Politics, Social Change, and Identity in Global Contexts


    Portland State University
 

sponsored by 

Friend of History text logo

 

Workshop Reservation

The series consists of workshops led by historians invited to share a paper in progress or a recent publication. The paper/publication to be discussed will be pre-circulated and read prior to the workshop. Please RSVP to attend and obtain a copy of the paper. Each colloquium-workshop runs from 11:45am to 1:50pm, with discussion beginning at 12:00pm.

2020-2021

Upcoming Papers

11.06.2020 | This event is remote & synchronous via Zoom

Michelle Moyd, Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor of History, Indiana University, Bloomington
African Sovereignties and “Counterinsurgency” in German East Africa, 1890-1908

02.05.2021 | This event is remote & synchronous via Zoom

Patricia Schechter, Professor of History, Portland State University
Madre and Matríz: Town-Making in Cordoba, 1887-1905

04.02.2021

Minayo Nasiali, Associate Professor of History, UCLA
Sea Traffic: A Clandestine History of Shipping, Exploitation, and Rebel Sailors Across Empires, 1920-1939

05.07.2021

Catherine McNeur, Associate Professor of History, Portland State University
Sister Scientists: The Forgotten Women Who Transformed American Science

FRI 11.06.2020 | Remote & Synchronous

African Sovereignties and “Counterinsurgency” in German East Africa, 1890-1908

German Native Soldiers On Tanganyika Railway At Da-Es-Salaam
German Native Soldiers On Tanganyika Railway At Da-Es-Salaam

Abstract:

African peoples and polities asserted their sovereignty against German imperial encroachment between 1888 and 1907, sometimes through armed opposition, sometimes through negotiated settlements or alliances. Those who refused to negotiate or subjugate themselves to German authority often suffered deadly consequences at the hands of the colonial army or its auxiliaries, made up mostly of African troops. This paper examines how East African notions of sovereignty, self-defense, or self-determination informed their interpretations of, and responses to, German incursions that threatened their lives, livelihoods, and cosmologies. Their efforts to defend themselves often appear in the historiography as “rebellion,” a word that assumes German legitimacy as political actors in this period in East Africa. Its use thus reinforces a German perspective of racial and civilizational superiority over East African peoples. Germans, for their part, imagined the wars they provoked to be “counterinsurgencies” that would lead to the “pacification” or subjugation of African peoples. Using evidence drawn from East African poems, songs, and oral histories, as well as German colonial archives, photography, and memoirs, this paper undertakes a critical examination of how we might reinterpret this period through the lens of African determination to defend their sovereignty, across different registers, and in the face of sustained German violence.

Michelle Moyd

Michelle Moyd is Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor of History at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is the author of Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa (Ohio University Press, 2014) and co-author (with Yuliya Komska and David Gramling) of Linguistic Disobedience: Restoring Power to Civic Language (Palgrave, 2019).

FRI 02.02.2021 | Remote & Synchronous

Madre and Matríz: The Politics of Town-Making in Cordoba, 1887-1905

Tarjeta postal, Unión Universal de Correos, Spain
Tarjeta postal, Unión Universal de Correos, Spain

Abstract:

Spain can be difficult to place in contemporary discourses about the “global north” or “global south.” This difficulty has a history in moves by outside actors on the Iberian peninsula. Beginning in the 1860s, the House of Rothschild via the family’s Paris-based bank invested in the mining and rail industries of Andalusia. This paper explores one result of that investment activity: the creation of an industrial village in northern Cordoba province called Pueblonuevo del Terrible.  Using the lens of the transnational company town, I explore the drama involved in turning a migrant mining camp into a properly constituted Spanish municipio. While coloniality offers a salient descriptor of economic dynamics in Pueblonuevo, records show that local actors relied on the language of gender and the idiom of family to name their experiences and to engage in place making. Using local newspapers as well as records from the Diputación de Córdoba and the Archives Nacionales de Monde de Travail in Roubaix, France, this paper teases out the gendered and familial threads in the fabric of this village’s origin story and situates that story in a transnational context.

 

Patricia Schechter

Patricia Schechter has taught at PSU for twenty five years. Her courses are in women's history, transnational history, and public history. She has published three books including Exploring the Decolonial Imaginary: Four Transnational Lives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). Her most recent article on colonial legacies in Oklahoma statehood came out in Postcolonial Studies in 2018. Her most recent public history exhibit was in 2019 at the Collins Gallery in Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Street Roots.

FRI 04.02.2021

Sea Traffic: A Clandestine History of Shipping, Exploitation, and Rebel Sailors Across Empires, 1920-1939

Sailor’s book belonging to a West African mariner using the alias “Diabira Waly
Sailor’s book belonging to a West African mariner using the alias “Diabira Waly

Abstract:

“Sea Traffic” examines the trans-imperial mobilities of colonial African sailors.  In the first half of the twentieth century, mariners from the East and West coasts of Africa did the hazardous work of shoveling coal and stoking fires in the engine-rooms of the steamships which transported the world’s people and goods. While their labor was essential to the global shipping industry their mobility was deeply mistrusted by the empires that claimed them—French and British. Colonial sailors’ movement across empires demands a new approach to doing imperial history. In the last thirty years, scholars of empire have adopted a Foucauldian framework to show how colonial subjects are implicated in systems of state power. This study asks two obvious but under-explored questions: What happens if colonial subjects opt-out of the surveillance network? And is such a choice possible? Colonial seafarers often used aliases—sailing under assumed names and using borrowed or stolen papers to work on ships flying diverse flags—which made them difficult to track. I argue that sailors’ trajectories were not bounded by a singular notion of empire understood as either French or British. Rather, their itineraries expose the permeability of colonial power. Tracing sailors’ journeys provides a counterpoint to the ways that scholarship and archives reproduce the idea that empires are contained spaces.

 

Minayo Nasiali

Minayo Nasiali is an associate professor of history at UCLA.  Her first book, Native to the Republic:  Empire, Social Citizenship, and Everyday Life in Marseille since 1945, was published by Cornell University Press in 2016. Her research has appeared in the American Historical Review, the Journal of Urban History, and French, Politics, Culture, & Society.  She is currently working on her second monograph which is a study of shipping, empire, and capitalism.

FRI 05.07.2021

Sister Scientists: The Forgotten Women Who Transformed American Science

Margaretta Hare Morris, entomologist and Elizabeth Carrington Morris, botanist
Margaretta Hare Morris, entomologist and Elizabeth Carrington Morris, botanist

Abstract:

This May, the largest brood of seventeen-year cicadas (Brood X) is set to emerge throughout the East and Midwest. The entomologist Margaretta Hare Morris (1797-1867) had studied the lifecycle of these creatures in Philadelphia, making groundbreaking discoveries that illuminated how they subsisted underground for so long and even discovering a new species of cicada in the mix. While this work was hard, harder still was getting male scientists to take her seriously. In “Hidden at the Root” the sixth chapter from Sister Scientists: the Forgotten Women Who Transformed American Science (under contract with Basic Books) Catherine McNeur explores this history and Morris’s hard-won lessons.

 

 

Catherine McNeur

Catherine McNeur, Associate Professor of History at Portland State University, is the award-winning author of Taming Manhattan: Environmental Battles in the Antebellum City (Harvard University Press, 2014). She is currently writing Sister Scientists: The Forgotten Women Who Transformed American Science (under contract with Basic Books) about the work of Margaretta Hare Morris, entomologist, and Elizabeth Carrington Morris, botanist. Recent publications have included a review essay about Covid-19 and nineteenth-century rabies outbreaks in Reviews in American History (Sept 2020 issue) and a chapter titled “Vanishing Flies and the Lady Entomologist” in Traces of the Animal Past (University of Calgary Press, pending publication).

 


 

2019-2020

11.1.2019   

Matthew Klingle, Associate Professor of History and Environmental Studies, Bowdoin College
“Against the Current: Native Americans and the Evolving Nature of the Diabetic Other”
[detailed info]

01.31.2020

Patryk Babiracki, Associate Professor Modern Russian and East European History, University of Texas-Arlington
"Westerners at the Poznań International Trade Fair and the Reinvention of Eastern Europe, 1940s-1970s"
[detailed info]

03.06.2020

Sue Peabody, Professor of History, Washington State University, Vancouver
"'Prize Negroes': 19th-Century Captives `Rescued’ by the British Navy in the Indian Ocean"
[detailed info]

05.01.2020  Postponed to 02.05.2021

Patricia Schechter, Professor, Portland State University
"Madre and Matríz: Town-Making in Cordoba, 1887-1905"
[detailed info]

 


 

11.01.2019

Matthew Klingle, Associate Professor of History and Environmental Studies, Bowdoin College
“Against the Current: Native Americans and the Evolving Nature of the Diabetic Other”


ABSTRACT:

In 1965, the National Institutes of Health reported that the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes among the Akimel O’odham (Pima) in Arizona was 15 times the rate of the United States as a whole. This seeming discovery masked a longer history in which diabetes had been framed as a supposed “disease of civilization.” At the start of the twentieth century, diabetes was seen as the penalty of affluence. By the postwar era, the frame had flipped and diabetes became a disease of socioeconomic inequality with deep genetic origins. The N.I.H. was at the leading edge of using indigenous peoples as so-called “living laboratories” to trace the alarming rise of diabetes by assuming that indigenous peoples were timeless and primitive. Yet this research unfolded alongside the concurrent rise of indigenous health sovereignty, which blended Western biomedicine and traditional knowledge to reframe the diabetes epidemic as growing from longstanding environmental changes and social inequities. Part of a larger book manuscript-in-progress on the environmental and social history of diabetes in the modern world, this paper explores how Native understandings of diabetes have advanced or reinforced alternative etiologies of diabetes that challenge the typical framing of the disease as rooted simply in diet, inactivity, and genetics.

+++

 

Matthew Klingle

Matthew Klingle is associate professor of history and environmental studies at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he also served as director of the Environmental Studies Program. He received BA from the University of California at Berkeley and his MA and PhD from the University of Washington at Seattle. His research and teaching focus on the North American West, environmental history and humanities, urban history, social and cultural history, and the history of science, technology, and medicine. He has received fellowships and awards for his work from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, American Philosophical Society, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Science Foundation, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at LMU-Munich, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He also held a national fellowship from the Environmental Leadership Program, a non-profit organization training emerging leaders from wide-ranging backgrounds to enhance diversity in U.S. environmental communities. He is the author of Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle (2007), which received the biennial Ray Allen Billington Prize in 2009 from the Organization of American Historians. He has published peer-reviewed essays and articles in Environmental History, Journal of Urban History, History & Theory, Boom: A Journal of California, Oxford Handbook of Environmental History, and several edited anthologies. His current project, Sweet Blood: Diabetes and the Changing Nature of Modern Health, explores how today’s health crisis grows from our changing relationships with nature and shifting patterns of social inequality in the United States and the world from the late-nineteenth century to the present day.

 


 

01.31.2020

Patryk Babiracki, Associate Professor Modern Russian and East European History, University of Texas-Arlington
"Westerners at the Poznań International Trade Fair and the Reinvention of Eastern Europe, 1940s-1970s"
 

ABSTRACT:

This paper is part of a larger project that examines the story of the International Trade Fair in the western Polish city of Poznań against the background of Poland's tumultuous short twentieth century.  The fair functioned as a global trade hub and mass propaganda tool, mediating a complex set of relationships between the Polish state, society and the world. For centuries, Poles and foreigners famously cultivated the Romantic narrative of Polish history full of heroism and drama, a vision predicated on the priority of political freedom as key to the country's modern future.  In contrast, I show how, through the Poznań fair, various Poles contested the Romantic vision by putting a different, lesser-known, business-like pragmatic Poland on the world map.  In my paper, I discuss the roles of the fair-bound Western foreigners such as government officials, businessmen, journalists, in maintaining the idea of Eastern Europe, a process that went against the grain of these Polish efforts to reinvent themselves.  Historians’ writings about Eastern Europeans' encounters with liberal democracies in the second half of the twentieth century have tended to underscore the reciprocal and symbiotic aspects of that relationship.  Drawing on my research in Polish, German, French, British and U.S. archives, I tell a more fraught story about the postwar encounter between Eastern Europe and the West. I situate the postwar period within a longer timeline, and argue that bringing together business elites, politicians and masses of visitors for weeks on end, the fair invited global actors to reproduce and renegotiate centuries-long economic and cultural hierarchies rooted in longstanding patterns of quasi-imperial knowledge production and economic exchange.

+++

Patryk Babiracki

Patryk Babiracki is Associate Professor in Russian and East European history at the University of Texas at Arlington and author of Soviet Soft Power in Poland: Culture and the Making of Stalin’s New Empire, 1943-1957 (UNC Press, 2015).  He also co-edited two collections of essays devoted to transnational history of socialism, and authored articles in academic and popular periodicals, including New Eastern EuropeThe Washington Post and The Wilson Quarterly.  Babiracki's current project (supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation) re-examines Poland's twentieth-century history in its global context, through the lens of the Poznań International Trade Fair.  

 


 

03.06.2020

Sue Peabody, Professor of History, Washington State University, Vancouver
"'Prize Negroes': 19th-Century Captives `Rescued’ by the British Navy in the Indian Ocean"
 

ABSTRACT:

In 1810, the British banned the slave trade in the Indian Ocean, and, a few years later, pressured the French to do so as well after Napoleon’s defeat. Thereafter, the British Navy pursued French smugglers, arresting them on the high seas and confiscating their ships and cargo in executing the sentences of the British Admiralty courts. The Africans found on board were not, however, returned home, but apprenticed under fourteen-year contracts to colonists and sent throughout the British Empire.

This paper traces the fate of one group of slaves, captured aboard the French brig, Le Succès, in 1820, to see what "liberation" meant in real terms. How did the lives of apprentices compare with those of the other slaves? Did they form families? If they survived their apprenticeships, were they, in fact, liberated after fourteen years? Into what conditions—as wage laborers? Who was responsible for their care as they aged?

+++

Sue Peabody

Sue Peabody, is Meyer Distinguished Professor of History and Liberal Arts at Washington State University Vancouver, and author of numerous historical books and articles on slavery, race and the law in France and its colonies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Beginning with “There Are No Slaves in France”: The Political Culture of Race and Slavery in the Ancien Régime (Oxford, 1996), Peabody has explored the development of France’s “Free Soil” principle, which holds that any slave who sets foot on French soil thereby becomes free. Her most recent book, Madeleine’s Children: Family, Freedom, Secrets, and Lies in France’s Indian Ocean Colonies (Oxford, 2017), has won three historical prizes. The French translation and adaptation, Les enfants de Madeleine, by Pierre H. Boulle will be published jointly by Karthala, Centre International des Recherches sur l’Esclavage (CIRESC), Musée historique de Villèle, and WSU in December 2019. A recent residential fellow at the Camargo Foundation, Peabody is currently working on her next book, The Failure of the Succès: Anatomy of a Slave Smuggling Voyage, a microhistory about how some French attempted to evade the slave trade ban in the early nineteenth century.

 

 


 

05.01.2020

Patricia Schechter, Professor, Portland State University
"Madre and Matríz: Town-Making in Cordoba, 1887-1905"
 

ABSTRACT:

Spain can be difficult to place in contemporary economic or media discourses about the global north or global south. This marginalization has a pointed history in moves by other European actors on the Iberian Peninsula in the nineteenth century. This paper use the lens of the transnational company town as a case study of such activity, specifically, the creation of an industrial village in northern Cordoba province in 1894 called Pueblonuevo del Terrible.  In the second half of the nineteenth century, the London-based House of Rothschild and their Paris-based family members invested in the mining and rail industries of Andalucia. This paper sifts these activities during the 1880 and 1890s and spotlights a new social formation in the valle del guadiato: the rural industrial village. My paper suggest that while coloniality was and remains the most salient descriptor of economic dynamics in the nascent company town of Pueblonuevo, local actors relied heavily on the idiom of family to name their new experience and to try and find a way to live together.  The drama of this episode involves turning a diverse, immigrant mining camp into a properly constituted Spanish municipio, a processes normatively seated at the provincial level but which in this case went all the way to Madrid.  This essay uses records from the Diputación de Córdoba as well as local newspapers and Rothschild Archive in Roubaix, France, in order to tease out the threads in the fabric of this village’s origin story, and to place that story in its transnational context.

+++

Patricia Schechter

Patricia Schechter has taught at PSU for twenty five years. Her courses are in women's history, transnational history, and public history. She has published three books and her most recent article on colonial legacies in Oklahoma statehood came out in Postcolonial Studies in 2018. Her most recent public history exhibit was in 2019 at the Collins Gallery in Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Street Roots. An earlier version of her FOH colloquium paper was presented at the Association for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies in Barcelona in 2019 and is under consideration by their Bulletin for publication. 

 

 

 

 

 


 

2018-2019

11.2.2018   

Margot Minardi, Associate Professor, Reed College
“Coming Together and Coming Apart: Americans at the International Peace Congresses, 1848-1851”
[detailed info]

02.01.2019

Jacob Darwin Hamblin, Professor, Oregon State University
"Japanese Jackpot: Shōriki Matsutarō, the CIA, and Atoms for Peace"
[detailed info]

03.01.2019

Nicholas Paul, Associate Professor, Fordham University
“Theater of War: Status, Performance, and the Social Function of the Eastern Crusading Frontier”
[detailed info]

05.03.2019

Kenneth Ruoff, Professor, Portland State University
"Why Japan is Not Experiencing Populism"
[detailed info]
 


 

11.2.2018

Margot Minardi, Associate Professor, Reed College
“Coming Together and Coming Apart: Americans at the International Peace Congresses, 1848-1851”


ABSTRACT:
For a brief time in the mid-nineteenth century, peace advocates from North America, Britain, Europe, and Liberia gathered on an annual basis in Europe's major cities to discuss how to bring international warfare to an end. Scholarship on these peace conventions has generally placed them at the nexus of British reform and European revolutionary politics. However, the first major international peace congress was held at the instigation and initiative of an American reformer, and American men of color (including three prominent abolitionists who were fugitives from slavery) was among the most popular speakers at these gatherings. This paper examines American involvement in the peace congresses in order to understand how the politics and priorities of American peace reform overlapped with and diverged from those of its sister movements overseas. Though the organizers of the peace congresses sought to focus on the abolition of international war, the debates at the congresses showed that, in countries on both sides of the Atlantic, social division and inequality posed at least as much of a threat to peace, even if the exact form that these internal instabilities took varied from place to place. At the peace congresses, mid-nineteenth reformers' utopian vision of "human brotherhood" was realized for transitory moments, only to be vanquished by political and social division before it could be secured. 

+++

Margot Minardi "Peaceable Kingdom"

Margot Minardi is associate professor of history and humanities at Reed College. A historian of American reform movements, she is the author of Making Slavery History: Abolitionism and the Politics of Memory in Massachusetts, which won a first book prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. She is currently working on a book about American peace activism in the nineteenth century, from which the chapter for today is derived. Another piece from this same project, on the historical consciousness of the first generation of American peace reformers, has just been published in an edited volume, The Specter of Peace: Rethinking Violence and Power in the Colonial Atlantic (ed. Michael Goode and John Smolenski). is ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellow at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Initiative on Global History for 2017-18 and associate professor of history at Wellesley College. His most recent book, forthcoming with Harvard University Press in 2018, is titled Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism.

 

 


 

02.01.2019

Jacob Darwin Hamblin, Professor, Oregon State University
"Japanese Jackpot: Shōriki Matsutarō, the CIA, and Atoms for Peace"

ABSTRACT:

Once held as a war criminal by the United States occupation authorities, Shōriki Matsutarō emerged by the early 1950s as the US Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) most important human asset in Japan, with a cryptonym POJACKPOT (“PO” was the CIA’s designator for Japan). He leveraged American desires for a message platform in the Japanese media to gain favors from the Americans during the period of military occupation—such as helping to build, and get licenses for, the first private television network. He would attempt the same arrangement after the Atoms for Peace initiative, knowing how badly the Americans would need him. The US needed to turn around public opinion in a country that had suffered not only the first two atomic bombings in 1945 but also a major incident in 1954 when radioactive debris from US nuclear tests fell on the Japanese fishing boat, the so-called Lucky Dragon. Shōriki ran successfully for election to the Japanese Diet, became Japan’s first atomic energy commission chairman, and even set his eyes on becoming Prime Minister. Between his media empire and his political influence, the Americans believed they truly had hit the jackpot.The case of Shōriki provides a window into the dynamics of Atoms for Peace at a unique historical moment when Japan was both the symbol of atomic victimhood and also the leading nation in Asia in advocating for a future of atomic energy. In the eyes of some, it marked a propaganda coup for the United States, which invested heavily in turning around public opinion in Japan. Others point to forces within Japan for the change, particularly the efforts by Shōriki to rebuild his pre-war media empire and achieve political ambitions. And still others perceive Shōriki as a disturbing example of CIA influence around the world, in this case putting a kind of “Manchurian candidate” within reach of becoming Japan’s prime minister. In this paper, I use the story of Shōriki to highlight the competing motivations of scientific, government, and business actors in three different countries—Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. It is an interpretation based largely on CIA documents declassified as part of the Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-567), a major release of records related to war crimes during the Second World War. The declassification included considerable material on Shōriki’s postwar activities.

+++

Jacob Darwin Hamlin

Jacob Darwin Hamblin is Professor of History at Oregon State University, where he directs his university’s Environmental Arts and Humanities Initiative. He is the author of Oceanographers and the Cold War (Washington, 2005), Poison in the Well: Radioactive Waste in the Oceans at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age (Rutgers, 2008), and Arming Mother Nature: the Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism (Oxford, 2013). The latter received the Birdsall Prize from the American Historical Association, for the best book on military or strategic history, and the Davis Prize from the History of Science Society, for the best book written for a general audience. His essays have appeared in the New York TimesSalon, and numerous academic journals.

 

 

 



03.01.2019

Nicholas Paul, Associate Professor, Fordham University
“Theater of War: Status, Performance, and the Social Function of the Eastern Crusading Frontier”


ABSTRACT:

This paper offers a re-evaluation of the relationship between medieval western Europe and the frontier of crusading conflict in the eastern Mediterranean during the main period of crusader activity (1099-1291). In seeking to resolve the current scholarly impasse concerning the colonial nature of crusader occupation and settlement in the Levant, this analysis emphasizes the value of the eastern frontier as a source not of material wealth but instead of cultural capital, particularly for the trans-national aristocracy of medieval Europe, who are treated in the article as the true colonial power. The paper calls for a refocusing of the narrative of the crusades away from the major canonical military expeditions and toward the much smaller, but much more common, private expeditions of individual lords or regional groups. It also calls for a greater consideration of long-neglected bodies of source material, including legal codes, works usually classified as romances, texts produced by and for non-European aristocracies, and heretofore unpublished works. In the end, it is argued, we should acknowledge that for many participants, medieval Christian holy war provided an ideal context for aristocratic performance and political theater. 

+++

Nicolas Paul

Nicholas L. Paul received his BA from Davidson College and M.Phil and PhD from the University of Cambridge. Since 2006 he has taught at Fordham University, where he now serves as Associate Professor of History and Director of Medieval Studies. His first book, To Follow in Their Footsteps: the Crusades and Family Memory in the High Middle Ages (Cornell University Press, 2012) was awarded the John Nicholas Brown Prize of the Medieval Academy of America in 2016. He co-edited, with Suzanne Yeager, Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image, and Identity (Johns Hopkins, 2012) and with Laura Morreale The French of Outremer: Communities and Communication in the Crusading Mediterranean (Fordham, 2018). His articles have appeared in the Haskins Society JournalThe Journal of Medieval HistorySpeculumFrench History, and Material Religion. He is also the founder and supervising scholar of a number of digital humanities projects, including the Oxford Outremer Map, the Independent Crusaders Project and digital edition and translation of the Anglo-Norman historical epic, the Siege d'Antioche. He is a past member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study and Clare Hall, Cambridge. Currently, he serves as Vice President for North America for the Haskins Society and is a member of the editorial board of the American Historical Review. 

His forthcoming works include "An Imperial Context for the Amboise-Anjou Narrative Program" in Anglo-Norman Studies 41 and "Writing the Knight: Manasses of Hierges and the Monks of Brogne" in Knighthood and Society in Medievalia Lovanensia, and an edited volume to be published by Fordham University Press titled Whose Middle Ages? A Reader. Together with Wolfgang Mueller, he is also preparing and edition and translation of the Latin text "How the Holy Cross was Brought from Antioch to the Monastery of Brogne." 

 



05.03.2019

Kenneth Ruoff, Professor, Portland State University
"Why Japan is Not Experiencing Populism"

ABSTRACT:
Populism is presently plaguing Europe and the United States, and yet Japan, the other point in the triangle of longtime industrialized areas of the world, is not experiencing similar forms of populism.  Why is this the case?   Theories range from Japan’s general unwillingness to accept immigrants to that country’s having done a better job at protecting its middle class to the role of its liberal emperor in having served as a brake on populism. These and other explanations will be addressed from a historical perspective. But, first, we must examine how the Japanese themselves have defined populism in the postwar era, which provides a window into definitions of democracy there.   

+++

Kenneth Ruoff

Kenneth Ruoff is professor of East Asian History and Director of the Center for Japanese Studies at Portland State University. The Japanese translation of his first book, The People’s Emperor: Democracy and the Japanese Monarchy was awarded Japan’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, the Osaragi Jiro Prize for Commentary presented by the Asahi Newspaper, in 2004. His essay “Wartime, War-Related, and National Heritage Tourism in Japan: Where Do We Go From Here?” is forthcoming in a special issue of Japan Review devoted to tourism. His recent book is The Japanese and the Emperor: The Heisei Era and the New Reign  (Asahi, January 2019).

 

 

 

 

 


2017-2018

11.3.2017   

Quinn Slobodian, Associate Professor, Wellesley College
“World Scanners: How Finance Remade the Rule of Law after the 1970s”
[detailed info]

02.02.2018

Tamara Venit-Shelton, Associate Professor, Claremont McKenna College
“Herbs and Roots Only: Toward an Environmental History of Chinese Medicine in the United States”
[detailed info]

03.02.2018

Nile Green, Professor, University of California at Los Angeles
“The Afghan Highlands of Scotland: A Muslim Student Makes Sense of the British Empire”
[detailed info]

05.04.2018

James Grehan, Professor, Portland State University
"Muslim 'Puritans' in the Ottoman Empire: The Kadızadeli Movement and Its Early Modern Counterparts, c. 1550-1750"
[detailed info]

 


11.3.2017

Quinn Slobodian, Associate Professor, Wellesley College
“World Scanners: How Finance Remade the Rule of Law after the 1970s”

ABSTRACT:
The era since the 1970s, often referred to as one of financialization, is commonly assumed to be accompanied by the uninterrupted rise to dominance of the field of economics. Yet this is not the whole story. The period from the late 70s to the present was also marked by the rise and proliferation of the non-economic expert in the private sector of banking and the public sector of the international financial institutions (IFIs). The field of political risk analysis boomed after the unexpected events of the late 1970s including the Iranian Revolution, and the volatility created by the decade’s flood of petrodollars. Political scientists and sociologists were hired by banks to assess and often quantify such elusive qualities as social stability, popular faith in institutions, corruption, and abstractions like the Rule of Law for reasons of prudential oversight of overseas investments.

The techniques they came up with would have enduring effects: they became the basis for a new fleet of indicators, including the Doing Business Index, the Corruption Perception Index, and the Rule of Law Index to which policy-makers and international financial institutions increasingly turn to allocate foreign aid to this day. Political risk analysis offers one example of many that, even in the era of supposed market fundamentalism, the limits of the market’s omniscience are well-recognized in the decision-making centers of financial and political power. 

+++

Quinn Slobodian

Quinn Slobodian is ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellow at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Initiative on Global History for 2017-18 and associate professor of history at Wellesley College. His most recent book, forthcoming with Harvard University Press in 2018, is titled Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism.

 

Along with an edited volume on neoliberalism in preparation with Philip Mirowski and Dieter Plehwe, he is the author of "How to See the World Economy: Statistics, Maps, and Schumpeter’s Camera in the First Age of Globalization," Journal of Global History (2015). His new project on the neoliberal reinvention of the Rule of Law has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

 



02.02.2018

Tamara Venit-Shelton, Associate Professor, Claremont McKenna College
“Herbs and Roots Only: Toward an Environmental History of Chinese Medicine in the United States”

ABSTRACT:
Chinese medicine has a long history in the United States, dating back to America’s colonial period and extending up to the present. This paper focuses on the turn of the twentieth century and explores what it means to write about Chinese medicine in the United States through the lens of environmental history. Progressive Era Americans frequently described Chinese medicine as “nature’s remedies” and Chinese doctors as uniquely attuned to “nature.” When Chinese doctors advertised in English-language newspapers, they also adopted that same language of “natural” medicine. That language made Chinese medicine seem similar to other medical knowledge systems that were part of an evolving category labeled “irregular” or “alternative.” This paper asks how Chinese doctors in Progressive Era America conceived of the meanings of “nature” in Progressive Era America? I argue that “nature” was part of an on-going conflict between biomedical or “regular” doctors and so-called “irregular” doctors that reached a moment of crisis at this time. It also spoke to Orientalist attitudes and the unique racialization of Chinese health practices. And finally, nature referred to a material, trans-Pacific environment where medicinal ingredients were procured and distributed.

+++

Tamara Venit-Shelton

Tamara Venit-Shelton is an associate professor of history at Claremont McKenna College. She has a B.A. from Amherst College and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. In the 2017-18 academic year, she is an ALCS Frederick Burkhardt Fellow and writing a book about the history of Chinese medicine in the United States. Her research focuses on the American West and social, environmental, and political movements in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. Her first book, A Squatter’s Republic: Land and the Politics of Monopoly in California, 1850-1900, was published as part of the Western History Series, a joint-venture between the University of California Press and the Huntington Library. She has also edited a series of U.S. history textbooks for Gale/Cengage Learning and written articles on teaching history and empathy for the Journal for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education and The Chronicle of Higher Education: Vitae. In addition to her writing, she has consulted on historical movies set in the American West and recently appeared on the Travel Channel’s Expedition Unknown, speaking about the Lewis and Clark expedition and the construction of the United States’ first transcontinental railroad.

 

 


03.02.2018

Nile Green, Professor, University of California at Los Angeles
“The Afghan Highlands of Scotland: A Muslim Student Makes Sense of the British Empire”

ABSTRACT:

As a writer of history confronted with the shrinking public impact of the humanities, I have become increasingly interested in the possibilities of narrative as argument. To this end, my current book comprises a double-biography of two Anglo-Indian authors, Ikbal Ali Shah and Idries Shah. Around the lives of these lead characters, I have tried to reveal the changing place of Islam in British political and literary life. Beginning in Edinburgh, where Ikbal arrived as a medical student in 1913, the book follows their picaresque adventures in India, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and even Uruguay. From Ikbal's world of late imperial adventure, the literary London of the thirties and the propaganda war of the forties, the pen is passed to Idries who found fame in the sixties amid a post-imperial nostalgia for the mystic East that was eventually confronted with the jihad in the Afghanistan he claimed as his homeland. For the seminar, we will read chapter 1, which sees a Muslim student confronted with Darwinism, the Great War, then the Anglo-Afghan War of 1919. The chapter introduces the book’s themes of the colonial then postcolonial predicament: authenticity, authority and what gets taken for reliable knowledge about the Islamic world.

+++

Nile Green

Nile Green is professor of history at UCLA. His research brings Islamic history into conversation with global history. His work has been awarded the Middle East Studies Association’s Albert Hourani Book Award and the Association for Asian Studies’ Ananda K. Coomaraswamy Book Award.

 

His many books include Terrains of Exchange: Religious Economies of Global Islam (Oxford, 2015) and The Love of Strangers: What Six Muslim Students Learned in Jane Austen’s London (Princeton, 2016), a New York Times Editors’ Choice.

 

 

 



05.04.2018

James Grehan, Professor, Portland State University
"Muslim 'Puritans' in the Ottoman Empire: The Kadızadeli Movement and Its Early Modern Counterparts, c. 1550-1750"

ABSTRACT:

During the 1630s, the Ottoman capital of Istanbul became the scene of highly disruptive legal and religious controversies. A fiery preacher named Kadızade Mehmed denounced fellow Muslims for deviating from true religion and embracing wicked innovations. To the dismay of the Muslim religious establishment, he proved an able politician and actually persuaded the Ottoman state to close the coffeehouses of Istanbul and outlaw the smoking of tobacco. Touching a chord in many parts of Ottoman society, his movement to ‘command the right and forbid the wrong’ would live on for several more decades and remain influential in official circles. My paper will explore the social and cultural environment in which these activists (known as the ‘Kadızadeli’ faction) came of age. It will show why, and where in Ottoman society, their ideas had such resonance. Probing the origins and aims of this movement, we will come to see how they belonged to a much wider pattern of ‘early modern’ religious activism across Eurasia.

+++

 

James Grehan is Professor of History at Portland State University, where he writes and teaches on Middle Eastern and world history. His main research fields are the social history of the early modern and modern Middle East (since 1500) and the history of the Ottoman Empire.

His most recent book is Twilight of the Saints: Everyday Religion in Ottoman Syria and Palestine, published by Oxford University Press in 2014.