Associate Professor of History Benjamin Hopkins makes a provocative case that “failed states” along the periphery of today’s international system are the intended result of 19th-century colonial design. From the Afghan frontier to the pampas of Argentina, colonial empires drew borders with an eye toward placing indigenous people just close enough to take advantage of, with lasting ramifications for the global nation-state.
Professor of History Daniel Schwartz s tracks the evolution of the word 'Ghetto' and offers a fascinating account of the changing nuances of this slippery term, from its coinage to the present day. It details how the ghetto emerged as an ambivalent metaphor for “premodern” Judaism in the nineteenth century and how it was later revived to refer to everything from densely populated Jewish immigrant enclaves in modern cities to the hypersegregated holding pens of Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. We see how this ever-evolving word traveled across the Atlantic Ocean, settled into New York’s Lower East Side and Chicago’s Near West Side, then came to be more closely associated with African Americans than with Jews.
Nemata Blyden, professor of history and international affairs, presents an introduction to the relationship between African Americans and Africa from the era of slavery to the present, mapping several overlapping diasporas. Investigating questions fundamental to the study of African American history and culture, she asks: What is an “African American” and how does this identity relate to the African continent?
Daniel Schwartz, associate professor of history, examines the Jewish response to Baruch (Benedict) Spinoza, the controversial 17th-century philosopher and pioneering biblical critic, who is revered in some circles as the patron saint of secular Jewishness and branded by others as the worst traitor to the Jewish people in modern times. The book presents the development of Spinoza’s posthumous legacy through a mix of genres from philosophical criticism and historical fiction to tributes and diary entries.
Arie M. Dubnov, associate professor of history, and Max Ticktin, chair of Israel studies, co-edited this first collective history of the concept of partition, the physical division of territory along ethno-religious lines into separate nation-states. The book traces the emergence of partition in the aftermath of the First World War and locates its genealogy in the politics of 20th century empire and decolonization.
Joel Blecher, assistant professor of history, breaks open a brand new field in Islamic studies: how hadith (Muhammad’s sayings and practices) were debated and understood over the past millennium. It offers a window into how communities from classical Muslim Spain to Medieval Egypt to modern India interpreted and re-interpreted the hadith in different ways for their own context, weaving together tales of high court rivalries, public furors and colonial politics
Jenna Weissman Joselit, Charles E. Smith Professor of Judaic Studies and professor of history, situates the Ten Commandments within the fabric of American history and reveals the influence of the scriptural directives on the formation of our national identity — from the 1860 archaeologists who claimed to have discovered pieces of the tablets in Ohio to politicians who proposed them as citizenship tests to psychotherapists who touted them as psychotherapeutic tool.
Winning the Third World examines afresh the intense and enduring rivalry between the United States and China during the Cold War. Gregg A. Brazinsky shows how both nations fought vigorously to establish their influence in newly independent African and Asian countries.
Denver Brunsman, associate professor of history, details the creation of the executive office by our country’s most influential political leader, George Washington. His unanimous election as the first president ignited a series of changes to the new republican system of government — changes that still affect the American political system more than 200 years later. The book discusses how today’s leaders can follow his example.
Tyler Anbinder, professor of history, chronicles the American immigrant story by focusing on New York City as the nation’s defining port of entry for nearly four centuries and a magnet for transplants from all over the globe. He profiles migrants who brought their hundreds of languages and distinct cultures to the city — and from there to the entire country.
David J. Silverman, professor of history, examines the adoption of firearms by American Indians between the 17th and 19th centuries as a turning point in the history of North America’s indigenous peoples and a cultural earthquake so profound that its impact has yet to be adequately measured. He maintains that firearms empowered American Indians to pursue their interests and defend their political and economic autonomy over two centuries.
In his book, Dane Kennedy, the Elmer Louis Kayser Professor of History and International Affairs, explores the historical process of “Decolonization” — the transition from a world of colonial empires to a world of nation-states in the years after World War II. He highlights the era’s widespread violence and refugee crises, which lead to political problems that persist today.
Diane Harris Cline, associate professor of history, authored this lavishly illustrated reference guide on the culture that brought us democracy, the Olympics, Socrates and Alexander the Great. She presents ancient Greece through gripping stories, from the rise and fall of the empire to the powerful legacy it left for the modern world.
Dane Kennedy, the Elmer Louis Kayser Professor of History and International Affairs, edited this collection of essays from leading historians that addresses why Britain's imperial past continues to generate such intense and sustained interest. How has this preoccupation endured even as its subject slips further into the past?
Theo Christov, assistant professor of honors, history and international affairs, examines how the “Hobbesian state of nature” and the “discourse of anarchy” — separated by three centuries — came to be seen as virtually synonymous. His book offers a novel account of Hobbes's interpersonal and international state of nature.
Jisoo Kim, the Korea Foundation Associate Professor of History, International Affairs and East Asian Languages and Literatures, reveals a surprisingly complex picture of the Choson state (1392-1910). Often portrayed as a rigid society, she contends that its judicial system operated in a contradictory fashion by discriminating against subjects while simultaneously minimizing such discrimination.
Denver Brunsman, associate professor of history, co-authored this text that explores how pop-culture reflects the transformation of the United States into the most powerful industrial nation on earth.
Professor Shira Robinson analyzes the paradoxical status of the Palestinian Arabs who managed to remain in or return to the new state of Israel following the 1948 war and the creation of the state of Israel. Offered immediate suffrage rights and, in time, citizenship status, they nonetheless found their movement, employment and civil rights restricted by a draconian military government. The book traces how Jewish leaders struggled to advance their historic settler project while forced by new international human rights norms to share political power with the very people they sought to uproot.