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Fire, Security, and Modernities, 1400 to 1900
Over 8,200 large city fires broke out between 1000 and 1939 CE in Central Europe. Prometheus Tamed inquires into the long-term history of that fire ecology, its local and regional frequencies, its relationship to climate history. It asks for the visual and narrative representation of that threat in every-day life. Institutional forms of fire insurance emerged in the form of private joint stock companies (the British model, starting in 1681) or in the form of cameralist fire insurances (the German model, starting in 1676). They contributed to shape and change society, transforming old communities of charitable solidarity into risk communities, finally supplemented by networks of cosmopolite aid. After 1830, insurance agencies expanded tremendously quickly all over the globe: Cultural clashes of Western and native perceptions of fire risk and of what is insurance can be studied as part of a critical archaeology of world risk society and the plurality of modernities.
Festivity and Representation in the Early Eighteenth Century
The 1720 Imperial Circumcision Celebrations in Istanbul offers the first holistic examination of an Ottoman public festival through an in-depth inquiry into different components of the 1720 event. Through a critical and combined analysis of the hitherto unknown archival sources along with the textual and pictorial narratives on the topic, the book vividly illustrates the festival’s organizational details and preparations, its complex rites (related to consumption, exchange, competition), and its representation in court-commissioned illustrated festival books (sūrnāmes).
To analyze all these phases in a holistic manner, the book employs an interdisciplinary approach by using the methodological tools of history, art history, and performance studies and thus, provides a new methodological and conceptual framework for the study of Ottoman celebrations.
Play and Illusion in Renaissance Humanism
Author: Timothy Kircher
In Before Enlightenment: Play and Illusion in Renaissance Humanism, Timothy Kircher argues for new ways of appreciating Renaissance humanist philosophy. Literary qualities – tone, voice, persona, style, imagery – composed a core of their philosophizing, so that play and illusion, as well as rational certainty, formed pre-Enlightenment ideas about knowledge, ethics, and metaphysics.

Before Enlightenment takes issue with the long-standing view of humanism’s philosophical mediocrity. It shows new features of Renaissance culture that help explain the origins not only of Enlightenment rationalists, but also of early modern novelists and essayists. If humanist writings promoted objective knowledge based on reason’s supremacy over emotion, they also showed awareness of one’s place and play in the world. The animal rationale is also the homo ludens.
Consuls, Missionaries, and Spies in Premodern Diplomacy
Because of the overarching shadow of ‘the state’ in all things diplomatic, traditional diplomatic history has neglected the study of any actors in foreign relations other than state diplomats, such as ambassadors. This volume focuses on the question of how and why consuls, missionaries, and spies not formally tied to the state or a prince could play a role in premodern diplomatic relations. It highlights their multiple loyalties, their volatility, and the porous boundaries of diplomatic activity. Historical research on non-state actors – in the context of the so-called new diplomatic history – is all the more urgent as it demonstrates their undeniably significant contributions to the formation of Europe’s international relations.

Contributors are: Maurits Ebben, Dante Fedele, Alan Marshall, Jacques Paviot, Felicia Roșu, Jean-Baptiste Santamaria, Louis Sicking, and John Watkins.
Early Modern Personifications of the Continents
Since antiquity, artists have visualized the known world through the female (sometimes male) body. In the age of exploration, America was added to figures of Europe, Asia, and Africa who would come to inhabit the borders of geographical visual imagery. In the abundance of personifications in print, painting, ceramics, tapestry, and sculpture, do portrayals vary between hierarchy and global human dignity? Are we witnessing the emergence of ethnography or of racism? Yet, as this volume shows, depictions of bodies as places betray the complexity of human claims and desires. Bodies and Maps: Early Modern Personifications of the Continents opens up questions about early modern politics, travel literature, sexualities, gender, processes of making, and the mobility of forms and motifs.

Contributors are: Louise Arizzoli, Elisa Daniele, Hilary Haakenson, Elizabeth Horodowich, Maryanne Cline Horowitz, Ann Rosalind Jones, Paul H. D. Kaplan, Marion Romberg, Mark Rosen, Benjamin Schmidt, Chet Van Duzer, Bronwen Wilson, and Michael Wintle.