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5000 Years of Popular Culture
Popular Culture before Printing
Fred E.H. Schroeder
University of Wisconsin Press, 1980
This collection of insightful essays by outstanding artists, anthropologists, historians, classicists and humanists was developed to broaden the study of popular culture and to provide instances of original and innovative interdisciplinary approaches.
    Its first purpose is to broaden the study of popular culture which is too often regarded in the academic world as the entertainment and leisure time activities of the 20th century. Second, the collection gives recognition to the fact that a number of disciplines have been investigating popular phenomena on different fronts, and it is designed to bring examples of these disciplines together under the common rubric of “popular culture.” Related to this is a third purpose of providing instances of original and innovative interdisciplinary approaches. Last, the collection should be a worthwhile contribution to the component disciplines as well as to the study of popular culture.

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The Archaeology of Institutional Life
Edited by April M. Beisaw and James G. Gibb
University of Alabama Press, 2008
A landmark work that will instigate vigorous and wide-ranging discussions on institutions in Western life, and the power of material culture to both enforce and negate cultural norms
Institutions pervade social life. They express community goals and values by defining the limits of socially acceptable behavior. Institutions are often vested with the resources, authority, and power to enforce the orthodoxy of their time. But institutions are also arenas in which both orthodoxies and authority can be contested. Between power and opposition lies the individual experience of the institutionalized. Whether in a boarding school, hospital, prison, almshouse, commune, or asylum, their experiences can reflect the positive impact of an institution or its greatest failings. This interplay of orthodoxy, authority, opposition, and individual experience are all expressed in the materiality of institutions and are eminently subject to archaeological investigation.
A few archaeological and historical publications, in widely scattered venues, have examined individual institutional sites. Each work focused on the development of a specific establishment within its narrowly defined historical context; e.g., a fort and its role in a particular war, a schoolhouse viewed in terms of the educational history of its region, an asylum or prison seen as an expression of the prevailing attitudes toward the mentally ill and sociopaths. In contrast, this volume brings together twelve contributors whose research on a broad range of social institutions taken in tandem now illuminates the experience of these institutions. Rather than a culmination of research on institutions, it is a landmark work that will instigate vigorous and wide-ranging discussions on institutions in Western life, and the power of material culture to both enforce and negate cultural norms.

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Betting on Ideas
Wars, Invention, Inflation
Reuven Brenner
University of Chicago Press, 1986
In this book, Reuven Brenner argues that people bet on new ideas and are more willing to take risks when they have been outdone by their fellows on local, national, or international scales. Such bets mean that people deviate from the beaten path and either gamble, commit crimes, or come up with new ideas in art, business, or politics, and ideas concerning war and peace in particular. By using evidence on gambling, crime, and creativity now and during the Industrial Revolution, by examining innovations in English and French inheritance laws and the emergence of welfare legislation, and by looking at what has happened before and after wars, Brenner reaches the conclusion that hope and fear, envy and vanity, sentiments provoked when being leapfrogged, make humans race.

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Big Structures, Large Processes, Huge Comparisons
Charles Tilly
Russell Sage Foundation, 1984
This bold and lively essay is one of those rarest of intellectual achievements, a big small book. In its short length are condensed enormous erudition and impressive analytical scope. With verve and self-assurance, it addresses a broad, central question: How can we improve our understanding of the large-scale processes and structures that transformed the world of the nineteenth century and are transforming our world today? Tilly contends that twentieth-century social theories have been encumbered by a nineteenth century heritage of "pernicious postulates." He subjects each misleading belief to rigorous criticism, challenging many standard social science paradigms and methodologies. As an alternative to those timeless, placeless models of social change and organization, Tilly argues convincingly for a program of concrete, historically grounded analysis and systematic comparison. To illustrate the strategies available for such research, Tilly assesses the works of several major practitioners of comparative historical analysis, making skillful use of this selective review to offer his own speculative, often unconventional accounts of our recent past. Historically oriented social scientists will welcome this provocative essay and its wide-ranging agenda for comparative historical research. Other social scientists, their graduate and undergraduate students, and even the interested general reader will find this new work by a major scholar stimulating and eminently readable. This is the second of five volumes commissioned by the Russell Sage Foundation to mark its seventy-fifth anniversary. "In this short, brilliant book Tilly suggests a way to think about theories of historical social change....This book should find attentive readers both in undergraduate courses and in graduate seminars. It should also find appreciative readers, for Tilly is a writer as well as a scholar." —Choice

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Building a New Biocultural Synthesis
Political-Economic Perspectives on Human Biology
Alan H. Goodman and Thomas L. Leatherman, Editors
University of Michigan Press, 1998
Anthropology, with its dual emphasis on biology and culture, is--or should be--the discipline most suited to the study of the complex interactions between these aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, since the early decades of this century, biological and cultural anthropology have grown distinct, and a holistic vision of anthropology has suffered.
This book brings culture and biology back together in new and refreshing ways. Directly addressing earlier criticisms of biological anthropology, Building a New Biocultural Synthesis concerns how culture and political economy affect human biology--e.g., people's nutritional status, the spread of disease, exposure to pollution--and how biological consequences might then have further effects on cultural, social, and economic systems.
Contributors to the volume offer case studies on health, nutrition, and violence among prehistoric and historical peoples in the Americas; theoretical chapters on nonracial approaches to human variation and the development of critical, humanistic and political ecological approaches in biocultural anthropology; and explorations of biological conditions in contemporary societies in relationship to global changes.
Building a New Biocultural Synthesis will sharpen and enrich the relevance of anthropology for understanding a wide variety of struggles to cope with and combat persistent human suffering. It should appeal to all anthropologists and be of interest to sister disciplines such as nutrition and sociology.
Alan H. Goodman is Professor of Anthropology, Hampshire College. Thomas L. Leatherman is Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of South Carolina.

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City, Country, Empire
Jeffry M Diefendorf
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005

In the urgently expanding field of environmental history, two trends are emerging. Research has internationalized, crossing political and historical borders. And urban spaces are increasingly seen as part of, not apart from, the global environment. In this book, Jeffry Diefendorf and Kurk Dorsey have gathered much of the important work pushing the field in new directions. Eleven essays by prominent and regionally diverse scholars address how human and natural forces collaborate in the creation of cities, the countryside, and empires.

The Cities section features essays that examine pollution and its aftermath in Pittsburgh, the Ruhr Valley (Germany), and Los Angeles. These urban areas are far apart on the globe but closely linked in their histories of how human decision making has affected the environment.

Changing rural and suburban spaces are the focus of Countryside. Elizabeth Blackmar "follows the money" in order to understand why the financing of suburban mall developments makes local resistance difficult. Studies of the fractious history of the creation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon and the ongoing impact of hydraulic mining in the early California goldmining era emphasize the misuse of technology in rural spaces.

Such misuse is a central idea of Empires. In "When Stalin Learned to Fish," Paul R. Josephson tells the story of Soviet fishing technology designed to "harness fish to the engine of socialism." Other essays explore the failures of Western agricultural technology in Africa and the relationship between such technology and disease in European attempts to conquer the Caribbean. In a stirring, wide-ranging consideration of the neo-European colonies (the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand), Thomas R. Dunlap observes the ongoing, unsettled interaction of lands and dreams. An afterword by Alfred W. Crosby, an eminent scholar of environmental history, closes the book with a broad and insightful synthesis of the history and future of this critical field.


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Communities of Discourse
Ideology and Social Structure in the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and European Socialism
Robert Wuthnow
Harvard University Press, 1989
Sociologist Robert Wuthnow notes remarkable similarities in the social conditions surrounding three of the greatest challenges to the status quo in the development of modern society—the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the rise of Marxist socialism.

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Community and Organization in the New Left, 1962-1968
The Great Refusal
Breines, Wini
Rutgers University Press, 1989
Did New Left activists have an opportunity to start a revolution that they simply could not bring off? Was their rejection of conventional forms of political organization a fatal flaw or were the apparent weaknesses of the movement -- the lack of central authority, the distrust of politics -- actually hidden strengths?

Wini Breines traces the evolution of the New Left movement through the Free Speech Movement, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and SDS's community organization projects. For Breines, the movement's goal of participatory decision-making, even when it was not achieved, made up for its failure to take practical and direct action. By the late 1960s, antiwar activism contributed to the decline of the New Left, as the movement was flooded with new participants who did not share the founding generation's political experiences or values.

Originally published in 1982, Wini Breines's classic work now includes a new preface in which she reassesses, and for the most part affirms, her initial views of the movement. She argues that the movement remains effective in the midst of radical changes in activist movements. Breines also summarizes and evaluates the new and growing scholarship on the 1960s. Her provocative analysis of the New Left remains important today.


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Confronting Historical Paradigms
Peasants, Labor, And The Capitalist World System
Frederick Cooper
University of Wisconsin Press, 1993

Confronting Historical Paradigms argues that confrontation with major paradigms of world history has marked the fields of African and Latin American history during the last quarter-century, and that the process has dramatically restructured historical and theoretical understanding of peasantries, labor, and the capitalist world system. Moreover, it maintains, the intellectual reverberations within and across the African and Latin American fields constitute a challenging and underappreciated counterpoint to laments that contemporary historical knowledge has suffered a splintering so extreme that it undermines larger dialogue and meaning.
    The authors, in their substantive essays, synthesize, order, and evaluate the significance of the enormous resonating literatures that have come to exist for Africa and Latin America on the themes of the capitalist world system, labor, and peasantries.  They historicize these literatures by analyzing an entire cycle of critical dialogue and confrontation with historical paradigms and the professional upheavals that accompanied them.  They review the initial confrontations with frameworks of historical knowledge that erupted in the 1960s and the early 1970s; the emergence of new “dissident” paradigms; the outpouring of subsequent scholarship on peasants, labor, and capitalism that began to unravel the newly proposed paradigms by the 1980s and 1990s; and the outlines of the new interpretive frameworks that tended to displace both the “traditional” and “early dissident” paradigms.  They also suggest possible outlines of a new cycle of “Third World” confrontations with paradigm, anchored in themes such as gender and ethnicity.
    Confronting Historical Paradigms employs a historicized awareness of intellectual networks, conversations, and history–theory dialogues.  The result is a critical analysis and synthetic presentation of substantive advances that have preoccupied scholarship on Africa and Latin America in recent decades and a powerful challenge to notions that “new” fields of history have ended up destroying intellectual coherence and community.


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Constructing Medieval Sexuality
Karma Lochrie
University of Minnesota Press, 1997

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Contesting the Master Narrative
Essays In Social History
Jeffrey Cox
University of Iowa Press, 1998
Social historians today are calling into question the persuasiveness of the master narratives that have dominated our stories about the past. Motivated now by personal and professional commitments to solving problems by telling stories, not by epistemological and ontological certitude, social historians are constructing alternative narratives relevant to an expanded, more inclusive audience. The essays in this thoughtful volume reflect an explicit self-consciousness about historians' choices of narrative strategies, a new skepticism of the rhetorical strategies embedded in all scholarly arguments, and a recognition that every historian has a point of view.

Critically examining past master narratives in light of emerging alternatives, these essayists ask us to reevaluate the stories we tell, the narrative traditions within which they are situated, and the audiences they are designed to persuade. The first essays explore the gendered character of social history rhetoric by exposing alternative, feminist traditions of social scientific and social historical writing. The second section focuses on alternative narrative traditions of historical writing in non-European contexts, specifically India, Japan, and China. And the third group spotlights the rhetorical uses of synthesis in the writings of social historians.

The essays feature the range of narrative possibilities available to historians who have become self-critical about the pervasive use of unexamined master narratives; they show how limited that tradition can be compared with the diverse alternatives derived from, for example, gendered traditions of Latin American travel writers of the nineteenth century, Victorian women's historical writing, or the lively subaltern tradition in Indian social history. Together they argue not for the abandonment of historical materialism or the elimination of all master narratives but for the reinvigoration of social history through the use of new and more persuasive arguments based on alternative narratives.

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Crime and Conflict in English Communities, 1300–1348
Barbara A. Hanawalt
Harvard University Press, 1979

As this account of crime patterns in medieval England shows, crime can perhaps tell us more about a society's dynamics, tensions, and values than any other single social phenomenon. And Barbara Hanawalt's approach is particularly enlightening because it looks at the subject not from the heights of the era's learned opinion, but from the viewpoint of the people participating in the criminal dramas and manipulating the law for their own benefit.

Hanawalt's sources are those of the new social historian—village and judicial records supplemented by the literature of the time. She examined approximately 20,000 criminal court cases as well as coroners' and manorial court rolls. Her analysis of these data produces striking results. Medieval England, the author reveals, was a society in which all classes readily sought violent solutions to conflicts. The tensions of village life were severe. The struggle for food and for profits caused numerous homicides and property crimes. These felonies were committed in seasonal patterns, with homicides occurring most frequently during the difficult times of planting and harvesting, and burglaries reaching a peak in winter when goods were stored in houses and barns.

Moreover, organized crime was widespread and varied. It ranged from simple associations of local people to professional bands led by members of the nobility. One of Hanawalt's most interesting findings explodes the Robin Hood myth of robbers who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Almost always, she shows, the robbers stole from the poor and kept for themselves. Throughout, Hanawalt carefully places the crimes and their participants within the context of village life in the later middle ages. Along with a description of the social and legal setting of criminal acts, she includes a discussion of the influence of war, politics, and economic, social, and demographic changes on the patterns of crime.


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Critique of Forms of Life
Rahel Jaeggi
Harvard University Press, 2018

For many liberals, the question “Do others live rightly?” feels inappropriate. Liberalism seems to demand a follow-up question: “Who am I to judge?” Peaceful coexistence, in this view, is predicated on restraint from morally evaluating our peers. But Rahel Jaeggi sees the situation differently. Criticizing is not only valid but also useful, she argues. Moral judgment is no error; the error lies in how we go about judging.

One way to judge is external, based on universal standards derived from ideas about God or human nature. The other is internal, relying on standards peculiar to a given society. Both approaches have serious flaws and detractors. In Critique of Forms of Life, Jaeggi offers a third way, which she calls “immanent” critique. Inspired by Hegelian social philosophy and engaged with Anglo-American theorists such as John Dewey, Michael Walzer, and Alasdair MacIntyre, immanent critique begins with the recognition that ways of life are inherently normative because they assert their own goodness and rightness. They also have a consistent purpose: to solve basic social problems and advance social goods, most of which are common across cultures. Jaeggi argues that we can judge the validity of a society’s moral claims by evaluating how well the society adapts to crisis—whether it is able to overcome contradictions that arise from within and continue to fulfill its purpose.

Jaeggi enlivens her ideas through concrete, contemporary examples. Against both relativistic and absolutist accounts, she shows that rational social critique is possible.


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Daily Life in Portugal in the Late Middle Ages
A.H. de Oliviera Marques; Translated by S.S. Wyatt
University of Wisconsin Press, 1971
Past studies of medieval Portugal have focused on such specific themes as political or administrative history and voyages of discovery. Oliveira Marques, however, has captured the vast spectrum of Portuguese daily life from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries The whole of medieval society is depicted, both on a national scale and, more important, society as it affected the individual in his everyday activities. Oliveira Marques gives us an engaging and original social history which examines customary meals, dress, homes, work, spiritual life, even ideas about courtship and love. Medieval Portuguese culture and education, amusements and funeral customs are all a part of this portrait.

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The Deepest Sense
A Cultural History of Touch
Constance Victoria Classen
University of Illinois Press, 2012
From the softest caress to the harshest blow, touch lies at the heart of our experience of the world. Now, for the first time, this deepest of senses is the subject of an extensive historical exploration. The Deepest Sense: A Cultural History of Touch fleshes out our understanding of the past with explorations of lived experiences of embodiment from the middle ages to modernity. This intimate and sensuous approach to history makes it possible to foreground the tactile foundations of Western culture--the ways in which feelings shaped society.
Constance Classen explores a variety of tactile realms including the feel of the medieval city; the tactile appeal of relics; the social histories of pain, pleasure, and affection; the bonds of touch between humans and animals; the strenuous excitement of sports such as wrestling and jousting; and the sensuous attractions of consumer culture. She delves into a range of vital issues, from the uses--and prohibitions--of touch in social interaction to the disciplining of the body by the modern state, from the changing feel of the urban landscape to the technologization of touch in modernity.
Through poignant descriptions of the healing power of a medieval king's hand or the grueling conditions of a nineteenth-century prison, we find that history, far from being a dry and lifeless subject, touches us to the quick.

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Early Medieval Italy
Central Power and Local Society 400-1000
Chris Wickham
University of Michigan Press, 1989
This book presents a picture of the history of Italy between 400 and 1000, probably the six centuries least known in all Italian history. Early medieval Italy was the victim of many invasions and had a long succession of different Germanic rulers: Ostrogoths, Lombards, Franks, Germans, as well as the provincial administrations of the various Byzantine enclaves in Italy. Despite this, the structures of the Italian state persisted with considerable uniformity from the sixth to the ninth and tenth centuries, when they began to break apart under the pressure of other social forces. The real variations of early medieval Italian history came not in the histories of the Italian states, but in the different developments of the Italian regions, with all their contrasts---between city and country, mountain and plain, agriculture and pastoralism, landlord and tenant: regions kept apart by the difficult communications of a fairly mountainous country. In the end the Italian state could not hold the disparate forces together and Italy sprang apart.
Chris Wickham chronicles these developments, describing political, economic, and social history as well as the regional history of southern Italy before showing how these forces combined as the state collapsed in the tenth century. This is the first time that the years between the Roman Empire and the rise of the Communes as a whole have been presented in the English language, making this book invaluable reading for all students of medieval Europe.

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Essays on Twentieth-Century History
Edited by Michael Adas for the American Historical Association
Temple University Press, 2010

In the sub-field of world history, there has been a surprising paucity of thinking and writing about how to approach and conceptualize the long twentieth century from the 1870s through the early 2000s. The historiographic essays collected in Essays on Twentieth Century History will go a long way to filling that lacuna.

Each contribution covers a key theme and one or more critical sub-fields in twentieth century global history. Chapters address migration patterns, the impact of world wars, transformations in gender and urbanization, as well as environmental transitions. All are written by leading historians in each of the sub-fields represented, and each is intended to provide an introduction to the literature, key themes, and debates that have proliferated around the more recent historical experience of humanity.


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Europe in the 18th Century
Aristocracy and the Bourgeois Challenge
George Rude
Harvard University Press, 1985
Europe in the Eighteenth Century is a social history of Europe in all its aspects: economic, political, diplomatic military, colonial-expansionist. Crisply and succinctly written, it describes Europe not through a history of individual countries, but in a common context during the three quarters of a century between the death of Louis XIV and the industrial revolution in England and the social and political revolution in France. It presents the development of government, institutions, cities, economies, wars, and the circulation of ideas in terms of social pressures and needs, and stresses growth, interrelationships, and conflict of social classes as agents of historical change, paying particular attention to the role of popular, as well as upper- and middle-class, protest as a factor in that change.

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Explanation and Power
The Control of Human Behavior
Morse Peckham
University of Minnesota Press, 1988

Explanation and Power was first published in 1988. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

The meaning of any utterance or any sign is the response to that utterance or sign: this is the fundamental proposition behind Morse Peckham's Explanation and Power. Published in 1979 and now available in paperback for the first time, Explanation and Power grew out of Peckham's efforts, as a scholar of Victorian literature, to understand the nature of Romanticism. His search ultimately led back to—and built upon—the tradition of signs developed by the American Pragmatists. Since, in Peckham's view, meaning is not inherent in word or sign, only in response, human behavior itself must depend upon interaction, which in turn relies upon the stability of verbal and nonverbal signs. In the end, meaning can be stabilized only by explanation, and when explanation fails, by force. Peckham's semiotic account of human behavior, radical in its time, contends with the same issues that animate today's debates in critical theory — how culture is produced, how meaning is arrived at, the relation of knowledge to power and of society to its institutions. Readers across a wide range of disciplines, in the humanities and social sciences, will welcome its reappearance.


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From the Ballroom to Hell
Grace and Folly in Nineteenth-Century Dance
Elizabeth Aldrich
Northwestern University Press, 1991
During the 1800s, dance and etiquette manuals provided ordinary men and women with the keys to becoming gentlemen and ladies—and thus advancing in society. Why dance? To the insecure and status-oriented upper middle class, the ballroom embodied the perfect setting in which to demonstrate one's fitness for membership in genteel society.

From the Ballroom to Hell collects over 100 little-known excerpts from dance, etiquette, beauty, and fashion manuals from the nineteenth century. Included are instructions for performing various dances, as well as musical scores, costume patterns, and the proper way to hold one's posture, fork, gloves, and fan. While of particular interest to dancers, dance historians, and choreographers, anyone fascinated by the ways and mores of the period will find From the Ballroom to Hell an endearing and informative glimpse of America's past.

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From the Margins
Historical Anthropology and Its Futures
Brian Keith Axel, ed.
Duke University Press, 2002
Historical anthropology: critical exchange between two decidedly distinct disciplines or innovative mode of knowledge production? As this volume’s title suggests, the essays Brian Keith Axel has gathered in From the Margins seek to challenge the limits of discrete disciplinary epistemologies and conventions, gesturing instead toward a transdisciplinary understanding of the emerging relations between archive and field.
In original articles encompassing a wide range of geographic and temporal locations, eminent scholars contest some of the primary preconceptions of their fields. The contributors tackle such topics as the paradoxical nature of American Civil War monuments, the figure of the “New Christian” in early seventeenth-century Peru, the implications of statistics for ethnography, and contemporary South Africa's “occult economies.” That anthropology and history have their provenance in—and have been complicit with—colonial formations is perhaps commonplace knowledge. But what is rarely examined is the specific manner in which colonial processes imbue and threaten the celebratory ideals of postcolonial reason or the enlightenment of today’s liberal practices in the social sciences and humanities.
By elaborating this critique, From the Margins offers diverse and powerful models that explore the intersections of historically specific local practices with processes of a world historical order. As such, the collection will not only prove valuable reading for anthropologists and historians, but also for scholars in colonial, postcolonial, and globalization studies.

Talal Asad, Brian Keith Axel, Bernard S. Cohn, Jean Comaroff, John L. Comaroff, Nicholas B. Dirks, Irene Silverblatt, Paul A. Silverstein, Teri Silvio, Ann Laura Stoler, Michel-Rolph Trouillot

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The Future of Class in History
What's Left of the Social?
Geoff Eley and Keith Nield
University of Michigan Press, 2007

Unifying concepts are essential when studying history. They provide students and scholars with ways to organize their thoughts, research, and writings. However, these concepts are also the focus of myriad conflicts within the field. Social history has experienced more than its share of such conflicts since its inception some forty years ago. In recent times the fields of “the social” and of “culture” have sometimes been presented as mutually exclusive and even hostile. Once again, conceptual innovation in history has been cast as a closure by which the new drives out the old: in this case, cultural history radically displacing social history. The Future of Class in History analyzes the effect of the conflict that followed the “turn to culture” in historical work by examining the use of class and demonstrates how practitioners in multiple fields can collaborate to produce the highest quality scholarship.

“Offers new ways of thinking about ‘class’ and ‘society’ in a world in which such categories have been radically called into question.”

—Sherry Ortner, University of California, Los Angeles

“Brilliantly charts social history’s past achievement, present dilemma, and future promise in a work distinguished by intellectual openness and generosity.”

—James A. Epstein, Vanderbilt University

“Eley and Nield seek to rescue the deluded follower of social history from the enormous condescension of the cultural turn. They succeed admirably, making the case for a new hybrid socio-cultural history.”
—Donald Reid, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“This terrific double act has once again produced a text that demands to be read by all those tired of the juxtaposition of social and cultural histories and still interested in the problematic of class and the politics of its past and present.”

—James Vernon, University of California, Berkeley

“Eley and Nield tackle a contentious debate with a gracious plea for collaboration. Their strong desire to get past the ‘culture wars’ and to engage social and cultural historians in fruitful dialogue is a welcome move, stylishly executed.”
—Philippa Levine, University of Southern California

Geoff Eley is Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

Keith Nield is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Hull.


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Gender and Difference in the Middle Ages
Sharon Farmer
University of Minnesota Press, 2002

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Global Perspectives on the United States
Pro-Americanism, Anti-Americanism, and the Discourses Between
Edited by Virginia R. Dominguez and Jane C. Desmond
University of Illinois Press, 2017
This daring collaborative effort showcases dialogues between international scholars engaged with the United States from abroad. The writers investigate the analytic methods and choices that label certain talk, images, behaviors, and allusions as "American" and how to read the data on such material. The editors present the essays in pairs that overlap in theme or region. Each author subsequently comments on the other's work. A third scholar or team of scholars from a different discipline or geographic location then provides another level of analysis. Contributors: Andrzej Antoszek, Sophia Balakian, Zsófia Bán, Sabine Bröck, Ian Condry, Kate Delaney, Jane C. Desmond, Virginia R. Dominguez, Ira Dworkin, Richard Ellis, Guillermo Ibarra, Seyed Mohammad Marandi, Giorgio Mariani, Ana Mauad, Loes Nas, Edward Schatz, Manar Shorbagy, Kristin Solli, Amy Spellacy, and Michael Titlestad.

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Global Village
Dead Or Alive?
Edited by Ray B. Browne and Marshall W. Fishwick
University of Wisconsin Press, 1999
In a world that is witnessing the explosive forces of individualism, tribalism, cultism, religion, nationalism, and regionalism, can the “global village” concept as envisioned by Marshall McLuhan have any meaning or hope for fruition? Do the media merely electronically override the stronger forces of basic human expression without in any way changing them?
    The Global Village offers fifteen essays by leading scholars and thinkers who weigh the pros and cons and come up with individual conclusions as well as a consensus. Included are “Turning McLuhan on His Head” by James E. Grunig, “The Vanishing Global Village” by Ray B. Browne, and “Global Village—Writ Small” by Marshall Fishwick. This book speaks to concerns in journalism, media, popular culture, and communications.

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The Historic Turn in the Human Sciences
Terrence J. McDonald, Editor
University of Michigan Press, 1996
In The Historic Turn in the Human Sciences eleven scholars widely known for their interdisciplinary work investigate one of the most striking developments in the intellectual world today: the return to history by a wide range of academic disciplines. From "new historicism" in literary theory, to "ethnohistory," to "historical sociology," these new approaches have resulted both in more works of historical analysis and in a more self-conscious attempt to locate the human sciences in their own histories.
The essays in The Historic Turn in the Human Sciences--eight of them published here for the first time--take stock of these changes from the perspectives of some of the disciplines most deeply involved: anthropology, sociology, political science, law, literary studies, and history itself. Many of the authors have played a crucial role in producing the historic turn in their own disciplines. The volume as a whole, therefore, goes significantly beyond a mere inventory of these changes to ask how and how much history can make a difference; how the practice of history is affected by post-structural and other theories; and what is left of both unproblematized history and social science after the historic turn.
Taken together the essays give a sense both of what these various turns to history have in common and what sets them apart. This comparative dimension distinguishes the volume from those that have analyzed the impact of history on a single field or have assayed its effects without including historians themselves.
In the wake of the historic turn neither the historical actor nor the historical analyst will ever again be seen as a colossus striding over the pages of history. This volume explains in an extraordinary thought-provoking and challenging way why this must be so.
Terrence J. McDonald is Professor of History, University of Michigan.

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Mapping Society
The Spatial Dimensions of Social Cartography
Laura Vaughan
University College London, 2018
From a rare map of yellow fever in eighteenth-century New York to Charles Booth’s famous maps of poverty in nineteenth-century London, an Italian racial zoning map of early twentieth-century Asmara, and a map of wealth disparities in the banlieues of twenty-first-century Paris, Mapping Society traces the evolution of social cartography over the past two centuries. In this richly illustrated book, Laura Vaughan examines maps of ethnic or religious difference, poverty, and health inequalities, demonstrating how they not only serve as historical records of social enquiry but also constitute inscriptions of social patterns that have been etched deeply on the surface of cities. The book covers themes such as the use of visual rhetoric to change public opinion, the evolution of sociology as an academic practice, changing attitudes to physical disorder, and the complexity of segregation as an urban phenomenon. While the focus is on historical maps, the narrative carries the discussion of the spatial dimensions of social cartography forward to the present day, showing how disciplines such as public health, criminology, and urban planning chart spatial data in their current practice.

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Medieval Crime and Social Control
Barbara A. Hanawalt
University of Minnesota Press, 1998

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Medieval Identity Machines
Jeffrey J. Cohen
University of Minnesota Press, 2003
A provocative new approach to medieval culture. In Medieval Identity Machines, Jeffrey J. Cohen examines the messiness, permeability, and perversity of medieval bodies, arguing that human identity always exceeds the limits of the flesh. Combining critical theory with a rigorous reading of medieval texts, Cohen asks if the category "human" isn't too small to contain the multiplicity of identities. As such, this book is the first to argue for a "posthuman" Middle Ages and to make extensive use of the philosophical writings of Gilles Deleuze to rethink the medieval. Among the topics that Cohen covers are the passionate bond between men and horses in chivalric training; the interrelation of demons, celibacy, and colonialism in an Anglo-Saxon saint's life; Lancelot's masochism as envisioned by Chrétien de Troyes; the voice of thunder echoing from Margery Kempe; and the fantasies that sustained some dominant conceptions of race. This tour of identity-in all its fragility and diffusion-illustrates the centrality of the Middle Ages to theory as it enhances our understanding of self, embodiment, and temporality in the medieval world. Jeffrey J. Cohen is associate professor of English and human sciences at George Washington University. He is the author of Of Giants: Sex, Monsters, and the Middle Ages (1999).

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Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western Romantic Love
R. Howard Bloch
University of Chicago Press, 1991
Until now the advent of Western romantic love has been seen as a liberation from—or antidote to—ten centuries of misogyny. In this major contribution to gender studies, R. Howard Bloch demonstrates how similar the ubiquitous antifeminism of medieval times and the romantic idealization of woman actually are.

Through analyses of a broad range of patristic and medieval texts, Bloch explores the Christian construction of gender in which the flesh is feminized, the feminine is aestheticized, and aesthetics are condemned in theological terms. Tracing the underlying theme of virginity from the Church Fathers to the courtly poets, Bloch establishes the continuity between early Christian antifeminism and the idealization of woman that emerged in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In conclusion he explains the likely social, economic, and legal causes for the seeming inversion of the terms of misogyny into those of an idealizing tradition of love that exists alongside its earlier avatar until the current era.

This startling study will be of great value to students of medieval literature as well as to historians of culture and gender.

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New Social Movements
From Ideology to Identity
edited by Enrique Laraña, Hank Johnston and Joseph R. Gusfield
Temple University Press, 1994

Cultural changes over the past two decades have led to a proliferation of new social movements in Europe and the United States. New social movements such as ecology, peace, ethnicity, New Age philosophies, alternative medicine, and gender and sexual identity are among those that are emerging to challenge traditional categories in social movement theory. Synthesizing classic and modern perspectives the contributors help to redefine the field of social movements and advance an understanding of them through cross-cultural research, comparison with older movements, and an examination of the dimensions of identity—individual, collective, and melding of the two.


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The Nutmeg's Curse
Parables for a Planet in Crisis
Amitav Ghosh
University of Chicago Press, 2021
In this ambitious successor to The Great Derangement, acclaimed writer Amitav Ghosh finds the origins of our contemporary climate crisis in Western colonialism’s violent exploitation of human life and the natural environment.

A powerful work of history, essay, testimony, and polemic, Amitav Ghosh’s new book traces our contemporary planetary crisis back to the discovery of the New World and the sea route to the Indian Ocean. The Nutmeg’s Curse argues that the dynamics of climate change today are rooted in a centuries-old geopolitical order constructed by Western colonialism. At the center of Ghosh’s narrative is the now-ubiquitous spice nutmeg. The history of the nutmeg is one of conquest and exploitation—of both human life and the natural environment. In Ghosh’s hands, the story of the nutmeg becomes a parable for our environmental crisis, revealing the ways human history has always been entangled with earthly materials such as spices, tea, sugarcane, opium, and fossil fuels. Our crisis, he shows, is ultimately the result of a mechanistic view of the earth, where nature exists only as a resource for humans to use for our own ends, rather than a force of its own, full of agency and meaning.

Writing against the backdrop of the global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, Ghosh frames these historical stories in a way that connects our shared colonial histories with the deep inequality we see around us today. By interweaving discussions on everything from the global history of the oil trade to the migrant crisis and the animist spirituality of Indigenous communities around the world, The Nutmeg’s Curse offers a sharp critique of Western society and speaks to the profoundly remarkable ways in which human history is shaped by non-human forces.

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People Of The Rainbow
Nomadic Utopia
Michael I. Niman
University of Tennessee Press, 1997
Since 1972, the Rainbow Family of Living Light, a loosely organized and anarchistic nomadic community, have been holding large gatherings in remote forests to pray for world peace and create a model of a functioning utopian society. In People of the Rainbow, Michael I. Niman offers the first comprehensive study of this  countercultural group, also known as the Rainbow Nation or Rainbow Family. Niman's insightful and compelling profile describes the origins and recent history of the Rainbows and explains the eclectic philosophy of environmentalism, feminism, peace activism, group sharing, libertarianism, and consensus government they espouse.

A fictional re-creation of a day in the life of a Rainbow character named Sunflower begins the book, illustrating events that might typically occur at an annual North American Rainbow Gathering. Using interviews with Rainbows, content analysis of media reports, participant observation, and scrutiny of government documents relating to the group, Niman presents a complex picture of the Family and its relationship to mainstream culture—called "Babylon" by the Rainbows. Niman also looks at internal contradictions within the Family and examines members' problematic relationship with Native Americans, whose culture and spiritual beliefs they have appropriated.

The nomadic nature of the Rainbow Family has long exasperated the U.S. government--especially the Forest Service--and has baffled the media. Niman places the Rainbow Family's gatherings in a historical context by framing the group's activities in terms of the long tradition of intentional communities and utopian experimentation within the United States. Concluding with reflections on the successes and limitations of the Rainbow movement, People of the Rainbow provides an extensive ethnography of this intriguing subculture and provides fresh insights into the ongoing legacy of utopian communalism.

The Author: Michael I. Niman is an adjunct assistant professor of American studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a lecturer in the communication department at Buffalo State College.

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Piety and Charity in Late Medieval Florence
John Henderson
University of Chicago Press, 1997
John Henderson examines the relationship between religion and society in late medieval Florence through the vehicle of the religious confraternity, one of the most ubiquitous and popular forms of lay association throughout Europe. This book provides a fascinating account of the development of confraternities in relation to other communal and ecclesiastical institutions in Florence. It is one of the most detailed analyses of charity in late medieval Europe.

"[A] long-awaited book. . . . [It is] the most complete survey of confraternities and charity, not only for Florence, but for any Italian city state to date. . . . This book recovers more vividly than other recent works what it meant to be a member of a confraternity in the late middle ages."—Samuel K. Cohn, Jr., Economic History Review

"Henderson offers new and fascinating information. . . . A stimulating and suggestive book that deserves a wide readership." —Gervase Rosser, Times Higher Education Supplement


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The Plow, the Hammer, and the Knout
An Economic History of Eighteenth-Century Russia
Arcadius Kahan
University of Chicago Press, 1985
In this extraordinary rich and subtle work, Arcadius Kahan analyzes a massive collection of documents which revise traditional interpretations of eighteenth-century Russian economic history. Kahan stresses economic rationality in the context of social constraints, offering the fullest and most convincing explanation yet of the economic foundations of Russia's power. He shows that what have been taken as major failings in the Russian economy were in fact resourceful and even ingenious methods of circumventing deeply rooted structural obstacles to change. Kahan also escapes two extremes that have bedeviled Russian historians since the nineteenth century: he avoids depicting the state as an autonomous structure that acted with impunity upon a passive society, and he refutes the notion of the state as a mere instrument for advancing selfish class interests.

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Prostitution in Medieval Society
The History of an Urban Institution in Languedoc
Leah Lydia Otis
University of Chicago Press, 1985
"Prostitution in Medieval Society, a monograph about Languedoc between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries, is also much more than that: it is a compelling narrative about the social construction of sexuality."

– Catharine R. Stimpson

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The Shock of the Global
The 1970s in Perspective
Edited by Niall Ferguson, Charles S. Maier, Erez Manela, and Daniel Sargent
Harvard University Press, 2010

From the vantage point of the United States or Western Europe, the 1970s was a time of troubles: economic “stagflation,” political scandal, and global turmoil. Yet from an international perspective it was a seminal decade, one that brought the reintegration of the world after the great divisions of the mid-twentieth century. It was the 1970s that introduced the world to the phenomenon of “globalization,” as networks of interdependence bound peoples and societies in new and original ways.

The 1970s saw the breakdown of the postwar economic order and the advent of floating currencies and free capital movements. Non-state actors rose to prominence while the authority of the superpowers diminished. Transnational issues such as environmental protection, population control, and human rights attracted unprecedented attention. The decade transformed international politics, ending the era of bipolarity and launching two great revolutions that would have repercussions in the twenty-first century: the Iranian theocratic revolution and the Chinese market revolution.

The Shock of the Global examines the large-scale structural upheaval of the 1970s by transcending the standard frameworks of national borders and superpower relations. It reveals for the first time an international system in the throes of enduring transformations.


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Sisters and Workers in the Middle Ages
Edited by Judith M. Bennett, Elizabeth A. Clark, Jean F. O'Barr, B. Anne Vilen,
University of Chicago Press, 1989
Focusing on medieval women with a wide range of occupations and life-styles, the interdisciplinary essays in this collection examine women's activities within the patriarchal structures of the time. Individual essays explore women's challenges to a sexual ideology that confined them strictly to the roles of wives, mothers, and servants. Also included are sections on women and work, cultural production and literacy, and religious life.

These essays provide a greater understanding of the ways in which gender has played a part in determining relations of power in Western cultures. This volume makes a vital contribution to the current scholarship about women in the Middle Ages.

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Smell and History
A Reader
Mark M. Smith
West Virginia University Press, 2019

Smell and History collects many of the most important recent essays on the history of scent, aromas, perfumes, and ways of smelling. With an introduction by Mark M. Smith—one of the leading social and cultural historians at work today and the preeminent champion in the United States of the emerging field of sensory history—the volume introduces to undergraduate and graduate students as well as to historians of all fields the richness, relevance, and insightfulness of the olfactory to historical study.

Ranging from antiquity to the present, these ten essays, most of them published since 2003, consider how olfaction and scent have shaped the history of medicine, gender, race-making, class formation, religion, urbanization, colonialism, capitalism, and industrialization; how habits and practices of smelling informed ideas about the Enlightenment, modernity, and memory; how smell shaped perceptions of progress and civilization; and how people throughout history have used smell as a way to organize categories and inform worldviews.


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Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape
Denis E. Cosgrove
University of Wisconsin Press, 1998

Hailed as a landmark in its field since its first publication in 1984, Denis E. Cosgrove’s Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape has been influential well beyond geography. It has continued to spark lively debate among historians, geographers, art historians, social theorists, landscape architects, and others interested in the social and cultural politics of landscape.


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Socialism and Modernity
Peter Beilharz
University of Minnesota Press, 2009

This first collection of Peter Beilharz's highly influential thought traces the themes and problems, manifestations, and trajectories of socialism and modernity as they connect and shift over a twenty-year period. Woven throughout Beilharz's analysis is the urgent question of modern utopia: how do we imagine freedom and equality in modernity?

The essays in this volume explore the relationship between socialism and modernity across the United States, Europe, and Australia from the mid-1980s to the turn of the twenty-first century, a time that witnessed the global triumph of capitalism and the dramatic turn away from Marxism and socialism to modernity as the dominant perspective. According to Beilharz, we have seen the expansion of a kind of Weberian Marxism, with the concept of revolution giving way to the idea of pluralized forms of power and the idea of rupture giving way to the postmodern sense of difference. These changes come together with the discourse of modernism, both aesthetic and technological.

Socialism and modernity, Beilharz argues, are fundamentally interrelated. In correcting the conflation of Marxism, Bolshevism, and socialism that occludes contemporary political thinking, he reopens a space for discussion of what socialist politics might look like now-in the postcommunist-postcolonial-postmodern moment.


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The Three Orders
Feudal Society Imagined
Georges Duby
University of Chicago Press, 1980

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The Three Worlds
Culture and World Development
Peter Worsley
University of Chicago Press, 1984
A major, eclectic work of extraordinary scope and unprecedented vision, The Three Worlds is much more than a study of the contemporary Third World. It examines the constituents of development—cultural as well as political and economic—throughout the world from prehistory to the present.

Peter Worsley first considers existing theories of development, synthesizing the Marxist approach with that of social anthropologists and identifying culture—in the sense of a shared set of values—as the key element missing in more traditional approaches to the sociology of development. Worsley then examines successive forms of rural organization, develops a new definition of the urban poor, considers the relation of ethnicity and nationalism to social class and to each other, and, finally, discusses the nature of the three worlds implied in the term Third World.

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Time, Work, and Culture in the Middle Ages
Jacques Le Goff
University of Chicago Press, 1980
Jacques Le Goff is a prominent figure in the tradition of French medieval scholarship, profoundly influenced by the Annales school, notably, Bloch, Febvre, and Braudel, and by the ethnographers and anthropologists Mauss, Dumézil, and Lévi-Strauss. In building his argument for "another Middle Ages" (un autre moyen âge), Le Goff documents the emergence of the collective mentalité from many sources with scholarship both imaginative and exact.


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Urban Imaginaries
Locating the Modern City
Alev Cinar
University of Minnesota Press, 2007

For millennia, the city stood out against the landscape, walled and compact. This concept of the city was long accepted as adequate for characterizing the urban experience. However, the nature of the city, both real and imagined, has always been more permeable than this model reveals.

The essays in Urban Imaginaries respond to this condition by focusing on how social and physical space is conceived as both indefinite and singular. They emphasize the ways this space is shared and thus made into urban culture. Urban Imaginaries offers case studies on cities in Brazil, Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, and India, as well as in the United States and France, and in doing so blends social, cultural, and political approaches to better understand the contemporary urban experience.

Contributors: Margaret Cohen, Stanford U; Camilla Fojas, De Paul U; Beatriz Jaguaribe, Federal U of Rio de Janeiro; Anthony D. King, SUNY Binghamton; Mark LeVine, U of California, Irvine; Srirupa Roy, U of Massachusetts, Amherst; Seteney Shami, Social Science Research Council; AbdouMaliq Simone, New School U; Maha Yahya; Deniz Yükseker, Koç U, Istanbul.

Alev Çinar is associate professor of political science and public administration at Bilkent University, Turkey. Thomas Bender is university professor of the humanities and history at New York University.


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Violence and Miracle in the Fourteenth Century
Private Grief and Public Salvation
Michael E. Goodich
University of Chicago Press, 1995
As war, pestilence, and famine spread through Europe in the Middle Ages, so did reports of miracles, of hopeless victims wondrously saved from disaster. These "rescue miracles," recorded by over one hundred fourteenth-century cults, are the basis of Michael Goodich's account of the miraculous in everyday medieval life.

Rescue miracles offer a wide range of voices rarely heard in medieval history, from women and children to peasants and urban artisans. They tell of salvation not just from the ravages of nature and war, but from the vagaries of a violent society—crime, unfair judicial practices, domestic squabbles, and communal or factional conflict. The stories speak to a collapse of confidence in decaying institutions, from the law to the market to feudal authority. Particularly, the miraculous escapes documented during the Hundred Years' War, the Italian communal wars, and other conflicts are vivid testimony to the end of aristocratic warfare and the growing victimization of noncombatants.

Miracles, Goodich finds, represent the transcendent and unifying force of faith in a time of widespread distress and the hopeless conditions endured by the common people of the Middle Ages. Just as the lives of the saints, once dismissed as church propaganda, have become valuable to historians, so have rescue miracles, as evidence of an underlying medieval mentalite. This work expands our knowledge of that state of mind and the grim conditions that colored and shaped it.

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Why the American Century?
Olivier Zunz
University of Chicago Press, 1998
Reinterpreting our country's rise to world power, Olivier Zunz shows how American elites appropriated the twentieth century. Policymakers, corporate managers, engineers, scientists, and social scientists promoted a social contract of abundance and a controversial theory of pluralism. Their efforts created a model of middle class behavior for America and for the rest of the world.

"It should certainly be the task of historians to explain the nation's triumphs as effectively as they have explained its failures, and Zunz in this intelligent, learned and ambitious book suggests a valuable new model for doing so."—Alan Brinkley, Times Literary Supplement

"Zunz is evenhanded in his judgments. . . . His thesis is both imaginative and well grounded in the appropriate sources."—David M. Oshinsky, New York Times Book Review

"Zunz is an innovative and perceptive social critic. He crosses disciplinary boundaries with ease and felicity, and is particularly adept at illustrating large themes with unusual but telling details."—Kent Blaser, American Studies

"An eye-opening introduction to the shaping of modern America."—Foreign Affairs

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Wife and Widow in Medieval England
Sue Sheridan Walker, Editor
University of Michigan Press, 1993
Examines the role of women in medieval law and society

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World-Systems Analysis
An Introduction
Immanuel Wallerstein
Duke University Press, 2004
In World-Systems Analysis, Immanuel Wallerstein provides a concise and accessible introduction to the comprehensive approach that he pioneered thirty years ago to understanding the history and development of the modern world. Since Wallerstein first developed world-systems analysis, it has become a widely utilized methodology within the historical social sciences and a common point of reference in discussions of globalization. Now, for the first time in one volume, Wallerstein offers a succinct summary of world-systems analysis and a clear outline of the modern world-system, describing the structures of knowledge upon which it is based, its mechanisms, and its future.

Wallerstein explains the defining characteristics of world-systems analysis: its emphasis on world-systems rather than nation-states, on the need to consider historical processes as they unfold over long periods of time, and on combining within a single analytical framework bodies of knowledge usually viewed as distinct from one another—such as history, political science, economics, and sociology. He describes the world-system as a social reality comprised of interconnected nations, firms, households, classes, and identity groups of all kinds. He identifies and highlights the significance of the key moments in the evolution of the modern world-system: the development of a capitalist world-economy in the sixteenth-century, the beginning of two centuries of liberal centrism in the French Revolution of 1789, and the undermining of that centrism in the global revolts of 1968. Intended for general readers, students, and experienced practitioners alike, this book presents a complete overview of world-systems analysis by its original architect.


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Young, White, and Miserable
Growing Up Female in the Fifties
Wini Breines
University of Chicago Press, 2001
Young, White, and Miserable is a critically acclaimed study that compellingly shows how the feminist movement of the 1960s found momentum in the seemingly peaceable time of the 1950s. Wini Breines explores white middle class America and argues that mixed messages given to girls during this decade lent fuel to the fire that would later become known as feminism. Concluding with a look at the life and suicide of social scientist Anne Parsons, this book is a poignant and important look into conditions that led to the women's movement.

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