Category Archives: Faculty News

The Professor and the Process: Rosemary Wakeman and Practicing Utopia

This last year, the department’s own Professor Rosemary Wakeman published her examination of the twentieth-century new town movement with the University of Chicago Press. Practicing Utopia: An Intellectual History of the New Town Movement tracks the global phenomenon as it ignored traditional political and geographic boundaries as each location strived for its own vision of an idealized city.

Discussing another historian’s work, from its inception to completion and the problems they encounter along the way, personally helps me realize my own research may be more fantastic reality rather than realistic fantasy (you mean I’m not the only one who feels like they spend more time than necessary getting archival permission?). Thankfully, Dr. Wakeman was able to take some time away from her schedule to discuss with me the process and problems for Practicing Utopia.

History Department: So how did the research for this book begin?

Rosemary Wakeman: Like many projects, I begin research while writing on Paris and its postwar development. The housing crisis and new towns in the Paris region led to the overwhelming sources on new towns in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia. It was impossible not to follow the trail.

HD: So what began in Paris developed into a worldwide study? How long did it take then to write the book?

RM: The book was written during a year-long fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS) in Wassenaar, the Netherlands. Another 8+ months followed hunting for images and permissions, working with the editors at the University of Chicago Press to put together the final version.

HD: As a book that developed from Paris into a worldwide study, where does this fit into your overall research?

RM: My longstanding interest is in European urban history, especially the second half of the 20th century. The new towns book gave me the chance to explore urban history, architecture and urban planning in central and eastern Europe.

HD: Did exploring these topics then lead you into any new avenues of research?

RM: This has led to a new project on An Urban History of Europe, 1815 to the Present, which will be published by Bloomsbury Press. Another upcoming project speaks to my interest in continuing a global perspective and will examine the connections between Bombay, London, and Shanghai in the mid-20th century.

HD: It sounds like the trail hasn’t ended then. Have there been any bumps in that trail, such as problems that kept you awake at night dreading some aspect of the project?

RM: What kept me up at night was the choice of which new towns and architect-planners to include in the book and how to organize them around an intellectual history. Finding images and permissions was also difficult. Nonetheless, the project was an opportunity to be in contact with archivists and researchers in new towns literally all over the world. This was an immense pleasure and one of the great benefits of doing historical research.

Thanks so much to Professor Wakeman for taking the time to answer our questions.

When she is not away writing wonderful books, Professor Wakeman teaches frequently in the History graduate program and has served as Director of the O’Connell Initiative in the History of Global Capitalism.

 

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Congratulation to Kirsten Swinth, Winner of Social Sciences Teaching Award

Professor Kirsten Swinth of the Department of History (Right) with her student Noel Wolfe (PhD) at graduation

On Friday at the University’s annual Faculty Day, Professor John Harrington, Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, presented History Professor Kirsten Swinth with the award for outstanding teaching in the Social Sciences. Dean Harrington’s citation mentioned her her broad range of skills and interests, including the history of women and painting, her experiences working in education abroad, particularly in Mozambique, and work organizing teaching events outside of the classroom. The History Department could not be more proud of Professor Swinth: Congratulations!

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The Professor and the Process: Dr. Richard Gyug and The Bishop’s Book of Kotor

Liturgy and Law in a Dalmatian City
The Bishop’s Book of Kotor (Sankt-Peterburg, BRAN, F. no. 200).
ISBN: 978-0-88844-204-8

The History Department was lucky enough to catch up with its very own Prof. Richard Gyug to discuss his newest book, Liturgy and Law in a Dalmatian City: The Bishop’s Book of Kotor (Sankt-Peterburg, BRAN, F. no. 200). Prof. Gyug has recently returned to campus after a semester’s leave. He has been research fellow at the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies (PIMS) where he continued work on his long-running funded project the Monumenta Liturgica Beneventana. Our interview with Prof. Gyug will hopefully give hope and insight to many scholars, especially those starting out like the Fordham MA students now beginning their spring projects, as we discussed the process: how does a project move from an idea to a finished product like a book?

History Department: First thing’s first I suppose, how did the project begin?

Dr. Richard Gyug: The present volume is a study and edition of a medieval manuscript. A much shorter version of the study and two of the four parts of the edition were my doctoral dissertation at the University of Toronto (1984). The manuscript on which the edition is based is cited several times before 1800 when it was still in Kotor in Montenegro, where it was written and used in the middle ages. After that it disappeared until being noted again by Ljudmila Kisseleva of the Academy of Science in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad). Because the manuscript is written in Beneventan script, which was used in southern Italy and Dalmatia from 800 to 1300 or so, after Kisseleva’s note Virginia Brown listed the manuscript in her 1980 revised edition of E.A. Lowe’s The Benventan Script (original edition 1914). I was then at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto, where Brown was, and her colleague, Roger Reynolds, introduced the manuscript to me in a seminar. I continued to work on it, and made it my dissertation.

Plate 4 from Gyug, Liturgy and Law. This is fol. 70v in the Pontifical of Kotor (St. Petersburg, RASL, F. 200) and is part of the dedication of a church with notated antiphons and an added communal document. The photograph is by Alexander Karnachov © Sankt-Peterburg, BRAN.

HD: After finally being introduced to the manuscript, how long was the process and its different stages?

RG: Very long! In preparing that dissertation, I noted which parts of the manuscript had music, but did not study them, an omission typical of liturgical editions then and now. At the defense, Andrew Hughes, a distinguished musicologist, noted this lack and stressed how important the music was for understanding the composition and use of the book. Of course, he was correct, so before continuing work on the present book, I edited a missal from Dubrovnik in which music was a major component. After that book came out, I worked on other similar manuscripts associated with a long-term grant-funded project, the Monumenta Liturgica Beneventana, of which I was a member with the late Virginia Brown and Roger Reynolds. I picked up the present manuscript again in the mid-1990s and have been working on it off and on since over several research leaves.

 

HD: This manuscript seems like a regular in your research. Where does the book and this research fit in to your broader research questions?

RG: It’s a liturgical manuscript in Beneventan script. Such manuscripts are the principal topic of the Monumenta Liturgica Beneventan project, so it’s been a key part of the team project.

 

HD: Did your research on this book lead you into any immediate upcoming projects? If so, would you care to share what those are?

RG: I have continued to work on Beneventan manuscripts from Italy and Dalmatia, and thanks to the comparisons needed for the edition, also on liturgical manuscripts in other scripts from the region. So, it has led to several projects:

(1) a partial edition and study of a Beneventan manuscript containing Breviary and Ritual, which is priest’s manual. This manuscript is extraordinary because it was written in the fourteenth century, late for Beneventan, for use in Albania, which was outside the Beneventan zone, and the manuscript contains a Franciscan liturgy, rare in Beneventan, which is usually Benedictine and monastic. This study was begun and almost completed by my late colleague Virginia Brown, and I am finishing it at her request.

(2) a study of the relationships between Benevetan manuscripts with similar contents (i.e., the services proper to a bishop) and several related non-Beneventan manuscripts from Norman-Sicily, Bari in southern Italy, and Dubrovnik and Trogir in Dalmatia.

(3) the cataloguing of liturgical and other fragments at Montecassino

 

Thanks to Professor Gyug for taking the time to talk with us, and congratulations on this handsome book!

 

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Congratulations to Susan Wabuda, Contributor to Award Winning Volume on the Bible in Early Modern England

9780199686971The History Department congratulates faculty member Susan Wabuda, who contributed the opening essay to a volume awarded the Roland H. Bainton Prize (Reference Category) by the Sixteenth Century Society. The book, The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, c. 1530-1700 (Oxford University Press, 2015) was edited by Kevin Killeen, Helen Smith, and Rachel Willie, and resulted from an international conference held at the University of York (UK) in 2011.

The 2o11 conference was held to mark the 500th anniversary of the famous King James Bible (first published in 1611), but Wabuda’s essay entitled “‘A Day after Doomsday’: Cranmer and the Bible Translations of 1530s” discussed earlier trends in Bible translation in England. The King James version relied upon these earlier translations, especially because of the work of the great translator William Tyndale (d. 1536). Wabuda reports that one goal of the essay was to understand the problems of making a good Bible translation in English, but she also hopes that it helps to illuminate another issue: that the Bible was originally intended as a teaching tool. Although modern readers might think of a a Bible rendered into English as an opportunity for personal reading and study, this was not the intention of the translators. In fact, King Henry VIII and archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer both believed in withholding the Bible from the people if they would not behave: “Scripture was one of the great treasures of the church, but because it was so sacred (like the sacrament of the altar) it would be withheld from people depending on the circumstances.”

The Roland H. Bainton prize is given in memory of the great Reformation historian who taught at Yale University. Susan Wabuda laments never having met Bainton, who she identifies as one of the first scholars to seriously explore the role of women in the Reformation.

Congratulations once more to Dr. Wabuda and the team behind this great volume!

 

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Seeing Red, Feeling Blue: Historians Discuss the 2016 Election (11/21 11:30AM KE1st)

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The oldest known US electoral map, of the 1880 presidential election. Source: LA Times/Library of Congress

Join us on Monday, November 21 at 11:30 in the Keating 1st auditorium for a panel of Fordham historians discussing the 2016 Presidential election in historical perspective. Participants will include: Salv Acosta, Kirsten Swinth, Christopher Dietrich and Magda Teter

 

 

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2016 Election: Further Thoughts

As a follow-up to his Election Day post, our Chair Professor David Myers sent us these thoughts written the day after:

Night musings on the day of election:

Waiting idly in the Houston International Airport for the evening flight to LaGuardia on Wednesday, I thought back to a lunch I had long ago as a very young person in New Haven. In the summer of 1980, one of my classmates was the daughter of the recently retired Speaker of the House, Carl Albert. He invited me to lunch and the candidacy of Ronal Reagan came up. The famous and crafty Democratic politician looked straight into my eyes and said, with complete conviction, “I can tell you one thing for certain—Ronald Reagan will never be elected president of the United States.” That lunch has haunted me now for a year, and with good reason: despite all the improbabilities, Donald Trump is going to be the President of the United States.

Sifting through the evidence about what happened this year and why will take some time, but a few facts about American democracy become clear. Looking around me, I realize the Houston International Airport is named after a President Bush (George Herbert Walker Bush), and we have to acknowledge (reluctantly) a remarkable feat for Donald Trump. In the course of 11 months, he has decisively dismantled both political dynasties that have dominated American politics for some thirty years. To win the Republican nomination, he bested Jeb Bush (or Jeb! as he sought to play down the family name) and left one dynasty in tatters. Now he has done the same to the Clintons, and there is nothing left. These two families have held the presidency for twenty of the last twenty eight years (71%) and were hoping for twenty eight out of thirty six (78%). Whatever we might think about Trump, to have the American presidency tossed back and forth between elite families is not how we envision democracy. I wonder how much of the same fatigue and resentment that undid Jeb also played against Hillary Clinton.

Also, until 2000 (Bush vs. Gore), in only three instances in all of American history had a candidate won the presidency without winning the popular vote—the last time in 1888. Now it has happened twice in four elections, and both times the winner was the Republican candidate. Digging still deeper uncovers another surprising (and disturbing) fact: Since 1988 (Bush vs. Dukakis), a Republican presidential candidate has only won the popular vote once (Bush vs. Kerry, 2004). That is one out of seven election cycles. How different would the country look today if the popular vote actually determined the outcome?

Finally, going back to fateful 1980, one of the themes that year was the contrast between Reagan’s sunny optimism and Jimmy Carter’s pessimism (born of Reinhold Niebuhr’s sense of the “politician’s sad duty to establish justice in a sinful world”). In 1992, Bill Clinton believed “in a place called Hope” (Arkansas, which I actually visited). In 2008, Barack Obama won because of the “audacity of hope” in a year of despair (“Yes, we CAN!). We can use many words to describe the appeal of Donald Trump to 59,000,000 voters, but one thing is sure: “hope” isn’t one of them.

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Fordham History and the 2016 Presidential Election




A Reflection on the 2016 Presidential Election from W. David Myers, Chair of History at Fordham University.

 

So it is Election Day, 8 November—Fordham and the history department are closed, and the department chair is in El Paso, Texas, to watch the scene and celebrate his mother’s 98th birthday—more on that later. For now, while everyone votes, watches, and waits, it is a good moment to note that members of the Fordham history department have been and are involved in this election, both practically and intellectually. Nick Paul and family went to Pennsylvania in October to register voters. Recently, Kirsten Swinth gave a scintillating lecture and program on the history of sexual harassment in America—not just the fact of harassment, which sadly seems not about to end, but the reaction to it and attempts to define, control, and eliminate it. The tale that emerged from Kirsten’s discussion was a century-old set of disparate campaigns with different angles and motives leading to today’s intense efforts. It’s a messy history, but what Kirsten’s presentation demonstrated is that the fight isn’t new, and sexual harassment isn’t a distraction from more important issues this election year—it IS an important contemporary political matter, one that this ugliest of campaigns has brought to the forefront.
Others have been just as active—Saul Cornell’s tireless efforts politically and academically on the Second Amendment have taken him from Cambridge, England, to Palo Alto California. For me, though, one of the most enlightening moments from my colleagues was Sal Acosta’s discussion last February of voter restriction efforts in states with a long history of discrimination against African Americans—this time targeting a rising Latino population and using the same language of fear and criminality that disfranchised the black population. As I watch from El Paso, surrounded by my Latino friends and relatives, I note that those same states in the southeast and southwest are witnessing a surge in voting from a determined Latino population infected with the “audacity of hope,” as President Obama has described it. Sal Acosta has proven to be an astute observer and analyst of American politics.
And then there is a personal note–Catherine, my mother, about to celebrate her 98th birthday. While presenting her with a rosary chosen by my students on the Camino de Santiago last June, I was struck by a number—1918. That was the year of her birth during a devastating worldwide influenza epidemic and at the very end of World War I. Focus on the year–in 1918, women could not vote, nor could they fight for their country. In 1918, patriotic African Americans could not fight alongside their white comrades in the U.S. Army. In 1918, African Americans could not play in the major leagues. And in 1918, the Chicago Cubs had already been without a World Series victory for a decade . . .
So as I celebrate my courageous mother with my equally courageous (and Hillary-deranged sisters, I must add!), I realize that in the last decade, she has proudly voted for and seen an African American man become the President of the United States. She has seen gay marriage legalized and thus been able to greet and welcome her granddaughter’s spouse. Last Tuesday she voted for a woman to become the President of the United States. And on Wednesday, the Cubs took the series—with an African American leadoff hitter.
In all of these events, the “arc of history” didn’t necessarily bend gradually toward justice in some inevitable way. None of this seemed likely just a decade ago, at least not for the near term. But human beings seized the opportunities presented to them by accident, or disaster, or just dumb luck. The audacity of hope is the element that disrupts our theoretical and scientific thinking and we frequently overlook it. But our best moments as people, and as a people, must surely depend on it. That is one lesson for history and historians today.

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Saul Cornell to speak on “A Well Regulated Militia” at Fordham Law School (11/16 4:15PM)

cornell-book-series

The 2nd Amendment in an Age of Terror
A conversation with two Fordham professors

Nicholas Johnson, author of Negroes and the Gun
Saul Cornell, author of A Well-Regulated Militia

Moderated by Eric Sundrup, S.J., of America magazine

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
4:15 p.m. | Room 2-01A

Fordham Law School
150 W62nd Street, NYC

Refreshments will be served.

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Maryanne Kowaleski to Discuss Criminalizing Women’s Gossip in Late Medieval England (11/14 3:30 PM)

kowaleski-gossip-talk-2

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WEDNESDAY: Dr. Kirsten Swinth Discusses the History of Sexual Assault in America

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