Women and Warfare in the Renaissance and Reformation

My bibliographic essay on “Women and Warfare” was recently published by Oxford Bibliographies in the Renaissance and Reformation subject area.

“Women and warfare is an emerging field in early modern history with a rapidly growing historiography. Art historians and cultural historians have been captivated by images of feminine martial power that deploy the figures of Athena, Minerva, Diana the Huntress, Judith, and Amazons. Much of the historical literature has focused on queens, regents, and female power in early modern royal states. Political and gender historians have examined powerful female rulers and regents such as Mary of Hungary, Margaret of Parma, and Infanta Isabella in the Habsburg Low Countries; Mary I Tudor and Elizabeth I Tudor in England; Marie de Guise and Mary Stuart in Scotland; Catherine de’ Medici, Maria de’ Medici, and Anne of Austria in France; and Amalia Elizabeth in Hesse—who all engaged in military planning and diplomacy. Historians and gender studies scholars are now setting these women warriors and powerful queens into a much broader context of women, gender, and war in early modern Europe. Noblewomen, city women, and peasant women were all swept up into the maelstrom of war in early modern Europe. This bibliographical essay brings together diverse historiographies of women’s history, gender history, history of sexuality, art history, literary history, history of violence, and war and society history. The essay includes sources on women, gender, and warfare in peasant revolts, urban revolts, noble revolts, civil wars, religious wars, and colonial wars, as well as in conventional interstate wars and coalition wars. …”

The essay considers historical studies of gender and war in the Renaissance and Reformation periods, aiming to provide guidance to advanced undergraduate and graduate students conducting research on issues of women, gender, and sexuality in the context of war and conflict in early modern Europe and the world. The essay explores the historical literature around the following themes:

General Overviews

Theoretical and Comparative Studies of Gender and War

Reference Works

Textbooks and Pedagogical Sources



Women, Power, and War in Early Modern Europe

Women and War in the Renaissance and Reformation (1450s-1550s)

Women and Gender in the European Wars of Religion (1550s-1650s)

Women, Gender, and Violence in Maritime Empires

Gender in Military Culture

Gender and Early Modern State Development (1640s-1700s)

Women and Atrocities in Early Modern Warfare

Here is the link to the full bibliographic essay on Oxford Bibliographies:


Posted in Cultural History, Digital Humanities, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern France, Early Modern World, European History, European Wars of Religion, French Wars of Religion, Gender and Warfare, History of Violence, Italian History, Mediterranean World, Reformation History, Renaissance Art and History, War, Culture, and Society, Warfare in the Early Modern World, Women and Gender History | Leave a comment

Fulbright Awards in France

The Fulbright Awards provide vital research funding for scholars working on international and global studies in diverse fields.

I have served as a U.S. Scholar to France and to Belgium in order to pursue archival research in Paris and Bruxelles, and found the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program to be very rewarding.

The deadline for the next round of Fulbright awards is fast approaching and the U.S. Scholar Program has a menu of Fulbright awards in France. There are many other Fulbright awards for undergraduate and graduate students.

See the Fulbright Commission’s announcement for more information:

Fulbright U.S. Scholar Postdoctoral Opportunities in France

Competition Open! Deadline: September 15, 2022

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program provides fully-funded awards for U.S. citizens to teach, research  and carry out professional projects abroad.  The current competition welcomes projects for the 2023-24 academic year.

The Fulbright Postdoctoral Award in the Social Sciences  provides funding to conduct research in France, welcoming 9-12 month projects in a variety of disciplines. Please visit our site for important details, including eligible fields and award requirements.

Interested to learn more? We invite you to take advantage of our resources as you navigate the application process:

If you are interested in awards beyond France, please view the Catalog of Awards for opportunities in over 130 countries.  The 2023-24 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program  accepts applications until September 15, 2022. 

Participating in the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program provides the unique opportunity to work with global institutions while serving as cultural ambassadors for the United States  along with recognition and an experience that will serve you throughout your career. Should you choose to apply, we wish you the best of luck.

Posted in European History, European Studies, European Union, French History, Grants and Fellowships, Study Abroad | Leave a comment

Commemorating the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre

A new memorial garden is being prepared to commemorate the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572 in Paris.

This memorial is sponsored by the Ville de Paris and the Fédération Protestante de France and will be inaugurated on 16 September 2022.

Here is the announcement from the Fédération Protestante de France:

“Le vendredi 16 septembre 2022 à 10h45 sera inauguré le Jardin mémorial de la Saint-Barthélemy à la mémoire des milliers de protestants massacrés à Paris le 24 août 1572 et les jours suivants.

“Le jardin mémorial sera voisin de l’Eglise Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois à Paris, où dans la nuit du 23 au 24 août 1572, le son du tocsin lança la tragédie dont nous commémorons en 2022 le 450e anniversaire.

“Lors de cette cérémonie, Madame Anne Hidalgo, maire de Paris, et le pasteur Christian Krieger, Président de la Fédération protestante de France, dévoileront une plaque commémorative.”

For more information, see the website of the Fédération Protestante de France: www.protestants.org

Posted in Atrocities, Civil Conflict, Civilians and Refugees in War, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern France, European History, French History, French Wars of Religion, History of Violence, Museums and Historical Memory, Paris History, Reformation History, Religious History, Religious Politics, Religious Violence, Renaissance Art and History, Warfare in the Early Modern World | Leave a comment

Means to Rebuild the Church

I am pleased to report that my latest article, “The Means to Rebuild the Church,” has been published by Sixteenth Century Journal:

Brian Sandberg, “The Means to Rebuild the Church: Franco-Italian Networks, Lay Piety, and Religious Patronage in Counter-Reformation France,” Sixteenth Century Journal 52, 3 (2021): 667-695.

“Catholic churches throughout southern France suffered the ravages of religious violence during the French Wars of Religion (1559–1629). Around the turn of the seventeenth century, the provinces of southern France became the focus of Catholic renewal within France, and one of the most important areas of Catholic Reformation in all of Europe. The Catholic revival in southern France involved a broad transnational movement, led to a great extent by noblemen and noblewomen who provided the means to rebuild the church. This article explores the networks of Italian and French Catholic noblewomen and noble- men who promoted the Counter-Reformation movement in southern France. Tuscan-French connections in noble culture, religiosity, and religious patron- age seem particularly intriguing during the dynamic expansion of the Catholic reform in southern France during latter stages of the French Wars of Religion, from around 1588 to 1629.”

For access to the full article, consult the Sixteenth Century Journal online via the electronic SCJ website or a university library.

Posted in Early Modern Europe, Early Modern France, European History, European Wars of Religion, French History, French Wars of Religion, Italian History, Noble Culture and History of Elites, Reformation History, Religious History, Religious Politics, Religious Violence, Renaissance Art and History | Leave a comment

Seminar on Gender and War

I enjoyed presenting my research on “Un courage viril. Le genre et la violence en France pendant les Guerres de Religion” in a seminar on Genre et Guerre at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium in May.

The seminar on Genre et Guerre is organized by Professors Silvia Mostaccio and Jules Dejonckheere of UC Louvain. The seminar will present a comparative perspectives on gender and war in different historical periods. I look forward to seeing who will be presenting in future sessions of the seminar.

I was glad to be able to travel to Belgium to participate in this seminar, since my previous research trip to Belgium in Spring 2020 was disrupted by the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Posted in Civilians and Refugees in War, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern France, European History, French History, French Wars of Religion, Gender and Warfare, History of Violence, Religious Violence, War, Culture, and Society, Women and Gender History | Leave a comment

Research Fellowships at the IMéRA in Marseille

I just returned from an incredible five-month research stay at the Institut d’études Avancées de Aix-Marseille Université (IMéRA), a research institute located at the Observatoire de Marseille, near parc Longchamp. I was conducting archival research on crusading culture in the early modern Mediterranean at the departmental archives in Marseille.

Maison des Astronomes, IMéRA, Marseille

If you are interested in conducting research and/or artistry in Marseille, consider applying for a residential fellowship at the IMéRA.

Vieux-Port in Masreille

The IMéRA has just announced their next call for applications for academic year 2023-2024.

“Pour l’année 2023-24, l’Institut d’études avancées d’Aix-Marseille (IMéRA) ouvre 11 places de résidence d’une durée de 5 ou 10 mois, dédiées aux scientifiques et/ou aux artistes. Celles-ci sont distribuées sur quatre programmes (« Arts & sciences : savoirs indisciplinés », « Explorations interdisciplinaires », « Méditerranée » et « Utopies nécessaires »).”

The full call for applications is available on the IMéRA website.

For more information on the IMéRA, see the institute’s website.

Posted in Archival Research, Current Research, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, European Union, French History, Grants and Fellowships, Maritime History, Mediterranean World | Leave a comment

When Will the French Dam Against the Far Right Crack?

I am happy to report that my opinion essay on the recent French presidential election has been published by History News Network.

Here is the opening of the essay:

“On Sunday [24 April 2022], President Emmanuel Macron won re-election in the French presidential election, defeating far-right leader Marine Le Pen by an impressive margin of 58 to 42 percent. Despite this victory, French politics are once again in disarray and the nation is deeply divided.

“In the final stretch of the electoral campaign, President Macron and many political leaders had called on French citizens to rebuild a barrage républicain (republican dam) against the surging waters of the far-right movement in France. On Sunday, a majority of French voters responded by voting for Macron in order to block the far right and the republican dam seemed to hold.  

“Yet, even in defeat, Le Pen and her Rassemblement National (National Rally) party claimed a historic ‘shining victory’ by scoring the highest number of votes for a far-right party in any modern election in France. Indeed, the presidential elections have demonstrated the French far-right’s growing power within French political culture and its potential to win elections in the near future. Is the republican dam now fundamentally weakened?”

To read the entire analysis, see my opinion essay on the History News Network website.

Posted in European History, European Studies, European Union, French History, Political Culture | Leave a comment

Forensic Historians and War Crimes

War crimes are once again headline news these days, as the Russian withdrawal from the Kyiv region has exposed numerous bodies of Ukrainian civilians allegedly executed during the Russian offensive of February – March 2022. Ukrainian President Zelensky, United States President Biden, and other political leaders have accused Russian military forces of committing war crimes in the Ukraine War.

Unfortunately, war crimes are rarely prosecuted, however. The International Criminal Court and other judicial institutions encounter many difficulties in instigating war crimes prosecutions, especially during ongoing conflicts.

Nonetheless, war crimes prosecutions do sometimes move forward. When they do, historians are often closely involved in the research to build evidence for these judicial cases.

Ann Schneider, a Latin American Historian, works on war crimes with the Office for Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center, of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Center is based in Virginia and focuses on tracking down military officers and soldiers accused of war crimes in the Guatemalan Civil War, Salvadoran Civil War, and other “dirty wars.”

Photo: The Washington Post

The Washington Post reports that: “Unlike most academics, who tend who study their material with a degree of intellectual detachment, Schneider is a historian who is actively trying to right the wrongs of Latin America’s recent past. She is a bridge between those in the university world who research war crimes and federal law enforcement officials who can actually do something about them.”

Historians of civil conflict often encounter disturbing evidence of brutal rapes, killings, and massacres, but few have opportunities to pursue the perpetrators of such acts of violence against civilians.

Schneider describes her work on war crimes in Latin America: “’I think of myself as a forensic historian. … I research and write. My job is about bringing things to light and uncovering the past, through these cases.”

According to The Washington Post, “Historians of Latin America who focus on the Cold War are well-versed in the role of the United States in supporting right-wing military governments in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala and elsewhere. In some cases, the State Department intentionally resettled former military officials in the United States to create better conditions for peace negotiations.”

My students in HIST 399 Communal Strife: Civil Wars in Comparative Perspective at Northern Illinois University will be interested in this piece about war crimes prosecutions, since we discuss the Salvadorian Civil War in some detail.

The article also offers undergraduate and graduate students a glimpse into the Office for Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center and the world of government historians. NIU students sometimes pursue careers as government historians with various agencies of the U.S. federal government or state governments.

The Washington Post reports on forensic historians and war crimes prosecution.

Posted in Atrocities, Careers in History, Civil Conflict, Civilians and Refugees in War, Graduate Work in History, History in the Media, History of Violence, United States History and Society, War and Society, War, Culture, and Society, Women and Gender History | Leave a comment

Making Scents of the Past

The history of perfumes, fragrances, food, and medicines in the early modern period are closely intertwined. Early modern Europeans crafted “recipes” by experimenting with different ingredients from plants, animals, minerals, and other sources.

The DURARE research team questions: “Is it possible to reconstruct the scents of the past? Why should we try? Just as one plays music to bring historical scores to life, following historical recipes for scents connects us to the practices of the fragrance makers who left them behind. In the ArtLab of Utrecht University, we can trace a scent long dissipated while precipitating research questions for the present.”

Their new research project on Making Scents of the Past is investigating the history of early modern perfumes and fragrances by combining historical, medical, and scientific approaches. This project attempts to use sixteenth- and seventeenth-century recipes to recreate fragrances, which will be available for exhibition visitors to test. The research team focuses especially on a recipe collected by Constantijn Huygens (1596-1687), who was “a Dutch diplomat, painter, poet, scientist, composer, and father to five children, one of whom grew up to be the scientist Christiaan Huygens.”

“The DURARE team collaborated with researchers from Het Geheugen van Geur to reconstruct a historical ‘fragrant water’ from a seventeenth-century recipe. We used hands-on experimentation to release the fragrance from its text. By bringing it to our noses, we open up something ephemeral for historical study.”

The team has developed a website to present their research and to accompany the planned museum exhibition.

The Making Scents of the Past website provides additional information.

Posted in Cultural History, Digital Humanities, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, European Studies, Food and Cuisine History, History of Medicine, History of Science, Manuscript Studies, Material Culture, Renaissance Art and History | Leave a comment

Religion in American Right-Wing Politics

“She said she wanted to be a part of ‘staking claim’ to what God was doing. ‘This is a Jesus movement,’ Ms. Jackson said. ‘I believe God removed Donald for a time, so the church would wake up and have confidence in itself again to take our country back.'”

I am currently gathering news reports and articles for my graduate seminar on Religious Violence in Comparative Perspective, which I offer periodically at Northern Illinois University. The course utilizes a comparative approach to religious violence, examining cases of religious conflict from 1500 to today involving many different religious systems in world history.

I always like to end the seminar with a discussion of cases of religious politics and religious violence in today’s world, focused on a series of news reports, magazine articles, and academic essays.

In this recent article, The New York Times reports on religion in American right-wing politics:

The New York Times reports on “The Growing Religious Fervor in the American Right: ‘This is a Jesus Movement'”

Posted in Political Activism and Protest Culture, Political Culture, Religious Politics, Religious Violence, United States History and Society | Leave a comment