Marc Bloch Prize


Marc Bloch Prize in Early Modern and Modern European History

The Department of History and Civilization of the European University Institute is welcoming submissions for the Marc Bloch Prize in Early Modern and Modern European History (15th-21st centuries) to the author of the best new MA thesis (awarded in 2013 or 2014) in early modern or modern European history and in the history of Europe in the world.

We would be grateful if you could kindly bring the attached announcement to the attention of any recent graduate who might be interested in participating in the competition. More information can be found on the Marc Bloch Prize webpage.

Current MA candidates and recent MA recipients in European history at Northern Illinois University may want to apply for this prestigious prize, which carries a monetary award.

The deadline for this year’s competition is 1 November 2014.

Posted in Early Modern Europe, European History, Graduate Work in History, Grants and Fellowships | Leave a comment

Seventeenth-Century Imperialism and New York

New York is apparently not celebrating its 350th anniversary this week.


According to an article in The New York Times, “On August 26, 1664, 350 years ago Tuesday, a flotilla of four British frigates led by the Guinea, which was manned by 150 sailors and conveying 300 redcoats, anchored ominously in Gravesend Bay off Brooklyn, between Coney Island and the Narrows. Over the next 13 days, the soldiers would disembark and muster at a ferry landing located roughly where the River Café is moored today, and two of the warships would sail to the Battery and train their cannon on Fort Amsterdam on the southern tip of Manhattan. Finally, on Sept. 8, the largely defenseless settlement tolerated a swift and bloodless regime change: New Amsterdam was immediately renamed New York.”

This transition resulted from the colonial competition between the Dutch and British empires in the Americas. Although the Dutch Republic and Britain both promoted Protestant versions of Christianity, their competing maritime commerce and naval policies resulted in several wars during the mid-seventeenth century.

Dutch settlers established New Amsterdam in the early seventeenth century, but the town remained small. The heart of the Dutch maritime empire was in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. There were numerous other larger Dutch colonial holdings in the Atlantic World, but  New Amsterdam’s position as an important North American harbor placed it conflict between the two rival maritime empires.

New York official celebrates its founding by the Dutch in 1625, but choosing this date had to do with late twentieth-century politics.

The New York Times reports on the anniversary.

Posted in Atlantic World, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, Empires and Imperialism, European History, European Wars of Religion, Maritime History, War, Culture, and Society, Warfare in the Early Modern World | Leave a comment

Word and Image Graduate Workshop

Graduate Research Methods Workshop for Early-Career Graduate Students

Word and Image in the Renaissance
Led by James A. Knapp, Loyola University Chicago; and Jennifer Waldron, University of Pittsburgh

Application deadline: September 22
Workshop: 9 am to 5 pm Friday, October 24
Open to graduate students in a terminal master’s program and those who have not yet completed comprehensive exams in a PhD program. No language prerequisites.

Download a PDF flyer to post and distribute:

“All media are mixed media,” claims theorist W. J. T.  Mitchell. This workshop will examine several key issues in the long history of “mixed” media by focusing on interrelations between text and image in Renaissance Europe.

The workshop will explore broadsides, pamphlets, frontispieces, emblem books, maps, atlases, and other items from the Newberry Library collections.  In addition to broadly framing the historical and theoretical issues raised by word-image relations in the Renaissance, the workshop leaders will present specific examples of how changing technological and cultural conditions have influenced text-image relations, including the role of visual techniques in the organization and production of knowledge, particularly the production of world maps and universal histories in an era of nascent globalization; the impact of Reformation iconoclasm on visual and print culture, from Lutheran satire to Foxe’s book of martyrs and beyond; and the challenges and opportunities surrounding digitization of early modern printed books and images, from Early English Books Online to the Folger’s digital Shakespeare texts for iPad.

Students with concentrations in literature (of any European language), history, art history, manuscript studies, history of the book, and other relevant disciplines are encouraged to apply. Limited enrollment is by competitive application; students from Center for Renaissance Studies consortium schools ( have priority, in accordance with the consortium agreement. Fees are waived for students from consortium institutions. Such students  may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend ( Each member university sets its own policies and deadlines; contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.

For more information on the workshop, see the Newberry Library website.

Posted in Archival Research, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, Graduate Work in History, History of the Book, Lectures and Seminars | Leave a comment

Friendship and Sociability in Premodern Europe

A new collective volume on Friendship and Sociability in Premodern Europe: Contexts, Concepts, and Expressions, ed. Amyrose McCue Gill and Sarah Rolfe Prodan (Toronto, 2014) has just been released.


The book description reads: “Friendship and Sociability in Premodern Europe explores ideas and instances of friendship in premodern Europe through a series of investigations into amity in discrete social and cultural contexts related to some of the most salient moments and expressions of European history and civilization: the courtly love tradition, Renaissance humanism; the spread of syphilis; the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation (and the attendant confessionalization and wars of religion); Jesuit missions; the colonization of America; and, lastly, expanding trade patterns in the Age of Discovery. The essays progress thematically as well as logically with the goal of providing a panoramic view of friendship and sociability in premodern Europe rather than a comprehensive history or unified theory of premodern friendship. Each paper presents an element of novelty – a revised or adapted concept, tradition, or strategy of social and interpersonal relating in the premodern world.”

I wrote an essay entitled “‘Accompanied by a Great Number of Their Friends’: Warrior Nobles and Amitié during the French Wars of Religion,” for this volume, which grew out of a fascinating conference on friendship in medieval and early modern Europe at the University of Toronto.

For a full description see the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies website at the University of Toronto.

Download the book order form if you are interested in ordering a copy for yourself or your library. The book lists for the very reasonable price of $39.95.

Readers interested in Renaissance culture and early modern European history will be interested in this book.

Posted in Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European Wars of Religion, French Wars of Religion, Italian History, Reformation History, Renaissance Art and History | Leave a comment

First World War in Film

This week marks the centennial of the outbreak of the First World War. Numerous new books and articles are remembering the war and its terrible destruction. I was recently conducting research in France and was impressed by the crowded window displays dedicated to la guerre de 1914-1918 at bookstores across the country.


As part of the WWI commemoration in the United States, a newspaper article in the Wall Street Journal takes a look back at portrayals of the First World War in film.

See the Wall Street Journal for this article.

Northern Illinois University students in HIST 390 History and Film: War in Film will be interested in this piece.


Posted in Historical Film, History of Violence, War in Film, War, Culture, and Society | Leave a comment

Dissertation Writing

The Chronicle of Higher Education has published a piece on dissertation writing with some simple, straightforward advice: Write!

The advice piece suggests that “there is only one fail-safe method, one secret, one guaranteed trick that you need in order to finish your dissertation: Write.”

No secrets here, just sound advice for dissertation candidates.

See the full piece at the Chronicle of Higher Education online.

Posted in Academic Publishing, Graduate Work in History, Humanities Education, Writing Methods | Leave a comment

Tanks in World War II Films

Fury, a new World War II film, will be released this fall, presenting the perspective of United States tank crews fighting in Germany toward the end of the war in Europe. The film focuses on a Sherman tank named Fury and its crew, members of the famous U.S. Third Armored Division.


The film stars Brad Pitt and apparently portrays the war as brutal and gritty rather than the “Good War” of nostalgia.


The New York Times offers an early review of the film.

Northern Illinois University students of HIST 390 History and Film: War in Film will be interested in this review and the forthcoming film.

I will update this post once I am able to see the film.


Posted in European History, Historical Film, History of Violence, War in Film, War, Culture, and Society | Leave a comment