Category Archives: Faculty News

Fordham Historian Professor Kirsten Swinth was Featured in the New York Times

New York Times writer Claire Cain Miller published an article, “Why Mothers’ Choices About Work and Family Often Feel Like No Choice at All,” that features our own Dr. Kirsten Swinth. Here is a snippet of what Dr. Swinth stated: “What’s implicit in the conservative logic is that good mothers make the right choice, and the right choice is to prioritize your family.”

For further reading, here’s the link to the New York Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/17/upshot/mothers-choices-work-family.html

You can follow Dr. Kirsten Swinth on Twitter @kswinth

Kirsten Swinth

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Two History Faculty Members Awarded The Prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Fordham historians Scott Bruce and Yuko Miki are recipients of the 2020-2021 NEH fellowship. Below is a description of their fascinating projects.

Scott Bruce’s project is entitled, The Lost Patriarchs Project: Recovering the Greek Fathers in the Medieval Latin Tradition. Yuko Miki’s project is entitled, Brazilian Atlantic: Archives and Stories of Illegal Slavery.

The Lost Patriarchs Project: The influence of Greek patristics on western European thought and culture remains an important, but largely overlooked, aspect of the history of medieval Latin literature. The goal of my project is the creation of an instrument of reference called The Lost Patriarchs: A Survey of the Greek Fathers in the Medieval Latin Tradition.  This book will present a catalogue of the deep, largely untouched, reservoir of medieval Latin texts that have Greek Christian origins, both those known directly from surviving manuscript copies and those known indirectly from medieval library catalogues. It will provide an alphabetically arranged handbook that presents a series of concise accounts (500 to 10,000 words) of the manuscript tradition and transmission of Greek Christian literature in the medieval Latin tradition.  A reference tool of this kind would gather all this is known about these texts in current scholarship, allowing future researchers to begin the work of charting their influence in western Christian doctrine and devotional practices.

Brazilian Atlantic: This project is a narrative history of illegal slavery in the nineteenth-century Atlantic World. Through four intertwined stories about a slave ship and its captives, two West African men, a financier, and a Kongolese prince, it investigates how illegal slavery thrived throughout the Atlantic World in general, and in Brazil in particular, in the very midst of the “Age of Emancipation.” In paying attention to the lived experiences of women, men, and children forced into, or who profited from, illegal slavery, this project challenges the predominant, sweeping narratives of the nineteenth-century as the triumph of abolition, free trade, and liberal freedom. Through an ethnographic reading of the archives of illegal slavery, this project weaves together the past and present, historical characters and archival encounters to propose a new way of writing about the ambiguous histories of slavery and freedom that centers the suffering and afterlives of the enslaved.

** Yuko Miki’s photo was taken by Margarita Corporan Photography **

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by | January 16, 2020 · 2:41 am

Professor Magda Teter’s New Book, “Blood Libel: On the Trail of An AntiSemetic Myth” (Harvard, 2020) is Now Out.

About the Book:

“A landmark history of the antisemitic blood libel myth—how it took root in Europe, spread with the invention of the printing press, and persists today. Accusations that Jews ritually killed Christian children emerged in the mid-twelfth century, following the death of twelve-year-old William of Norwich, England, in 1144. Later, continental Europeans added a destructive twist: Jews murdered Christian children to use their blood. While charges that Jews poisoned wells and desecrated the communion host waned over the years, the blood libel survived.

Initially blood libel stories were confined to monastic chronicles and local lore. But the development of the printing press in the mid-fifteenth century expanded the audience and crystallized the vocabulary, images, and “facts” of the blood libel, providing a lasting template for hate. Tales of Jews killing Christians—notably Simon of Trent, a toddler whose body was found under a Jewish house in 1475—were widely disseminated using the new technology. Following the paper trail across Europe, from England to Italy to Poland, Magda Teter shows how the blood libel was internalized and how Jews and Christians dealt with the repercussions. The pattern established in early modern Europe still plays out today. In 2014 the Anti-Defamation League appealed to Facebook to take down a page titled “Jewish Ritual Murder.” The following year white supremacists gathered in England to honor Little Hugh of Lincoln as a sacrificial victim of the Jews. Based on sources in eight countries and ten languages, Blood Libel captures the long shadow of a pernicious myth.”

Book Reviews:

“An intellectual tour de force. This authoritative study of the blood libel and its ramifications in early modern Europe will become a classic.”—Ronnie Po-Chia Hsia, author of Trent 1475: Stories of a Ritual Murder Trial

“A work of wide-ranging research, great insight, and remarkable erudition. This will be the definitive book on blood libel for a long time to come, equally important for readers of Jewish history and Christian history in early modern Europe.”—Larry Wolff, author of Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment

“In this deeply researched and meticulously argued book, Magda Teter offers the first comprehensive study of the origins and afterlife of one of the most virulent and harmful of all anti-Jewish accusations. But Blood Libel is far more than a narrative history. By highlighting the central role of printed books, broadsheets, and images in the dissemination of the libel, Teter illuminates the mechanisms by which hate can be generated, and offers a powerful and sobering lesson for our own time.”—Sara Lipton, author of Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitic Iconography

Magda Teter

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Awards & High Recognitions Continue to Pour in for Yuko Miki’s Monograph!

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Fordham Historian Yuko Miki has received 3 honors across 3 different fields at the 2020 American Historical Association (AHA) for her book, Frontiers of Citizenship: A Black and Indigenous History of Postcolonial Brazil. She received the AHA’s Wesley-Logan Prize for African Diaspora History and the Conference on Latin American History (CLAH)’s Warren Dean Memorial Prize in Brazilian History. Moreover, she received an Honorable Mention from CLAH for the Howard F. Cline Prize in Latin American Ethnohistory. Frontiers of Citizenship was also a 2019 Outstanding First Book Award Finalist, Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD). We are so thrilled by her successes. Please congratulate Yuko Miki when you see her.

Below is the list of honors Frontiers of Citizenship has received so far:

  • 2019 Wesley-Logan Prize for the Best Book in African Diaspora History, American Historical Association (AHA)
  • 2019 Warren Dean Memorial Prize for the Best Book in Brazilian History, Conference on Latin American History (CLAH)
  • 2019 Honorable Mention, Howard F. Cline Prize for the Best Book in Ethnohistory, Conference on Latin American History (CLAH)
  • 2019 Honorable Mention for Best Book Prize, Latin American Studies Association 19th-Century Section
  • 2019 Outstanding First Book Award Finalist, Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD)

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Nana Osei-Opare’s new article, “Uneasy Comrades: Postcolonial Statecraft, Race, and Citizenship, Ghana–Soviet Relations, 1957–1966,” is now out.

Osei-Opare’s article tells a new history of the Cold War, of Ghana’s early postcolonial foreign policy, and the formation of Ghana’s national identity through its diplomatic, economic, and migratory relationship with the USSR during Kwame Nkrumah’s government (1957–66). Through examining English and Russian sources from American, British, Ghanaian, and Russian archives, this article offers three arguments. First, by analyzing Soviet anxieties over its role in Ghanaian affairs, the article shows that Ghana significantly controlled the economic and diplomatic contours and pace of its relationship with the USSR. Second, that discourses of race and neocolonialism were more central to defining the terms of Ghana’s geopolitical positioning than the Cold War framework. Third, the virulent racism Ghanaians experienced in the United States and USSR helped forge a global Ghanaian national consciousness. The article illuminates an independent black state’s attempts to procure sovereignty against a white supremacist economic and political international order and calls for Cold War scholars to engage seriously with African archives alongside non-African ones to create more dynamic, representational historical accounts.

You can read the full article here.

You can follow him on Twitter at @NanaOseiOpare

Nana Osei-Opare

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The Page 99 Test of Prof. Beth Penry’s New book, “The People Are King.”

The English Novelist and Critic Ford Madox Ford argued: “Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.”

Prof. Penry conducted the page 99 test. Click on the links below to see the fascinating results.

Beth Penry

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Fordham History Prof. Kirsten Swinth Featured in The Washington Post.

Fordham Historian Prof. Kirsten Swinth is quoted in a The Washington Post article entitled, “Jane Fonda spent a night in jail in 1970. Her mug shot defined feminist rebellion.” Swinth states: “At the time, there was this expectation that the only way a woman could be in public was to present herself in full makeup, respectably dressed, a skirt, a well-controlled girdle,” said Kirsten Swinth, a Fordham University professor who studies U.S. women’s history. The mug shot “says you can be something different than what society has told you you can be.”

You can follow Prof. Kirsten Swinth on Twitter at @kswinth.

You can also read the full article below:

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Don’t Embrace Originalism to Defend Trump’s Impeachment, argues Fordham Historian Prof. Saul Cornell.

In The New Republic, Fordham Historian Prof. Saul Cornell argues that “Liberal legal scholars are at risk of falling into a right-wing trap.” Cornell continues to argue: “In the pending congressional impeachment inquiry, the House Judiciary Committee is charged with (among other things) taking up the question of what the constitutional process of impeachment means. To aid them in this solemn task, committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and his colleagues on Wednesday summoned an impressive list of constitutional scholars to offer authoritative interpretations of the Constitution’s impeachment clauses.”

He continues: “The present debate over Donald Trump’s impeachment has largely been framed in originalist terms. But for all of this doctrine’s supposed appeal as a settled form of legal interpretation, it would be prudent to recognize that originalism now comes in about as many flavors as the Ben and Jerry’s product line. The dominant model, for the moment, is what’s known as public meaning originalism. Champions of this approach contend that the goal of interpreting the Constitution is to identify what a competent and reasonably well-informed speaker of American English in 1788 would have thought the words of the text meant. For Republicans and many movement conservatives, public meaning originalism is the default mode of inquiry for virtually every constitutional question. The Federalist Society, the influential right-wing legal group that now effectively issues the union card for entry into right-wing politics and law, has made public meaning originalism its unofficial philosophy, arguing in essence that originalism is not simply the best, but is indeed the only legitimate mode of interpreting the Constitution.”

You can read more at https://newrepublic.com/article/155891/dont-embrace-originalism-defend-trumps-impeachment

Saul Cornell

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What is Global History at Fordham? (Part 2 – Prof. Chris Dietrich)

This is part of 2 of our new series, “What is Global History at Fordham?” Today, we hear from Professor Chris Dietrich, a member of Fordham’s Global History consortium, on what global history means to him and how it shapes his work.

“As a historian of U.S. foreign relations, the perspectives offered by a Global History methodology are invaluable to my research and writing on oil and decolonization.  It is impossible to understand the major questions faced by U.S. leaders without understanding the different contexts from which those questions arose.  In my own work, it has been fascinating to see how ideas and policies crossed traditional boundaries through international institutions like the Arab League, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and the United Nations.  Opportunities abound in New York City, which is a wonderful place to conduct this sort of work for all sorts of reasons, but especially because of the proximity of crucial archives for understanding the place of the United States in the world.”

You can follow Prof. Chris Dietrich on Twitter @CRWDietrich

Chris Dietrich

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Prof. S. Elizabeth Penry’s New Book, “The People Are King: The Making of an Indigenous Andean Politics (Oxford University Press),” is Now Out!

In the sixteenth century, Andean communities were forcibly removed from their villages by Spanish colonizers and resettled in planned, self-governed towns. Rather than conforming to Spanish cultural and political norms, indigenous Andeans adopted and gradually refashioned the institutions imposed on them, in the process producing a new kind of civil society that merged their traditional understanding of collective life with the Spanish notion of the común to demand participatory democracy. This hybrid concept of self-rule spurred the indigenous rebellions that erupted across Latin America against Spanish rulers and native hereditary nobility. Through the letters and documents of the Andean people themselves, The People Are King examines the community-based democracy that played a central role in the Age of Atlantic Revolutions and continues to galvanize indigenous movements in Bolivia today.

“Elizabeth Penry offers a sharply original account of the Andean Age of Rebellions, placing it in a culture of civic populism whose roots extended to both pre-conquest Peru and medieval Spain. Where previous narratives have gravitated toward charismatic leaders, The People are King breathes a democratic spirit that is both moving and persuasive.”—Jeremy Mumford, Brown University 

“This meticulously researched and gracefully narrated look at the transformation over time of the public sphere in indigenous communities of highland Bolivia offers readers a remarkable window into how and why the Great Rebellion of the 1780s unfolded by focusing on communities instead of on the leadership. This is an unusual and exciting second look at the prelude to independence in Spanish America.”—Joanne Rappaport, Georgetown University 

“Elizabeth Penry’s skillfully crafted study reconstructs the ways colonial Andean comunes or commons became grassroots laboratories where modern ideas of communal self-government and popular sovereignty gradually emerged. Inscribed in the best traditions of Andean history and ethnohistory, The People are King is a much-needed contribution to the intricate ways indigenous community politics helped establish the foundations of the modern world.”— José Carlos de la Puente, author of Andean Cosmopolitans: Seeking Justice and Reward at the Spanish Royal Court 


You can purchase the book here

Image result for S. Elizabeth Penry
Prof. S. Elizabeth Penry

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