputation for debauchery grew an unusually rich discourse around prostitution. In Berlin Coquette, Jill Suzanne Smith shows how this discourse transcended the usual clichés about prostitutes and actually explored complex visions of alternative moralities or sexual countercultures including the “New Morality” articulated by feminist radicals, lesbian love, and the “New Woman.”
Combining extensive archival research with close readings of a broad spectrum of texts and images from the late Wilhelmine and Weimar periods, Smith recovers a surprising array of productive discussions about extramarital sexuality, women's financial autonomy, and respectability. She highlights in particular the figure of the cocotte (Kokotte), a specific type of prostitute who capitalized on the illusion of respectable or upstanding womanhood and therefore confounded easy categorization. By exploring the semantic connections between the figure of the cocotte and the act of flirtation (of being coquette), Smith’s work presents flirtation as a type of social interaction through which both prostitutes and non-prostitutes in Imperial and Weimar Berlin could express extramarital sexual desire and agency.
Cinema and Urban Nostalgia in the Postwall Era
Scarred by the Second World War, divided during the Cold War, and turned into a massive construction site in the early postwall years, Berlin has dramatically reinvented itself in the new millennium. Film has served a neglected but important function in this transformation.
In Berlin Replayed, Brigitta B. Wagner shows how old and new films set in Berlin created a collective urban nostalgia for the city’s best, most inclusive, and most conciliatory pasts in the face of its renewed purpose as the all-German capital. Exploring films such as Walter Ruttmann’s Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, Wim Wenders’s Wings of Desire, Tom Tykwer’s Run Lola Run, and Wolfgang Becker’s Good Bye, Lenin!, the book establishes that these films don’t merely feature the city but actively construct how viewers come to know different Berlins of the past and present. To illustrate how film has repeatedly remade the image of the city, Berlin Replayed focuses on four key periods: the golden 1920s, when the city was a major filmmaking center; the prewall 1950s, when Berlin had two ideologically opposed film industries; the politically transformative late 1980s and early 1990s; and the hyped start of the twenty-first century.
By showing how films have helped revive memories of the “good” Berlin and, by extension, the “good” Germany, Berlin Replayed reveals the underappreciated but powerful role film has played in the process of unifying Germany’s historical experience and bridging its physical and political divisions.
the Honan Bequest and the Modernisation of University College Cork, 1904-1919
Bertram Windle was a doctor, a scientist, an archaeologist, an anthropologist, a writer on English literature and evolution, and President of Queen’s/University College Cork. During his time in Ireland between 1904 and 1919, he had a major impact on the development of higher education and the development of the National University of Ireland.
Marseille and the Early Modern Mediterranean
Between Crown and Commerce examines the relationship between French royal statecraft, mercantilism, and civic republicanism in the context of the globalizing economy of the early modern Mediterranean world. This is the story of how the French Crown and local institutions accommodated one another as they sought to forge acceptable political and commercial relationships with one another for the common goal of economic prosperity. Junko Thérèse Takeda tells this tale through the particular experience of Marseille, a port the monarchy saw as key to commercial expansion in the Mediterranean. At first, Marseille’s commercial and political elites were strongly opposed to the Crown’s encroaching influence. Rather than dismiss their concerns, the monarchy cleverly co-opted their civic traditions, practices, and institutions to convince the city’s elite of their important role in Levantine commerce. Chief among such traditions were local ideas of citizenship and civic virtue. As the city’s stature throughout the Mediterranean grew, however, so too did the dangers of commercial expansion as exemplified by the arrival of the bubonic plague. Marseille’s citizens reevaluated citizenship and merchant virtue during the epidemic, while the French monarchy's use of the crisis as an opportunity to further extend its power reanimated republican vocabulary. Between Crown and Commerce deftly combines a political and intellectual history of state-building, mercantilism, and republicanism with a cultural history of medical crisis. In doing so, the book highlights the conjoined history of broad transnational processes and local political change.
The English East India Company, 1600-1757
The English East India Company was one of the most powerful and enduring organizations in history. Between Monopoly and Free Trade locates the source of that success in the innovative policy by which the Company’s Court of Directors granted employees the right to pursue their own commercial interests while in the firm’s employ. Exploring trade network dynamics, decision-making processes, and ports and organizational context, Emily Erikson demonstrates why the English East India Company was a dominant force in the expansion of trade between Europe and Asia, and she sheds light on the related problems of why England experienced rapid economic development and how the relationship between Europe and Asia shifted in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Though the Company held a monopoly on English overseas trade to Asia, the Court of Directors extended the right to trade in Asia to their employees, creating an unusual situation in which employees worked both for themselves and for the Company as overseas merchants. Building on the organizational infrastructure of the Company and the sophisticated commercial institutions of the markets of the East, employees constructed a cohesive internal network of peer communications that directed English trading ships during their voyages. This network integrated Company operations, encouraged innovation, and increased the Company’s flexibility, adaptability, and responsiveness to local circumstance.
Between Monopoly and Free Trade highlights the dynamic potential of social networks in the early modern era.
Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany
"Though its primary focus is on the immediate postwar, Between National Socialism and Soviet Communism will surely illuminate the contemporary crisis around citizenship and definitions of Germanness in the context of European Union and globalization." ---Geoff Eley, University of Michigan In May of 1945, there were more than eight million "displaced persons" (or DPs) in Germany---recently liberated foreign workers, concentration camp prisoners, and prisoners of war from all of Nazi-occupied Europe, as well as eastern Europeans who had fled west before the advancing Red Army. Although most of them quickly returned home, it soon became clear that large numbers of eastern European DPs could or would not do so. . In the aftermath of National Socialism, Germany thus ironically became a temporary home for a large population of "foreigners." Focusing on Bavaria, in the heart of the American occupation zone, Between National Socialism and Soviet Communism examines the cultural and political worlds that four groups of displaced persons---Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, and Jewish---created in Germany during the late 1940s and early 1950s. The volume investigates the development of refugee communities and how divergent interpretations of National Socialism and Soviet Communism defined these displaced groups. Combining German and eastern European history, Anna Holian draws on a rich array of sources in cultural and political history and engages the broader literature on displacement in the fields of anthropology, sociology, political theory, and cultural studies. Her book will interest students and scholars of German, eastern European, and Jewish history; migration and refugees; and human rights.