Pre-Modern Culture and Change
This cluster cuts across traditional period divisions to examine the defining characteristics and long-term transformation of the pre-modern world. Conversations between specialists in different periods and cultures enable innovative examination of the constant reshaping of early periods, which have often been mischaracterized as uniform or stagnant. Areas of interest include early modern history, the transitional periods from antique to medieval to early modern to modern, inheritance and transformation of early texts and culture in later periods, intellectual and religious continuity and change, pre-modern economy and trade, and the causes and consequences of the movement, growth and shrinkage of states and communities. This approach interrogates historical periodization, illuminating the strengths and weaknesses of different models historians use to define boundaries between periods, and tests the utility of transitional labels, such as late antique, early medieval, high medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, early modern, and modern. Comparison of geographic regions highlights the problems in applying periodization globally. Prospective students interested in the study of Pre-modern worlds and their reception in later periods are encouraged to contact the faculty members associated with this cluster.
Undergraduate courses in the current catalogue related to Pre-modern Culture and Change
101. Western Civilization to 1660.
103. World History to 1500.
210. Russian Civilization.
213. History of England.
221. History of Islam.
320. History of the Atlantic World
322. History of the Iberian World.
326. History of the Caribbean to Emancipation.
327. The Caribbean since Emancipation History
330. Women in Ancient Greece and Rome.
331. Medieval Europe, 300 to 1300.
332. Renaissance and Reformation Europe, 1300 to 1660.
333. Europe in the Age of Absolutism, 1660–1815.
338. The Rise of the European Middle Class.
339. Eastern Europe Since 1453.
341. Colonial Latin America History
344. History of Africa to 1800.
347. Rise of Islam, 600-1258
351. Traditional East Asia.
354. Imperial China.
358. Chinese Cultural History.
365. History of Religion in America to 1860.
367. Colonization of North America.
368. The Birth of the Republic, 1763–1820.
406. The Era of the French Revolution and Napoleon, 1715–1815.
410. Russian History to 1801.
418. European Intellectual History, Ancient to Early Medieval.
417. European Intellectual History from the High Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century.
420. European Intellectual History from the Enlightenment to 1900.
426. The Ancient Greeks.
427. The Roman Republic I: The Empire Builders.
428. The Roman Republic II: The Civil Wars.
429. The Roman Empire.
431. The Kingdom of Ireland, 1541-1800
435. Tudor England, 1450–1603.
436. Stuart England, 1603–1714.
437. Eighteenth Century Britain.
Graduate courses in the current catalogue related to Pre-modern Culture and Change
601. Colonial North America
604. The Early Republic History
615. Colonial Latin America
626. American Cultural and Intellectual History
631. Reading Seminar in United States History to 1877
634. Maritime History and Sea Power
637. Early Middle Ages
638. Medieval Europe
643. Reading Seminar in European History from Renaissance to French Revolution
666. History of Technology
678. Comparative Border Studies History
679. Topics in Comparative Border Studies
Faculty within the History Department
Cynthia Bouton is a social and cultural historian focusing on early modern and Revolutionary Europe and the Atlantic. She studies the ways that inequities in access to basic subsistence needs—often linked to status/class, gender, race/ethnicity, patronage/political relations, and location—have influenced responses to suffering (both the threat of it and strategies to alleviate it). Her first book studied responses to a subsistence crisis in 1775 France, several articles explored the history of the politics of provisioning in France from the 17th to the 19th centuries, and her second book analyzed 19th- and 20th-century cultural and political engagements with an episode of social violence over food security. Her next book, “Subsistence, Society, and Culture in the Atlantic World in the Eighteenth Century and Age of Revolution,” studies staple food production, marketplace interaction, entangled Atlantic trade networks, and government policies to understand adaptations to the “Atlanticization” of food regimes in the French, Spanish, and British Atlantic during the 18th century and revolutionary era.
Chester Dunning is a specialist in Russian and early modern European history. Trained at UC Santa Cruz and Boston College, Dunning teaches courses in Russian history and has created three upper level courses in European history for Texas A&M University: Europe in the Age of Absolutism, The Rise of the European Middle Class, and Eastern Europe since 1453. Dunning’s research focuses primarily on Russia in the early seventeenth century, but he also publishes work on the comparative study of early modern Europe. Those publications have examined early modern Russia within the context of early modern Europe and have argued strongly against treating Russian history as an exceptional or exotic subject best studied in isolation.
Side Emre specializes in the late medieval and early modern history of the Ottoman Empire and Egypt. Broadly defined, she examines the historical trajectories of one Islamic mystical order (Gülşeniye) and its members with a focus on their socio-political and cultural impact in the local/inter-regional communities they lived and networked in the pre-modern Muslim world. Her research brings together Near Eastern, Eastern Mediterranean, and North African history and establishes dialogues with medival and early modernist scholars from a wide array of disciplines. She focuses on the connections between politics, society, religion, and Sufism (Islamic mysticism) in the pre-modern Muslim world. Her broader interests include: Cultural transformations, Islamic mystical literature, tensions and dialogues between politics and religion, law, heresy, and Sufism, and its cultural and social reflections in the early modern Ottoman historical context. Her research covers Anatolia, Iran, Syria, Egypt and North Africa as geographical designations.
April Hatfield received her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University in 1997 and began teaching at Texas A&M the following year. Her work examines how borders and migration shaped individuals and institutions in the early modern Atlantic world. Her publications include several book chapters and articles and the monograph Atlantic Virginia: Intercolonial Relations in the Seventeenth Century (2004). Her current project “Creole Allegiances” follows a variety of individuals as they negotiated the borders of English and Spanish imperial spaces in the western Caribbean and southeastern North America during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.
Ada Palmer is a cultural and intellectual historian focusing on the long-durée evolution of ideas and mentalities. She specializes in the early modern period, particularly the Italian Renaissance and Humanist reception of classical philosophy, but she also works on ancient, medieval and modern intellectual history. She completed her doctorate at Harvard University in Spring of 2009. She has studied extensively in Italy, and her research interests include Renaissance Neoplatonism and Neostoicism, history of heterodoxy, atheism, skepticism and freethought, history of science and history of the book. She has recently finished a project on the reception of Lucretius in the Renaissance, and is co-author of The Recovery of Classical Philosophy in the Renaissance, a Brief Guide along with her advisor, James Hankins.
James Rosenheim (Ph. D. Princeton University, 1981) teaches courses on early modern British history and on sex and sexuality in history. His research focuses on the social and cultural history of Restoration and early eighteenth-century England. He has published two books on aristocratic society and culture in that era and has also published articles on the operation of local government and authority and an edition of a late seventeenth-century magistrate’s notebook. His current research project, “Singular Subjects: Unmarried Men in England 1650-1750,” focuses on the phenomena and meanings of bachelorhood and widowerhood, emphasizing the light that the history of the unmarried man sheds on the history of courtship and marriage, gender and sexuality, kinship and the family. This study employs sources that include family correspondence and diaries, sermons and conduct books, financial accounts and legislation, and poetry, drama, and novels.
Rebecca Hartkopf Schloss teaches courses in Atlantic World History, the French Empire, and the Caribbean. Her first project, Sweet Liberty: The Final Days of Slavery in Martinique, (forthcoming from the University of Pennsylvania Press, Early American Series, July 2009), focuses on the relationship between Martinique and continental France and the construction of racial, class, gender and national identities during the first half of the nineteenth century. Her second project, France at the Edges: Life in France’s Atlantic Port Cities, 1760-1830, explores connections among port cities in North America, the Caribbean, Africa and continental France to understand how French national identity manifested itself in different parts of the French Empire among individuals and through developing state institutions.
Daniel Schwartz studies the late Roman and early Byzantine periods and teaches World History, Roman Empire, and the History of Christianity. He would also like to propose courses on the History of Byzantium and the Crusades. His particular interest in each of these topics centers around the strategies used by religious, linguistic and intellectual communities to form coherent identities and interact with those outside their groups, His research interests include the Christianization of the Roman Empire, the role of religious violence in Late Antiquity, the use of political and religious procession as a means of expressing popular will, and the Late Antique reception of classical Greco-Roman education.
Di Wang (Ph.D, Johns Hopkins, 1999) is a social and cultural historian, who examines the transition and transformation of China. His book Striding out of a Closed World: Social Transformation of the Upper Yangzi Region, 1644-1911 explores how the Upper Yangzi Region, a major hinterland of the Qing Empire, was dramatically changed during the seventeenth century and the early twentieth century. In his books Street Culture in Chengdu and The Teahouse, he examines how the traditional cultures survived after Western influence and to what extent they were changed. Now he is working on his book project “Gowned Brothers: Secret Societies and Local Dominance in Sichuan, 1650-1950.” By studying the secret society’s history, culture, and social roots, this project analyzes how the organization extended its reach into all levels of people and how and to what extent it dominated local society. He teaches traditional East Asia, Imperial China, and Chinese Cultural History, which cover extensively pre-modern culture and change.
Colleagues outside the history department:
Austin, Scott (Philosophy) works on Presocratic philosophy, the history of dialectic, and connections between Western and Asian philosophy.
Castro, Filipe (Anthropology) teaches courses on Medieval and Early Modern shipbuilding and seafaring, and analyzes archaeological data in dialog with written sources pertaining to the conception and construction of ships and boats. He has published extensively on the reconstruction of ships from archaeological data, in the cultural and socio-economic contexts in which they were built and operated.
Konrad, Christoph (Euro) teaches Latin, Greek, and Greek and Roman History, with a special interest in Roman Government, Religion, and Law, Greek and Roman Historiography, and in Latin Epigraphy. He has published extensively on Plutarch and many aspects of the Roman Republic, and serves on the editorial board of Classical Philology.
Ciccolella, Federica (Euro) interest and research fields are Byzantine poetry, classical tradition and reception of antiquity, and the study of the classical languages in the Italian Renaissance. She is presently working on a project concerning the study of Greek in Italy during the Renaissance.
Daniel, Stephen (Philosophy) has published widely on 17th and 18th century philosophy and current continental thought. His recent publications have been on George Berkeley, G. W. Leibniz, John Toland, and Jonathan Edwards. He is president of the International Berkeley Society and editor of Berkeley Studies.
Kallendorf, Craig (Euro) teaches courses in Latin language and literature at all levels, in New Testament Greek, and early modern English literature. His research focuses on Virgil and the classical tradition, with an eye on the manuscripts and early printed editions that transmitted the classics to us in the Renaissance. He is currently president of The Vergilian Society and vice president of the International Association for Neo-Latin Studies and serves on the executive committee of the Renaissance Society of America.
Kallendorf, Hilaire (Spanish) research and teaching deal with many aspects of religious experience, especially as belief relates to literature and culture. She is the author of two academic monographs, Exorcism and Its Texts (Toronto, 2003) and Conscience on Stage (Toronto, 2007), and general editor of A New Companion to Hispanic Mysticism (Brill, 2010).
LeBuffe, Michael (Philosophy) studies the history of early modern philosophy and ethics. Topics of his recent work include studies of virtue; perfectionism; Spinoza's theory of consciousness; the relationship between imagination and possibility in early modern philosophy; and Hobbes's theory of human nature.
Mize, Britt (English) is a dual specialist in Old and Middle English Literature who has particular interest in the concept, and the social and rhetorical uses, of tradition. His recent publications include a series of articles on a model of the mind that is widespread in Old English poetry, and a book called Traditional Subjectivities: The Old English Poetics of Mentality (U. of Toronto P., forthcoming 2012).
Perry, Nandra (English) research considers the implications of religious change and conflict for literary representations of interiority, exemplarity, and heroism. Perry’s recently completed book, The Imitation of Christ: Poetry and Piety in Early Modern England, explores the relationship of the devotional paradigm of ‘the imitation of Christ’ to the theory and practice of literary imitation.
Sweet, Kristi (Philosophy) has as her primary areas of interest the work and legacy of 18th Century philosopher Immanuel Kant. Her research is focused on his practical philosophy and his aesthetic theory.