925 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Europe about their New Books
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New Books in European Studie‪s‬ New Books Network

    • Society & Culture

Interviews with Scholars of Europe about their New Books
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    Erik S. Herron, "Normalizing Corruption: Failures of Accountability in Ukraine" (U Michigan Press, 2020)

    Erik S. Herron, "Normalizing Corruption: Failures of Accountability in Ukraine" (U Michigan Press, 2020)

    Erik S. Herron’s Normalizing Corruption: Failures of Accountability in Ukraine (University of Michigan Press, 2020) zeroes in on the mechanisms that sustain corruption and minimize accountability: aspects that play a crucial role in the effectiveness of democratic processes. This investigation is based on rigorous analyses of data that shed light on the specificities of the accountability system in Ukraine. In Ukraine, corrupt practices seem to overwhelm political and societal life. Corruption is a ubiquitous topos that is extensively commented on by both politicians and scholars. Many connect the pervasiveness of corruption in post-Communist states with the Soviet legacy. While recognizing Soviet influences on the formation of corrupt practices in Ukraine, Herron offers to compartmentalize corruptions, which may facilitate the development of actions and activities that can help minimize corruption. While focusing on the Ukrainian case, this book also includes sections that highlight the experiences of other former Soviet countries, including Georgia, Baltic states, and Russia. 
    Normalizing Corruption: Failures of Accountability in Ukraine contributes to the study of the development of democratic practices in the states whose political history is closely connected with totalitarianism and authoritarianism.
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    • 54 min
    Philip Mansel, "King of the World: The Life of Louis XIV" (U of Chicago Press, 2019).

    Philip Mansel, "King of the World: The Life of Louis XIV" (U of Chicago Press, 2019).

    Philip Mansel, a trustee of the Society for Court Studies and President of the Research Center of the Chateau de Versailles, has written a one-volume biography of the life and times of Louis XIV, King of the World: The Life of Louis XIV (The University of Chicago Press, 2019). 
    One of the longest reigning monarchs in Europe’s history, from 1643 to 1715, Louis XIV left a mark upon France for good and ill. He expanded the country’s borders but left it in horrible financial shape. He was a valuable patron of the arts and architecture, but wreaked havoc on some of his nation’s citizens, especially French Protestants. 
    He reaped the glory associated with imperial policy and dynastic intermarriages throughout Europe, but brought destruction to the lives, fortunes, and cities of his enemies. Mansel brings the court of Louis XIV alive, paying special attention to the daily personal life of the king and his associates. He reviews France’s effects on the politics of Europe and provides a detailed history of the key project of Louis’ life: the palace of Versailles.
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    • 47 min
    David Onnekink and Gijs Rommelse, "The Dutch in the Early Modern World: A History of a Global Power" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

    David Onnekink and Gijs Rommelse, "The Dutch in the Early Modern World: A History of a Global Power" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

    David Onnekink, professor of early modern history at the University of Utrecht discusses his latest book, the delightful, The Dutch in the Early Modern World: History of a Global Power (Cambridge University Press, 2019). European audiences can shop here.
    Emerging at the turn of the seventeenth century, the Dutch Republic rose to become a powerhouse of economic growth, artistic creativity, military innovation, religious tolerance and intellectual development. This is the first textbook to present this period of early modern Dutch history in a global context. It makes an active use of illustrations, objects, personal stories and anecdotes to present a lively overview of Dutch global history that is solidly grounded in sources and literature. Focusing on themes that resonate with contemporary concerns, such as overseas exploration, war, slavery, migration, identity and racism, this volume charts the multiple ways in which the Dutch were connected with the outside world. It serves as an engaging and accessible introduction to Dutch history as well as a case study in early modern global expansion.
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    • 57 min
    David Stavrou, "Zion: The Israeli Diaspora in Europe" (Pardes, 2019)

    David Stavrou, "Zion: The Israeli Diaspora in Europe" (Pardes, 2019)

    The meaning of being an immigrant has changed significantly in the 21st century. The internet, social media and networks, cost of travels, homeland products of food that one can find all over the world, working far from home – all bring new opportunities to the idea of living in one place, but still feel deep belonging with the homeland.
    Growing numbers of Israelis are living today in Europe. The book, Zion: The Israeli Diaspora in Europe (Pardes, 2019; in Hebrew), gives us a wide picture of their lives, challenges but also shows us a glimpse for a broader perspective around being an immigrant and having an hybrid identity.
    Some of these Israelis still work remotely in companies based in Israel, in Hebrew, visiting Israel once a month since it is cheap and takes only a few hours of travel. They speak Hebrew with their kids, meet with other Israelis who live in their European city, and use Israeli media. Many of their parents or grandparents left Europe after the Holocaust or a bit before, to create a homeland for the Jewish people in Zion. Now, their children and grandchildren are moving back to Europe and make there, their new homes. In his book, journalist David Stavrou brings us their stories, stories that invite other immigrants and scholars to rethink about the meaning of living in two homes.
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    • 1 hr 1 min
    Anke Gilleir, "Strategic Imaginations: Women and the Gender of Sovereignty in European Culture" (Leuven UP, 2020)

    Anke Gilleir, "Strategic Imaginations: Women and the Gender of Sovereignty in European Culture" (Leuven UP, 2020)

    This episode of New Books in History features an interview with Anke Gilleir, professor of Modern German Literature at KU Leuven, about her new edited volume, Strategic Imaginations: Women and the Gender of Sovereignty in European Culture (Leuven University Press, 2020).
    Dr. Gilleir has a longstanding interest in under appreciated female intellectuals, starting with her dissertation cum first monograph on Johanna Schopenhauer, read alongside Pierre Bourdieu, exploring particularly mechanisms of power and the symbolic importance of those mechanisms. She has also addressed similar themes with Therese Huber, Caroline Pichler, Rosa Luxemburg, and Margarete Sussman. As part of this ongoing concern with how women interact with political power, she came to edit this delightful volume. Though the cases studies represent a real breadth temporally, spatially, and even in subject and source material, all the essays work together very well to make a very tight argument.
    Political sovereignty has been a major theme in European thought from the very beginning of intellectual reflection on community. Philosophy and political theory, historiography, theology, and literature and the arts have, often in dialogue with one another, sought to represent or recalibrate notions of rule. Yet whatever covenant was imagined, sovereign rule has consistently been figured as a male prerogative
    While in-depth studies of historical women rulers have proliferated in the past decades, these have not systematically explored how all women rulers throughout the entirety of European culture have had to operate in a context that could not think power as female – except in grotesque terms.
    Strategic Imaginations demonstrates that this constitutive tension can only be brought out by studying women’s political rule in a comparative and longue durée manner. The book offers a collection of essays that brings together studies of female sovereignty from the Polish-Lithuanian to the British Commonwealth, and from the Middle Ages to the genesis of modern democracy. It addresses historical figures and takes stock of the rich yet unsettling imagination of female rule in philosophy, literature and art history. For all the variety of geographical, social, and historical contexts it engages, the book reveals surprising resonances between the strategies women rulers used and the images and practices they adopted in the context of an all-pervasive skepticism toward female rule.
    Jana Byars is the Academic Director of Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender.
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    • 50 min
    Marion Turner, "Chaucer: A European Life" (Princeton UP, 2019)

    Marion Turner, "Chaucer: A European Life" (Princeton UP, 2019)

    More than any other canonical English writer, Geoffrey Chaucer lived and worked at the centre of political life—yet his poems are anything but conventional. Edgy, complicated, and often dark, they reflect a conflicted world, and their astonishing diversity and innovative language earned Chaucer renown as the father of English literature. Marion Turner, however, reveals him as a great European writer and thinker. To understand his accomplishment, she reconstructs in unprecedented detail the cosmopolitan world of Chaucer’s adventurous life, focusing on the places and spaces that fired his imagination.
    Uncovering important new information about Chaucer’s travels, private life, and the early circulation of his writings, Chaucer: A European Life (Princeton UP, 2019) documents a series of vivid episodes, moving from the commercial wharves of London to the frescoed chapels of Florence and the kingdom of Navarre, where Christians, Muslims, and Jews lived side by side. The narrative recounts Chaucer’s experiences as a prisoner of war in France, as a father visiting his daughter’s nunnery, as a member of a chaotic Parliament, and as a diplomat in Milan, where he encountered the writings of Dante and Boccaccio. At the same time, the book offers a comprehensive exploration of Chaucer’s writings, taking the reader to the Troy of Troilus and Criseyde, the gardens of the dream visions, and the peripheries and thresholds of The Canterbury Tales.

    By exploring the places Chaucer visited, the buildings he inhabited, the books he read, and the art and objects he saw, this landmark biography tells the extraordinary story of how a wine merchant’s son became the poet of The Canterbury Tales.
    Marshall Poe is the editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at marshallpoe@newbooknetwork.com
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    • 53 min

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