Fordham University was honored to host Professor Timothy Brook this last Wednesday in the McNally Auditorium as part of the O’Connell Initiative on the Global History of Capitalism. Prof. Brook has spent his prolific career studying cultural and social history in Southeast Asia. From the Ming Dynasty in 14th to 17th century China to the Japanese occupation of China during WWII, Dr. Brook has authored numerous monographs, including the acclaimed Vermeer’s Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World (London: Profile Books, 2009) and, most recently, The Troubled Empire: China in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010).
Prof. Brook’s presentation, an ongoing research project titled “What to do when Chinese Try to Burn Down your Warehouse: Legal Plurality in Trading Ports at the Turn of the 17th Century,” was a captivating collection of stories and theories regarding the burgeoning role of capitalism in the Southeast Asian port city of Bantam. Eyebrow-raising title aside, Brook’s pithy and poignant ideas on capitalism gave the gathered crowd much to discuss in the following Q&A. During both the presentation and resulting discussion, Brook maintained that, “capitalism may have emerged in Europe, but only because of Europe’s engagement with the rest of the world.” Brook elaborated his examination of the legal troubles that plagued the Europeans’ imperialist endeavors through four stories culled from the diary of the early 17th century English trader Edmund Scott. Such legal troubles may have hampered immediate European imperialism in each specific case, but they may have also formed a framework by which the European powers could then apply when trading with other plundered nations. Such legal cases after all gave rise to Huig de Groot’s Mare Liberum and the ensuing legal debate on the law of the seas.
The History Department would like to extend its sincerest thanks to Professor Timothy Brook and the O’Connell Initiative for taking the time to present his insightful and illuminating research.
For more on Professor Brook’s talk, see here.
During a visit to New York to attend the College Art Association conference (CAA) Professor Antonio Urquízar Herrera from the Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia in Madrid stopped by Fordham’s Rose Hill campus to speak to a group of faculty and graduate students. As the group enjoyed lunch courtesy of the History Department Professor Urquízar-Herrera discussed his forthcoming book Admiration and Awe: Morisco Buildings and Identity Negotiations in Early Modern Spanish Historiography, which examines how Spanish Christian historians of the sixteenth century processed the presence of Islamic architecture at the heart of their cities. Particularly in Andalusia, where the last Muslim controlled towns were conquered by Christian powers in 1492, writers who wanted to describe the glory of their cities had to contend with monumental works of Islamic architecture. How, if at all, did they acknowledge the origins of these buildings, so patently different from their own Gothic cathedrals and palaces? Following a lively talk, the visiting art historian was generous enough to discuss his manuscripts, religious appropriation, and ideas concerning race and identity in Early Modern Spain with several graduate students.
The department, and especially the students who stuck around for the discussion, would like to thank Professor Herrera for his illuminating presentation. “Admiration and awe” captures the feelings of the Fordham audience quite nicely!
Last week was NYCDH Week 2017 — the week each year when the NYC Digital Humanities (DH) community gets together to discuss their projects, run workshops, and bring the NYC DH community together.
One feature of the kick-off meeting on Monday was a series of Lightning Talks: five minute mini-presentations about DH projects in the works. Presentations ranged from personal research to new departmental makerspaces and showed the breadth of DH projects and interests in the greater NYC area!
Fordham History Department Ph.D. student Alisa Beer gave a lightning talk about a DH project she is running at Columbia University as part of her spring 2017 internship with the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library at Columbia.
The workshop, called “Digital Editing and the Medieval Manuscript Roll” will take place on March 24-25 for Columbia University graduate students. Participants will learn the fundamentals of digital editing while tackling the codicological challenges posed by medieval manuscripts. Practical sessions will inform collective editorial decision-making: participants will undertake the work of transcription and commentary, and tag (according to TEI 5 protocols) the text and images of one medieval manuscript roll from the Columbia collection. The workshop will result in a collaborative digital edition of Plimpton Add. Ms. 04, a roll of the Fifteen Oes of Saint Bridget.
Plimpton Add. Ms. 04
Click here for more information on the workshop and its goals, structure, and outcomes.
The Bronx African American History Project will be hosting a town hall meeting on Race and Public Education in NYC, Tuesday, February 21st at Walsh Library, Fordham University. The event will begin at 7pm in the Flom Auditorium with a food and drink reception to follow.
This event will be co-sponsored by the Bronx African American History Project and the Department of African and African American Studies at Fordham University, Bronx Educators United for Justice, ASILI – The Black Student Alliance at Fordham, and The Fordham Club’s Bronx Collaboration Committee.
Please RSVP to the event here.
For additional event information please contact:
Lisa Betty: email@example.com
Mark Naison: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
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.
The first of the three Fall O’Connell lunch seminars was a great success. Faculty and graduate students engaged in a spirited discussion of Rebecca Spang’s Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution and the role money played in creating a gulf between political ideals and daily life. Join us for the second lunch seminar on Thursday, Nov. 3, 12:00pm-2:00pm (LC, 12 th floor, President’s Dining Room) to discuss James R. Fichter’s So Great a Profit: How the East Indies Trade Transformed Anglo-American Capitalism.
A mix of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates discuss Rebecca L. Spang’s book “Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution” at the first O’Connell lunchtime seminar