Racist Vandalism on Campus

I was saddened and angered to hear of the racist vandalism on Northern Illinois campus early yesterday (Thursday 17 September 2020) morning, when someone spray-painted racist slurs on the Center for Black Studies in an act of targeted vandalism. This racist act of aggression and defacement is currently being investigated by the police as a hate crime.

President Lisa C. Freeman has issued a message concerning this racist act and Northern Illinois University’s response. The President’s message is available online: https://www.niu.edu/president/communications/9-17-20-addressing-the-racist-incident-that-occured-on-campus.html

The Northern Star student newspaper has published an article on the racist vandalism and will presumably provide updates.

Photo: Northern Star

I want to let my current and former students know that I condemn this racist act of targeted vandalism and stand with African-American students, faculty, and staff as an ally who is committed to opposing racism.

As a historian who studies violence, political extremism, and warfare in historical contexts, I am fully aware of the serious nature of targeted violence and destruction. This symbolic attack against a single building targeted a specific group of people on campus, but is also clearly intended to threaten the entire NIU community and its values. Persons of color and international students may feel personally targeted by this attack.

Northern Illinois University is a public research university that has a teaching, research, and service mission to serve all of its students and the entire State of Illinois. I am confident that NIU faculty and staff will respond to this attack with a strong anti-racism message and measures.

I want to assure my current students that we will continue to explore the historical contexts of racism, political authority, power structures, economic inequalities, gender relations, social conflict, imperialism, and warfare in my courses on History of the Western World I and on Early Modern Europe throughout the semester.

Studying the history of race and racism can help expose the cultural, social, political, and institutional dynamics of racial prejudices and racist acts in modern societies.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture provides information on The Historical Foundations of Race on its website. The Center for Race and Ethnicity in Society at Indiana University-Bloomington offers additional resources on the history of race and racism.

Posted in Academic Freedom, Cultural History, Empires and Imperialism, Globalization, History of Race and Racism, History of Violence, Human Rights, Illinois History and Society, Northern Illinois University, Political Culture, Social History, United States History and Society, World History | Leave a comment

Saint Sebastian and the Arrows of the Plague

The Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library has published a new episode of its series on Learning from Premodern Plagues on “Saint Sebastian and the Arrows of the Plague.”

Students in my courses on HIST 110 History of the Western World I and HIST 422 Early Modern Europe at Northern Illinois University are studying the Black Death and recurrent plague this semester and may be interested in this video presentation, which is available for streaming on YouTube.

Here is the announcement from the Center for Renaissance Studies:

Saint Sebastian and the Arrows of the Plague
Learning from Premodern Plagues

CRS is pleased to announce the latest episode of “Learning from Premodern Plagues,” a series of videos exploring peoples’ experiences of plagues from the sixth through the eighteenth century. Each short (3-5 minute) video focuses on one object that tells the story of a particular moment in plague history, and are ideal for the classroom. Many of the books and manuscripts presented here form part of the Newberry Library’s collections. Each episode is hosted by a scholar affiliated with the Center who is passionate about researching the past to help to enlighten us about today.

St. Sebastian is perhaps the best-known patron saint of plagues, and he appears extensively in medieval and early modern art and devotional culture. Sarah Wilson, medievalist and Program Coordinator in the Department of Public Engagement at the Newberry Library, provides a brief history of his rise to prominence in the wake of the Black Death, and discusses his appearance in Margaret of Croy’s Prayerbook in the Newberry collection. See the full video here: https://youtu.be/5Pcmkp6udfs

Please stay tuned to this playlist for more videos. If you have any questions about the videos or how to use them in classes, please send an email to renaissance@newberry.org.

Posted in Cultural History, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, History of Medicine, History of Science, Lectures and Seminars, Religious History, Renaissance Art and History | 1 Comment

Archaeological Fieldwork in the Age of Enlightenment

Jennifer Westerfeld (University of Louisville) will offer an online seminar on “‘I await the financial recovery of France’: Funding Archaeological Fieldwork in the Age of Enlightenment” on 18 September 2020.

This seminar is hosted by the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library as part of its Premodern Studies Seminar series.

Upper-division undergraduate students in HIST 422 Early Modern Europe and graduate students in HIST 522 Microhistories of Early Modern Europe at Northern Illinois University may be interested in this seminar.

The Center for Renaissance Studies’ announcement follows:

“I await the financial recovery of France”: Funding Archaeological Fieldwork in the Age of Enlightenment


Jennifer Westerfeld, University of Louisville

Premodern Studies Seminar
Friday, September 18, 2020
2-3:30 pm

CRS is pleased to announce the first meeting of the 2020-2021 Premodern Studies Seminar. In this virtual session, Jennifer Westerfeld (Univ. of Louisville) will discuss the development of early modern Egyptology in the eighteenth century. Using the work and writings of Claude Sicard, a Jesuit missionary active in Egypt who carried out extensive research on Egypt’s historic geography from 1712 to 1726, this seminar will reconstruct a detailed picture of the circumstances under which Egyptological knowledge was produced in the first quarter of the eighteenth century.

The Premodern Studies Seminar provides a forum for new approaches to classical, medieval, and early modern studies, allowing scholars from a range of disciplines to share works-in-progress with the broader community at the Center for Renaissance Studies. Our sessions feature discussion of a pre-circulated paper and a presentation of collection materials.

The seminar will be conducted virtually via Zoom. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required and space is limited. To register and receive a copy of the precirculated paper, send an email to scholarlyseminars@newberry.org. Registrants will receive a copy of the precirculated paper and a link to the Zoom session. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.

For more information about the Premodern Studies Seminar, please visit our website here: https://newberry.org/premodern-studies-seminar

Posted in Cultural History, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, French History, Graduate Work in History, History of Science, Intellectual History, Lectures and Seminars | Leave a comment

Marketing Premodern Studies Beyond Academia

The Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library recently hosted an online seminar on Marketing Premodern Studies Beyond Academia.
This seminar, organized by Christopher Fletcher (Newberry Library) and Lindsey Martin (Northwestern University) was the third session in the Center for Renaissance Studies’ Professional Development Seminar Series.
A recording of the virtual session is available for streaming (along with a handout) at the Marketing Premodern Studies Beyond Academia website.
Graduate students in medieval, renaissance, and early modern studies at Northern Illinois University may be interested in this program, which provides information on jobs and careers beyond colleges and universities.
Posted in Careers in History, Cultural History, Digital Humanities, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, Graduate Work in History, Jobs and Positions, Lectures and Seminars, Reformation History, Renaissance Art and History | Leave a comment

Speech as Protest: Being Heard and Taking Up Space in the Premodern World

The Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library is hosting a virtual conference on Speech as Protest: Being Heard and Taking Up Space in the Premodern World.

This virtual conference is organized by Elisa J. Jones (College of Charleston) and will include a keynote address by Ada Palmer (University of Chicago).

I am looking forward to participating in one of the roundtable sessions at the conference and presenting on “‘There is Not a Single Catholic in This City’: Public Preaching and Conversion during the French Wars of Religion.”

Graduate students in medieval and early modern history at Northern Illinois University are invited to attend the virtual conference. See the announcement from the Center for Renaissance Studies and a registration link at the Speech as Protest: Being Heard and Taking Up Space in the Premodern World conference page on the Newberry Library website.

Speech as Protest:
Being Heard and Taking Up Space
in the Premodern World

October 22-29, 2020
Organized by Elisa J. Jones, College of Charleston

What constitutes speech? What is a public space, and how is it policed? How are the boundaries drawn between those who want to be seen and heard, and those who want them to remain absent? This interdisciplinary symposium will address how the permeable boundaries between public presence and absence were created, enforced, and challenged in the medieval and early modern periods. Ada Palmer, professor of history at the University of Chicago and renowned author, will deliver the keynote address, “The Modern Political Impact of How We Talk about Premodern Censorship,” on Thursday evening and will participate in the final roundtable.

Through roundtable discussions and collection presentations, the symposium will explore how various premodern publics were formed and contested by a range of cultural forces. Possible topics include social mobility, public spaces, printing and censorship, control over one’s body, slavery and personhood, representation aurally or visually of minority groups, and tolerance or intolerance of religious sects.

This virtual conference will frame discussions about these premodern subjects as part of a larger conversation about the ways that rights exist as cultural artifacts with premodern histories, as well as how premodern scholars can best bring these histories about premodern publics into contemporary public conversations.

For more information, including a complete schedule and registration link, please visit our website here: https://www.newberry.org/10222020-speech-protest-being-heard-and-taking-space-premodern-world

 

Posted in Conferences, Cultural History, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, European Wars of Religion, French History, French Wars of Religion, Graduate Work in History, History of Violence, Political Culture, Reformation History, Religious History, Religious Politics, Religious Violence, Renaissance Art and History | 1 Comment

Graduate Student Conference in Renaissance Studies

The Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library has issued a call for papers for its annual Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Conference. The conference will be held through virtual roundtables held on 8-13 February 2021.

Gradaute students in History at Northern Illinois University are encouraged to participate, since NIU is a Newberry Library Consortium member.

Paper proposals should be submitted by 12 October 2021.

Here is the Center for Renaissance Studies’ call for papers:

The Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library is pleased to announce that abstract submissions for our 2021 Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Conference are now being accepted.

This annual graduate student conference, organized and run by advanced doctoral students, has become a premier opportunity for emerging scholars to present papers, participate in discussions, and develop collaborations across all fields of medieval, Renaissance, and early modern studies. Participants from a wide variety of disciplines find a supportive and collegial forum for their work, meet future colleagues from other institutions and disciplines, and become familiar with the Newberry and its resources.

In 2021, the conference will be held virtually in a seminar-style format. Participants will circulate short papers in mid-January, give and receive feedback on their papers by early February, and convene for a series of virtual roundtables to discuss their findings between February 8-13, 2021.

We invite proposals for papers from students in master’s or PhD programs on any humanities topic relating to material before 1800. The 2021 conference schedule will include virtual workshops and sessions with rare books in addition to the seminar roundtables.

Abstract submissions will be accepted online only. The deadline to submit an abstract through our online submission form is Monday, October 12, 2020 at midnight CDT.

Preference is given to proposals from students at member institutions of the Center for Renaissance Studies Consortium, but we also welcome proposals from students of the Folger Institute Consortium.

For more information about the conference, visit our calendar page here: https://www.newberry.org/02082021-2021-multidisciplinary-graduate-student-conference-nlgrad21 

Posted in Conferences, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, Graduate Work in History, Reformation History, Renaissance Art and History | Leave a comment

Renaissance Society of America Fellowships

The Renaissance Society of America offers fellowships for graduate students and faculty who are conducting research on topics in Renaissance studies.

“The Society awards a number of competitive fellowships to members each year supporting individual research projects and publications that advance scholarly knowledge about the period 1300–1700. Fellowships are made possible by donations from RSA members and grants from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.”

The Renaissance Society of America publishes Renaissance Quarterly, which will be of interest for all students in HIST 422 / 522 Early Modern Europe.

The Fellowships

“The RSA offers two types of research fellowships: residential fellowships supporting one month of research at one of the institutions with which the RSA has a partnership agreement and short-term research fellowships that may be used to support research at the collection or collections of the applicant’s choice. For 2021, we define a “short-term research fellowship” more broadly to include expenses related to research that are not explicitly travel. These expenses might include (but are not limited to) copy-editing, access fees to online archives, digital images and permissions, and publication subventions.

“Those who have received an RSA fellowship in the past will not be considered for further fellowships for three years after the award and will not be considered for further fellowships for the same project. Applicants will win at most one fellowship per year; the RSA does not give multiple awards to the same individual in a single year.

“All applicants must be current RSA members. If an applicant is not a current member, they should either join the RSA or renew their membership before applying for a fellowship. As of June 2018, RSA memberships last for a full twelve months from the start date or time of renewal.

“Successful applicants must agree to complete the proposed research by 30 June 2022 and submit to the RSA a brief report indicating the accomplishments of the fellowship within one month of returning from the research trip.”

For more information, see the Renaissance Society of America website.

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

Art of Renaissance Warfare

The Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library (Chicago) will host a virtual conversation with Jonathan Tavares (The Art Institute of Chicago) and Suzanne Karr Schmidt (Newberry Library) on The Art of Renaissance Warfare, to be held on Zoom.

Thursday 17 September 2020

12 to 1 pm

“The development of gunpowder, stirrups, and new techniques for polishing armor changed the face of war in sixteenth-century Europe. In this virtual conversation, Jonathan Tavares of the Art Institute of Chicago and Suzanne Karr Schmidt of the Newberry will discuss the importance of Renaissance-era innovations in military technology by focusing on a model cannon, pair of stirrups, and collection of armor on view in the Renaissance Invention exhibition as loans from the Art Institute.”

For more information and to sign up for this free seminar:

https://www.newberry.org/09172020-art-renaissance-warfare

 

Posted in Art History, Cultural History, Digital Humanities, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, Empires and Imperialism, European History, European Wars of Religion, Globalization, History of Science, History of Violence, Italian History, Lectures and Seminars, Material Culture, Mediterranean World, Museums and Historical Memory, Noble Culture and History of Elites, Reformation History, Renaissance Art and History, War and Society, Warfare in the Early Modern World, World History | Leave a comment

Renaissance Invention Exhibition

A new exhibition on Renaissance Invention: Stradanus’s Nova Reperta opens today (Friday 28 August 2020) at the Newberry Library.

The exhibition will run from 28 August to 25 November 2020 in the Trienens Galleries at the Newberry Library in Chicago.

Image: Philips Galle after Johannes Stradanus, Lapis polaris magnes (Magnet), circa 1588. Engraving. VAULT Case Wing folio Z 412 .85. Newberry Library, Chicago.

“During a time of globalization, colonization, and warfare, Europeans in the Renaissance embraced new technology even as they lamented its disruptive, destructive, and destabilizing consequences.

“Co-curated by CRS Director Lia Markey and Suzanne Karr Schmidt, the George Amos Poole III Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the Newberry, this gallery exhibition explores the conception of novelty and technology through an unprecedented study of Nova Reperta (New Discoveries), a late sixteenth-century print series that celebrated the marvels of the age, including the stirrup, the cure for syphilis, and the so-called discovery of America. Designed in Florence and printed in Antwerp, the Nova Reperta images spread far and wide, shaping Europeans’ perceptions of the innovations that were changing the world and breeding anxiety about the future.

“In Renaissance Invention, materials from the Newberry’s collection will appear alongside armor from the Art Institute of Chicago and astronomical instruments from the Adler Planetarium, transporting visitors to a time of change, disruption, and technological development that bears a striking resemblance to our own today.”

Northern Illinois University students in HIST 422 Early Modern Europe and HIST 522 Microhistories of Early Modern Europe will be particularly interested in this exhibition.

For more information, see the website: https://www.newberry.org/renaissance-invention.

 

 

Posted in Art History, Atlantic World, Cartographic History, Cultural History, Digital Humanities, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, Empires and Imperialism, European History, European Wars of Religion, Globalization, Intellectual History, Maritime History, Material Culture, Mediterranean World, Museums and Historical Memory, Reformation History, Renaissance Art and History, World History | Leave a comment

People in Motion Podcasts on the History of Pandemics

The People in Motion: Entangled Histories of Displacement across the Mediterranean (PIMo) network of historians is providing a series of podcasts on the history of pandemics to provide a deeper context for understanding on the current Covid-19 pandemic.

In one of the podcasts, Professor Ann Thomson (European University Institute) discusses quarantine practices against the bubonic plague in early modern Europe and considers why Europeans increasingly associated the plague with Ottomans during the eighteenth century.

Podcast 2: ‘The Turks and the Plague in the 18th Century,’ Prof Ann Thomson, A PIMo-CROMOHS Contagion Podcast

“Eighteenth-century European views of the Ottomans reveal a complex set of politico-religious interests, as the Ottoman Empire declined militarily and gradually became less an object of fear. It was associated with certain clichéd images, in particular of despotism and fanaticism. Among these associations was the prevalence of the plague, which was endemic in many parts of the Ottoman empire, while after 1720 it no longer ravaged Europe. While this situation was often explained by the climate, many authors associated the prevalence of the plague with what they called Turkish “fatalism”, claiming that the Muslim belief in predestination prevented governments and individuals from taking any of the precautions against the disease used by Europeans. Thus the plague became part of the stock of anti-Turkish arguments, used in the justifications for political alignments in the Mediterranean. In the 1780s, an anti-Turkish author like the Frenchman Volney opposed those who supported the Ottomans as a bulwark against Russian expansionism, and argued for their expulsion from Europe and the Mediterranean; he went as far as identifying the Turks with the contagion, claiming that it was brought from Istanbul and had never been known in the Mediterranean before the arrival of the Turks.”

Podcast 2 is available to stream on the People in Motion website.

Posted in Cultural History, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, Empires and Imperialism, European History, Globalization, History of Medicine, History of Science, Maritime History, Mediterranean World, Religious History, Strategy and International Politics | Tagged | Leave a comment