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!
View from the Edinburgh University Library special collections reading room
Many people unfamiliar with the world of scholarship assume that the summer break between the Spring and Fall semesters is a time for holidays and relaxation. But for historians, the respite from teaching and classes means that summer is often the time when research, writing, conference going, and travel to archives, kicks into high gear.
Our first postcard this summer comes from PhD student Salvatore Cipriano. Supported by a Fordham GSAS Research Support Grant and a Graduate Student Association Professional Development Grant, Sal has been in Scotland since June 1.
When ABC News was looking for an expert to provide historial background to the momentous vote for Scottish Independence this past September, they turned to Fordham historian Chris Maginn. Chris gives us some background:
though I am a Tudor specialist by training, and am interested in the history of state formation, I try to keep abreast of contemporary politics in Britain in Ireland. While on leave in Ireland I was interviewed by America Magazine about the importance of the President of Ireland’s state visit to England: http://americamagazine.org/issue/higgins-visit-suggests-sea-change-anglo-irish-relations. So, the afternoon before the referendum I went up to ABC’s studio on 66th street and did a television interview; the following morning, in the wake of the election result, I was asked to do radio interviews on some of ABC’s national affiliates.
And here’s the video of the interview with Chris on ABC News (scroll to 7:40 to hear Chris Maginn’s comments)
It isn’t every day that an undergraduate student is acknowledged in a widely-read work of historical scholarship. That’s why the History Department was excited to learn that a Fordham undergraduate, Marlessa Stivala, was thanked for her input in Susan Bordo’s new book, The Creation of Anne Boleyn (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013). Continue reading