Thursday, December 30, 2004

Fathia Nkrumah

I hope everyone had a good Christmas (if you celebrate it of course!), and has a good New Year's tomorrow. I've been away from the blogosphere for a bit, so as a return to DoRI here's this biographical article about the first First Lady of Ghana, Fathia Nkrumah, wife of Kwame Nkrumah, the legendary anti-imperialist and pan-Africanist.

It was not meant to be a marriage made in heaven. It was a political union between Mediterranean-oriented North Africa and the rest of the continent, often pejoratively termed sub-Saharan or Black Africa. Yet Fathia Nkrumah's life story is a modern fable representative of a certain era. For fleeting moments in the late '50s and early '60s, it captured the public imagination throughout Africa. The young Egyptian woman who left her country to marry the most illustrious African anti-colonial leader of his time was inevitably invested with iconic qualities.


Doing any research that has a link to the US Army? Check out this fellowship (with applications due on Jan. 15) sponsored by the U.S. Army Center for Military History.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Queen of the Night

Remind me that the next time I go to the British Museum I ought to check this out. There's something very special about any representation that is in such good nick despite being almost four thousand years old.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Japanese tales

" Otogi Zoshi are tales for adults and children enjoy alike. In the Muromachi Period and the Edo Period, people would have great fun thumbing through the pages by themselves or have someone read to them - there were many ways to enjoy the stories. The greatest pleasure of all though, must surely have been the beautiful painted color illustrations. Many of these flamboyantly illustrated Otogi Zoshi tales are in the possession of the Kyoto University Library."

There are 11 tales here already, plus an exhibition catalogue, and more promised. (Hat tip to Barista.)

The lives of Frederick Douglass

Just in time for Christmas, Caleb has part 2 for us.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

See how you do ...

Interactive Silk Road Map Exercise
"This set of maps has been developed to assist learners in mastering basic geography of the Silk Road. The maps here include a variety of geographical names selected because of their importance. Obviously many other choices might have been made. The list is based on one that has been used for several years in a Silk Road survey course taught at the University of Washington."

But of course you can also test yourself .... I did well on the ends - China and the Middle East - but less well in the middle.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Saturday, December 18, 2004

A blind Irish harp-player

Turlough O'Carolan (Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin) was born in 1670 near Nobber, County Meath and died March 25, 1738 at the home of his patron Mrs. MacDermott Roe in Alderford, County Roscommon. He was one of the last Irish harpers who composed and a significant number of his works survive in single line melody. Carolan's fame was not due to his skill with the harp (having started at 18), but to his gift for composition and verse.
From C18-L.

Candles for Chanukah

Nathanael has been keeping surprisingly quiet here about his lovely series of Jewish history and culture-related posts for Chanukah, so I'll list them for you (and for him).

First Candle (crypto-Judaism in New Mexico and elsewhere)
Second Candle
Third Candle (Jews in 17th-century Dutch art and society)
Fourth Candle
(no 5th candle)
Sixth Candle (more on crypto-Judaism)
Seventh Candle
Eighth Candle

Happy Holidays...

Spain in the Carolinas

Geitner Simmons has this excellent post on the excavation of Spanish colonial sites in North Carolina (and his own efforts to bring the Spanish influence on the state to public attention). Highly recommended.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Resource Frenzy

City Data - a wealth of information about American cities large and small.

Arts & Letters Daily - superb link source on an enormous range of topics.

US census, UK census, Canadian census - censuses are always useful.

Religious affiliation of US presidents - not that important, but interesting.

Wikisource - online selection of public domain source documents.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Recent goings-on at Early Modern Notes

LII Miscellany (16 December)

History Now

History Now is a quarterly online journal for American (school) history students. The new issue is on the theme of slavery, focusing on the primary sources that historians uses.

It's one of many fine online resources for American history from the Gilda Lehrman Institute, for example:

Battle Lines: Letters from America's Wars

'Modules' for teaching American history from the Revolutionary War to 9/11

A House Divided: America in the Age of Lincoln

USA, modern

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Did Harappans write?

Causing quite a stir in the relevant circles is this article on the Harappans. As you'd expect there are strong views against this, but read for yourself ....

Vol. 11 (2004) Issue 2 (December 13) : 19-57 ( C) ISSN 1084-7561
The Collapse of the Indus-Script Thesis:
The Myth of a Literate Harappan Civilization
By Steve Farmer, Richard Sproat, and Michael Witzel


Archaeologists have long claimed the Indus Valley as one of the four literate centers of the early ancient world, complete with long texts written on perishable materials. We demonstrate the impossibility of the lost-manuscript thesis and show that Indus symbols were not even evolving in linguistic directions after at least 600 years of use.

Suggestions of how Indus inscriptions were used are examined in nonlinguistic symbol systems in the Near East that served important religious, political, and social functions without encoding speech or serving as formal memory aids.

Evidence is reviewed that the Harappans'slack of a true script may have been tied to the role played by their symbols in controlling large multilinguistic populations; parallels are drawn to the later resistance of priestly elites to the literate encoding of Vedic sources and to similar phenomena in esoteric traditions outside South Asia.

Discussion is provided on some of the academic and political forces that helped sustain the Indus-script myth for over 130 years and on ways in which our findings transform current views of the Indus Valley and of the place of writing in ancient civilizations in general.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The lives of Frederick Douglass

A beautiful essay on Douglass, his writings and his relations with abolitionists, at Mode for Caleb. A second essay is promised.

USA, slavery, abolitionism, 19th century

Monday, December 13, 2004

Collect Britain

Check out the British Library's Collect Britain website.

Highlights include: the Durham: Echoes of Power virtual exhibit; the Lost Gardens 'themed tour'; and selections from the BL themed collections which include: Victorian popular music; Svadesh Videsh (a "fascinating survey of the landscape and architectural heritage of South Asia"); Caribbean Views, plantation life during the 18th and 19th centuries; and images from the Illuminated Manuscripts collections.

English in the Americas

Urban planner David Sucher has some thoughts on David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed, a book that "traces four British migrations to the US and their enduring influence on American character: the Puritans to New England (later influencing areas well to the west), the Quakers to the Delaware Valley, the Cavaliers to Virginia, and the English-Scottish border inhabitants to the Appalachian backcountry." [Although Fischer is a professor at Brandeis, I have never met him because of a peculiarity in the structure of the university: all the Americanists have their own department, while the rest of us (mostly Europeanists) are in a separate department for comparative history.]

Sunday, December 12, 2004


Thanks to (I think) both Cliopatria and coffee grounds, another splendid history blog to add to the roll. Rob MacDougall is "a historian of the 19th and 20th century United States, with a special interest in the history of technology and business in America and the world", and his blog contains some excellent meaty stuff.

Recent posts include:

The parallels between the history of technology at the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Benjamin Franklin (and the question: "Who do you root for in the French Revolution?")

Saturday, December 11, 2004

German medieval coins

"Formed by a 19th century German aristocrat, Hugo, Freiherr von Saurma-Jeltsch, the Saurmasche Münzsammlung concentrates on the smaller-size, everyday coinage used in Germany and in nearby regions from around 1280 to 1620 AD."

I recall from elsewhere that this was a very complicated subject, for each of the many states (and local religious authorities) issued their own, on all sorts of different standards and in all sorts of denominations. The index lists several hundred coin names.

This site really starts to show what the web can do. You can search by mint, by ruler, using clickable maps, by patron saint, by denomination .... the list goes on.

Thomas Gray archive

"The Thomas Gray Archive is an interactive hypermedia repository for the study of the life and works of British poet Thomas Gray (1716-1771). It consists of two major sections, the Primary Texts section and the Materials section. The former contains searchable electronic editions of Gray's English poetry with critical apparatus and extensive collaborative commentary, a browsable calendar to Gray's correspondence, a concordance to the poetry, and a digital library of 18th-century printed editions. The latter section comprises all secondary resources, such as criticism, a biographical sketch, an introductory chronological table of Gray's life and works, a glossary of names and terms, a select bibliography of printed materials, a picture gallery, and links to related online resources."

Can you tell I've been cleaning out my e-mail? Thankfully I've got to the bottom of the pile now.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Shakespeare online

An announcement received: "A new version (20043) of the World Shakespeare Bibliography Online is now live. This version - which has 97,679 records in 118 languages - covers 1965-2004 and includes all of the entries that will appear in the 2003 print bibliography in Shakespeare Quarterly (April 2005)."

Via Shakepser, "the global electronic Shakespeare conference".

Very modern history

"With this pamphlet, Historians Against the War makes available a series of articles that seek to broaden the discussion of the use of torture as an instrument of U.S. policy."


Introduction: Margaret Power

The American Prison and the Normalization of Torture: H. Bruce Franklin

Nicaragua: A Tortured Nation: Richard Grossman

The Tiger Cages of Con Son: Don Luce

Guantánamo Prison: Jane Franklin

Torture of Prisoners in U.S. Custody: Marjorie Cohn

The Abu Ghraib Scandal and the U.S. Occupation of Iraq: John Cox


When you think about it it's really quite remarkable that many artefacts never get a mention in mainstream histories of popular opinion. Take embroidery for instance. How many historians do you know who take embroidery really seriously and cite it in the same way they might a letter? Look at this picture of Charles I. Continue reading here.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

LII Miscellany (9 December)

This week's gems for historians from the Librarians' Internet Archive.

American Garden Museum

Egypt's Golden Empire (website for a TV documentary)

Tutankhamum and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs (site for a LA exhibition being held next year)

Jewish Guide to the Internet (Happy Chanukah to Jewish readers, by the way!)

LII Judaism Collection

Libya Online

Monarchies of Europe (lots of genealogies)

Old Tijuana Virtual Tour

Panama Pacific International Exposition 3D

Almost a Democracy

[I originally posted this at my blog, although it could have easily come here.]

I have shifted the focus of my writing, for the moment, on the Weimar Republic. (This is the good thing about comparative history: if I get bored with something, I can always "cross the border.") I have been exploring the links on the internet, some of which (especially those in Germany) give very detailed information.

Die zwanziger Jahre (in German) gives a comprehensive collection of links to sites in numerous fields. Here is a list of available biographies (mostly writers and artists).

In English, Planet Deutsch gives its own overview: "... neo-romanticism inspired fascist ideology on the right, opposite to the far other side of democratic individualism, but the champions of personal liberty were too self-absorbed and apolitical to compete against the proto-Nazi thinkers, and Weimar fell to National Socialism."

The German Historical Museum (in German) has several useful pages. This one has speeches, including audio links, given by major politicians (hmm, Wilhelm Marx was left out). Here is Clara Zetkin announcing Göring selection as president of the Reichstag. There is also an overview of political history which is thoroughly referenced.

Document Archiv has primary sources on German legislation (in German)--invaluable)!

Here is a chronology, in English, from a Wesleyan professor. Think History has some conceptual diagrams to answer typical questions about the republic and its strength.

The German education website Zentrale fuer Unterrichtsmedien (great for people whose native history is not Germany) has lots of stuff in English and German. In English: establishing the republic (1918-1919), turmoil (1920-1923), Golden Twenties (1924-1928), Great Depression (1929-1932).

Wahlen in der Weimar Republik (in German) is one of the best sites I have found. If gives a description offices throughout Germany (at the national, state (Land), and provincial levels) and the results of elections for the relevant posts. Look at this description of Prussia. Weimar Wahlen has English pages as well. It is an extension of a doctoral thesis, using graphics to describe voting trends. (Click at the bottom of the screen: the analysis will open in a new window.)

AAG (in German) has this interpretation of Weimar as struggle against fascism.

From a gymnasium (sort of a hyper-high school) in Munich, a collection of photographs and other images.

Flags of the World gives a run down on the changes in the German national flag (especially the removal of the eagle, a sore spot for nationalists).

Some blogs to note: Manman's Work, Arts and Concepts, FACS 1900 and Weimar Culture (there are a number of similarly named blogs that tend to parallel one another--I suspect they are for a class), Time of exploration.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

Farid el-Khazen 'Permanent Settlement of Palestinians in Lebanon: A Recipe for Conflict'

In pre-war Lebanon, the Palestinian presence in Lebanon provoked deep communal divisions, intense political debate, and ideological controversy, From the late 1960s, no issue did more to militarize the country, mobilize communities, political parties and leaders, and split public opinion than the PLO military presence. And when the war broke out in the mid-1970s, what prolonged it and turned it into a full-fledged regional conflict was the direct involvement of the PLO.

Since the end of the military confrontations in 1990, however, an issue on which there has been unprecedented consensus shared by all Lebanese communities and by leaders in government and in the opposition, both in Lebanon and abroad, has been the rejection of permanent settlement of the Palestinians in Lebanon (tawteen, in Lebanese political jargon). Indeed, one of the modifications in the amended Lebanese constitution of 21 September 1990 that provoked no opposition from any faction was the provision introduced in the preamble: 'there shall be ... no settlement of non-Lebanese in Lebanon' (Republic of Lebanon 1995: 12).

From the most divisive issue in post-independence Lebanese politics to one of the few issues to arouse national consensus in post-war Lebanon, the Palestinian presence has been a highly delicate and controversial matter at all political, social, and economic levels.

Elizabeth Elstob

Elizabeth Elstob's An English-Saxon Homily on the Birth-Day of St. Gregory, published in 1709, stands as a landmark in the history of Anglo-Saxon studies. Elstob is the first woman known to have developed an interest in Old English texts, and her two major publications in the field—the homily edition and The Rudiments of Grammar for the English-Saxon Tongue, which was published in 1715—were both intended to appeal to a female readership.

Continue here.

In memoriam: John Lennon

On 8 December 1980, John Lennon was murdered by Mark Chapman.

BBC News Archive

The night Lennon died

Guardian Archive

Beatles Beatles Beatles

Blog profile: The Head Heeb

If you don't already know The Head Heeb, it's a fine group blog commenting on international current affairs, politics and history. (And I do mean international.)

Currently, posts include an outstanding piece on settlers in international and comparative context; the military and politics in Fiji; population decline and mass emigration in Zimbabwe; and the current vogue for Greatest Persons TV shows.

It is a 'political' blog, perhaps, rather than a 'history' blog; but it's one that uses history in an intelligent and informed way to comment on the present (and the very recent past), without being a blatantly partisan political show.

The destruction of Hamburg

(Via Arts and Letters Daily)

The End: Hamburg 1943 by Hans Erich Nossak

I experienced the destruction of Hamburg as a spectator. I was spared the fate of playing a role in it. I don’t know why. I can’t even decide whether that was a privilege. I have talked to many hundreds of those who were there, men and women; what they have to tell, if they talk about it at all, is so unimaginably terrible that it is difficult to understand how they survived it. But they were given their role and their cue and had to act accordingly; and what they are able to report, heartwrenching though it may be in itself, is always just the part they were prompted to play. After all, most of them, as they ran out of their burning houses, didn’t know that the whole city was burning. They thought it was just their street or, at most, their district, and perhaps that was what saved them. ...

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Plagues ad Pandemics

Zid at Blitztoire write about the Plague and the comparative effects of pandemics on Europe and Asia.
... Et depuis, le monde ronronne. Personne, en Occident, ne croit plus que la peste puisse à nouveau recouvrir les villes et les campagnes de son noir manteau. Paisible Occident si sur de lui. Mais en Asie, là où la fragilité physique et économique des sociétés reste palpable, tout comme en Afrique, les fantômes de la pandémie réapparaissent régulièrement ...

(Witty Title Withheld)

The Dittrick Medical History Center has announced a new acquisition: Percy Skuy's personal history of contraceptives collection. Mr. Skuy is the former president of Ortho Pharmaceuticals and began collecting historical contraceptive devices in the 1960s. The news page has a few images of some of these historical contraptions.
At Georgia State University's History Blog.

Are we Sparta or Athens?

Geitner Simmons at Regions of Mind looks at this post from Little Urbanity on the problems of using the Athens/Sparta conflict the Peloponnesian War to examine American politics.

Archaic Medicine and Experimentation

Brdgt looks at brain surgery in colonial America:
... The surgeon tried to drill two holes in the skull using a device known as a trepan tool that would remove a plug of bone, Straube said. It looks like the surgeon made two attempts at one spot and then moved to a second spot, Straube said ...
She also looks at a passage from the memoirs of Hervé Guibert as a chronicle of AIDS treatment.

Up the river

Here is some of the history posts I have written in the last week at The Rhine River:

Thomas Gray Archive

(Via scribbling woman, via C18-L)

The Thomas Gray Archive, "an interactive hypermedia repository for the study of the life and works of British poet Thomas Gray (1716-1771)", has just set up a UK based mirror site. (The original US site is here.)

(Scribbling woman also offers some nice creepy links today, including a post on Bram Stoker's Dracula as Irish Protestant Gothic.)

Monday, December 06, 2004

Tribalism within Iraq

Four part series on "Iraq's tribal society: A state within a state" at the Healing Iraq blog. Part one, part two, part three, and part four.

Understanding the tribal aspect of Iraqi society is essential for any outsider seriously interested in Iraqi and ME affairs. Not much attention has been devoted to this subject in the Western media, and all the related articles published on the web are shallow and do not reflect the true picture nor the importance of the historical role of tribalism in Iraqi (and Arab in general) society.

First you have to take in consideration the unique geographic location of Iraq, in that it is surrounded and enclosed by mountains in the north and east, while from the west and south it lies on the northern edge of the largest source of Bedouinism, the Arabian Desert. The land that is today called Iraq has been exposed for millenia to waves of Bedouin migration from the south for purposes of either military conquest (such as the Arab Muslim invasion during the 7th century), searching for water and pasturage to graze their flocks, raiding and looting (such as the Wahhabi raids on Shi'ite holy cities during the 18th century), or settlement. Iraq was also known to be the cradle of civilisation, and the spread of tribal social values brought by the successive Bedouin waves contributed much to the decline and destruction of this civilisation at different times in history. Whenever the tribal influence diminishes over a few centuries and
civilisation slowly flourishes again, a new wave of fresh desert tribes moves to the area and disrupts the process all over again.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Shares of War

Before Dawn has a look at the inertia created by arms manufacturers leading to World War One.
Historians were unable to disprove one claim the Nye commission made: arms firms increase tensions between nations. Though Krupp, Armstrong, and Vicker, all lead by perfectionist engineers who cared about quality above profit (marginally), believed their weapons would make wars shorter, and therefore won with less bloodshed, the weaponisation of Europe increased the tensions between the five Great Powers (Britian, Russia, Austria-Hungry, Germany, and France) and the one "should-be Great Power" (Italy). As they moved into defensive alliances and the Bismarckian alliance system of isolated France with neutrality treaties between Germany and all the other Great Powers (and Italy) the steel altillery, machine guns, repeating rifles, and dreadnoughts almost gauranteed a bloody war when it broke out. This was entirely against the wishes of Krupp, Armstrong, and Vicker whose profits were hurt, and then their reputations destroyed, by the war.

Blackgang Chine

Blackgang Chine was first documented on maps in the early 1800s, a "steep gaunt ravine" with a waterfall above the beach and 500-foot cliffs on either side. It was a popular location for dramatic artworks, as in this 1816 print by Peter de Wint, the somewhat exaggerated 1837 Brannon print showing the wreck of the Clarendon, and these by W Westwood, 1834, and Charles Cousen, 1869. It even appeared in novels, such as Captain Marryat's 1837 Snarleyyow (see chapter 16) that helped foster the probably apocryphal smuggling theory for its name (Kelly's directory 1886 considered it more likely to mean "bleak way"). Read more on Apothecary's Drawer.

Barren Land

Architect and classicist John Massengale looks at a century of urban planning in Boston, using photos to compare how how large-scale transportation projects (like the Big Dig, one of the most corrupt programs in American history) have left (what looks to me like) desolate spaces. (Part I, Part II, Part III)
Of course it's a good thing that the Central Artery has come down, letting the broken connections to the North End and the waterfront be rebuilt. And Boston has a tradition of linear parks in the Fenway and Comm Ave, Boston's great urban spine from the 19th century. But is there too much parkway, and too little urbanism? Time will tell, maybe Newsweek.

The Eureka flag

I think we could do with learning more Australian history here in the UK. I know nothing at all about how the country's government developed to be the way it is today. Are other Anglophone countries more aware of each other's history than we are? Anyway, I found a little piece of Australian history on Barista.

Imaginary Communities

Giornale Nuovo has a post about maps produced of territories on a fantasy continent in the eighteenth century.
... Schlaraffenland was a utopian country, a Land of Cockaigne, originally described in a satire by one Johann Andreas Schnebelin (d. 1706). It is a place where ‘chickens, geese, and pigeons fly around already cooked and waiting to be eaten, and every house is surrounded by a hedge of sausage’. ...
He also discusses the book A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali, a Quebecois novel about the genocide in Rwanda (a book that I liked more than he.)

Saturday, December 04, 2004

From Blogenspiel

the students, with some prodding, were able to recall details from 7th century Germanic laws, Frankish royal genealogy, Muslim invasions, Einhard, fidelity oaths, and Vikings to help me tie it all into an overview of Early Medieval Europe. From there, we talked about the changes from partible inheritance to primogeniture, and a semi-concurrent shift from appointed office to inherited titles replete with land. From there, and the kind of weaker-king, stronger nobles, outside invaders and internal social tensions, we moved on to the dreaded F-word. Except that, this time, it wasn't dreaded. Somehow, this desperate attempt to review and make sense of what we'd been doing made it possible to talk about how there was no F-system, because look at Eastern Francia and how it changes after 911. Nothing like what's going on in the west, right? On the other hand, move forward several generations after that nice document with Rollo and Charles the Simple, and we can see something that looks like a system, because that bastard William takes over England and imposes it from above, more or less. But that's different, isn't it?

Continue reading here.

Canadian blog award

Our friend Greg has been nominated for the Best Canadian blog award. Go and vote for him! He runs a very good history blog.

Stille Nacht

The Leuniger family celebrates Christmas in 1941, under the Nazis. In 1948, they come together again. That's what history can do to you. Read more on Barista.


This one-off boxwood carving looks like the medallions that were widely circulated in the 17th-century. It was common for medallions to be presented to mark important events and to sometimes serve as propaganda. The V&A dates this carving from 1702, which means it may have been produced to commemorate William III's death.

There are many other examples of medals, medallions and metallic tokens in the great museum collections. This is an example of one of the portrait medallions that were produced in large numbers on both sides during the civil war. This one is interesting because of the inscription on its back. You can read more about this and the other objects if you click on the thumbnails.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Medieval seals

I just stumbled across a gorgeous site on medieval seals. It is in French, but you don't have to be able to read the language to appreciate the images, and you could even use it to learn new French words, since in the "decrypter" section there is a list of the key elements beside each and clicking on it highlights the relevant bit. So I learnt a bishop's collar is called l'amicte. (Not easy to get into a conversation, but you never know ...)

I should warn, however, that is very high-tech and quite slow-loading even on my broadband connection; I don't think I'd try it with dial-up. ALSO, the actual site is a pop-up, so it you have them blocked, hold down control when clicking on the link above or it won't work.

Found at blitztoire, a French medievalist's blog which looks interesting, although I'll have to be feeling more intelligent than I do at 3am to make a serious effort to read it.

Headlong by Michael Frayn

Last year I picked up Michael Frayn's novel Headlong in the National Gallery bookshop. It's not historical fiction but it's full of art historical detail. Like all the books I mention here I would recommend it to anyone. The central character is:

Martin Clay, a philosophy lecturer on sabbatical, diligently avoiding work on the book he is supposed to be writing on nominalism, and he is convinced that his disorderly neighbour in the country has, but doesn't know he has, a lost Bruegel among the mountains of family junk in his rotting ancestral pile. The trick is to remove the painting from its owner without letting him know what he's got, and this is how Martin thinks he will do it. It's a piece of accelerated delusion. Groucho would have been proud of him. (Continue reading Michael Wood's review here)

If memory serves me rightly it's a good novel for people who're a bit shy of art. A lot of us are convinced that we don't know how to talk about it or that there's some clever mystery in there that's eluding us. Martin Clay's attitude to the supposed Bruegel shows you what people see in paintings and that we can see it too. Do you know what I mean? You can find the novel here on Amazon and read more about Bruegel here.

Documenting Genocide has an excellent collection of articles from the 1910's from the New York Times and other sources about the Ottoman Empire's genocidal assault on its Armenian population.

Speaking of the Armenian Genocide, did you know that the Turkish government recently made it a crime, punishable by ten years in prison, to describe the events of 1915 as genocide? The mind boggles.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

LII Miscellany

History blogging

A happy few days of discovering new (to me) history blogs.

Evan Roberts' coffee grounds

And now John Emerson's Idiocentrism

Lavrenti Beria

Cali Ruchala (editor of one of my favorite webzines, Sobaka) recently wrote an excellent (and quite long) biography of Stalin's secret police chief, Lavrenti Beria.

Additionally, on the toot my own horn theme, yesterday I wrote two different book reviews on books about the American underclass. They can be read here and here.

Many wars ago

Images from the North Vietnamese side of the war. From Barista.

A woman's past is lost

The Little Professor posts on the closure and sale of artefacts of Jane Welsh Carlyle House in Haddington, Scotland. This was what it was.

He's alive!

Somehow I missed this in my prep for comps, but Napoleon is alive and he has a blog!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Birth of a Pariah

Pete, at the new blog Before Dawn, has written a comprehensive post on the political and social reforms in Prussia (initiated by Stein and Hardenberg) during the Napoleonic Era.

The Pious Innocents

Here is the text on witchcraft prosecutions in 17th-century Rhineland, Wehmütige Klage der frommen Unschultigen. The book was by Herman Löher, a jurist from Rheinbach. He was forced to flee the Archbishopric of Cologne after he (and his fellow lay assessors) questioned the trials. The text is long and complex, written in German dialect with Latin terms related to Church canon law, but the text is very interesting, describing the investigations in detail (the marginalized status of the accused, the use of torture, the misgivings of the jurists and how the process got away from them, etc.). Thomas Becker, who transcribed the text, has a detailed essay of the book. (Here is an English summary of the trials.)

Toot toot. Me too

I had a dry week at Early Modern Print Culture but I've started posting again about visual culture. In the last couple of days I've added entries about artefacts at the Victoria and Albert museum and I'll be writing more about my research on 17th-century prints. I've started a new blog called Hysterical Liberties where I'm writing about my favourite historical fiction. I'm also looking for links to other bloggers' posts on the subject.

What's been happening at Early Modern Notes

...Or, I've got a trumpet and I'm gonna toot it.

(Nathanael has just pointed out that we contributors aren't doing that as much as we could. But I keep forgetting. So let's try to make this a regular slot.)

These are the substantive 'history' posts from Early Modern Notes in the last week or so. Some may well have been linked here already, apologies for any duplication.

Musings on calendar reform

The Big Fat List of recent online reviews in early modern history

The career of Judge Jeffreys

Crime and Law glossary

Thanksgiving Day Links

If you go back into the November archives, there's also a series of repostings of favourite older blog articles that you might like to read. (Recycling is A Good Thing in the blogosphere too.)


The Pinochet Era

The government of Chile admits that it used torture against political opponents and violated human rights after the coup that ousted Allende and brought military dictatorship under Pinochet.
[T]he National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture appointed by Chilean President Ricardo Lagos found that 94 percent of the people detained in the aftermath of the coup reported having been tortured. One of the most common methods of torture, reported in more than a third of the cases, was the application of electrical shocks.

Of the 3,400 women who testified, nearly all said that they had suffered sexual torture. More than 300 said that they were raped, including 11 who were pregnant when detained. Many of these women said they had never reported their experiences before.

The worst period of torture was immediately after the military coup in September 1973. ...

Another 5,266 people were tortured from January 1974 until August 1977, a period during which secret military intelligence agencies ... took over the repression of left-wing dissidents from other military units.
Latin America, 20th Century

Bhopal- 20 years on

One Night in Bhopal tells the story of the world's worst industrial disaster with a drama reconstruction through the eyes of five survivors.

Visit the BBC site here.


Natalie from Philobiblon has written about Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. She points out that Evelyn Waugh wrote a novel about Helena and that we can see an essay on it here. You can buy the novel on Amazon.

The Bronx

Lehman College, part of the City University of New York system, has a fascinating page that uses census data to analyze the Bronx, New York City's most impoverished borough.

William Blake Archive

The William Blake Archive is a great and beautiful (and prize-winning) resource. It's stuffed with images - newly online are his 12 large colour prints, "often considered to be his greatest works as a pictorial artist"; there's a biography and additional resources including biographies, and an online version of the Complete poetry and prose of William Blake (ed by David Erdman). Oh, and searchable. (And you can choose between a US and a UK mirror site, which is why I haven't given any internal links.)

Color Line in Basketball

Geitner Simmons of Regions of Mind has a post about segregation in American sports, taking a special look at the history of the Harlem Globetrotters and their world championship against the all-white Minnesota Lakers).

America, 20th Century

Before Sharon can plant the imperial flag, let me say that Basketball (like Baseball, in their specifics) is an American game, invented ten miles down river from me in Springfield, Massachusetts. :-b