Faculty Books

The Early Modern Hispanic World book cover

Iberia stands at the center of key trends in Atlantic and world histories, largely because Portugal and Spain were the first European kingdoms to ‘go global’. The Early Modern Hispanic World engages with new ways of thinking about the early modern Hispanic past, as a field of study that has grown exponentially in recent years. It focuses predominantly on questions of how people understood the rapidly changing world in which they lived – how they defined, visualized, and constructed communities from family and city to kingdom and empire. To do so, it incorporates voices from across the Hispanic World and across disciplines. The volume considers the dynamic relationships between circulation and fixedness, space and place, and how new methodologies are reshaping global history, and Spain’s place in it.


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‘Report on the Agrarian Law’ (1795) and Other Writings is the first modern English translation of perhaps the greatest work of the Spanish Enlightenment, Gaspar Melchor sobre Jovellanos’s ‘Informe sobre la Ley Agraria’ (1795). A major work of political economy and a beautifully crafted philosophical history of Spain s political development until the eighteenth century, ‘Informe sobre la Ley Agraria’ is a classic work of the Spanish Enlightenment. Displaying the richness of Spanish Enlightenment writing on political economy emerging from a fecund conjugation of foreign writers (Smith, Ferguson, Condillac, Mirabeau, Genovesi) with Spanish writers (Ulloa, Olavide, Uztariz, Campomanes), this masterpiece explores the lessons learned from the shortcomings of the Spanish Crown’s economic policies in the eighteenth century.


A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida (University of Chicago Press), argues that, between the early 1900s and the 1960s, property ownership helped set the terms of Jim Crow segregation. It shows how a shared stake in growing South Florida’s economy allowed competing property interests from opposite sides of the color line to forge consensus about the best way to manage urban development and police the black poor. As a work of both political economy and cultural studies, A World More Concrete focuses on American political culture and the nuts and bolts of how real estate interests claimed spaces, in legal terms, for the United States while selling them, in Miami’s case, as something more-than-American for tourists and potential investors. In particular, the book explores previously unknown dynamics between property management firms, landlords, tenants, government officials, and suburban homeowners in order to show how property owners of various stripes tied meanings of blackness and whiteness to the built environment.


In 1789, as the French Revolution shook Europe to the core, the new United States was struggling for survival in the face of financial insolvency and bitter political and regional divisions. When the United States Spoke French explores the republic’s formative years from the viewpoint of a distinguished circle of five Frenchmen taking refuge in America. When the French Revolution broke out, these men had been among its leaders. They were liberal aristocrats and ardent Anglophiles, convinced of the superiority of the British system of monarchy and constitution. They also idealized the new American republic, which seemed to them an embodiment of the Enlightenment ideals they celebrated. But soon the Revolutionary movement got ahead of them, and they found themselves chased across the Atlantic.

François Furstenberg follows these five men—Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Napoleon’s future foreign minister; theoristreformer Rochefoucauld, the duc de Liancourt; Louis-Marie Vicomte de Noailles; Moreau de Saint-Méry; and Constantin-François Chasseboeuf, Comte Volney—as they left their homes and families in France, crossed the Atlantic, and landed in Philadelphia—then America’s capital, its principal port, and by far its most cosmopolitan city and the home of the wealthiest merchants and financiers. The book vividly reconstructs their American adventures, following along as they integrated themselves into the city and its elite social networks, began speculating on backcountry lands, and eventually became enmeshed in Franco-American diplomacy. Through their stories, we see some of the most famous events of early American history in a new light, from the diplomatic struggles of the 1790s to the Haitian Revolution to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

By the end of this period, the United States was on its way to becoming a major global power. Through this small circle of men, we find new ways to understand the connections between U.S. and world history, and gain fresh insight into American history’s most critical era. Beautifully written and brilliantly argued, When the United States Spoke French offers a fresh perspective on the tumultuous years of the young nation, when the first great republican experiments were put to the test.


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Louis Mandrin led a gang of bandits who brazenly smuggled contraband into 18th-century France. Michael Kwass brings new life to the legend of this Gallic Robin Hood and the thriving underworld he helped to create. Decades before the storming of the Bastille, surging world trade excited a revolution in consumption that transformed the French kingdom. Contraband exposes the dark side of this early phase of globalization, revealing hidden connections between illicit commerce, criminality, and popular revolt.

France’s economic system was tailor-made for an enterprising outlaw like Mandrin. As French subjects began to crave colonial products, Louis XIV lined the royal coffers by imposing a state monopoly on tobacco from America and an embargo on brilliantly colored calico cloth from India. Vigorous black markets arose through which traffickers fed these exotic goods to eager French consumers. Flouting the law with unparalleled panache, Mandrin captured widespread public attention to become a symbol of a defiant underground.

This furtive economy generated violent clashes between gangs of smugglers and customs agents in the borderlands. Eventually, Mandrin was captured by French troops and put to death in a brutal public execution intended to demonstrate the king’s absolute authority. But the spectacle only cemented Mandrin’s status as a rebel folk hero in an age of mounting discontent. Amid cycles of underground rebellion and agonizing penal repression, the memory of Mandrin inspired ordinary subjects and Enlightenment philosophers alike to challenge royal power and forge a movement for radical political change.


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This unprecedented volume shows how and why mid-20th-century decolonization transformed societies and cultures and continues to shape today’s world. The introduction explores decolonization as both a historical era and an aspirational movement. A rich collection of primary sources combines the voices of the colonized and the colonizers in Africa, Asia, and throughout the world to recapture the intensity and variety of the independence struggles. Organized chronologically and topically, the documents reveal how and why formal decolonization, once an unimaginable prospect to imperialists, came quickly to seem inevitable. Maps, document headnotes, a chronology, questions to consider, and a bibliography enrich students’ understanding of decolonization and its enduring consequences.


Psychic trauma is one of the most frequently invoked ideas in the behavioral sciences and the humanities today. Yet bitter disputes have marked the discussion of trauma ever since it first became an issue in the 1870s, growing even more heated in recent years following official recognition of post-traumatic stress disorder (Ptsd).

In a book that is bound to ignite controversy, Ruth Leys investigates the history of the concept of trauma. She explores the emergence of multiple personality disorder, Freud’s approaches to trauma, medical responses to shellshock and combat fatigue, Sandor Ferenczi’s revisions of psychoanalysis, and the mutually reinforcing, often problematic work of certain contemporary neurobiological and postmodernist theorists. Leys argues that the concept of trauma has always been fundamentally unstable, oscillating uncontrollably between two competing models, each of which tends at its limit to collapse into the other.

A powerfully argued work of intellectual history, Trauma will rewrite the terms of future discussion of its subject.


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As the British, French, and Spanish Atlantic empires were torn apart in the Age of Revolutions, Portugal steadily pursued reforms to tie its American, African, and European territories more closely together. Eventually, after a period of revival and prosperity, the Luso-Brazilian world also succumbed to revolution, which ultimately resulted in Brazil’s independence from Portugal. The first of its kind in the English language to examine the Portuguese Atlantic World in the period from 1750 to 1850, this book reveals that despite formal separation, the links and relationships that survived the demise of empire entwined the historical trajectories of Portugal and Brazil even more tightly than before. From constitutionalism to economic policy to the problem of slavery, Portuguese and Brazilian statesmen and political writers labored under the long shadow of empire as they sought to begin anew and forge stable post-imperial orders on both sides of the Atlantic.


The Taiping Rebellion was one of the costliest civil wars in human history. Many millions of people lost their lives. Yet while the Rebellion has been intensely studied by scholars in China and elsewhere, we still know little of how individuals coped with these cataclysmic events.

Drawing upon a rich array of primary sources, What Remains explores the issues that preoccupied Chinese and Western survivors. Individuals, families, and communities grappled with fundamental questions of loyalty and loss as they struggled to rebuild shattered cities, bury the dead, and make sense of the horrors that they had witnessed.

Driven by compelling accounts of raw emotion and deep injury, What Remains opens a window to a world described by survivors themselves. This book transforms our understanding of China’s 19th century and recontextualizes suffering and loss in China during the 20th century.


Contributing to the historiography of transnational and global transmission of ideas, Connections after Colonialism examines relations between Europe and Latin America during the tumultuous 1820s.

In the Atlantic World, the 1820s was a decade marked by the rupture of colonial relations, the independence of Latin America, and the ever-widening chasm between the Old World and the New. Connections after Colonialism, edited by Matthew Brown and Gabriel Paquette, builds upon recent advances in the history of colonialism and imperialism by studying former colonies and metropoles through the same analytical lens, as part of an attempt to understand the complex connections–political, economic, intellectual, and cultural–between Europe and Latin America that survived the demise of empire.

Historians are increasingly aware of the persistence of robust links between Europe and the new Latin American nations. This book focuses on connections both during the events culminating with independence and in subsequent years, a period strangely neglected in European and Latin American scholarship. Bringing together distinguished historians of both Europe and America, the volume reveals a new cast of characters and relationships ranging from unrepentant American monarchists, compromise seeking liberals in Lisbon and Madrid who envisioned transatlantic federations, and British merchants in the River Plate who saw opportunity where others saw risk to public moralists whose audiences spanned from Paris to Santiago de Chile and plantation owners in eastern Cuba who feared that slave rebellions elsewhere in the Caribbean would spread to their island.


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Just as today’s observers struggle to justify the workings of the free market in the wake of a global economic crisis, an earlier generation of economists revisited their world views following the Great Depression. The Great Persuasion is an intellectual history of that project. Angus Burgin traces the evolution of postwar economic thought in order to reconsider many of the most basic assumptions of our market-centered world.

Conservatives often point to Friedrich Hayek as the most influential defender of the free market. By examining the work of such organizations as the Mont Pèlerin Society, an international association founded by Hayek in 1947 and later led by Milton Friedman, Burgin reveals that Hayek and his colleagues were deeply conflicted about many of the enduring problems of capitalism. Far from adopting an uncompromising stance against the interventionist state, they developed a social philosophy that admitted significant constraints on the market. Postwar conservative thought was more dynamic and cosmopolitan than has previously been understood.

It was only in the 1960s and ’70s that Friedman and his contemporaries developed a more strident defense of the unfettered market. Their arguments provided a rhetorical foundation for the resurgent conservatism of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan and inspired much of the political and economic agenda of the United States in the ensuing decades. Burgin’s brilliant inquiry uncovers both the origins of the contemporary enthusiasm for the free market and the moral quandaries it has left behind.


In a brisk revisionist history, William Rowe challenges the standard narrative of Qing China as a decadent, inward-looking state that failed to keep pace with the modern West.

The Great Qing was the second major Chinese empire ruled by foreigners. Three strong Manchu emperors worked diligently to secure an alliance with the conquered Ming gentry, though many of their social edicts—especially the requirement that ethnic Han men wear queues—were fiercely resisted. As advocates of a “universal” empire, Qing rulers also achieved an enormous expansion of the Chinese realm over the course of three centuries, including the conquest and incorporation of Turkic and Tibetan peoples in the west, vast migration into the southwest, and the colonization of Taiwan.

Despite this geographic range and the accompanying social and economic complexity, the Qing ideal of “small government” worked well when outside threats were minimal. But the nineteenth-century Opium Wars forced China to become a player in a predatory international contest involving Western powers, while the devastating uprisings of the Taiping and Boxer rebellions signaled an urgent need for internal reform. Comprehensive state-mandated changes during the early twentieth century were not enough to hold back the nationalist tide of 1911, but they provided a new foundation for the Republican and Communist states that would follow.

This original, thought-provoking history of China’s last empire is a must-read for understanding the challenges facing China today.


London’s Soho district underwent a spectacular transformation between the late Victorian era and the end of the Second World War: its old buildings and dark streets infamous for sex, crime, political disloyalty, and ethnic diversity became a center of culinary and cultural tourism servicing patrons of nearby shops and theaters. Indulgences for the privileged and the upwardly mobile edged a dangerous, transgressive space imagined to be “outside” the nation.

Treating Soho as exceptional, but also representative of London’s urban transformation, Judith Walkowitz shows how the area’s foreignness and porousness were key to the explosion of culture and development of modernity in the first half of the 20th century. She draws on a vast and unusual range of sources to stitch together a rich patchwork quilt of vivid stories and unforgettable characters, revealing how Soho became a showcase for a new cosmopolitan identity.


The Creative Society is the first history to look at modern America through the eyes of its emerging ranks of professional experts, including lawyers, scientists, doctors, administrators, business managers, teachers, policy specialists, and urban planners. Covering the period from the 1890s to the early 21st century, Louis Galambos examines the history that shaped professionals and, in turn, their role in shaping modern America. He considers the roles of education, anti-Semitism, racism, and elitism in shaping and defining the professional cadre and examines how matters of gender, race, and ethnicity determined whether women, African Americans, and immigrants from Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East were admitted to the professional ranks. He also discusses the role professionals played in urbanizing the United States, keeping the economy efficient and innovative, showing the government how to provide the people a greater measure of security and equity, and guiding the world’s leading industrial power in coping with its complex, frequently dangerous foreign relations.


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This book offers a new interpretation of political reform in Spain and its American empire in the second half of the 18th century. It examines the intellectual foundation of commercial, administrative, and colonial policy during the tumultuous reigns of Charles III and Charles IV.


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In early 17th-century Spain, the Castilian parliament voted to elevate the newly beatified Teresa of Avila to co-patron saint of Spain alongside the traditional patron, Santiago. Saint and Nation examines Spanish devotion to the cult of saints and the controversy over national patron sainthood to provide an original account of the diverse ways in which the early modern nation was expressed and experienced by monarch and town, center and periphery. By analyzing the dynamic interplay of local and extra-local, royal authority and nation, tradition and modernity, church and state, and masculine and feminine within the co-patronage debate, Erin Rowe reconstructs the sophisticated balance of plural identities that emerged in Castile during a central period of crisis and change in the Spanish world.


Domestic Violence and the Law in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa reveals the ways in which domestic space and domestic relationships take on different meanings in African contexts that extend the boundaries of family obligation, kinship, and dependency.


John Marshall offers an extensive study of late 17th-century practices of religious intolerance and toleration in England, Ireland, France, Piedmont, and the Netherlands and of the arguments which John Locke and his associates made in defense of “universal religious toleration.” He analyzes early modern and early Enlightenment discussions of toleration; debates over toleration for Jews and Muslims as well as for Christians; the limits of toleration for the intolerant, atheists, “libertines” and “sodomites”; and the complex relationships between intolerance and resistance theories including Locke’s own Treatises.


Efforts to ascertain the influence of enlightenment thought on state action, especially government reform, in the long eighteenth century have long provoked stimulating scholarly quarrels. Generations of historians have grappled with the elusive intersections of enlightenment and absolutism, of political ideas and government policy. In order to complement, expand and rejuvenate the debate which has so far concentrated largely on Northern, Central and Eastern Europe, this volume brings together historians of Southern Europe (broadly defined) and its ultramarine empires. Each chapter has been have been explicitly commissioned to engage with a common set of historiographical issues in order to reappraise specific aspects of ‘enlightened absolutism’ and ‘enlightened reform’ as paradigms for the study of Southern Europe and its Atlantic empires. In so doing, it engages creatively with pressing issues in the current historical literature and suggests new directions for future research. No single historian, working alone, could write a history that did justice to complex issues involved in studying the intersection of enlightenment ideas and policy-making in Latin America, Brazil, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. For this reason, this well-conceived, balanced volume, drawing on the expertise of a small, carefully-chosen cohort offers an exciting investigation of this pressing historical debate.


Between 1917 and 1921, as revolution convulsed Russia, Jewish intellectuals and writers across the crumbling empire threw themselves into the pursuit of a “Jewish renaissance.” At the heart of their program lay a radically new vision of Jewish culture predicated not on religion but on art and secular individuality, national in scope yet cosmopolitan in content, framed by a fierce devotion to Hebrew or Yiddish yet obsessed with importing and participating in the shared culture of Europe and the world. These cultural warriors sought to recast themselves and other Jews not only as a modern nation but as a nation of moderns.

Kenneth Moss offers the first comprehensive look at this fascinating moment in Jewish and Russian history. He examines what these numerous would-be cultural revolutionaries, such as El Lissitzky and Haim Nahman Bialik, meant by a new Jewish culture, and details their fierce disagreements but also their shared assumptions about what culture was and why it was so important. In close readings of Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian texts, he traces how they sought to realize their ideals in practice as writers, artists, and thinkers in the burgeoning cultural centers of Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa. And he reveals what happened to them and their ideals as the Bolsheviks consolidated their hold over cultural life.

Here is a brilliant, revisionist argument about the nature of cultural nationalism, the relationship between nationalism and socialism as ideological systems, and culture itself, the axis around which the encounter between Jews and European modernity has pivoted over the past century.


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Ocean of Letters is a remarkable history of imperialism, language, and creolization in the largest African diaspora of the Indian Ocean in the early modern period. Ranging from Madagascar to the Mascarenes, the Comores, and South Africa, Pier M. Larson sheds new light on the roles of slavery, emancipation, oceanic travel, Christian missions, and colonial linguistics in the making of Malagasy-language literacy in the islands of the western Indian Ocean. He shows how enslaved and free Malagasy together with certain European colonists and missionaries promoted the Malagasy language, literacy projects and letter writing in the multilingual colonial societies of the region between the seventeenth and mid-nineteenth centuries. Addressing current debates in the history of Africa and the African diaspora, slavery, abolition, creolization and the making of modern African literatures, the book crosses thematic as well as geo-imperial boundaries and brings fresh perspectives to Indian Ocean history.


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In this account of the Algerian War’s effect on French political structures and notions of national identity, Todd Shepard asserts that the separation of Algeria from France was truly a revolutionary event with lasting consequences for French social and political life. For more than a century, Algeria had been legally and administratively part of France; after the bloody war that concluded in 1962, it was other—its 8 million Algerian residents deprived of French citizenship while hundreds of thousands of French pieds noirs were forced to return to a country that was never home. This rupture violated the universalism that had been the essence of French republican theory since the late eighteenth century. Shepard contends that because the amputation of Algeria from the French body politic was accomplished illegally and without explanation, its repercussions are responsible for many of the racial and religious tensions that confront France today. In portraying decolonization as an essential step in the inexorable “tide of history,” the French state absolved itself of responsibility for the revolutionary change it was effecting. It thereby turned its back not only on the French of Algeria—Muslims in particular—but also on its own republican principles and the 1958 Constitution. From that point onward, debates over assimilation, identity, and citizenship—once focused on the Algerian “province/colony”—have troubled France itself. In addition to grappling with questions of race, citizenship, national identity, state institutions, and political debate, Shepard also addresses debates in Jewish history, gender history, and queer theory.


In this revelatory and genuinely groundbreaking study, François Furstenberg sheds new light on the genesis of American identity. Immersing us in the publishing culture of the early 19th century, he shows us how the words of George Washington and others of his generation became America’s sacred scripture and provided the foundation for a new civic culture—one whose reconciliation with slavery unleashed consequences that haunt us still. A dazzling work of scholarship from a brilliant young historian, In the Name of the Father is a major contribution to American social history.


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Making babies was a mysterious process in 17th-century England. Fissell uses popular sources—songs, jokes, witchcraft pamphlets, prayerbooks, popular medical manuals—to recover how ordinary men and women understood the processes of reproduction. Because the human body was so often used as a metaphor for social relations, the grand events of high politics such as the English Civil War reshaped popular ideas about conception and pregnancy. This book is the first account of ordinary people’s ideas about reproduction, and offers a new way to understand how common folk experienced the sweeping political changes that characterized early modern England.


Heresy, Literature and Politics in Early Modern English Culture Cover

This interdisciplinary volume of essays brings together a team of leading early modern historians and literary scholars in order to examine the changing conceptions, character, and condemnation of ‘heresy’ in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. Definitions of ‘heresy’ and ‘heretics’ were the subject of heated controversies in England from the English Reformation to the end of the seventeenth century. These essays illuminate the significant literary issues involved in both defending and demonising heretical beliefs, including the contested hermeneutic strategies applied to the interpretation of the Bible, and they examine how debates over heresy stimulated the increasing articulation of arguments for religious toleration in England. Offering fresh perspectives on John Milton, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and others, this volume should be of interest to all literary, religious and political historians working on early modern English culture.


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This book offers a lucid new interpretation of the Ancien Régime and the origins of the French Revolution. It examines what was arguably the most ambitious project of the 18th-century French monarchy: the attempt to impose direct taxes on formerly tax-exempt privileged elites. Drawing on impressive archival research, Michael Kwass demonstrates that the levy of these taxes, which struck elites with some force, not only altered the relationship between monarchy and social hierarchy, but also transformed political language and attitudes; attitudes that ultimately led to revolution.


In a sweeping synthesis of American history, Mary Ryan demonstrates how the meaning of male and female has evolved, changed, and varied over a span of 500 years and across major social and ethnic boundaries. She traces how, at select moments in history, perceptions of sex difference were translated into complex and mutable patterns for differentiating women and men. How those distinctions were drawn and redrawn affected the course of American history more generally.

Ryan recounts the construction of a modern gender regime that sharply divided male from female and created modes of exclusion and inequity. The divide between male and female blurred in the twentieth century, as women entered the public domain, massed in the labor force, and revolutionized private life. This transformation in gender history serves as a backdrop for seven chronological chapters, each of which presents a different problem in American history as a quandary of sex. Ryan’s bold analysis raises the possibility that perhaps, if understood in their variety and mutability, the differences of sex might lose the sting of inequality.


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Vladimir Ilich Lenin (1870–1924) led the first successful revolt against market-based liberal democracy and founded the Soviet state in 1917, serving as the new nation’s chief architect and sole ruler for the next five years. He created an innovative political, economic, social, and cultural system that in its heyday would challenge the military, technological, and cultural might of the United States. This collection of primary sources allows readers to learn about Lenin through his own words and explores the complicated relationship between Lenin’s actions and his ideology. Jeffrey Brooks and Georgiy Chernyavskiy have translated newly available documents that make it possible to provide a more accurate portrait of this ruthless strategist. Document headnotes, a chronology, questions for consideration, and a selected bibliography offer additional pedagogical support and encourage students to analyze the actions and beliefs of a man who transformed world history and whose legacy continues to affect social and political movements throughout the world.


This brilliantly crafted narrative explores the roots of violence in Chinese rural society over the past 700 years, based on the study of a single highland county, Macheng, Hubei province, in the Great Divide Mountains separating the Yangzi valley from the North China Plain. Between the expulsion of the Mongols in the mid-14th century and the invasion of the Japanese in 1938, Macheng experienced repeated, often self-inflicted waves of mass “extermination” of segments of its population. This book argues that, beyond its strategic military centrality and ingrained social tensions, cultural factors such as popular religion, folklore, collective memory, and local historical production played key roles in the continued proclivity of the county’s population for massive carnage. In the process, the history of Macheng also provides a case study in the way events and trends of national significance in the history of China have been experienced at the local level.


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This fascinating exploration of a work that was the epitome of German literary modernism illuminates in chilling detail the death of the Weimar Republic’s left-leaning culture of innovation and experimentation. Peter Jelavich examines Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929), a novel that questioned the autonomy and coherence of the human personality in the modern metropolis, and traces the radical discrepancies that came with its adaptation into a radio play (1930) and a film (1931). Jelavich explains these discrepancies by examining not only the varying demands of genre and technology but also the political and economic contexts of the media—in particular, the censorship practices in German radio and film. His analysis culminates in a richly textured discussion of the complex factors that led to the demise of Weimar culture, as Nazi intimidation and the economic strains of the Depression induced producers to depoliticize their works. Jelavich’s book becomes a cautionary tale about how fear of outspoken right-wing politicians can curtail and eliminate the arts as a critical counterforce to politics—all in the name of entertainment.


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This essential collection of key articles offers a re-evaluation of the practice of history in light of current debates. Critical thinkers and practicing historians present their writings, along with clear and thorough editorial material, to examine the complex ideas at the forefront of historical practice.

This volume gives a synoptic overview of the last 25 years’ theoretical analysis of historical writing, with a critical examination of the central concepts and positions that have been in debate. The collection delineates the emergence of “practice theory” as a possible paradigm for future historical interpretation concerned with questions of agency, experience and the subject.

These complex ideas are introduced to students in this accessible reader, and for teachers and historians too, this survey is an indispensable and timely read.


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Late Imperial Russia’s revolution in literacy touched nearly every aspect of daily life and culture, from social mobility and national identity to the sensibilities and projects of the country’s greatest writers. Within a few decades, a ragtag assembly of semi-educated authors, publishers, and distributors supplanted an oral tradition of songs and folktales with a language of popular imagination suitable for millions of new readers of common origins eager for entertainment and information. When Russia Learned to Read tells the story of this profound transformation of culture, custom, and belief.

With a new introduction that underscores its relevance to a post-Soviet Russia, When Russia Learned to Read addresses the question of Russia’s common heritage with the liberal democratic market societies of Western Europe and the United States. This prize-winning book also exposes the unsuspected complexities of a mass culture little known and less understood in the West. Jeffrey Brooks brings out the characteristically Russian aspect of the nation’s popular writing as he ranges through chapbooks, detective stories, newspaper serials, and women’s fiction, tracing the emergence of secular, rational, and cosmopolitan values along with newly minted notions of individual initiative and talent. He shows how crude popular tales and serials of the era find their echoes in the literary themes of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and other great Russian writers, as well as in the current renaissance of Russian detective stories and thrillers.


This book explores cultural change in a Chinese city following the Manchu conquest of 1644. The city of Yangzhou, at the intersection of the Grand Canal and the Yangzi river, is best known as the site of human and physical devastation during the conquest and as a vibrant commercial center during the eighteenth century. It focuses on the period between the conquest and the city’s commercial florescence—a moment in which Yangzhou was a center of literary culture that was consciously conceived as transregional and transdynastic. Building Culture shows how Yangzhou’s elite used physical sites as markers in the reconstruction of the city, and as vehicles consolidating power and prestige. Gradually, however, the gestures and sites of the postconquest elite were appropriated by the city’s increasingly powerful salt merchants and incorporated into a court-oriented culture centered at Beijing.


Chen Hongmou (1696–1771) was arguably the most influential Chinese official of the 18th century and unquestionably its most celebrated field administrator. He served as governor-general, governor, or in lesser provincial-level posts in more than a dozen provinces, achieving after his death cult status as a “model official.”

In this magisterial study, the author draws on Chen’s life and career to answer a range of questions: What did mid-Qing bureaucrats think they were doing? How did they conceive the universe and their society, what did they see as their potential to “save the world,” and what would the world, properly saved, be like? The answers to these questions are important not only because vast numbers of people were subject to these officials’ governance, but because the verdict of their successors was that they did their jobs remarkably well and should be emulated.

Three persistent tensions in elite consciousness focus the author’s investigation. First, the elite adhered to the fundamentalist moral dictates of Song neo-Confucian orthodoxy at the same time that a new valuation of pragmatic, technocratic prowess abhorrent to the moral tradition emerged. Second, two contradictory views on the use of “statecraft” to achieve an ordered world were in play—one that favored the expansive use of the state apparatus, and one that emphasized indigenous local elites and communities. Finally, the subordination of human beings to the service of hierarchical social groupings contended with a growing appreciation of the dignity, moral worth, and productive potential of the individual.

The author uses a holistic approach, attempting, for example, to explore how notions regarding gender roles and funerary ritual related to Qing economic thought, how the encounter with other cultures on the expanding frontiers helped form ideas of “civilized” conduct at home, and how an official’s negotiation of the complex Qing bureaucracy affected his approach to social policy. The author also considers how attitudes formed during the prosperous and highly dynamic eighteenth century conditioned China’s responses to the crises it confronted in the centuries to follow.


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“Thank you, our Stalin, for a happy childhood.” “Thank you, dear Marshal [Stalin], for our freedom, for our children’s happiness, for life.” Between the Russian Revolution and the Cold War, Soviet public culture was so dominated by the power of the state that slogans like these appeared routinely in newspapers, on posters, and in government proclamations. In this penetrating historical study, Jeffrey Brooks draws on years of research into the most influential and widely circulated Russian newspapers—including Pravda, Isvestiia, and the army paper Red Star—to explain the origins, the nature, and the effects of this unrelenting idealization of the state, the Communist Party, and the leader.

Brooks shows how, beginning with Lenin, the Communists established a state monopoly of the media that absorbed literature, art, and science into a stylized and ritualistic public culture—a form of political performance that became its own reality and excluded other forms of public reflection. He presents and explains scores of self-congratulatory newspaper articles, including tales of Stalin’s supposed achievements and virtue, accounts of the country’s allegedly dynamic economy, and warnings about the decadence and cruelty of the capitalist West. Brooks pays particular attention to the role of the press in the reconstruction of the Soviet cultural system to meet the Nazi threat during World War II and in the transformation of national identity from its early revolutionary internationalism to the ideology of the Cold War. He concludes that the country’s one-sided public discourse and the pervasive idea that citizens owed the leader gratitude for the “gifts” of goods and services led ultimately to the inability of late Soviet Communism to diagnose its own ills, prepare alternative policies, and adjust to new realities.

The first historical work to explore the close relationship between language and the implementation of the Stalinist-Leninist program, Thank You, Comrade Stalin! is a compelling account of Soviet public culture as reflected through the country’s press.


In this story of the impact of slave trade on an insular African society, Larson explores how the people of highland Madagascar reshaped their social identity and their cultural practices. As Larson argues, the modern Merina ethnic identity and some of its key cultural traditions were fashioned and refashioned through localized experiences of enslavement and mercantile capitalism and by a tension-filled political dialogue among common highland Malagasy and their rulers. Larson’s analysis expands traditional definitions of the African diaspora to include forcible exile of African slaves within the African continent as well as areas external to it. By locating Merina history within wider narratives of merchant capitalism, African history, African diaspora, and Indian Ocean history, Larson has produced a book that both recognizes the diversity of historical experience and highlights the structural connections of intercontinentally joined systems of forced labor.


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In Primers for Prudery Ronald G. Walters examines the historical and social context as well as the substance of sexual advice manuals in 19th-century America. Allowing the authors of these manuals to speak for themselves—with generous excerpts by contemporary authorities on subjects ranging from the virtues of celibacy to the vices of masturbation—Walters offers his readers a complex reading of the Victorian “prudery” referred to in the book’s title. Supplementing each of the excerpts with extensive commentary, he places the advice manuals in the larger setting of gender and class issues.

First published in 1974, Primers for Prudery now returns to print in a paperback edition with new selections from women’s advice to women and a new preface in which Walters discusses changes that have occurred in the scholarship on sexuality since the book’s first publication. He also provides an updated bibliographical note.


Ideal either as a textbook or anthology, this volume encompasses the entire chronology of the French Revolution, while highlighting the political, cultural, and social diversity of the period.


On the eve of the American Revolution, nearly three-quarters of all African Americans in mainland British America lived in two regions: the Chesapeake, centered in Virginia, and the Lowcountry, with its hub in South Carolina. Here, Philip Morgan compares and contrasts African American life in these two regional black cultures, exploring the differences as well as the similarities. The result is a detailed and comprehensive view of slave life in the colonial American South.

Morgan explores the role of land and labor in shaping culture, the everyday contacts of masters and slaves that defined the possibilities and limitations of cultural exchange, and finally the interior lives of blacks—their social relations, their family and kin ties, and the major symbolic dimensions of life: language, play, and religion. He provides a balanced appreciation for the oppressiveness of bondage and for the ability of slaves to shape their lives, showing that, whatever the constraints, slaves contributed to the making of their history. Victims of a brutal, dehumanizing system, slaves nevertheless strove to create order in their lives, to preserve their humanity, to achieve dignity, and to sustain dreams of a better future.


Networks of Innovation offers a historical perspective on the manner in which private sector organizations have acquired, sustained, and periodically lost the ability to develop, manufacture, and market new serum antitoxins and vaccines. The primary focus is on the H. K. Mulford Company, on Sharp & Dohme, which acquired Mulford in 1929, and on Merck & Co., Inc., which merged with Sharp & Dohme in 1953. By surveying a century of innovation in biologicals, the authors show how the activities of these three commercial enterprises were related to a series of complex, evolving networks of scientific, governmental, and medical institutions in the United States and abroad.


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For this new edition of American Reformers 1815-1860, Ronald G. Walters has amplified and updated his exploration of the fervent and diverse outburst of reform energy that shaped American history in the early years of the Republic. Capturing in style and substance the vigorous and often flamboyant men and women who crusaded for such causes as abolition, temperance, women’s suffrage, and improved health care, Walters presents a brilliant analysis of how the reformers’ radical belief that individuals could fix what ailed America both reflected major transformations in antebellum society and significantly affected American culture as a whole.


Laura Mason examines the shifting fortunes of singing as a political gesture to highlight the importance of popular culture to revolutionary politics. Arguing that scholars have overstated the uniformity of revolutionary political culture, Mason uses songwriting and singing practices to reveal its diverse nature. Song performances in the streets, theaters, and clubs of Paris showed how popular culture was invested with new political meaning after 1789, becoming one of the most important means for engaging in revolutionary debate. Throughout the 1790s, French citizens came to recognize the importance of anthems for promoting their interpretations of revolutionary events, and for championing their aspirations for the Revolution. By opening new arenas of cultural activity and demolishing Old Regime aesthetic hierarchies, revolutionaries permitted a larger and infinitely more diverse population to participate in cultural production and exchange, Mason contends. The resulting activism helps explain the urgency with which successive governments sought to impose an official political culture on a heterogeneous and mobilized population. After 1793, song culture was gradually depoliticized as popular classes retreated from public arenas, middle brow culture turned to the strictly entertaining, and official culture became increasingly rigid. At the same time, however, singing practices were invented which formed the foundation for new, activist singing practices in the next century. The legacy of the Revolution, according to Mason, was to bestow new respectability on popular singing, reshaping it from an essentially conservative means of complaint to an instrument of social and political resistance.


In a poststructuralist study of 13th-century French historical texts, Gabrielle Spiegel investigates the reasons for the rise of French vernacular prose historiography at this particular time. She argues that the vernacular prose histories that have until now been regarded as royalist were actually products of the aristocracy, reflecting its anxiety as it faced social and economic change and political threats from the monarchy.


This book provides a major new historical account of the development of the political, religious, social and moral thought of the political theorist and philosopher John Locke. It offers reinterpretations of several of his most important works, particularly the Two Treatises, and includes extensive analyses of his unpublished manuscripts. Professor Marshall’s arguments challenge many other scholars’ interpretations of the character and influences of Locke’s moral, social and religious thought and provide an alternative account.


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Step into Ernst Wolzogen’s Motley Theater, Max Reinhardt’s Sound and Smoke, Rudolf Nelson’s Chat noir, and Friedrich Hollaender’s Tingel-Tangel. Enjoy Claire Waldoff’s rendering of a lower-class Berliner, Kurt Tucholsky’s satirical songs, and Walter Mehring’s Dadaist experiments, as Peter Jelavich spotlights Berlin’s cabarets from the day the curtain first went up, in 1901, until the Nazi regime brought it down.

Fads and fashions, sexual mores and political ideologies—all were subject to satire and parody on the cabaret stage. This book follows the changing treatment of these themes, and the fate of cabaret itself, through the most turbulent decades of modern German history: the prosperous and optimistic Imperial age, the unstable yet culturally inventive Weimar era, and the repressive years of National Socialism. By situating cabaret within Berlin’s rich landscape of popular culture and distinguishing it from vaudeville and variety theaters, spectacular revues, prurient “nude dancing,” and Communist agitprop, Jelavich revises the prevailing image of this form of entertainment.

Neither highly politicized, like postwar German Kabarett, nor sleazy in the way that some American and European films suggest, Berlin cabaret occupied a middle ground that let it cast an ironic eye on the goings-on of Berliners and other Germans. However, it was just this satirical attitude toward serious themes, such as politics and racism, that blinded cabaret to the strength of the radical right-wing forces that ultimately destroyed it. Jelavich concludes with the Berlin cabaret artists’ final performances—as prisoners in the concentration camps at Westerbork and Theresienstadt.

This book gives us a sense of what the world looked like within the cabarets of Berlin and at the same time lets us see, from a historical distance, these lost performers enacting the political, sexual, and artistic issues that made their city one of the most dynamic in Europe.


From tabloid exposes of child prostitution to the grisly tales of Jack the Ripper, narratives of sexual danger pulsated through Victorian London. Expertly blending social history and cultural criticism, Judith Walkowitz shows how these narratives reveal the complex dramas of power, politics, and sexuality that were being played out in late-19th-century Britain, and how they influenced the language of politics, journalism, and fiction.

Victorian London was a world where long-standing traditions of class and gender were challenged by a range of public spectacles, mass media scandals, new commercial spaces, and a proliferation of new sexual categories and identities. In the midst of this changing culture, women of many classes challenged the traditional privileges of elite males and asserted their presence in the public domain.

An important catalyst in this conflict, argues Walkowitz, was W. T. Stead’s widely read 1885 article about child prostitution. Capitalizing on the uproar caused by the piece and the volatile political climate of the time, women spoke of sexual danger, articulating their own grievances against men, inserting themselves into the public discussion of sex to an unprecedented extent, and gaining new entree to public spaces and journalistic practices. The ultimate manifestation of class anxiety and gender antagonism came in 1888 with the tabloid tales of Jack the Ripper. In between, there were quotidien stories of sexual possibility and urban adventure, and Walkowitz examines them all, showing how women were not simply figures in the imaginary landscape of male spectators, but also central actors in the stories of metropolotin life that reverberated in courtrooms, learned journals, drawing rooms, street corners, and in the letters columns of the daily press.

A model of cultural history, this ambitious book will stimulate and enlighten readers across a broad range of interests.


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This is the first cultural exploration of playwriting, directing, acting, and theater architecture in fin-de-siècle Munich. Peter Jelavich examines the commercial, political, and cultural tensions that fostered modernism’s artistic revolt against the classical and realistic modes of 19th-century drama.