Why Revisit the Early Modern Canon?

The thing about canons is that they seem sacred. Challenging them, even revisiting them, can seem heretical. Facing these facts is the first step in addressing the intransigence of the early modern philosophical canon. Step two involves noticing just how much the canon leaves out.


Cambridge University Press to publish Renaissance Quarterly for the Renaissance Society of America

Cambridge University Press is partnering with the Renaissance Society of America (RSA) to publish Renaissance Quarterly, the leading American journal of Renaissance Studies.…


The Tudor banquet: digital text mining reveals new information

This blog accomapnies Louise Stewart’s Historical Journal article ‘Social Status and Classicism in the Visual and Material Culture of the Sweet Banquet in Early Modern England‘ Today, the term ‘banquet’ is commonly used to refer to any lavish feast.  However, in the Tudor and Stuart period the word had a different, and very specific meaning, referring to a separate meal which consisted solely of sweet foods.  In September 1591, for example, Queen Elizabeth I visited the Earl of Hertford at his estate at Elvetham.  The lavish entertainments provided for the queen during her four day stay included water pageants, fireworks, feasts and a glittering ‘banquet’.  A printed account of the entertainment makes it clear that this banquet was no ordinary meal.  It was served in the garden after supper, ‘all in glass and silver’ and accompanied by a spectacular fireworks display.  The queen was presented with a thousand sweet dishes including sculptural sugar work representing her arms, castles and forts, human figures and mythical and exotic animals as well as preserved fruits and other confections.  This elaborate spectacle was typical of the sweet banquet.…


The National Rise in Residential Segregation

People talk a lot about segregation.  Every week it seems that news reports or some new academic finding shows that segregation is related to some salient outcome.  The traditional story of how America became segregated is that blacks moved to Northern cities in the early twentieth century and whites, aided by government mortgage programs and the development of the interstate highway, fled to suburban areas, creating cities with black and poor urban cores and wealthier and whiter suburbs.  With the flight of wealthier white residents to the suburbs, the resources available to the urban core declined, leaving minorities fewer resources and effectively creating a poverty trap.…


“What is the Meaning of Meaning in Paul Tillich’s Theology?”

For the past few years, I have been at work on a book about the word meaning in such expressions as “the meaning of life,” “searching for meaning,” “ultimate meaning,” “higher meaning.” Several features of the word, apart from its ubiquity in popular and academic circles, struck me: (1) it is seldom defined and is thus given to ambiguity; (2) its meaning is slippery; (3) the English word is by nature different from its near-equivalents in other European languages because it is a verbal noun and thus at least suggests agency: something carries out the act denoted by the verb to mean.…


Did the Rabbis Believe in Agreus Pan? Rabbinic Relationships with Roman Power, Culture, and Religion in Genesis Rabbah 63

Genesis Rabbah, a rabbinic midrash (work of homiletical exegesis) compiled in Byzantine Palestine relates a fascinating story about the great Roman emperor, Diocletian (224–311 CE).…


‘Operation elections’: voting, nationhood and citizenship in late-colonial Africa

This blog accompanies the Historical Journal article Voting, Nationhood, and Citizenship in Late-Colonial Africa by Justin Willis, Gabrielle Lynch and Nic Cheeseman.…


Convict labour and penal transportations in the history of 19th and 20th centuries empires

In public memory, the history of convict labour, penal transportations and colonization is mostly associated with a number of historical stereotypes: The origins of modern Australia as a convict colony, or the notorious history of the Soviet Gulags; the forced labour camps in Nazi Germany, and the harsh, but also somewhat romanticized image of French penal colonies as pictured in the novel and film Papillon.…


Protecting Academic Freedom: Using the Past to Chart a Path Toward the Future

This blog accompanies the Forum on Academic Freedom published in History of Education Quarterly. In the past decade or so, there has been an uptick in assaults on academic freedom across the globe.  Whether through watch lists, denial of visas to travel to professional conferences, firings, or detentions and jail sentences, professors and teachers are battling for the freedom to regulate their own professional lives against government (and even administrative) officials who invoke national security and patriotism to justify suppression and enforce a particular consensus on contentious issues.…


How researchers can solve the bottle-opener problem with compute capsules

Imagine a group of people playing a sport together on a hot day. Although it’s a friendly match, they play vigorously and at the end of their game they’re hot and thirsty.…


Primary source volumes from the Royal Historical Society’s Camden Series

To mark the 150th anniversary of the Royal Historical Society, Cambridge University Press are making a selection of ten volumes from the Camden Series freely available to researchers until the end of the year.…


Moving Texts: A Hermeneutics of the Gospel According to Hollywood

Angelic choirs hum as calligraphic titles fill the screen. As the choir soars, an authoritative voice begins a tale that may be both alien and familiar: the coming of a heavenly visitor whose story bears repeating.…