991 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Intellectual History about their New Books
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    • Society & Culture

Interviews with Scholars of Intellectual History about their New Books
Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

    Second Thoughts on Consistency: A Lecture by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

    Second Thoughts on Consistency: A Lecture by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

    In October 1981, Hans Magnus Enzensberger gave the Institute’s James lecture, titled “Second Thoughts on Consistency.” Enzensberger, who died in November, 2022, at the age of 93, was a German translator, editor, author, and poet. He was born in Bavaria, and was just 15 years old when the Third Reich collapsed. After studying literature and philosophy in university, he earned a doctorate at the Sorbonne in Paris. Enzensberger wrote in both English and German. In addition to novels, he has written more than five volumes of poetry, including collections for children.
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    • 45 min
    Jay Michaelson, "The Heresy of Jacob Frank: From Jewish Messianism to Esoteric Myth" (Oxford UP, 2022)

    Jay Michaelson, "The Heresy of Jacob Frank: From Jewish Messianism to Esoteric Myth" (Oxford UP, 2022)

    In The Heresy of Jacob Frank: From Jewish Messianism to Esoteric Myth (Oxford University Press, 2022), Jay Michaelson explores the religious philosophy of the mercurial eighteenth-century figure Jacob Frank, who, in the wake of false messiah Sabbetai Zevi, led the largest mass apostasy in Jewish history. Based on close readings of Frank's late teachings, recorded in 1784 and 1790, Michaelson challenges scholarly presentations of Frank that depict him as a sex-crazed "degenerate," and presents Frank as an original and prescient figure at the crossroads of tradition and modernity, reason and magic, Kabbalah and Western Esotericism.
    Jay Michaelson is an affiliated assistant professor at Chicago Theological Seminary and a visiting scholar at the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion.
    Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Visit him online at ZalmanNewfield.com.
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    • 1 hr 5 min
    Jasmine Calver, "Anti-Fascism, Gender, and International Communism: The Comité Mondial Des Femmes Contre la Guerre et Le Fascisme, 1934-1941" (Routledge, 2022)

    Jasmine Calver, "Anti-Fascism, Gender, and International Communism: The Comité Mondial Des Femmes Contre la Guerre et Le Fascisme, 1934-1941" (Routledge, 2022)

    Women played an essential role in the international struggle against fascism during the interwar period, though their work has been neglected in broader historiography. In Anti-Fascism, Gender, and International Communism (Routledge, 2022), Jasmine Calver provides a comprehensive history of the Comité mondial des femmes contre la guerre et le fascisme (the International Committee of Women Against War and Fascism, or CMF), an international women's organization concerned with confronting the impact of fascism on women and children across the globe. Examining the CMF's key figures and campaigns during its short 1934-41 tenure, Calver reveals its place at the forefront of global debates about the threat posed by fascism and imperialism. This book explores how the professional women activists and the working-class women who populated the organization developed a committee which advocated for women on a global scale. CMF campaigns around the Spanish Civil War, rising Nazism in Germany, the Sino-Japanese War, and the Italian invasion of Ethiopia show its international ambitions. Using newly-available sources to assess CMF congresses, correspondence, travels, and publications, Calver uncovers the complexities of its links to the Communist International, and its status as an early Popular Front organization. The book comes at an important time to reevaluate the successes and failures of historical efforts to combat rising fascist movements.
    Rebecca Turkington is a PhD Candidate in History at Cambridge University studying transnational women’s networks.
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    • 1 hr 8 min
    Cathy McClive, "The Art of Childbirth: A Seventeenth-Century Midwife's Epistolary Treatise to Doctor Vallant" (Iter Press, 2022)

    Cathy McClive, "The Art of Childbirth: A Seventeenth-Century Midwife's Epistolary Treatise to Doctor Vallant" (Iter Press, 2022)

    Cathy McClive (Florida State University) offers the first full-length bilingual edition of an extraordinary treatise on childbirth written by a seventeenth-century French midwife in The Art of Childbirth: A Seventeenth-Century Midwife's Epistolary Treatise to Doctor Vallant (University of Toronto Press, 2022). In 1671, Marie Baudoin (1625-1700), head midwife and governor of the Hôtel-Dieu of Clermont-Ferrand, sent a treatise on the art of childbirth to her powerful Parisian patron, Dr. Vallant. The story of how Baudoin's knowledge and expertise as a midwife came to be expressed, recorded, and archived raises the question: Was Baudoin exceptional because she was herself extraordinary, or because her voice has reached us through Vallant's careful archival practices? Either way, Baudoin's treatise invites us to reconsider the limits of what we thought we knew midwives "could be and do" in seventeenth-century France. Grounding Marie Baudoin's text in a microanalysis of her life, work, and the Jansenist network between Paris and Clermont-Ferrand, this book connects historiographies of midwifery, Jansenism, hospital administration, public health, knowledge and record-keeping, and women's work, underscoring both Baudoin's capabilities and the archival accidents and intentions behind the preservation of her treatise in a letter.
    Jana Byars is the Academic Director of Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender.
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    • 54 min
    Yoram Hazony, "Conservatism: A Rediscovery" (Regnery Publishing,2022)

    Yoram Hazony, "Conservatism: A Rediscovery" (Regnery Publishing,2022)

    Conservatism needs to be rediscovered. That is, it needs to be differentiated from the post WWII concept of liberal democracy and return to its traditional three pillars of religion, nationalism, and economic growth. And it needs to be thought of as Anglo-American conservatism, rooted in the tradition of the English Constitution going back to such thinkers as John Fortescue (c. 1394 –1479) and John Selden (1584 –1654). We need to be a God-fearing nation, with nation and religion at the center of our national belief system. We must live conservative lives.
    These are some of the arguments made by the political theorist and public intellectual Yoram Hazony in his 2022 book Conservatism: A Rediscovery (Regnery Publishing, 2022).
    It is a provocative book that even many conservatives may take issue with.
    For example, Hazony puts a great deal of emphasis on the importance of hierarchy both within the family and in society at large. Given that a good deal of the rationale of right-wing thinking in recent years has been predicated on the necessity for non-violent rebellion against the establishment in the Republican party and the left-wing dominance of academia, Hazony’s arguments may not be embraced by large swaths of the right. But to get conservatives and those on the right who do not identify as such thinking about what they stand for, what they want and how to get it is one of the goals of the book. It succeeds.
    To those who might blanch at the embrace of religion in the public sphere, Hazony argues that for all intents and purposes the increasingly powerful political philosophy woke neo-Marxism is itself a religion. Hazony criticizes the right for acquiescing in the relegation of traditional religion to the private sphere. He argues robustly for religion, particularly Christianity, to serve as a countervailing force to wokeism. In the face of a progressive order that leaves people in the position of being unable to distinguish between a man and a woman, Hazony advocates for such measures as ending the ban on the Bible and God in the public school classroom.
    This is a full-throated defense of conservatism and is, therefore, must reading for those on all sides of the political spectrum. Hazony addresses the need for the idea of a nation, its cohesion, and its inherited traditions. For that, he says, you need conservatism. And by conservatism, he means a public conservatism, a public traditionalism in those places where there is a majority that will support it. Hazony maintains that our culture must support parents and congregations in the work of the transmission of values that ensure respect for tradition, nation and hierarchy.
    This book is a substantive intellectual history of conservative thought and profiles significant figures in the conservative movement (e.g., William F. Buckley, Frank Meyer, Russell Kirk). It is also a clarion call for those who claim to be conservatives to live genuinely conservative lives. Hazony urges conservatives to stand up for principles like the public acknowledgment of God and such core values as the honor due parents by their adult children, loyalty within marriage, and observance of the sabbath. In the Hazony version of conservatism, all ten of the Ten Commandments ought to be the basis for our country’s social and political life.
    He includes in his book a memoir of his days at Princeton University in the 1980s, where a campus culture of loose living and rampant drinking led him to seek out a life of faith and family. College students of today and their parents would do well to read this moving chronicle of a young person surrounded by decadence who escapes its ravages via a solid marriage and a return to traditional religion.
    Let’s hear from Mr. Hazony about his book and the path forward for conservatives and America itself.
    Hope J. Leman is a grants researcher.
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    • 1 hr 10 min
    Yochai Ataria, "Primo Levi and Ka-Tzetnik: The Map and the Territory" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022)

    Yochai Ataria, "Primo Levi and Ka-Tzetnik: The Map and the Territory" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022)

    Primo Levi and Ka-Tzetnik: The Map and the Territory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022) is about Primo Levi and Ka-Tzetnik, both Auschwitz survivors and central figures in the shaping of Holocaust memory, who dedicated their lives to bearing witness and writing about the concentration camps, seeking, in particular, to give voice to those who did not return. The two writers are generally treated as complete opposites: Levi level-headed and self-aware, Ka-Tzetnik caught up in repeating the traumatic past. In this book I show how fundamentally mistaken this approach is, and how the similarity between them is, in fact, far greater than it may seem. While Levi draws the map, Ka-Tzetnik reveals the territory itself, and, taken together, they offer a better understanding of the human experience of the camps. This book explores their writing and their lives up to their deaths—Ka-Tzetnik of old age and Levi by his own hand—offering new explanations of Levi’s suicide, little understood to this day.
    Yochai Ataria is an associate professor at Tel-Hai College, Israel. He is the author of Body Disownership in Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (2018) and The Structural Trauma of Western Culture (2017). He has also co-edited the Body Schema and Body Image (2021), Jean Améry: Beyond the Mind’s Limits (2019), and Interdisciplinary Handbook of Culture and Trauma (2016).
    This book was published also in Hebrew by Pardes Publication House 2021.
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    • 53 min

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