On the Business of War

Brian Sandberg: Historical Perspectives

The business of war is unfortunately all too present in today’s world, yet the activities of weapons researchers and developers, arms manufacturers, military contractors, military gear designers, military trade shows, gun dealers, military suppliers, and private military companies are not well understood.

Secrecy, arms accords, military espionage, corporate spying, and economic competition often result in military logistics and arms issues being obscured from public view. Certainly, Hollywood tends to treat the business of war as a nefarious underworld in war films—and perhaps that is completely justified.

Unfortunately, there continue to be few comprehensive studies of the business of war.

David Parrott’s The Business of War: Military Enterprise and Military Revolution in
Early Modern Europe (2012) is thus especially welcome. This book provides an important historical study of the business of war in the early modern Europe and lays the groundwork for future studies of the business of war in different…

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Reflecting on the European Wars of Religion in an Age of Religious Violence

Brian Sandberg: Historical Perspectives

I am happy to report that my latest article has been published in the 50th anniversary issue of Sixteenth Century Journal.

“We allegedly live in an age of religious warfare. Ever since the September 11 Attacks in 2001, journalists, analysts, observers, and scholars have frequently used the concept of “religious wars” to explain terrorist attacks and armed conflicts around the world. The spectacular violence and massive destruction of the attacks confirmed a return to religion in international politics and reinforced the concept of a grand “clash of civilizations” as defining war. … ”

The article continues to consider the concept of “new” wars of religion:

“The comparisons between “old” and “new” wars of religion certainly present conceptual and theoretical challenges for historians working on religious violence in the early modern period. Modern religious conflicts also present opportunities for early modern scholars to rethink the European Wars of Religion (1520s-1650s) as…

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Political Realism in Apocalyptic Times

Political Realism in Apocalyptic Times

Brian Sandberg: Historical Perspectives

This week’s horrific Easter bombings in Sri Lanka remind us once again of the troubling presence of religious violence in today’s world.

Alison McQueen recent book, Political Realism in Apocalyptic Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), grapples with the politics of apocalyptic thinking and the role of religion in political theory.

My review of Alison McQueen’s Political Realism in Apocalyptic Times has just been published by The Strategy Bridge. 

I write: “We seem to be living in apocalyptic times. Since the September 11 attacks in 2001, apocalyptic language and visions of worldly destruction have proliferated in American political culture and news media and around the world. George W. Bush’s crusading Global War on Terror rhetoric employed frequent allusions to God’s will and the Last Judgment. The massive American bombardment and invasion of Iraq—accompanied by oil fires, looting, and destruction—produced a wealth of apocalyptic imagery. The ensuing sectarian conflict during the…

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Cultural Exchange in Renaissance Europe Summer School

Cultural Exchange in Renaissance Europe Summer School

Brian Sandberg: Historical Perspectives

Warwick’s Centre for the Study of the Renaissance has announced a joint Summer School in Venice with the Charles S. Singleton Center for the Study of Premodern Europe (Johns Hopkins University) and the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti.

The Summer School (27 May-7 June 2019) will have as its theme Cultural Exchange in Renaissance Europe: Texts and Objects, and will be largely taught by academic staff at Warwick and JHU. It will include lectures, seminars, and many site visits, both in Venice and in Padua and Bologna. It will treat Venice as an instance of the intense cultural exchanges that took place across Europe in the period.

Doctoral students from across the world are invited to take part in this interdisciplinary summer school, where the main language of teaching will be English. Preference may be given to students who are already working on their dissertations.

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Italian Paleography Seminar

Italian Paleography Seminar

Brian Sandberg: Historical Perspectives

2019 Mellon Summer Institute in Italian Paleography
July 8-26, 2019
Newberry Library

Application Deadline: March 1, 2019

CRS is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2019 Mellon Summer Institute in Italian Paleography, which will be directed by Maddalena Signorini (Università degli Studi di Roma).

This three-week institute will offer intensive training in the accurate reading and transcription of handwritten Italian vernacular texts from the late medieval though the early modern periods. The instruction is intended to enable scholars in various fields of specialization to acquire the skills to work with primary sources. While the major emphasis is on paleographical skills, the course offers an introduction to materials and techniques, and considers the history of scripts within the larger historical, literary, intellectual, and social contexts of Italy. Participants receive an introduction to a wide range of types of writing and documents from literary to legal, notarial…

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Religion, Politics, and Violence in Early Modern France at the ASCH 2019

Religion, Politics, and Violence at ASCH 2019

Brian Sandberg: Historical Perspectives

Historians discussed religion, politics, and violence in early modern France at the American Society of Church History (ASCH) conference in Chicago this weekend.

The ASCH promotes the academic study of the history of Christianity and is one of the affiliated societies of the American Historical Association. The conference often hosts sessions on the history of Protestant and Catholic Reformations of the sixteenth century.

I was pleased to chair a session at the ASCH on “Failures of Religious Dialogue in Early Modern France.” John McCormack presented research on the Colloque of Poissy during the French Wars of Religion and Xavier Maréchaux offered a paper on refractory clergy during the French Revolution. The discussion developed around clergy, religious politics, and church-state relations in early modern France.

The conference program is available at the ASCH 2019 conference website.

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Newberry Library Early Career Fellowships

Newberry Library Early Career Fellowships

Brian Sandberg: Historical Perspectives

Center for Renaissance Studies, Newberry Library

Early Career Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2019-2020

Application Deadline: January 4, 2019

The Center for Renaissance Studies (CRS) at the Newberry Library is pleased to announce an Early Career Postdoctoral Fellowship for recent PhDs from one of our CRS consortium schools. Applicants must have the PhD in hand by June 2019 or have recently completed the PhD in 2018. Half of the fellow’s time will be devoted to research of her/his choosing and half time to working with the CRS on projects related to the activities of a lively Renaissance research center, including curatorial work, digital humanities initiatives, programming, paleography studies, and collection presentations of rare books and materials. Applicants are invited from all fields of the humanities whose work is particularly well connected to the Newberry’s medieval and early modern collections.

Due date: 11:59 PM CST on January 4th, 2019

Stipend amount: $4,200 a month…

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Early Modern War and the Formation of Europe

Brian Sandberg: Historical Perspectives

The Center for Austrian Studies at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis hosted an interdisciplinary conference on Early Modern War and the Formation of Europe this weekend (16-17 November 2018).

The conference included diverse perspectives on war, culture, and society in the seventeenth century from historians, art historians, musicologists, and literary scholars. I was pleased to be able to participate in the conference and present new research on the concept of religious warfare and the language of “troubles” in early modern France.

Mary Lindemann delivered a keynote lecture on “The Ecological and Environmental Consequences of the Thirty Years’ War: Longue durée and histoire événementielle” at the conference.

The conference Program is available as a .pdf file.

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Magic, Religion, and Science

Brian Sandberg: Historical Perspectives

The Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies is organizing a conference on Magic, Religion, and Science in the Global Middle Ages and Renaissance, which will be held in Phoenix in February 2019.

“The ACMRS and MAP Joint Conference: Magic, Religion, and Science in the Global Middle Ages and Renaissance (2019) ​​​is ​​​an ​​​annual ​​​gathering ​​​of ​​​scholars, ​​​students, ​​​retirees ​​​and ​​​members ​​​of ​​​the ​​​general ​​​public ​​​interested ​​​in ​​​medieval and Renaissance ​​​studies. ACMRS is proud to announce that its 2019 conference will be held jointly with the Medieval Association of the Pacific. We welcome papers that explore any topic related to the study and teaching of the Middle Ages and Renaissance and especially those that focus on the general theme of ​​​“Magic, Religion, and Science ​​​in ​​​the ​​​Global ​​​Middle ​​​Ages ​​​and ​​​Renaissance.” The ​​​conference ​​​lasts ​​​four ​​​days, ​​​from ​​​Wednesday, ​​​February ​6​, ​​​with ​​​sessions ​​​beginning ​​​at ​​​1 ​​​p.m., ​​​until…

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The Eighty Years’ War and the Birth of the Netherlands

Brian Sandberg: Historical Perspectives

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is inaugurating a major new exhibition on the Dutch Revolt (or the Eighty Years’ War) next week.

The curators explain that “This year is the 450th anniversary of the outbreak of the Eighty Years’ War, and to mark the event the Rijksmuseum is holding an exhibition entitled ’80 Years’ War. The Birth of the Netherlands’. From 12 October 2018 to 20 January 2019, satirical cartoons, items of clothing, weapons and paintings by Bruegel, Rubens and Ter Borch will be our ‘eyewitnesses’, telling the story of how the Dutch nation was born.”

Just in time for Northern Illinois University students to discuss the Dutch Revolt in my course on the European Wars of Religion, the Rijksmuseum has launched a website associated with the exhibition.

The overview reads: “In a contemporary exhibition created by the Flemish stage designer Roel van Berckelaer, the Rijksmuseum will show how the…

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