We start with Michael R. Evans’ Inventing Eleanor: the Medieval and Post-Medieval Image of Eleanor of Aquitaine, which Elena Woodacre thinks has much to offer both the historian and the interested public (no. 1786).
Then we turn to Transnational Traditions: New Perspectives on American Jewish History, edited by Ava F. Kahn, Adam D. Mendelsohn. Toni Pitock believes this book will reorient our thinking about American Jewish history in particular, and Jewish history in general (no. 1785).
Next up is Huw Dylan’s Defence Intelligence and the Cold War: Britain’s Joint Intelligence Bureau 1945-1964. Rory Cormac recommends an impeccably researched and well-written work (no. 1784).
Finally we have a review article by Dave Andress covering Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution by Rebecca Spang and The Coming of the Terror in the French Revolution by Timothy Tackett, which includes responses from both authors (no. 1783, with response here).
The Institute of Historical Research, in collaboration with Senate House Library, is delighted to announce the launch of a new online exhibition of digitised fashion catalogues from the First World War. These select catalogues of women’s clothing from 1916 and 1917 illustrate the war’s impact on materials, the roles of women and fashion itself.
The exhibition is freely available at http://www.history.ac.uk/exhibitions/fashion/index.html, and includes eight fully digitised catalogues from five different department stores (Bradleys, Dickins and Jones, Peter Robinson, John Barnes and Stewart and Macdonald), potted histories of each of these, and further articles on the provenance of the catalogues, their preservation and the process involved in scanning them.
This online exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the Institute of Historical Research’s IHR Digital Department and Senate House Library, and has been produced thanks to contributions from Angela Craft, Dr Richard Espley, Dave Jackson, Dr Jordan Landes, Danny Millum and Professor Jane Winters. Please do get in touch with email@example.com with any questions or feedback.
We start with Government Against Itself: Public Sector Union Power and Its Consequences by Daniel DiSalvo. Joseph E. Hower and the author discuss a useful book on an important subject (no. 1782, with response here).
Next up is Laurence Fenton’s Frederick Douglass in Ireland: The Black O’Connell, and Hannah-Rose Murray recommends a well-written and researched volume (no. 1781).
Then we turn to Robert Hoyland’s In God’s Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire. Youssef Choueiri reviews a lively and fresh account of the Arab conquests (no. 1780).
Finally, Cyril Pearce provides a monumental overview of the literature on war resisters over the last 100 years, in Writing about Britain’s 1914-18 War Resisters (no. 1779).
We begin this week with Laura King’s Family Men: Fatherhood and Masculinity in Britain, 1914-1960. Helen McCarthy and the author discuss a beautifully researched, nuanced and ambitious book (no. 1778, with response here).
Next up is The Jacobean Grand Tour: Early Stuart Travellers in Europe, edited by Edward Chaney and Timothy Wilks. Simon Ditchfield has some reservations, but finds much to enjoy in erudite, generously illustrated and very reasonably priced volume (no. 1777).
Then we turn to Megan L. Bever and Scott A. Suarez’s Historian Behind the History: Conversations with Southern Historians, as Bruce Baker reviews an insightful set of interviews with historians about doing history (no. 1776).
Finally, we have The Oxford Handbook of Environmental History, edited by Andrew C. Isenberg, which Peter Coates praises as an enormously valuable teaching and research resource for the practitioner of environmental history (no. 1775).
We begin this week with The Courtly and Commercial Art of the Wycliffite Bible by Kathleen E. Kennedy. Eyal Poleg and the author discuss a book which is an important part of the ‘rehabilitation movement’ of the Wycliffite Bible (no. 1774, with author’s response here).
Then we turn to T. G. Otte’s July Crisis: The World’s Descent for War, Summer 1914, as Jeff Roquen recommends a thought-provoking study of supreme erudition (no. 1773).
Next up Gerald Power reviews The Shadow of a Year: 1641 in Irish History and Memory by John Gibney alongside TCD’s digital resource, the 1641 Depositions Online (no. 1772, with response here).
Finally we have Selina Todd’s The People: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class, 1910-2010. Sean Ledwith takes on a powerfully written social and political history of contemporary Britain (no. 1771).
First up this week is The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Christianity, as Thomas O’Loughlin and editor John Arnold discuss a new introduction to a vast field of research (no. 1769, with response here).
Then we turn to George Goodwin’s Fatal Rivalry, Flodden 1513: Henry VIII, James IV and the battle for Renaissance Britain. Alexander Hodgkins reviews a valuable addition to the body of literature discussing 16th-century Renaissance kingship and conflict in a British context (no. 1768).
Next up is Manuel Barcia’s West African Warfare in Bahia and Cuba: Soldier Slaves in the Atlantic World 1807-1844. Ulrike Schmieder praises an important contribution to the history of the African Atlantic and the South Atlantic (no. 1767).
Finally Vivienne Larminie recommends The Huguenots by Geoffrey Treasure, a worthy and largely well-informed attempt to explore a worthwhile and topical subject (no. 1766).
In the mid-nineteenth century a million British workers depended on the cotton textiles industry for their livelihoods. Most of the raw cotton they turned into cloth came from the southern states of America and was cultivated by slave labour. When the American Civil War broke out in 1861 a ‘cotton famine’ ensued: the secession of the southern states not only disrupted the American Union but also disrupted the flow of cotton across the Atlantic. For more than two years the Lancashire mills stopped working and hundreds of thousands of workers relied on public relief – yet they largely accepted their lot in the noble cause of destroying slavery.
First up this week we have Broadcasting Buildings: Architecture on the Wireless, 1927-1945 by Shundana Yusaf, as Laura Carter and the author discuss a playful and scholarly new book (no. 1765, with response here).
Then we turn to Helen Castor’s Joan of Arc: A History. Kieron Creedon recommends a vivid and riveting book which combines a consummate skill for storytelling with the cogent precision of a trial lawyer (no. 1764).
Next up is Demonology and Scholarship in the Counter-Reformation by Jan Machielsen, which Francis Young believes is a book that deserves to be on the reading list of every course on the Counter-Reformation (no. 1763).
Finally we have The Life of R. H. Tawney: Socialism and History by Lawrence Goldman. Adam Timmins reviews the first full biography of the historian and social reformer (no. 1762).
This post has kindly been written for us by Catherine Arnold, Mellon Dissertation Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research.
When does a state’s treatment of its subjects warrant foreign intervention? As we do today, men and women in early eighteenth-century Europe struggled to answer this question. Throughout this period the British government received formal and informal petitions for aid from religious minorities across Europe. And, in many cases, British officials responded. Between the 1690s and the 1710s, British diplomats negotiated international treaties that guaranteed rights—including liberty of conscience—for Protestants residing in Catholic states. From the mid-1710s, British ministers also instructed diplomats to petition European rulers for redress of the grievances of non-Protestant minorities or granted these groups asylum in Britain and its empire. By the 1740s, British diplomats had interceded on behalf of Jansenists in France and Jews in Portugal, Bohemia and Moravia. In my dissertation I seek to explain why this was so. Why did the British government begin to intervene on behalf of Catholic and Jewish communities—while also negotiating on behalf of Protestant minorities—between the 1690s and the 1740s?
In 1745, the British ministry responded to a transnational lobbying campaign and interceded with the Queen of Hungary, Maria Theresa, in an effort to halt the expulsion of Ashkenazi Jews from Bohemia. This print, titled “Exodus of the Jews from Prague, 1745,” and published in the same year, shows the Jewish community of Prague leaving the city. See: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12329-prague
To answer this question, I’ve chosen to examine the British government’s interventions on behalf of five minority communities during the early eighteenth century: Huguenots, or French Protestants, in France and on the Continent; Vaudois, or Reformed Protestants, in the duchy of Savoy, in northern Italy; Jansenists in France; and Jews in Portugal and in the territories of the Habsburg monarchy, Bohemia and Moravia, in the present-day Czech Republic. I argue that British politicians’ negotiations on behalf of Protestant and non-Protestant minorities between the 1690s and the 1740s were, in large part, the result of extra-governmental diplomacy and lobbying. Protestant and non-Protestant minorities coordinated transnational lobbying campaigns intended to convince European governments, like Britain’s, to maintain their privileges and protect them against repressive policies.
In making the case for intervention, lobbyists, propagandists, diplomats and politicians in Britain and on the Continent frequently characterized government interventions as charitable projects and justified them on moral grounds. Minorities were often referred to as “objects of charity” rather than as Lutherans, Calvinists, Catholics, or Jews. Although justifications for intervention predicated on “compassion to those poor People,” as one of the British Secretaries of State put it in 1745, had sixteenth- and seventeenth-century antecedents, my research suggests that, during the early eighteenth century, these justifications were invoked with greater regularity. What’s more, these arguments were used to justify the British government’s intercessions on behalf of non-Protestant minorities, including Jansenists and Jews.
Henri Arnaud (above) was a pastor of the Vaudois church. In 1699, when the Vaudois were forced to convert to Catholicism or leave the duchy of Savoy, Arnaud was deputized to lobby the English government for aid. See http://www.huguenot-museum-germany.com/huguenots/galleries/huguenot-portraits/a-b/arnaud-henri-1.php
How did these ‘objects of charity’ plead their cases to Britain, as well as to other European states? In my research so far, I’ve found that Protestant and non-Protestant minorities lobbied the British government by several routes. In some cases, a member of the community might be deputized to petition the British Secretary of State or a member of the royal family directly, either in writing or in person. In addition to this direct approach, communities arranged for influential British subjects to lobby on their behalf. To do so, deputies or other community members wrote to politicians, members of voluntary religious societies and members of early Enlightenment correspondence networks in Britain, asking them to plead their case to the British ministry. They also mobilized members of longstanding religious institutions across Europe—such as churches, consistories, and synagogues—to petition the British government in their favor. Communities even pressed other European governments to lobby Britain on their behalf. By convincing the British government’s constituents at home and its allies abroad to lobby on their behalf, while also conducting direct petitioning campaigns, minorities pressured the government to consider their appeals and intercede on their behalf.
As minorities mobilized acquaintances, fellow scholars, and co-religionists across Europe to lobby on their behalf, they also put pressure on European governments, like Britain’s, by publicizing their lobbying. When they lobbied the British government, members of these communities ensured that news of their appeals for aid—and, just as importantly, the ministry’s response to those appeals—circulated among European diplomats and politicians by presenting petitions to the Secretary of State in public audiences. At the same time, lobbyists often made these audiences known to a wider reading public, in Britain and in Europe, by selling printed copies of their formal petitions. News of minority grievances was also disseminated, at times, through sermons given by sympathetic clergymen or rabbis. And, not least, British and European newspapers, reported on the treatment of these communities and on their campaigns for aid, sometimes even printing letters that described minorities’ grievances or governments’ intercessions on their behalf. The public nature of these lobbying campaigns meant that the British government risked alienating sections of public opinion at home and abroad, as well as damaging its reputation at those European courts sympathetic to minorities’ grievances, by ignoring their petitions.
An example of a formal petition that also circulated in print. In 1712, as the British government began peace talks with France at the Congress of Utrecht, French Protestant “Refugees” in Britain asked the British ministry to insist that Louis XIV restore the Edict of Nantes, which had granted limited rights to French Protestants. Their petition and its accompanying memoranda (shown above) were printed and sold by French Protestant booksellers in London. Memoires, avec la garantie d’Angleterre, Presentez a son auguste Majesté la reine de la Grande Bretagne, par les François refugiez, pour obtent retablissement de l’edit de nantes. Londres, 1712. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale. Yale University Library. 27 Apr. 2015
So why do these cases matter? My research suggests that, during the early eighteenth century, intercessions and lobbying constituted an increasingly differentiated sphere of international politics, one in which informal lobbying and private negotiating coexisted with, and gave direction to, governments’ formal diplomacy and policy-making on the issue of how to treat foreign minorities. On this issue, members of civil society and religious personnel from across Europe could influence British foreign policy and diplomacy through their lobbying. And, I believe, the same argument could be made for other European governments. I’ve found evidence that France, the Netherlands, the Evangelical Swiss Cantons, the Republic of Geneva, Prussia, Sweden, some German principalities, Portugal, Spain, and the Habsburg monarchy were involved in negotiations about minority communities in their own or in other states’ territories during the early eighteenth century. Over the next eight months, I will visit archives in Italy, Geneva, the Netherlands, and France to develop this argument further. At the moment, though, I argue that through these lobbying campaigns and state interventions questions of minorities’ civil and religious rights, repatriation, and asylum gradually became a part of early eighteenth-century international politics.
It’s been argued that the experience of the seventeenth-century confessional conflicts led to the emergence of the modern state system, founded on the principles of state sovereignty and nonintervention, during the late seventeenth century. My research indicates that although confessional military interventions ceased during this period – Protestant governments no longer formed leagues to defend their faith, for instance – states did continue to intervene in each other’s internal affairs. By the early eighteenth century, politicians in Britain and on the Continent had begun to undertake a type of diplomatic intervention, which was intended to protect minorities’ rights and justified on moral grounds. Transnational non-governmental organizations, including religious institutions, played a significant role in this transformation. Well before the so-called ‘humanitarian revolution’ of the later eighteenth century politicians, clergymen, and members of civil society across Europe debated whether foreign governments like Britain’s should aid repressed religious minorities in other states. By further exploring these interventions I hope to offer a new perspective on the development of modern international relations and elucidate the emergence of an international politics centered on humanitarian concerns.
We start this week with a lively discussion between Felipe Fernandez-Armesto and Serge Gruzinski over the latter’s new work of comparative global history The Eagle and the Dragon: Globalization and European Dreams of Conquest in China and America in the Sixteenth Century (no. 1761, with response here).
Next up is Technology and Rural Change in Eastern India, 1830–1980 by Smritikumar Sarkar, and Amelia Bonea recommends a valuable book for anyone with an interest in the history of science and technology (no. 1760).
Then we have Rosa Salzberg’s Ephemeral City: Cheap Print and Urban Culture in Renaissance Venice, which Alexander Wilkinson believes is one of the best and most original works on book history to appear in recent years (no. 1759).
Finally we turn to Newspapers and Newsmakers: The Dublin Nationalist Press in the Mid-Nineteenth Century by Ann Andrews. Patrick Maume praises a useful contribution to the growing body of research on 19th-century Irish print media (no. 1758).