Female Warriors and the Myth of the Amazons

Female warriors certainly are media friendly, with numerous films, television series, video games, books, and comic books dedicated to Amazons, Jeanne d’Arc, medieval warrior queens, and fantasy warrior princesses.

Historians are struggling to compete with this avalanche of imagery of female warriors at a time when women are increasingly serving as soldiers in modern armies around the world. Women and war has now become a major field of research in history and the humanities.


National Geographic recently published an interview with Adrienne Mayor, author of a new book on Amazon warriors entitled, The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World (Princeton University Press, 2014).

Adrienne Mayor’s website at Stanford University states that: “Adrienne Mayor is an independent folklorist/historian of science who investigates natural knowledge contained in pre-scientific myths and oral traditions. Her research looks at ancient ‘folk science’ precursors, alternatives, and parallels to modern scientific methods. Mayor’s latest book, The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World, analyzes the historical and archaeological evidence underlying myths and tales of warlike women.”

A Stanford Report article features Mayor’s work on Amazon warriors.

As a historian working on gender and violence in the French Wars of Religion, I look forward to reading Adrienne Mayor’s new book and considering the latest research on female warriors in the ancient world.

Posted in European History, Gender and Warfare, History of Violence, Museums and Historical Memory, War, Culture, and Society, Warfare in the Early Modern World, Women and Gender History | Leave a comment

The Duke of Wellington’s Library and the Circulation of Military Knowledge

A recent blog post by Dr. Huw J. Davies contemplates the Duke of Wellington’s understanding of military affairs.  How did Wellington learn the “art of war” and how did military knowledge circulate in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries?

Early modern historians of warfare are increasingly exploring such questions.

Professor Hervé Drévillon is currently organizing a conference at the Université de Paris I on the issue of the circulation of military information and learning.

Dr. Davies’s post, entitled “What did officers read before Clausewitz?”, is available online.

Posted in and Society, Conferences, Culture, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, French Revolution and Napoleon, War, Warfare in the Early Modern World | Leave a comment

EUI Doctoral Program

The application period for the European University Institute’s (EUI) Doctoral Programmes in Economics, History and Civilization, Law and Political and Social Sciences is now open. The deadline for submitting applications for the next academic year is 31 January 2015.


Posted in European History, European Union, Graduate Work in History, Grants and Fellowships | Leave a comment

Historical Commemorations of the Vietnam War

The Vietnam War simply will not fade away.

This week, an op-ed in the New York Times compared the US military action against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria to the US escalation of involvement in the Vietnam War in the mid-1960s. A number of letters to the editor have questioned whether or not this comparison between the Syrian Civil War and the Vietnam War is appropriate.

Vietnam has been used as a metaphor to describe almost every major war waged since the American withdrawal from that conflict. Analyses of the Iraq War and Afghan War often evoke the specter of the Vietnam War.


The looming 50th anniversary of the American intervention in the Vietnam War in 1965 is now triggering new controversies over whether or not (and how) to commemorate the war. The United States Department of Defense (DOD) is currently organizing its own commemorations of US involvement in the Vietnam War, which are already generating considerable controversy.

The New York Times indicates: “Now the Pentagon — run by a Vietnam veteran, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel — is planning a 50th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War. The effort, which is expected to cost taxpayers nearly $15 million by the end of this fiscal year, is intended to honor veterans and, its website says, ‘provide the American public with historically accurate materials’ suitable for use in schools.”

The DOD has already launched a website ahead of the commemorations. “But the extensive website, which has been up for months, largely describes a war of valor and honor that would be unrecognizable to many of the Americans who fought in and against it,” according to The New York Times.

Many veterans, active military personnel, anti-war activists, politicians, and teachers are critical of the website and the planned commemorations.

Historians are also weighing in on the DOD’s presentation of the Vietnam War. The New York Times reports that “Leading Vietnam historians complain that it focuses on dozens of medal-winning soldiers while giving scant mention to mistakes by generals and the years of violent protests and anguished debate at home.”

The New York Times reports on the DOD commemoration plans. See The New York Times website for this week’s op-ed on the Syria-Vietnam comparison and letters to the editor.

Posted in Civilians and Refugees in War, Historiography and Social Theory, Museums and Historical Memory, War, Culture, and Society | Leave a comment

Empire and Early Modernity

Empire and Early Modernity
at the Early Modern Workshop
University of Chicago
Monday October 13
Albert Pick Hall #319 at 5 pm
Kaveh Hemmat and Oliver Cussen will lead a discussion on “Empire and Early Modernity.” Instead of our usual format where a paper is circulated and discussed at the workshop, we are devoting this session to a discussion of a theme that cuts across the territorial divides that make up the early modern world.
Professor Cornell Fleischer, a founding member of the workshop, will say a few words about the workshop’s history, after which Oliver and Kaveh will get us started. We are circulating Sanjay Subrahmanyam’s article “Connected Histories” (see attachment) as a starting point for our discussion.
The idea for this workshop came as a result of conversations that workshop participants and coordinators had at the end of last year about the identity of our workshop. While our discussion will center around the concept of empire in the early modern world, we are also answering the question of why the Early Modern Workshop exists and why its scope is not limited to a specific region or period. We do not expect to answer all of these questions, but the idea is to start conversations that are interdisciplinary and that cross territorial divides.
Please find attached Subrahmanyam’s article, Oliver and Kaveh’s introduction to the workshop, and our fall schedule which you can also find online at http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/earlymodern
Early Modern Workshop co-coordinators: Basil Salem and Colin Rydell
Graduate students at Northern Illinois University who are interested in empires and imperialism may want to attend this workshop at the University of Chicago.
Posted in and Society, Atlantic World, Culture, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, Empires and Imperialism, European History, European Wars of Religion, History of Violence, Political Culture, State Development Theory, War, Warfare in the Early Modern World | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CLIR Fellowships

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is now accepting applications for the 2015 Mellon Fellowships for Dissertation Research in Original Sources.

The program will be offering about fifteen competitively awarded fellowships for the 2015-2016 academic year. Each provides a stipend of $2,000 per month for 9–12 months. Fellows will receive an additional $1,000 upon participating in a symposium on research in original sources and submitting an acceptable report to CLIR on the research experience. Thus the maximum award will be $25,000.

The purposes of this fellowship program are to:

- help junior scholars in the humanities and related social-science fields gain skill and creativity in developing knowledge from original sources;

- encourage more extensive and innovative uses of original sources in libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and related repositories in the U.S. and abroad;

- enable dissertation writers to do research wherever relevant sources may be, rather than just where financial support is available; and

- provide insight from the viewpoint of doctoral candidates into how scholarly resources can be developed for access most helpfully in the future.

Applicants do not have to be U.S. citizens, but must be enrolled in a doctoral program in a graduate school in the United States.
For further information on eligibility, requirements, and deadlines, please visit CLIR’s website at http://www.clir.org/fellowships/mellon/mellon.html.

Posted in Archival Research, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, Graduate Work in History, Grants and Fellowships, Museums and Historical Memory, Renaissance Art and History | Leave a comment

Spanish Paleography Workshop

Application deadline: October 15

Weekend Workshop in Spanish Paleography
Workshop dates: February 27-28, 2015
Instructor: Carla Rahn Phillips, emerita, University of Minnesota
Apply online here: http://www.newberry.org/2015SpanishPaleographyWorkshopThis workshop will provide participants with an introduction to reading and transcribing documents written in Spain and Spanish America from the late fifteenth to the early eighteenth centuries. Although the course sessions will be taught primarily in English, all of the documents will be in Spanish.Download a printable PDF flyer to post and distribute.

Eligibility: The institute will enroll 15 participants by competitive application. First consideration will be given to advanced PhD students and junior faculty at U.S. colleges and universities, but applications are also accepted from advanced PhD students and junior faculty at Canadian institutions, from professional staff of U.S. and Canadian libraries and museums, and from qualified independent scholars.

Prerequisite: This workshop is taught in English, but participants will be reading early forms of Spanish; advanced language skills are required.

Costs: There is no registration fee for those accepted to the workshop, but participants will be responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses (see note below about the possibility of travel funding for applicants from Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies consortium institutions).

This program is funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Faculty members and students from Center for Renaissance Studies consortium schools (http://www.newberry.org/center-renaissance-studies-consortium-members) may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend this program (http://www.newberry.org/newberry-renaissance-consortium-grants). Each member university sets its own policies and deadlines; contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.

Posted in Archival Research, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, Graduate Work in History, Lectures and Seminars, Reformation History, Renaissance Art and History | Tagged , | Leave a comment