300 episodes

Interviews with Historians about their New Books

New Books in History New Books Network

    • Society & Culture
    • 3.9 • 128 Ratings

Interviews with Historians about their New Books

    D. Bilak and T. Nummedal, "Furnace and Fugue. A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s 'Atalanta fugiens' (1618)" (U Virginia Press, 2020)

    D. Bilak and T. Nummedal, "Furnace and Fugue. A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s 'Atalanta fugiens' (1618)" (U Virginia Press, 2020)

    In 1618, on the eve of the Thirty Years’ War, the German alchemist and physician Michael Maier published Atalanta fugiens, an intriguing and complex musical alchemical emblem book designed to engage the ear, eye, and intellect. The book unfolds as a series of fifty emblems, each of which contains an accompanying "fugue" music scored for three voices. Historians of alchemy have long understood this virtuoso work as an ambitious demonstration of the art’s literary potential and of the possibilities of the early modern printed book.
    Atalanta fugiens lends itself unusually well to today’s digital tools. Re-rendering Maier’s multimedia alchemical project as an enhanced online publication, Furnace and Fugue allows contemporary readers to hear, see, manipulate, and investigate Atalanta fugiens in ways that Maier perhaps imagined but that were impossible to fully realize before now. An interactive, layered digital edition provides accessibility and flexibility, presenting all the elements of the original book along with significant enhancements that allow for deep engagement by specialists and nonspecialists alike.
    Three short introductory essays invite readers to get acquainted with early modern alchemy, and Michael Maier. Eight extended interpretive essays explore Atalanta fugiens and its place in the history of music, science, print, and visual culture in early modern Europe. These interdisciplinary essays also include interactive features that clarify and/or advance the authors’ arguments while positioning Furnace and Fugue as an original, uniquely engaging contribution to our understanding of early modern culture.
    Drs. Bilak and Nummedal are the editors of this innovative digital edition of a seventeenth-century alchemical text that combines text, image, and music. Furnace & Fugue was developed by Brown University’s Mellon-supported Digital Publications Initiative, and published by the University of Virginia Press (2020) as an open-access edition.
    Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Social Science Research Institute at Brown University.
    Dr. Bilak is an academic and a goldsmith. She is the Creative Director of 12 Keys Consultancy & Design, LLC, and an Independent Scholar. She is an historian of early modern science Donna's research extends to the cross-cultural examination of jewellery, artisanal technologies, and meaning-making with materials. Dr. Nummedal is Professor of History and of Italian Studies at Brown University. She is the author of Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire (University of Chicago Press, 2007), Anna Zieglerin and the Lion’s Blood: Alchemy and End Times in Reformation Germany (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019). With Janice Neri and John V. Calhoun, she published John Abbot and William Swainson: Art, Science, and Commerce in Nineteenth-Century Natural History.
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    • 58 min
    Rachel Manekin, "The Rebellion of the Daughters: Jewish Women Runaways in Habsburg Galicia" (Princeton UP, 2020)

    Rachel Manekin, "The Rebellion of the Daughters: Jewish Women Runaways in Habsburg Galicia" (Princeton UP, 2020)

    In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, over three hundred young Jewish women from Orthodox, mostly Hasidic, homes in Western Galicia (now Poland) fled their communities and sought refuge in a Kraków convent, where many converted to Catholicism.
    Relying on a wealth of archival documents, including court testimonies, letters, diaries, and press reports, in The Rebellion of the Daughters: Jewish Women Runaways in Habsburg Galicia (Princeton University Press, 2020), Rachel Manekin reconstructs the stories of three Jewish women runaways and reveals their struggles and innermost convictions. Unlike Orthodox Jewish boys, who attended "cheders," traditional schools where only Jewish subjects were taught, Orthodox Jewish girls were sent to Polish primary schools. When the time came for them to marry, many young women rebelled against the marriages arranged by their parents, with some wishing to pursue secondary and university education. After World War I, the crisis of the rebellious daughters in Kraków spurred the introduction of formal religious education for young Orthodox Jewish women in Poland, which later developed into a worldwide educational movement. Manekin chronicles the belated Orthodox response and argues that these educational innovations not only kept Orthodox Jewish women within the fold but also foreclosed their opportunities for higher education.
    Exploring the estrangement of young Jewish women from traditional Judaism in Habsburg Galicia at the turn of the twentieth century, The Rebellion of the Daughters brings to light a forgotten yet significant episode in Eastern European history.
    Rachel Manekin is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland. Her area of specialization is the social, political, and cultural history of Galician Jewry. She is also the author of The Jews of Galicia and the Austrian Constitution: The Beginning of Modern Jewish Politics (Jerusalem: Shazar Institute, 2015).
    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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    • 53 min
    Philip Cunliffe, "The New Twenty Years' Crisis: A Critique of International Relations, 1999-2019" (McGill-Queen's UP, 2020)

    Philip Cunliffe, "The New Twenty Years' Crisis: A Critique of International Relations, 1999-2019" (McGill-Queen's UP, 2020)

    At the end of the 20th century, the liberal international order appeared unassailable after its triumph over the authoritarian challenges of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Twenty years later, however, the assumptions underlying the system appear discredited as international relations devolve into confrontation and conflict. In The New Twenty Years' Crisis: A Critique of International Relations, 1999-2019 (McGill-Queen's UP, 2020), Philip Cunliffe considers the factors in this decline and the question of what lies ahead. As Cunliffe details, the explanation lies within the liberal international order itself, particularly in the utopian thinking that ignores key factors in international affairs. Cunliffe identifies similarly flawed concepts within international relations theory, which grounded itself on assumptions that led to idealistic thinking over the growing evidence of contemporary events. These dual crises, Cunliffe concludes, demand a reconsideration based on the realities of the modern international order rather than the discredited ideas that seemed unquestionable two decades ago.
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    • 44 min
    Dan Royles, "To Make the Wounded Whole: The African American Struggle Against HIV/AIDS" (UNC Press, 2020)

    Dan Royles, "To Make the Wounded Whole: The African American Struggle Against HIV/AIDS" (UNC Press, 2020)

    In the decades since it was identified in 1981, HIV/AIDS has devastated African American communities. Members of those communities mobilized to fight the epidemic and its consequences from the beginning of the AIDS activist movement. They struggled not only to overcome the stigma and denial surrounding a "white gay disease" in Black America, but also to bring resources to struggling communities that were often dismissed as too "hard to reach." To Make the Wounded Whole: The African American Struggle Against HIV/AIDS (UNC Press, 2020) offers the first history of African American AIDS activism in all of its depth and breadth. Dan Royles introduces a diverse constellation of activists, including medical professionals, Black gay intellectuals, church pastors, Nation of Islam leaders, recovering drug users, and Black feminists who pursued a wide array of grassroots approaches to slow the epidemic's spread and address its impacts. Through interlinked stories from Philadelphia and Atlanta to South Africa and back again, Royles documents the diverse, creative, and global work of African American activists in the decades-long battle against HIV/AIDS.
    Dan Royles is an assistant professor of history at Florida International University.
    Claire Clark is a medical educator, historian of medicine, and associate professor at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
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    • 1 hr 12 min
    Martyn Rady, "The Habsburgs: To Rule the World" (Basic Books, 2020)

    Martyn Rady, "The Habsburgs: To Rule the World" (Basic Books, 2020)

    In The Habsburgs: To Rule the World (Basic Books, 2020), Martyn Rady, Masaryk Professor of Central European History at University College London, tells the epic story of a dynasty and the world it built -- and then lost -- over nearly a millennium. From modest origins in what is to-day southern Germany and Switzerland, the Habsburgs gained control first of Austria in the 12th century and then the Holy Roman Empire in the fifteenth century. Then, in just a few decades, their possessions rapidly expanded to take in a large part of Europe, stretching from Hungary to Spain, and parts of the New World and the Far East. The Habsburgs continued to dominate Central Europe through the First World War.
    Historians often depict the Habsburgs as leaders of a ramshackle empire. But in this wide-ranging view of their past, Professor Rady reveals Habsburg’s enduring power, driven by the belief that they were destined to rule the world as defenders of the Roman Catholic Church, guarantors of peace, and patrons of learning. The Habsburgs is a highly interesting and readable history of a remarkable dynasty that forever changed Europe and the world. A perfect book for the lay educated reader who has heard of the dynasty but wants to know more.
    Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for Chatham House’s International Affairs.
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    • 1 hr
    Alexey Golubev, "The Things of Life: Materiality in Late Soviet Russia" (Cornell UP, 2020)

    Alexey Golubev, "The Things of Life: Materiality in Late Soviet Russia" (Cornell UP, 2020)

    The Things of Life: Materiality in Late Soviet Russia (Cornell UP, 2020) is a social and cultural history of material objects and spaces during the late socialist era. It traces the biographies of Soviet things, examining how the material world of the late Soviet period influenced Soviet people's gender roles, habitual choices, social trajectories, and imaginary aspirations. Instead of seeing political structures and discursive frameworks as the only mechanisms for shaping Soviet citizens, Alexey Golubev explores how Soviet people used objects and spaces to substantiate their individual and collective selves. In doing so, Golubev rediscovers what helped Soviet citizens make sense of their selves and the world around them, ranging from space rockets and model aircraft to heritage buildings, and from home gyms to the hallways and basements of post-Stalinist housing. Through these various materialist fascinations, The Things of Life considers the ways in which many Soviet people subverted the efforts of the Communist regime to transform them into a rationally organized, disciplined, and easily controllable community.
    Golubev argues that late Soviet materiality had an immense impact on the organization of the Soviet historical and spatial imagination. His approach also makes clear the ways in which the Soviet self was an integral part of the global experience of modernity rather than simply an outcome of Communist propaganda. Through its focus on materiality and personhood, The Things of Life expands our understanding of what made Soviet people and society "Soviet."
    Alexey Golubev is a scholar of Russian history with a focus on social and cultural history of the twentieth century. He has a Cand.Sc. (kandidatskaya) degree from the Petrozavodsk University (2006) and a Ph.D. degree from the University of British Columbia (2016). Since 2017 he has worked as an Assistant Professor at the Department of History, University of Houston.
    Steven Seegel is Professor of History at University of Northern Colorado.
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    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5
128 Ratings

128 Ratings

Nick Naque ,

Get better interviewers

The books and authors covered in the podcast are ver interesting. But the people conducting the interviews are adequate at best and not infrequently embarrassing.

Poochman! ,

SOUND QUALITY IS HORRIFIC

Trying to listen to Alan Taylor's Thomas Jefferson’s Education which sounded fascinating but gave up given the astoundingly poor audio quality. It's 2020. There's absolutely no reason New Books in History can't make the effort to ensure its podcasts are listenable. Such a waste of a great opportunity.

btkjg ,

Ryan Tripp Is The Best Interviewer!

Ryan Tripp asks specific questions that are really pivotal for the arguments and evidence. He lets authors skip questions and doesn’t interrupt. Highly recommended!

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