September 28, 2021 – Hannah Marcus

August 11th, 2021 No comments

MEMHS: 28 Sept., 4:30 PM – Hannah Marcus (Harvard University). “Cassandra Fedele and the Spectacle of Old Age in Early Modern Venice.”

On May 1, 1556, the 91-year-old humanist and former child prodigy, Cassandra Fedele, performed a Latin oration celebrating a visit to Venice by the Polish Queen. In this chapter draft from my new book project, I reread Fedele’s life and works, focusing not on her famous childhood, but on her experiences as a very old woman living in Venice during a period that was increasingly fixated on the possibilities of long life. I argue that her precarious situation and public performances were part of a broader culture in sixteenth-century Italy that at once valorized and made a spectacle of the elderly in the space of the city.

Pavilion Room, History deparment.

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October 19, 2021 – Zhang Yekai

August 9th, 2021 No comments

MEMHS: 19 Oct., 4:00 P.M. – Zhang Yekai (History, grad. student). ‘Ballads, Poems and the Political Culture of the Second and Third Dutch Wars in Britain, c. 1664-1674’.

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November 16, 2021 – The 42nd William F. Church Memorial Lecture, Gillian Weiss and Meredith Martin

August 7th, 2021 No comments

16 Nov., 5:30 P.M. – The 42nd William F. Church Memorial Lecture, Gillian Weiss (Case Western Reserve University) and Meredith Martin (New York Univesity). “Remembering Mediterranean Slavery in Early Modern France.” Smith-Buonanno, 106.

The transnational movement to confront the legacies of Atlantic slavery has seen statues topple, memorials rise and exhibitions open across the globe. For the most part, however, the phenomenon of early modern galley slavery – and, in particular, enslaved Muslim oarsmen on France’s Mediterranean galleys – has escaped contemporary reckoning. This lecture explores the traces of two thousand esclaves turcs (enslaved Turks) purchased to row on King Louis XIV’s vessels while considering some of the factors shaping their depiction in monuments and museum displays. Ship design, naval weapons, medals, paintings, and prints depicting Ottoman and Moroccan subjects helped proclaim royal supremacy in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. What are the stakes of remembering these individuals today?

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February 22, 2022 – Sarah Christensen

August 5th, 2021 No comments

MEMHS: 22 Feb., 4:30 P..M. – Sarah Christensen (PhD student in History, Brown University), “Remembering Enslaved Mothers in the Medieval Icelandic Laxdæla saga.” There is no pre-circulated paper for this talk.

The thirteenth-century Old Norse Laxdæla saga relates the fictionalized tale of Melkorka Mýrkjartansdóttir, a princess enslaved in Ireland at the age of fifteen and taken to Iceland in the tenth century as a domestic servant. Melkorka gives birth to her master’s son, a boy named Óláf, and the saga traces his quest to overcome the stigma of his dishonored birth and join Iceland’s elite class. My paper examines the entwined discourses of motherhood, gender, class, and cultural belonging that shaped the history of women’s enslavement in Iceland and across medieval Europe. The story of Melkorka and Óláf offers insight into two critical aspects of the legacy of gendered slavery: first, the largely invisible emotional lives of women who experienced family separation, forced migration, and sexual violence, and developed tools for survival in their new surroundings; and second, the existential discomfort that accompanied the presence of enslaved women in intimate spaces and the uncertain status of their children.

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March 15, 2022 – Jonathan Conant

August 4th, 2021 No comments

MEMHS: 15 March, 4:30 P.M. – Jonathan Conant (Associate Professor of History and Classics, Brown University). More information is coming soon.

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April 19, 2022 – Anne Lester

August 3rd, 2021 No comments

MEMHS: 19 April, 4:30 P.M. – Anne E. Lester (John W. Baldwin and Jenny Jochens Associate Professor of Medieval History, Johns Hopkins University). More information is coming soon.

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May 17, 2022 – Gabriel de Avilez Rocha

August 1st, 2021 No comments

MEMHS: 17 May – Gabriel de Avilez Rocha (Vasco da Gama Assistant Professor of History and Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Brown University). More information is coming soon.

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September 29, 2020 – Shahzad Bashir

July 16th, 2020 No comments

MEMHS: Sept. 29, 2020, 4:30 PM, online – Shahzad Bashir (Middle East Studies, History, Religious Studies,) “Globalizing the Middle Ages: The Market in Poetry in the Persian World.” There is a pre-circulated paper for this talk.

“Poetic speech is a pearl, connected to the king’s ear.” This statement gestures to words as objects of material value sought by those with power and resources. Prof. Bashir provides a sense for the texture of the Persian world by discussing what made poetry precious. By focusing on reports on poets’ lives, he illuminates the social scene in which poetry was produced and consumed. The study substantiates the interdependency between cultural and material reproduction of society.

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October 13, 2020 – The 41st William F. Church Memorial Lecture, John McNeill (Georgetown University)

July 13th, 2020 No comments

MEMHS: 13 October, 5:30 PM – The 41st William F. Church Memorial Lecture, John McNeill (Georgetown University), “Revisiting Mosquito Empires in the time of COVID-19.” (Note: the lecture will be given online.)

In this lecture, environmental historian J.R. McNeill will revisit arguments he made a decade ago in his book, Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, which dealt with the extraordinary virulence and historical consequences of epidemics in the Caribbean, ca. 1650-1900.  Looking back at his study from the vantage point of the pandemic year 2020 will also permit him to reflect on the importance of disease history in the contemporary world.

J.R. McNeill, currently University Professor and Professor of History at Georgetown University, has held two Fulbright awards and fellowships from Guggenheim, MacArthur and the Woodrow Wilson Center. He has authored or edited 23 books, including Something New Under the Sun (2000), listed by the London Times among the 10 best science books ever written (despite being a history book); and Mosquito Empires (2010), which won the Beveridge Prize from the American Historical Association; and most recently The Webs of Humankind (2020), 2 vols. In 2018, he received the Heineken Award for History from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a former president of both the American Society for Environmental History and the American Historical Association.

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October 27, 2020 – Marina Rustow

July 2nd, 2020 No comments

MEMHS: 27 Sept., 4:30 P.M. (online) – Marina Rustow (Princeton University,) “Petitions from Medieval Egypt and the Problem of Premodern Rights.” There is a pre-circulated paper for this talk.

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