Presentation at the University of Chicago

Brian Sandberg: Historical Perspectives

I am looking forward to presenting at the Early Modern and Mediterranean Worlds Workshop at the University of Chicago next week.

Brian Sandberg, “Conversion, Confessional Politics, and Violence in the Final Stages of the French Wars of Religion, 1598-1629”
Early Modern and Mediterranean Worlds Workshop
Monday 29 January 2018
Rosenwald 405
University of Chicago

For more information, see: https://voices.uchicago.edu/emmw/

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Graduate Student Conference at the Newberry Library

Brian Sandberg: Historical Perspectives

I am pleased that several of my former graduate students are participating in this week’s Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Conference, sponsored by the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library.

“The Center for Renaissance Studies’ annual graduate student conference, organized and run by advanced doctoral students, has become a premier opportunity for emerging scholars to present papers, participate in discussions, and develop collaborations across the field of medieval, Renaissance, and early modern studies in Europe, the Americas, and the Mediterranean world. Participants from a wide variety of disciplines find a supportive and collegial forum for their work, meet future colleagues from other institutions and disciplines, and become familiar with the Newberry and its resources.”

For the conference program and further information, see the Newberry Library website for the conference.

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Flooding as a Military Strategy

Flooding is part of life in the Netherlands. But, at least since the sixteenth century, humans have deliberately instigated floods as a military strategy.

During the Dutch Revolt (1566-1648), dykes were periodically opened in order to flood portions of the countryside in the Netherlands as a defensive measure against advancing armies. Strong religious motivations shaped the civil conflict in the Netherlands, as the Spanish Army of Flanders and local Catholics attempted to suppress a rebellion by militant Dutch Calvinists. One of the most famous incidents of deliberate flooding occurred in 1584, when Dutch forces under William of Orange destroyed seawalls in an attempt to protect the city of Antwerp, which was besieged by Spanish troops.

Saeftinghe-Netherlands-flooding

Adriaan de Kraker (Assistant Professor,  VU University Amsterdam) has been researching deliberate flooding from 1500 to the present. He argues that “the plan got completely out of hand. … It came at the expense of the countryside of northern Flanders, now Zeeland Flanders, some two thirds of which was flooded.”

Flooding continued to be used periodically as a military strategy during later wars in the Netherlands.

Philippine-flooding-1747

Adriaan de Kraker’s article is available online at Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. The European Geosciences Union reports on de Kraker’s research.

Posted in Catholicism and Religious Violence, Christianity and Religious Violence, Civilians and Religious Violence, European Wars of Religion, Protestantism and Religious Violence | 1 Comment

Brexit Vote and the Reformation

As Britain prepares for the Brexit vote, a major referendum on U.K. membership in the European Union, historical comparisons have framed the debate.

References to the Second World War loom large in the Brexit debate. Prime Minister David Cameron and other pro-E.U. membership advocates have frequently cited Winston Churchill and British engagement in World War II as offering a sterling example of Britain’s embrace of the idea of Europe. Meanwhile, some in the anti-E.U. campaign have likened Cameron to Neville Chamberlain, who infamously agreed to the Munich Pact with Adolf Hitler.

Yet, another powerful historical period is also framing the debate: the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. “If you ever wondered about the origins of English Euroscepticism, look no further than the Protestant Reformation,” wrote Adrian Pabst in 2009.

HenryVIII

The sweeping changes of the English Reformation and the European Wars of Religion seem to provide numerous metaphors of a Britain both disconnected and connected with “continental” Europe. Henry VIII’s dramatic break with the Latin Christian Church and Act of Supremacy forged a Church of England with the king as its head. The ensuing Wars of Religion included a period of re-Catholicization under Queen Mary, known by her Protestant enemies as “Bloody Mary” and a series of English military interventions in France and the Netherlands to support fellow Protestants. The Spanish Armada of 1588 aimed at a military occupation and conversion of England, but Elizabethan resistance arguably helped forge an early form of English nationalism.

Some politicians and intellectuals involved in the Brexit debate now draw directly on this Reformation history.  A number of historians have directly entered this public debate.  “David Starkey, a Cambridge historian critical of the European Union, has drawn a direct parallel with the modern battle for the nation’s soul,” according to The New York Times.

Starkey argues that “England’s semidetached relationship with continental Europe is neither new nor an aberration … Instead, it is deeply rooted in the political development of the past 500 years.”

The Reformation era debate over papal versus royal authority over religious institutions “was couched in strikingly ‘modern’ terms,” suggests Starkey, who claims that defenders of papal supremacy acted much “like a contemporary europhile.”

The New York Times underlines that “then, as now, the notion of sovereignty was central to the discussion, and the implications were enormous. By breaking with Rome, some historians argue, the English came to see themselves a nation apart — a self-image magnified by the Act of Union with Scotland in 1707 and by centuries of colonial expansion.”

The New York Times reports on the British “divorce” from Europe. Adrian Pabst’s piece is published in The Guardian.

 

 

Posted in Catholicism and Religious Violence, Christianity and Religious Violence, Confessionalization, European Wars of Religion, Protestantism and Religious Violence, Religion and International Relations, Religious Nationalism | Leave a comment

Dissertation Seminar in History at the Newberry Library

The Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library will be hosting a dissertation seminar in History in Fall 2016.

Ph.D. candidates in Renaissance, Reformation, Early Modern European, Atlantic World History, and Early Modern World History at Northern Illinois University and other Newberry consortium institutions may take this seminar for credit in their home programs.

Here is the Newberry Library’s announcement:

Renaissance-Header-small

Fall 2016 Dissertation Seminar for Historians

Led by Craig Koslofsky and Robert Morrissey, both of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Submission Deadline: May 1
The seminar will meet from 2 to 5 pm on four Fridays: September 16, October 21, November 18, and December 9.

Apply online here: https://www.newberry.org/09162016-2016-dissertation-seminar-historians

This seminar will create a broad-based community of graduate students who are at the beginning stages of working on their dissertations in the history of Europe or the Atlantic World, c. 1400-c. 1750. The goal is to provide comments and criticisms from a larger group of specialists than would be available on any single campus. Discussions will focus on methods and comparisons, with an eye to helping PhD candidates articulate the larger intellectual and historical significance of their specialized research.

Eligibility: The seminar will be limited to 12 participants who have passed all examinations and achieved ABD status by the time of the seminar. Applicants should be near the beginning rather than the end of their dissertation research. Priority is given to students from Center for Renaissance Studies consortium schools.

Students from Center for Renaissance Studies consortium schools ( http://www.newberry.org/center-renaissance-studies-consortium-members ) have priority, in accordance with consortium membership benefits. Fees are waived for students from consortium institutions. Such students  may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend ( http://www.newberry.org/newberry-renaissance-consortium-grants ). Each member university sets its own policies, limitations, and deadlines, and some may limit eligibility to certain departments or units within the institution; contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.

Posted in Christian-Muslim Violence, Christianity and Religious Violence, European Wars of Religion, Graduate Studies of Religious Violence, Lectures and Seminars | 1 Comment

Art History Lectures at the Smart Museum

The Smart Museum at the University of Chicago is offering a series of lectures in art history in April and May 2016.

Northern Illinois graduate students are encouraged to attend lectures that relate to their historical studies.

SmartMuseum-lectures

Posted in Concept of Religion, Graduate Studies of Religious Violence, Lectures and Seminars | 1 Comment

Graduate Seminar at the Newberry Library

The Newberry Library is offering a graduate seminar on “Gender, Bodies, and the Body Politic in Medieval Europe” in Fall 2016.

Northern Illinois University is a consortium member of the Newberry Library. This status allows graduate students at Northern Illinois and other consortium universities to enroll in Newberry seminars for credit at their home institutions.

This seminar is a great opportunity for graduate students interested in religious history, gender history, and the history of political culture.

The Newberry Library’s announcement reads:

Fall 2016 Ten-Week Graduate Seminar

Early application deadline: May 1

Gender, Bodies, and the Body Politic in Medieval Europe
2-5 pm Thursdays, September 29 to December 8
Led by Tanya Stabler Miller, Loyola University Chicago

Details and online application: https://www.newberry.org/09292016-gender-bodies-and-body-politic-medieval-europe

This seminar will examine the relationship between gender, sex differences, and politics-defined broadly-in medieval Europe, exploring the ways in which systems of power mapped onto perceived sex differences and bolstered, reproduced, or authenticated those systems. Through a close reading of political treatises, sermons, mystical literature, and church decrees, participants will evaluate the ways in which gendered discourses supported or weakened institutional, political, and religious authority, even in situations that seemingly had nothing to do with “real” women. Thus, investigations will move beyond “exceptional” women who exercised political power (for example royal and noblewomen), illuminating the effects of gendered symbols and discourses on institutions or spaces from which real women were increasingly marginalized (for example royal authority) or completely excluded (for example the medieval university). In this way, this seminar will take up the challenge of Joan Scott’s influential historiographical essay “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis.” Nevertheless, we will not lose sight of the effects gendered constructs and discourses had on real women, nor the specific strategies women employed to manipulate or subvert the systems and institutions that limited their agency.

Prerequisites: None, although the instructor prefers that students work with texts that they can read in the original language whenever possible.

For all these programs, students from Center for Renaissance Studies consortium schools ( http://www.newberry.org/center-renaissance-studies-consortium-members) have priority, in accordance with the consortium agreement. Fees are waived for students from consortium institutions. Such students  may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend ( http://www.newberry.org/newberry-renaissance-consortium-grants). Each member university sets its own policies, limitations, and deadlines, and some may limit eligibility to certain departments or units within the institution; contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.

Posted in Christian-Muslim Violence, Christianity and Religious Violence, Gender and Religious Violence, Graduate Studies of Religious Violence, Lectures and Seminars, Seminars and Workshops | 1 Comment