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The Joker both fascinates and repels us. From his origin in Detective Comics in 1940, he has committed obscene crimes, some of the worst the Batman universe has ever known, and, conversely, fans have made him the topic of erotic and pornographic “fan fiction.” Speculation about the Joker abounds, where some fans have even claimed that the Joker is “queer coded.” This work explores various popular claims about the Joker, and delves into the history of comic books, and of other popular media from a semiotic viewpoint to understand “The Clown Prince of Crime” in the contexts in which he existed to understand his evolution in the past. From his roots as a “typical hoodlum,” The Joker even starred in his own eponymous comic book series and he was recently featured in a non-canonical movie. This work examines what it is about the Joker which fascinates us.
In Rome, where strategies to re-establish Roman Catholic orthodoxy were formulated, the problem of how to deal with foreigners and particularly with ‘heretics’ coming from Northern Europe was an important priority throughout the early modern period. Converting foreigners had a special significance for the Papacy. This volume, which includes several case studies, explores the meaning of conversion and the changes of policy adopted by the church bodies set up to protect orthodoxy. It uses inquisitorial documents (from Archivio della Congregazione per la dottrina della Fede) and sources from other archives and libraries, both in Rome and elsewhere. The book includes an updated bibliography with a particular attention paid to anglophone historiography.
Advertisements and Announcements in Dutch and Flemish Newspapers, 1620-1675
The history of newspaper advertising began in the seventeenth-century Low Countries. The newspaper publishers of the Dutch Republic were the first to embrace advertisements, decades before their peers in other news markets in Europe. In this survey, Arthur der Weduwen and Andrew Pettegree have brought together the first 6,000 advertisements placed in Dutch and Flemish newspapers between 1620 and 1675. Provided here in an English translation, and accompanied by seven indices, this work provides for the first time a complete overview of the development of newspaper advertising and its impact on the Dutch book trade, economy and society. In these evocative announcements, ranging from advertisement for library auctions, the publication of new books, pamphlets and maps to notices of crime, postal schedules or missing pets, the seventeenth century is brought to life. This survey offers a unique perspective on daily life, personal relationships and societal change in the Dutch Golden Age.
The Illicit Export of Artworks Out of Italy, 1861-1909
Smuggling the Renaissance: The Illicit Export of Artworks Out of Italy, 1861-1909 explores the phenomenon of art spoliation in Italy following Unification (1861), when the international demand for Italian Renaissance artworks was at an all-time high but effective art protection legislation had not yet been passed.
Making use of rich archival material Joanna Smalcerz narrates the complex and often dramatic struggle between the lawmakers of the new Italian State, and international curators (e.g., Wilhelm Bode), collectors (e.g., Isabella Stewart Gardner) and dealers (e.g., Stefano Bardini) who continuously orchestrated illicit schemes to export abroad Italian masterpieces. At the heart of the intertwinement of the art trade, art scholarship and art protection policies the author exposes the socio-psychological dynamics of unlawful collecting.
Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture by Doreen G. Fernandez is a groundbreaking work that introduces readers to the wondrous history of Filipino foodways. First published by Anvil in 1994, Tikim explores the local and global nuances of Philippine cuisine through its people, places, feasts, and flavors.

Doreen Gamboa Fernandez (1934–2002) was a cultural historian, professor, author, and columnist. Her food writing educated and inspired generations of chefs and food enthusiasts in the Philippines and throughout the world. This Brill volume honors and preserves Fernandez’s legacy with a reprinting of Tikim, a foreword by chef and educator Aileen Suzara, and an editor’s preface by historian Catherine Ceniza Choy.
The commercialized economy of late imperial China depended on efficient transport, yet transport technologies, transport economics as well as its role in local societies and in interdependencies of environments and human activities are acutely under-researched. Nanny Kim analyses two transports systems into the Southwest of Qing China through the long eighteenth century and up to the mid-nineteenth century civil wars. The case studies explore shipping on the Upper Changjiang in Sichuan and through the Three Gorges into Hubei, and road transport out of the Sichuan Basin across northeastern Yunnan and northwestern Guizhou into central Yunnan. Specific and concrete investigations of a river that presented extreme dangers to navigation and carriage across the crunch zone of the Himalayan Plateau provides a basis for a systematic reconstruction of transport outside the lowland centres and their convenient networks of water transport.
In The Agency of Empire: Connections and Strategies in French Expansion (1686-1746) Elisabeth Heijmans places directors and their connections at the centre of the developments and operations of French overseas companies. The focus on directors’ decisions and networks challenges the conception of French overseas companies as highly centralized and controlled by the state.
Through the cases of companies operating in Pondicherry (Coromandel Coast) and Ouidah (Bight of Benin), Elisabeth Heijmans demonstrates the participation of actors not only in Paris but also in provinces, ports and trading posts in the French expansion. The analysis brings to the fore connections across imperial, cultural and religious boundaries in order to diverge from traditional national narratives of the French early modern empire.
The Impact of the Presbyterian Church in the Caribbean
In Beyond the Legacy of the Missionaries and East Indians, Jerome Teelucksingh offers a revisionist perspective of the role of the Presbyterian Church in Trinidad. He is particularly interested in social mobility as regards the Indo-Caribbean diaspora in the era following the First World War. He argues that the Presbyterian Church in the Caribbean was particularly interested in women’s rights. As such, he examines the dynamic between local expertise and Canadian missionary work in such social uplift processes.
This book charts the lives of (suspected) thieves, illegitimate mothers and vagrants in early modern Frankfurt. The book highlights the gender differences in recorded criminality and the way that they were shaped by the local context. Women played a prominent role in recorded crime in this period, and could even make up half of all defendants in specific European cities. At the same time, there were also large regional differences. Women’s crime patterns in Frankfurt were both similar and different to those of other cities. Informal control within the household played a significant role and influenced the prosecution patterns of authorities. This impacted men and women differently, and created clear distinctions within the system between settled locals and unsettled migrants.
Studies in Comparative Legal History
The driving force of the dynamic development of world legal history in the past few centuries, with the dominance of the West, was clearly the demands of modernisation – transforming existing reality into what is seen as modern. The need for modernisation, determining the development of modern law, however, clashed with the need to preserve cultural identity rooted in national traditions. With selected examples of different legal institutions, countries and periods, the authors of the essays in the two volumes Modernisation, National Identity and Legal Instrumentalism: Studies in Comparative Legal History, vol. I:Private Law and Modernisation, National Identity and Legal Instrumentalism: Studies in Comparative Legal History, vol. II: Public Law seek to explain the nature of this problem.

Contributors are Michał Gałędek, Katrin Kiirend-Pruuli, Anna Klimaszewska, Łukasz Jan Korporowicz, Beata J. Kowalczyk, Marju Luts-Sootak, Marcin Michalak, Annamaria Monti, Zsuzsanna Peres, Sara Pilloni, Hesi Siimets-Gross, Sean Thomas, Bart Wauters, Steven Wilf, and Mingzhe Zhu.