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Dan Brown is once again taking on the big questions.…
Kazuo Ishiguro wins the Nobel Prize For Literature The British…
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Although not a professional historian, the author raises several issues pertinent to the state of history today. Qualifying the ‘non-historian’ as an ‘able’ interventionist in historical studies, the author explores the relationship between history and theory within the current epistemological configurations and refigurations. He asks how history transcends the obsessive ‘linguistic’ turn, which has been hegemonizing literary/discourse analysis, and focuses greater attention on historical experience and where history stands in relation to our understanding of ethics, religion and the current state of global politics that underlines the manipulation and abuse of history.
By 1944 a large part of Eastern Europe had already been liberated by the Red Army, and the Allied forces were continuing to move in from the west after success at Normandy. Yet, in Lower Silesia, Germany more than sixty new forced labor camps were established, adding to the approximately forty camps that already existed. The inmates were Jews from Hungary and Poland who had been deported from the Lodz ghetto or who had been included on the infamous “Schindler’s List.” These camps became satellites of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp and were the last to be liberated. Throughout their existence, the Gross-Rosen camp and its satellites had a special relationship. This is why, although the process of genocide was proceeding at top speed, some Jews were diverted from the gas chambers and sent to work at Gross-Rosen. Auschwitz-Birkenau was the main provider of inmate slave laborers for the Gross-Rosen armaments, munitions, and other factories owned by giant private enterprises, such as Krupp, I.G. Farben, and Siemens. Jewish inmates were also used in the construction of Hitler’s secret headquarters in the local Eulen Mountains and the secret underground tunnels used to store weapons. This book adds greatly to our knowledge of the complexity of German policy toward the Jews and forced labor. It not only describes the daily life of Jewish slave laborers but also traces Reich economic policy and the big corporations that used forced labor.
From the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s West German foreign policy underwent substantial transformations: from bilateral to multilateral, from reactive to proactive. The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) was an ideal setting for this evolution, enabling the Federal Republic to take the lead early on in Western preparations for the conference and to play a decisive role in the actual East–West negotiations leading to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975. Based on extensive original research of recently released documents, spanning more than fifteen archives in eight countries, this study is a substantial contribution to scholarly discussions on the history of détente, the CSCE and West German foreign policy. The author stresses the importance of looking beyond the bipolarity of the Cold War decades and emphasizes the interconnectedness of European integration and European détente. He highlights the need to place the genesis of the CSCE conference in its historical context rather than looking at it through the prism of the events of 1989, and shows that the bilateral and multilateral elements (Ostpolitik and the CSCE) were parallel rather than successive phenomena, parts of the same complex process and in constant interaction with each other.
Exchanges have always had more than economic significance: values circulate and encounters become institutionalized. This volume explores the changing meaning of the circulation of second-hand goods from the Renaissance to today, and thereby examines the blurring of boundaries between market, gifts, and charity. It describes the actors of the market – official entities such as corporations, recognized professions, and established markets but also the subterranean circulation that develops around the need for money. The complex layers that not only provide for numerous intermediaries but also include the many men and women who, as sellers or buyers, use these circulations on countless occasions are also examined.
Asceticism, so it is argued in this volume, is a modern category. The ubiquitous cult of the body, of fitness and diet equally evokes the ongoing success of ascetic practices and beliefs. Nostalgic memories of hardship and discipline in the army, youth movements or boarding schools remain as present as the fashionable irritation with the presumed modern-day laziness. In the very texture of contemporary culture, age-old asceticism proves to be remarkably alive. Old ascetic forms were remoulded to serve modern desires for personal authenticity, an authenticity that disconnected asceticism in the course of the nineteenth century from two traditions that had underpinned it since classical antiquity: the public, republican austerity of antiquity and the private, religious asceticism of Christianity. Exploring various aspects such as the history of the body, of aesthetics, science, and social thought in several European countries (Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria and Belgium), the authors show that modern asceticism remains a deeply ambivalent category. Apart from self-realisation, classical and religious examples continue to haunt the ascetic mind.
While bookstore shelves around the world have never ceased to display best-selling “life-and-letters” biographies in prominent positions, the genre became less popular among academic historians during the Cold War decades. Their main concern then was with political and socioeconomic structures, institutions, and organizations, or―more recently―with the daily lives of ordinary people and small communities. The contributors to this volume―all well known senior historians―offer self-critical reflections on problems they encountered when writing biographies themselves. Some of them also deal with topics specific to Central Europe, such as the challenges of writing about the lives of both victims and perpetrators. Although the volume concentrates on European historiography, its strong methodological and conceptual focus will be of great interest to non-European historians wrestling with the old “structure-versus-agency” question in their own work.
Black ’41 opens with the arrival of the class of 1941 at the gates of West Point in the spring of 1937. It follows that class-nicknamed “Black ’41” for their misdeeds while at the Academy-over the course of the next four years, as they absorb the lessons that will help them become military leaders. Their cadet days provide the backdrop for the ominous events in a world headed toward war. It would be a war, as Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson underscored in his commencement address to the class in June 1941, that “may fall, in large measure, upon your shoulders.” The U.S. Army into which those new graduating second lieutenants were commissioned in 1941 was in many ways a holdover from the army of an earlier era, with plenty of cavalry but without a single armored division. Black ’41 became a key part of the new army, quickly transitioning to a mechanized force and growing its air arm. By the time of the major Pacific and European action, Black ’41’s officers were captains and majors, and leading soldiers into some of the critical fighting in the war. Told largely through the words of the graduates, Black ’41 is the coming-of-age story of West Point’s finest, during the hour of our country’s greatest need.
In the last two decades, there has been an increased awareness of the traditions and issues that link aboriginal people across the circumpolar North. One of the key aspects of the lives of circumpolar peoples, be they in Scandinavia, Alaska, Russia, or Canada, is their relationship to the wild animals that support them. Although divided for most of the 20th Century by various national trading blocks, and the Cold War, aboriginal people in each region share common stories about the various capitalist and socialist states that claimed control over their lands and animals. Now, aboriginal peoples throughout the region are reclaiming their rights.
This volume is the first to give a well-rounded portrait of wildlife management, aboriginal rights, and politics in the circumpolar north. The book reveals unexpected continuities between socialist and capitalist ecological styles, as well as addressing the problems facing a new era of cultural exchanges between aboriginal peoples in each region.
The verdict is in: the Civil War was won in the West, that is, in the nation’s heartland, between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. Contrary to much popular literature, serious scholars have determined in one careful study after another the pivotal importance of what was, at the time of the Civil War, the western United States. In this fast-paced overview, Steven E. Woodworth presents his case for the decisiveness of that theater.
Overwhelming evidence now indicates that western campaigns cost the Confederacy vast territories, the manufacturing center of Nashville, the financial center of New Orleans, communications hubs such as Corinth, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, along with the agricultural produce of the breadbasket of the Confederacy. They sapped the morale of Confederates and buoyed the spirits of Unionists, ultimately sealing the Northern electorate’s decision to return Lincoln to the presidency for a second term and to see the war through to final victory. Detailing the “western” clashes (Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Chattanooga, and Atlanta) that proved so significant, Woodworth contends that it was there alone that the Civil War could be-and was-decided
Adventure is currently enjoying enormous interest in public culture. The image of Tarzan provides a rewarding lens through which to explore this phenomenon. In their day, Edgar Rice Burrough’s novels enjoyed great popularity because Tarzan represented the consummate colonial-era adventurer: a white man whose noble civility enabled him to communicate with and control savage peoples and animals. The contemporary Tarzan of movies and cartoons is in many ways just as popular, but carries different connotations. Tarzan is now the consummate “eco-tourist:” a cosmopolitan striving to live in harmony with nature, using appropriate technology, and helpful to the natives who cannot seem to solve their own problems. Tarzan is still an icon of adventure, because like all adventurers, his actions have universal qualities: doing something previously untried, revealing the previously undiscovered, and experiencing the unadulterated. Prominent anthropologists have come together in this volume to reflect on various aspects of this phenomenon and to discuss contemporary forms of adventure.
The mining of diamonds, their trading mechanisms, their financial institutions, and, not least, their cultural expressions as luxury items have engaged the work of historians, economists, social scientists, and international relations experts. Based on previously unexamined historical documents found in archives in Belgium, England, Israel, the Netherlands, and the United States, this book is the first in English to tell the story of the formation of one of the world’s main strongholds of diamond production and trade in Palestine during the 1930s and 1940s. The history of the diamond-cutting industry, characterized by a long-standing Jewish presence, is discussed as a social history embedded in the international political economy of its times; the genesis of the industry in Palestine is placed on a broad continuum within the geographic and economic dislocations of Dutch, Belgian, and German diamond-cutting centers. In providing a micro-historical and interdisciplinary perspective, the story of the diamond industry in Mandate Palestine proposes a more nuanced picture of the uncritical approach to the strict boundaries of ethnic-based occupational communities. This book unravels the Middle-eastern pattern of state intervention in the empowerment of private capital and recasts this craft culture’s inseparability from international politics during a period of war and transformation of empire.
The period of the baroque (late sixteenth to mid-eighteenth centuries) saw extensive reconfiguration of European cities and their public spaces. Yet, this transformation cannot be limited merely to signifying a style of art, architecture, and decor. Rather, the dynamism, emotionality, and potential for grandeur that were inherent in the baroque style developed in close interaction with the need and desire of post-Reformation Europeans to find visual expression for the new political, confessional, and societal realities. Highly illustrated, this volume examines these complex interrelationships among architecture and art, power, religion, and society from a wide range of viewpoints and localities. From Krakow to Madrid and from Naples to Dresden, cities were reconfigured visually as well as politically and socially. Power, in both its political and architectural guises, had to be negotiated among constituents ranging from monarchs and high churchmen to ordinary citizens. Within this process, both rulers and ruled were transformed: Europe left behind the last vestiges of the medieval and arrived on the threshold of the modern.
The study of emotions has attracted anew the interest of scholars in various disciplines, igniting a lively public debate on the constructive and destructive power of emotions in society as well as within each of us. Most of the contributors to this volume do not hail from the United States but look at the nation from abroad. They explore the role of emotions in history and ask how that exploration changes what we know about national and international history, and in turn how that affects the methodological study of history. In particular they focus on emotions in American history between the 18th century and the present: in war, in social and political discourse, as well as in art and the media. In addition to case studies, the volume includes a review of their fields by senior scholars, who offer new insights regarding future research projects.
Escaping the traditional focus on Paris, the author examines the divergent political identities of two occupational groups in Lyon, metal and silk workers, who, despite having lived and worked in the same city, developed different patterns of political practices and bore distinct political identities. This book also examines in detail the way that gender relations influenced industrial change, skill, and political identity. Combining empirical data collected in French archives with social science theory and methods, this study argues that political identities were shaped by the intersection of the prevailing political climate with the social relations surrounding work in specific industrial settings.
As economic citizenship was a pre-condition of full citizenship, the lack of economic autonomy was an important motivation during the early stages of the women’s movement. Independent of their class background, women had less access to not only financial resources but also social and cultural capital, i.e., member’s commitment. Resources are therefore of particular interest from a gender perspective, and this book sheds light on the importance of resources for women’s struggles for political rights. Highlighting the financial strategies of the first wave of Swedish middle-class and socialist women’s movements and comparing them with similar organizations in Germany, England, and Canada, the authors show the importance of class, gender, age, and the national context, offering a valuable contribution to the discussion of resource mobilization theories in the context of social movements.
More than a decade after the breakdown of the Soviet Empire and the reunification of Europe historiographies and historical concepts still are very much apart. Though contacts became closer and Russian historians joined their Polish colleagues in the effort to take up western discussions and methodologies, there have been no common efforts yet for joint interpretations and no attempts to reach a common understanding of central notions and concepts. Exploring key concepts and different meanings in Western and East-European/Russian history, this volume offers an important contribution to such a comparative venture.
A vast amount of literature―both scholarly and popular―now exists on the subject of historical memory, but there is remarkably little available that is written from an African perspective. This volume explores the inner dynamics of memory in all its variations, from its most destructive and divisive impact to its remarkable potential to heal and reconcile. It addresses issues on both the conceptual and the pragmatic level and its theoretical observations and reflections are informed by first-hand experiences and comparative reflections from a German, Indian, and Korean perspective. A new insight is the importance of the future dimension of memory and hence the need to develop the ability to ‘remember with the future in mind’. Historical memory in an African context provides a rich kaleidoscope of the diverse experiences and perspectives―and yet there are recurring themes and similar conclusions, connecting it to a global dialogue to which it has much to contribute, but from which it also has much to receive.
When New Zealand-born and Oxford-educated anthropologist Diamond Jenness set aside hopes of building a career in the South Pacific to join Vilhjalmur Stefansson’s Canadian Arctic Expedition, he had little idea of what lay ahead. But Jenness thrived under the duress of that transformational experience: the groundbreaking ethnographic work he accomplished, recounted in People of the Twilight and in Dawn in Arctic Alaska, proved to be a lasting contribution to twentieth-century anthropology, and the foundation of a career he would devote to researching Canada’s first peoples. Barnett Richling draws upon a wealth of documentary sources to shed light on Jenness’s tenure with the Anthropological Division of the National Museum of Canada – a forerunner of the Canadian Museum of Civilization – during which his investigations took him beyond the Arctic to seven First Nations communities from Georgian Bay to British Columbia’s interior. Jenness was renowned as a pre-eminent scholar of Inuit culture, but he also stood out for the contributions his field work made to linguistics, ethnology, material culture, and Northern archaeology. His story is also an institutional one: Jenness worked as a public servant at a time when the federal government spearheaded anthropological research, although his abiding commitment to the first peoples of his adopted homeland placed him at odds with Ottawa’s approach to aboriginal affairs. In Twilight and in Dawn is an exploration of one man’s life in anthropology, and of the conditions – at the museum, on the reserves, in society’s mainstream, and in the world at large – that inspired and shaped Jenness’s contributions to science, to his profession, and to public life. An informative study of the evolution of a discipline focused through the life of one of its leading practitioners, In Twilight and in Dawn is an illuminating look at anthropological thought and practice in Canada during the first half of the twentieth century.
In 1498, when Vasco da Gama set foot in Kerala looking for Christians and spices, he unleashed a wave of political fury that would topple local powers like a house of cards. The cosmopolitan fabric of a vibrant trading society – with its Jewish and Arab merchants, Chinese pirate heroes and masterful Hindu Zamorins – was ripped apart, heralding an age of violence and bloodshed. One prince, however, emerged triumphant from this descent into chaos. Shrewdly marrying Western arms to Eastern strategy, Martanda Varma consecrated the dominion of Travancore, destined to become one of the most dutiful pillars of the British Raj. What followed was two centuries of internecine conflict in one of India’s premier princely states, culminating in a dynastic feud between two sisters battling to steer the fortunes of their house on the eve of Independence. Manu S. Pillai’s retelling of this sprawling saga focuses on the remarkable life and work of Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, the last – and forgotten – queen of the House of Travancore. The supporting cast includes the flamboyant painter Raja Ravi Varma and his wrathful wife, scheming matriarchs of ‘violent, profligate and sordid’ character, wife-swapping court favourites, vigilant English agents, quarrelling consorts and lustful kings. Extensively researched and vividly rendered, The Ivory Throne conjures up a dramatic world of political intrigues and factions, black magic and conspiracies, crafty ceremonies and splendorous temple treasures, all harnessed in a tragic contest for power and authority in the age of empire.
Kim Jong-il has been the subject of intense interest and fear in recent months. He has been demonised as ‘Dr Evil’ for his nuclear programme which puts Korea on a collision course with the US. For this reason, the world has a stake in understanding this man and his little-known country. This account aims to tell the compelling story of Kim Jong-il and the country he leads, exploring the pressing question of how he manages to hold onto power in a country that is ravaged by famine and poverty. Unravelling the myths, mysteries, and fallacies that surround this small, desperate country, this fascinating story includes rare photos of Kim Jong-il and his brutal regime.
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