History and Security Studies

The Triangle Institute for Security Studies (TISS) is organizing its annual New Faces conference, an academic conference that focuses on early career scholars in security studies.

The TISS website indicates that “The Triangle Institute for Security Studies (TISS) is a consortium of Duke University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, dedicated to the study of national and international security. TISS is one of the nation’s oldest academic centers committed to advancing scholarship and education on security studies, broadly conceived. Since its founding in 1958, TISS has promoted interdisciplinary study and collaboration between scholars, students, and practitioners across North Carolina’s Triangle region.”

Doctoral candidates and recent Ph.D.s in History, Political Science, Sociology, and related disciplines may be interested in participating in this conference.

Northern Illinois University students who are enrolled in my HIST 384 History of War since 1500 course this semester, or who took my HIST 399 Communal Strife: Civil Wars in Comparative Perspective course last semester, may be interested in learning more about career paths in policy analysis and security studies.

The current Ukraine-Russia crisis certainly highlights the need for more historians to become involved in security studies and policy formulation.

Russian tanks conducting military exercises in southern Russia, near the Ukrainian border in January 2022. Photo: AP.

Here is the conference announcement from the Triangle Institute for Security Studies:

New Faces is an annual conference, geared toward the professional development and networking of early career scholars in security studies. Started in 2000, New Faces is one of TISS’ signature programs with a vast network of former participants.

New Faces is designed to offer advanced PhD candidates and newly-minted PhDs a chance to present their research and receive feedback in a format akin to an academic job talk.

Our goal is to create and strengthen ties among scholars working on national and international security questions, crossing disciplinary boundaries. Participants in New Faces approach the study of security from a number of disciplinary backgrounds, including political science, history, public policy, and beyond.

TISS will cover all travel and accommodation costs for selected participants. Priority will be given to applications without a tenure-track position.

The 2022 conference will be October 6-8, 2022, with the primary workshop being held on Friday, October 7, 2022 at the Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. to apply

Those interested in being considered for this year’s New Faces should complete an online application form and submit a cover letter, project abstract, CV, and letter of recommendation by email to susan.colbourn@duke.edu.

The application deadline is April 1, 2022.

See the Triangle Institute for Security Studies website for more information.

Posted in Arms Control, Civil Conflict, Comparative Revolutions, Conferences, Empires and Imperialism, European History, European Studies, European Union, Graduate Work in History, History of Violence, Laws of War, Peacemaking Processes, Political Culture, Political Theory, Revolts and Revolutions, Security Studies, Strategy and International Politics, Terrorism, United States Foreign Policy, United States History and Society, War, Culture, and Society | Leave a comment

Spanish Identity in the Land of Don Quixote

Novelist Ana Iris Simón has created a political debate over Spanish identity with her recent novel, Feria, which is set in Campo de Criptana in rural La Mancha.

The New York Times reports that the novel is “based on her childhood in the arid heartland of Spain, with parents who were postal workers and grandparents who were farmers on one side, traveling fairground workers on the other. Little happens, but that is intentional — she wants readers to appreciate her rural upbringing in Castilla-La Mancha, the region made famous by the Cervantes classic, Don Quixote.”

The small town of Campo de Criptana is situated in the heart of La Mancha, which is known for its historic windmills, many of them dating from the sixteenth century.

Campo de Criptana. Photo: The New York Times

Some far-right Spanish politicians have seized on the novel’s nostalgia portrayal of rural life, even if Ana Iris Simón has a record of supporting socialist causes and protesting against economic inequality. The novelist is currently working as a journalist with El País, a major Spanish news organization.

“The book has struck a chord with readers, but it has also become a lightning rod in Spain’s emotional political debate, fueled by party fragmentation and polarization. Ms. Simón said her book had been interpreted as ‘a questioning of the dogmas of liberalism,’ to an extent that she had not anticipated.”

Pablo Simón, a professor of Political Science at the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid comments that Feria has has created controversy because “even if it is a novel and not a political treaty, the book ascertains that the current generation is worse off than the previous ones, which is a claim that is easy for politicians to use, even if it is not necessarily based on facts,” according to The New York Times. Note that the political scientist was presumably referring to a political treatise, not a “political treaty.”

I have not had a chance to read the novel, and will likely wait until an English translation is published, since my Spanish is rusty. However, I am interested to see how Spanish identity politics develops in response to the book.

As an early modern historian, I am particularly curious how the “traditional” idea of Spanishness and the imagery of Don Quixote are being deployed in this debate. The historic windmills of La Mancha seem likely to continue to figure in debates over Spanish identity.

Miguel de Cervantes immortalized the windmills of La Mancha in his novel, Don Quixote (1605): “Just then, they discovered thirty or forty windmills in that plain. And as soon as don Quixote saw them, he said to his squire: “Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we could have ever hoped. Look over there, Sancho Panza, my friend, where there are thirty or more monstrous giants with whom I plan to do battle and take all their lives, and with their spoils we’ll start to get rich. This is righteous warfare, and it’s a great service to God to rid the earth of such a wicked seed.” [Proyecto Cervantes]

Cervantes’s novel was written during the European Wars of Religion and raises many interesting questions about identity, politics, religion, violence, noble culture, and society in early modern Spain and its empire. The book has been celebrated as one of the first novels, arguably influencing the form of the modern novel. So, perhaps it not surprising to find Don Quixote at the center of debates about Spanish identity once again.

Ana Iris Simón, Feria (Círculo de Tiza, 2020).

The publisher, Círculo de Tiza, provides a book description on its webpage.

The New York Times reports on Ana Iris Simón’s novel.

The tourist office of Castilla-La Mancha maintains a webpage on Campo de Criptana.

El País reports regularly on Spanish politics and has an English edition.

For an online edition of Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, in English translation, see the Proyecto Cervantes at Texas A&M University. The first edition, Miguel de Cervantes, El Ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha, compuesto por Miguel de Cervántes Saavedra… (1605), may be downloaded from Gallica at the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Posted in Cultural History, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, Empires and Imperialism, European History, European Studies, European Union, European Wars of Religion, History of the Western World, Mediterranean World, Noble Culture and History of Elites, Political Activism and Protest Culture, Political Culture, Reformation History, Renaissance Art and History, Warfare in the Early Modern World, World History | Leave a comment

Fellowship in Early Modern Spanish Studies

Exeter College (Oxford) is offering a fellowship in early modern Spanish studies in honor of Sir John Elliott, renowned historian of early modern Spain and its empire.

Doctoral candidates and recent Ph.D.s working on early modern Spain and its empire may be interested in applying for this fellowship.

Here is the fellowship announcement from Exeter College:

Diego Velásquez, The Surrender of Breda, 1634-1635.

Exeter College (part of the University of Oxford) invites applications for the Sir John Elliott Fellowship in Early Modern Spanish Studies. This post is made possible through the generosity of Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica (CEEH).

The Fellowship will be tenable for a period of 36 months from 1 September 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter.

The main duties of the post are to engage in advanced study and research in the area of Early Modern Spanish Studies – specifically, into some aspect of Spanish cultural expression between 1450 and 1700.  Culture is understood as including literature, visual & performing arts, material culture and history of knowledge. The Fellow will build an international research profile through innovative original research, preparing work for publication (in monographs and/ or journals), and participating in international conferences. The postholder will also be a member of the Governing Body at Exeter College, with associated administrative and Trustee duties.

There will be no teaching obligation attached to the Fellowship, although the postholder will be welcome to do a limited amount of teaching within the collegiate University if they wish to do so, and especially where such teaching experience will enhance the career development of the postholder.

The successful candidate will:

  • Have a research record of international standing, appropriate to the stage of the candidate’s career, with evidence of, or evidence of potential for producing, research of international standing in Early Modern Spanish Studies;
  • Have the ability to undertake College administration and duties; and
  • Hold, or be close to completion of, a PhD, or equivalent, in a relevant field. They must also have submitted their doctoral thesis for examination between 1 June 2018 and 31 May 2022 (inclusive). As indicated in the Further Particulars, career breaks for family or health reasons, and pandemic-related disruption, will be taken into account.

The Fellow will be appointed on a salary of £33,309 per annum. In addition to salary, a range of other generous benefits are available, as set out in the Further Particulars.

How to Apply

For more information, including details of how to apply, please download a copy of the Further Particulars.

Recruitment Monitoring Form

The closing date for applications, and the last date for receipt of references direct from referees, is 12pm noon (GMT) on Monday 28 February 2022. It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure that their application, and references, arrive before the deadline.

Exeter College is an equal opportunities employer and values diversity.

Posted in Court Studies, Cultural History, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, Empires and Imperialism, European History, European Wars of Religion, Grants and Fellowships, Reformation History, Renaissance Art and History | Leave a comment

Jacques Cujas and the Legal Renaissance

This year, French jurists and academics are remembering Jacques Cujas, an important humanist legal scholar who was born 500 years ago in 1522.

Jacques Cujas, Musée du Vieux Toulouse, Inv 22.5.1

Humanism is often understood primarily as a literary movement during the Renaissance, but humanists worked in diverse intellectual disciplines, including the fields of law.

Jacques Cujas’s legal writings became associated with a legal Renaissance in France during the sixteenth century. Cujas wrote during the upheavals of the French Wars of Religion (1559-1629).

France mémoire describes Jacques Cujas’s contribution to French legal humanism:

“Peu connu du grand public, Jacques Cujas devint, en participant à la Renaissance au renouvellement des méthodes employées dans l’enseignement du droit, une figure majeure de l’Université française. L’Empereur Justinien avait fait compiler, réviser, et amender au VIe siècle les règles du droit romain, et en avait réalisé la somme dans une série d’ouvrages appelée compilations justiniennes (Code, Digeste, Institutes, Novelles). Au cœur du Moyen Âge, ces textes réapparurent en Occident après cinq siècles d’un quasi-oubli. En rupture avec la scolatisque médiévale, l’humanisme renaissant chercha par une étude critique des textes à en rétablir le sens historique. Né il y a 500 ans, Jacques Cujas fut l’un des plus brillants représentants de cet « humanisme juridique » et exerça une influence durable dans le domaine du droit.”

This 500th anniversary may not be the biggest historical commemoration of the year, but students of early modern history, French history, Parisian history, and Renaissance studies will be curious to learn about Jacques Cujas.

Visitors to the Sorbonne in Paris may recognize the nearby rue Cujas, which commemorates the jurist’s historical contribution to French jurisprudence.

rue Cujas, 5th arrondissement, Paris.

France mémoire provides resources on Jacques Cujas and the French Renaissance in law.

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

Religion and Empire in Early Modern Maryland

Archaeologists made a curious find during recent excavations at St. Mary’s, a colonial settlement in Maryland.

One of the participants in a dig unearthed “a rare 370-year-old Spanish cross that had likely been made in the pilgrimage city of Caravaca, Spain, around 1650 and had made its way 4,000 miles to a meadow in southern Maryland.”

Image: The Washington Post.

The history of this particular cross is unknown, but it presumably belonged to one of the English Catholics who settled in early modern Maryland. The Washington Post explains that “Maryland’s original 150 colonists, including many English Catholics fleeing Protestant persecution, had arrived at St. Mary’s on two ships, the Ark and the Dove, in late March 1634.”

Religion and empire were closely intertwined in the early modern American colonies, and archaeological excavations continue to reveal new dimensions of religious practices and material culture from the early modern period.

The Washington Post reports on the excavations in Maryland.

Posted in Atlantic World, Cultural History, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, Empires and Imperialism, European History, European Wars of Religion, History of the Western World, Reformation History, Religious History, Renaissance Art and History, United States History and Society | Leave a comment

Job Opening: Assistant Director of WHA / H21 Project

The World History Association is developing a major curricular project on History for the 21st Century, aimed at improving History survey courses.

The WHA is currently hiring an Assistant Director for the History for the 21st Century Project.

The ad from the World History Association on H-Net reads:

Call for Applications: Assistant Director of History for the 21st Century

History for the 21st Century (“H/21”) is a collaborative, faculty-led initiative of the World History Association with a central mission of enabling college and university faculty to effectively introduce students to the historical thinking necessary for fostering an equitable and sustainable world. Most colleges and universities offer General Education history courses at the first-year level that aim to help students to understand their lives in historical perspective, to make mature decisions today, and to gain intellectual tools to build on that understanding throughout their lives. Recent years have seen changes in the focus and preparation of students, innovations in educational technology and pedagogies, new curricular requirements, and new ethical and ecological imperatives. The goal of History for the 21st Century is to support educators in adapting to this new environment through a faculty-led collaborative effort focusing centrally on General Education history courses. Our goal is to offer free, student-centered, inquiry-driven, and user-friendly materials for the General Education history classroom. These materials will enable students to see themselves (and their ancestors) within historical narratives that provide meaning for their present and for their future. For the first phase of this project, these materials will take the form of roughly 20 free, digitally available teaching units (called Modules Ready to Educate, or MREs) that help teach both historical skills and content.

Within this context, H/21 aims to focus on:

  • introductory college courses, since these are the highest impact courses and are often the only history course history (or, indeed, course in the humanities) that non-majors ever take.
  • both the world history and American history frameworks.
  • engaging students in active learning within large-class settings (H/21 is not focused on small seminars or cross-disciplinary ‘first-year experience’ programs).
  • producing materials including content, primary sources, activities, and assessment tools that faculty can adapt to the particular courses they offer.
  • engaging with the diverse range of human experiences, including going beyond standard historical narratives and centering peoples commonly de-centered in or absent from those narratives.
  • producing materials that are peer reviewed by content experts, vetted by experienced educators, and can be revised based on future evidence.
  • producing materials that are available to faculty and students at no charge.

Position Description

The Assistant Director of History for the 21st Century will support the Director in the production of the MREs. Their central responsibilities will include the design of digital MREs, the project’s website, and interactive portal(s) for faculty; liaising with authors (who will also be practicing historians) to ensure conformity of skills, language, and depth of content across the MREs; assisting to secure copyright permissions; and assisting to organize public events and training workshops. The Assistant Director should also be capable of producing MREs of their own based on best practices in history pedagogy and up-to-date scholarship in the discipline.

This two-year position will be the rough equivalent of a half-time job with compensation based on experience. There may be a possibility for extension after the first two years. The Assistant Director will report directly to the Director but will also attend and participate in Executive Council meetings. There is no fixed location for work.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Two years of experience teaching at the postsecondary level
  • A MA or PhD in History, with a demonstrated expertise in a coherently defined research project
  • Experience in digital humanities, including website construction and digital design
  • Experience with student-centered, inquiry-based, active learning

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience producing independent syllabuses and lesson plans for large history courses at the postsecondary level
  • Experience in teaching introductory world history or General Education history courses at the postsecondary level
  • Ability to work positively, productively, and collegially with a diverse range of scholars
  • Experience with training educators
  • Experience with event organizing
  • Demonstrated ability to see complex projects (including research projects) to their completion


To apply, submit a cover letter, CV, and sample syllabus by March 1st to info@history21.com. For questions, contact Jesse Spohnholz, Director, at spohnhoj@wsu.edu

Posted in Careers in History, Graduate Work in History, History of the Western World, Humanities Education, Jobs and Positions, The Past Alive: Teaching History, United States History and Society, World History | Leave a comment

Die Kapitalisierung des Krieges / Capitalisation of War

I was excited to receive my copy of Die Kapitalisierung des Krieges: Kriegsunternehmer in Spätmittelalter und Früher Neuzeit yesterday in the campus mail at Northern Illinois University.

The book presents comparative studies of military entrepreneurship, war finance, military logistics, and early capitalism during the European Wars of Religion of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A number of the essays in the volume focus on military entrepreneurs in the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). The volume should be useful for historians thinking about long wars and military contracting in modern and contemporary conflicts.

This newly published collective volume that grew out of a conference on Die Kapitalisierung des Krieges / The Capitalization of War, held at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in 2009.

I participated in the conference and presented a paper on military contractors in the French Wars of Religion, which I later developed into a chapter for the collective volume.

Brian Sandberg, “‘Avarice Never Made Him Unsheathe a Mercenary Sword’: Military Contractors in the French Wars of Religion, 1562–1629,” in Die Kapitalisierung des Krieges: Kriegsunternehmer in Spätmittelalter und Früher Neuzeit, ed. Matthias Meinhardt and Markus Meumann (Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2021), 85-104. 

The publisher, LIT Verlag, provides a book description. Google Books offers a preview of the book.

Posted in Civil Conflict, Current Research, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern France, Early Modern World, European History, European Studies, European Wars of Religion, French History, French Wars of Religion, History of Violence, Mercenaries, Noble Culture and History of Elites, Reformation History, Religious Politics, Religious Violence, Strategy and International Politics, War, Culture, and Society, Warfare in the Early Modern World | Leave a comment

Mediterranean Displacements

The history of migration has become a major area of study in the Mediterranean World.

The recent patterns of migration by North Africans, Sub-Saharan Africans, and Syrians across the Mediterranean toward European nations has created a series of political crises in the European Union. Growing anti-immigrant sentiments and racial politics have greatly complicated efforts at alleviating the suffering of economic migrants and political refugees across the Mediterranean. Many migrants have lost their lives in shipwrecks and others have been detained in refugee camps.

Pre-modern historians have been working to set these current crises into a much longer history of migration that discusses expulsions, displacements, refugees, and exiles in complex ways. Mayte Green-Mercado’s work fits into this broader effort.

The Center for Renaissance Studies is hosting a Premodern Studies Seminar featuring Mayte Green-Mercado’s paper on “Mediterranean Displacements: Morisco Migrations in the Sixteenth Century.”

Graduate students interested in pre-modern History and Mediterranean studies will be interested in this seminar.

Here is the announcement from the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library:

Mediterranean Displacements:
Morisco Migrations in the Sixteenth Century

Mayte Green-Mercado, Rutgers University-Newark
Friday, February 4, 2022
1-3 pm Central Time

CRS is pleased to announce the next meeting of the Premodern Studies Seminar.

This paper examines the phenomenon of migration and displacement of Moriscos—Iberian Muslims forcibly converted to Catholicism in the first two decades of the sixteenth century—before the expulsion of this community from the Iberian Peninsula in 1609. Taking a prosopographical and micro historical approach that focuses on the Izquierdos, a wealthy family of Morisco merchants who were at the center of a rebellion conspiracy in Valencia and Aragon in the 1570s and 1580s, the aim is to examine the experiences of displacement of Moriscos before the forced exiles. Some guiding questions that this paper will address are: to what degree did migrant and displaced Moriscos keep ties with their communities of origin? Did the mobility of Moriscos impact the lives of their coreligionists living in the Peninsula? This paper is part of a larger project that aims to consider the ways in which the fields of migration studies, diaspora studies, and critical refugee studies can contribute to our knowledge of Morisco history and identity.

For more information about the seminar and a link to register, please visit the seminar calendar page here: https://www.newberry.org/02042022-mayte-green-mercado-rutgers-university

Posted in Civilians and Refugees in War, Cultural History, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, European Studies, Graduate Work in History, History of Race and Racism, History of the Western World, Maritime History, Mediterranean World, Reformation History, Religious History, Religious Politics, Religious Violence, Renaissance Art and History, Revolts and Revolutions, Warfare in the Early Modern World, World History | Leave a comment

Historical Action Figures

This Martin Luther King Day, a new historical action figure is being released. Mattel is launching a Barbie doll portraying Ida B. Wells.

The Washington Post reports that “Black American journalist, suffragist and anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells will have her likeness transformed into a Barbie doll to honor her historic achievements.

“Wells, who was born into slavery in Mississippi in 1862 during the Civil War, went on to break boundaries as a prominent suffragist fighting to expand the right to vote. Wells also won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 2020 for her ‘courageous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americans during the era of lynching’ and helped to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).”

Historical dolls and action figures have become quite popular among adult history fans, as well as children and teenagers.

Action figures depict major political and military leaders from many periods in world history: Ramses II, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Pope Innocent III, George Washington, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Napoléon Bonaparte, Karl Marx, Dwight Eisenhower, and The Beatles.

Historical action figures have been created for modern heroes of the Civil Rights movements, including Martin Luther King, Jr. Women’s Rights movements are celebrated with historical action figures of Susan B. Anthony and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as well as images of powerful women like Rosie the Riveter and Wonder Woman.

Some historical action figures have been created for major historical commemorations. For example, Playmobil launched a Martin Luther action figure to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the Ninety-Five Theses in 2017.

Many graduate students and professors’ desks and bookshelves are now adorned with historical action figures.

The Washington Post article on the Ida B. Wells Barbie doll is available on its website.

Posted in Atrocities, Cultural History, History in the Media, History of Race and Racism, History of the Western World, History of Violence, Human Rights, Women and Gender History, World History | Leave a comment

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are remembering Martin Luther King, Jr., and his powerful leadership of the Civil Rights Movement today on MLK Day 2022.

WBEZ in Chicago provides Studs Terkel’s famous recordings of the 1963 Train Ride to Washington, focusing on interviews with Chicagoans heading to Washington, D.C., to participate in the March on Washington. Many of those interviewees probably heard Martin Luther King, Jr., deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Martin Luther King, Jr., commented in 1963 on the “minority of misguided senators” who would use the filibuster to block voting rights legislation.

The Washington Post recently reported on Dr. King’s comments on the filibuster and provided the video of those comments.

WBEZ provides Studs Terkel’s recordings on its website.

The Chicago History Museum offers a exhibition on Remembering Dr. King: 1929-1968, a virtual tour of Chicago sites associated with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted in History in the Media, History of Race and Racism, Human Rights, Illinois History and Society, Political Activism and Protest Culture, Political Culture, The Past Alive: Teaching History, United States History and Society | Leave a comment