Category Archives: This week in Fordham History

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

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Prof. S. Elizabeth Penry

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Is the World Still Living in the Shadow of the Crusades?

The official website for BBC History Magazine interviewed our colleague, Prof. Nicholas Paul. Read Prof. Paul’s comments below:

Confronted with the message, propagated by both the European and Anglophone extreme right and Islamic jihadist groups, that we live in an age of renewed conflict between Islam and the west, many people may understandably conclude that we have inherited an ancient legacy of holy war. We have – though not in the way that many imagine.

The legacy of the crusades today is not due to the continuity over time of any medieval crusading institution. After all, the crusade indulgence offered by the church – a central element of the architecture of these holy wars – had effectively disappeared by the 17th century. Surviving crusading orders, such as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, are now devoted to charitable work. And no modern state, whether in Spain, the Baltic or the eastern Mediterranean, can trace its origins to the ‘crusader states’ established by medieval conquests. Too much historical water – reformation, revolution, global exchange, the rise and fall of empires, the shock of modernity – has passed under the bridge for any modern community to still bear marks of crusading violence.

The legacy of the crusades is, nonetheless, powerful, primarily because of the passions and predilections of 19th- and 20th-century Europeans. They found in the crusades a useful past through which they sought to understand their own world of overseas empires, warring nations and rapid social change. These modern observers constructed a storehouse of popular images and stories – such as the epic encounter of Richard I and Saladin during the Third Crusade – and used them to make claims about morality and collective identity.

Western Europeans took these images and attitudes abroad – for example, in 1898, when Kaiser Wilhelm II re-enacted the conquest of Jerusalem and rebuilt Saladin’s tomb at Damascus, laying a gilt bronze wreath (later taken by TE Lawrence and now displayed in London’s Imperial War Museum). It was in this modern context that a new historical memory of the crusades was constructed – one that stripped away fundamental elements of crusading history and is easily co-opted by those who would make a ‘clash of civilisations’ seem habitual and inevitable.

To read the entire conversation, click here:

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Prof. Nicholas Paul

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An Exciting Week at Fordham

Prof. Kirsten Swinth was cited in The New York Times’ article, “‘A Very Unwelcome Feeling’: The First Women at Yale Look Back.” You can read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/30/upshot/yale-first-women-discrimination.html?searchResultPosition=1

You can follow Prof. Kristen Swinth on Twitter @kswinth

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Kisten Swinth

The students of Prof. Steven Stoll’s Environmental History of New City course, taught in conjunction with the New-York Historical Society, have been mapping and connecting NYC’s past, present, and future. You can watch and learn more about their efforts here: https://news.fordham.edu/arts-and-culture/mapping-the-past-with-the-new-york-historical-society/

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Steven Stoll

Prof. Yuko Miki, the recent recipient of the American Historical Association’s Wesley-Logan Prize for the outstanding book in African diaspora history, discussed Race & Citizenship in Latin America alongside Fordham Law Professor Tanya Hernandez. The Maloney Library’s Behind the Book Series organized this event.

Yuko Miki

Prof. Saul Cornell and Dr. Nicole Hemmer discussed the history and politics of impeachment. In case you missed it or want re-watch it, you can re-catch their fascinating exchange here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPy_rDyLfow

You can follow Prof. Saul Cornell on Twitter @SaulCornell

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Saul Cornell

Prof. Nana Osei-Opare was interviewed by Starr FM, a Ghanaian based radio station, about his thoughts on the historic Africa-Russia Summit in Sochi.

You can follow Prof. Nana Osei-Opare on Twitter @NanaOseiOpare

Nana Osei-Opare

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Week Highlights

We are excited to announce just some of the fascinating activities members of the Fordham History Department have engaged in these last few weeks:

Prof. Rosemary Wakeman just edited and contributed an article to a special issue on “Shanghai: Heritage at the Crossroads of Culture” for the journal Built Heritage. The journal is published by the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University in Shanghai. Her article on “Mid-Century Urban Avant-Gardes” compares Art Deco architecture in Shanghai and New York.

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Prof. Rosemary Wakeman

Prof. Chris Dietrich just published a timely and thought-provoking piece in today’s Washington Post!” https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/09/27/how-war-forced-united-states-rethink-politics-oil/

You can follow Prof. Chris Dietrich on Twitter @CRWDietrich

Prof. Chris Dietrich

Prof. Amanda Armstrong-Price gave a fascinating presentation at NYU entitled “Strains of Permissiveness, Fields of Force: Governing Intimacies along the Railways of Colonial India.” The talk was hosted by The Postcolonial, Race, and Diaspora Studies Colloquium at NYU. You can find more details of Prof. Armstrong-Price’s talk here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2525672297648631/

Prof. Amanda Armstrong-Price

Prof. Wes Alcenat recently published a thought-provoking piece, “Freedom Without Citizenship, Reconciliation without Reparations,” on the African American Intellectual Historical Society’s award-winning blog, “Black Perspectives.”  https://www.aaihs.org/freedom-without-citizenship-reconciliation-without-reparations/

You can follow Prof. Wes Alcenat on Twitter at @wesalcenat

Prof. Wes Alcenat

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Medieval England Conference at Fordham!

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Fordham Professors in the News

Dr. Saul Cornell, the Paul and Diane Guenther Chair in American History, the author of A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America, and a recognized authority on the Second Amendment, has recently published two online articles about the gun debate: “Gun Anarchy and the Unfree State, the Real History of the Second Amendment” in The Baffler (October 3), and in Salon (October 22), “Five Types of Gun Laws the Founding Fathers Loved: Were muskets in 1777 better regulated than assault rifles in 2017?”

Dr. Asif Siddiqi’s highly regarded book, Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Union and the Space Race, 1945-1974, was quoted in a recent New Yorker article. The article, “Remembering Laika, Space Dog and Soviet Hero” (November 3, 2017) quoted Dr. Siddiqi’s description of the stringent requirements that Soviets followed in choosing dogs for the space mission.

Dr. Steven Stoll’s forthcoming new book, Ramp Hallow: The Ordeal of Appalachia (Hill and Wang) received an in-depth review in Washington Monthly, published jointly with ProPublica (October 30). As described by the reviewer, Stoll, “has set out to tell the story of how the people of a sprawling region of our country—one of its most physically captivating and ecological bountiful—went from enjoying a modest by self-sufficient existence as small- scale agrarians for much of the eighteen and nineteenth centuries to a dreary dependency on the indulgence of coal barons or the alms of government.” Dr. Stoll will discuss his new book at The New School on November 13.

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This Week in Fordham History

Happy Spring Break! We’re  looking back at moments in 1911, 1934, 1935, 1937 and 1945!  March historically was an exciting month for Fordham University! Read on to find out about women’s enrollment at Fordham, what exciting historical artifact Fordham acquired in 1935, and Dean James Walsh’s feelings on commercialism.

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The Brief History of Spring Break

For some American college students spring break is a time to relax and travel. Florida remains the top destination for spring break, and during the 2014 ‘spring break season’ Florida had 26. 3 million out of state visitors.  The term ‘spring break’ has become synonymous in popular culture with partying and travel; this is partly because every year since 1986 MTV has aired a spring break special, with coverage of parties and concerts. But how did this tradition start?

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This Week in Fordham History

There is no better way to start the week than with a ‘blast from the past!’ Read on to find out why Fordham University appeared in the New York Times ninety-nine years ago this week!

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