European Studies

Thomas Carlyle and the London Library

Thomas CarlyleThomas Carlyle’s 222nd birthday was yesterday, 4 December. In his honor, we are sharing several lectures on Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle given by Carlyle scholars Brent Kinser and David Sorensen this June at the Carlyle House in Chelsea. The event focused on Carlyle’s involvement with the London Library, the world’s greatest circulating library. Kinser and Sorensen were joined by Helen O’Neill, Librarian of the London Library.

Read the full versions of the talks from David Sorensen and Brent Kinser by selecting the titles of the lectures. We have included excerpts from the talks below.

AN EXCERPT FROM DAVID SORENSEN’S TALK, “Carlyle and the London Library

This evening we acknowledge one of Thomas Carlyle’s most noble, generous, and enduring acts of civic philanthropy: his founding of the London Library in St. James’s Square, a scheme which he first proposed in a speech that he delivered at the Freemason’s Tavern on June 24, 1840, which was reported four days later in the Examiner newspaper. It is worth rehearsing the circumstances behind this address, because they reveal the unusual combination of both personal and professional factors that prompted Carlyle to launch a campaign for the establishment of a new lending library in the center of London. Carlyle was forty-five years old when he began to formulate this plan: by this stage of his career he was the author of the Sartor Resartus and The French Revolution, a renowned public lecturer, and a committed social activist seeking to awaken the Victorian conscience to what he called “The Condition of England Question.”

In 1839 he was preparing to embark on another great historical quest, this time an edition of the letters and speeches of Oliver Cromwell. His experience with the French Revolution had taught him the urgent need of a high-class lending library which would provide him with the works that he required at hand in his quiet study upstairs in this house. He was embarrassed by the want of standard reference sources, and of the difficulty of working quietly in the British Museum. At Cambridge friends procured him copies of Clarendon and Rushworth, but as journeys from Chelsea to Bloomsbury became more laborious, he was determined to try what could be done to found in London a permanent lending library of standard literature. In a letter to his mother of 13 January 1839 he wrote, “Another object that engages me a little in these last weeks is the attempt to see whether a Public Library cannot be got here in London; a thing scandalously wanted, which I have suffered from like others. There is to be some stir made in that business now, and it really looks as if it would take effect.”

AN EXCERPT FROM BRENT KINSER’S TALK, “Carlyle, Gladstone, and the Neapolitan Candidate

On 4 May 1852, the first librarian of the London Library, J. G. Cochrane (b. 1780), breathed his last. The next Day Thomas Carlyle wrote to his brother Jack with a mixture of real sadness and practical exigency: “Poor old lumbering good-natured soul, I am sad to think of him, and that we shall never see him more.— [John Edward] Jones will summon a Comee Meeting so soon as the funeral is over: I know not in the least what they mean to do; but suppose they will find it good to be in no haste, but to pause well and to examine” (CLO: TC to JAC, 5 May 1852). There would be little pause in the effort to replace Cochrane, and the drama surrounding the appointment of his successor offers fascinating insights into the relationship between two of the London Library committee’s most important and influential members: Carlyle and William Ewart Gladstone.

In May 1852 Carlyle found himself incapacitated with the flu, which greatly reduced his ability to be directly involved with the discussions surrounding the choice of the next librarian, but greatly, and for us fortunately, increased his need to negotiate the choice in letters. Because of his illness, he sent Jane to see John Forster to relay his wishes: Carlyle wanted a complete accounting of the condition of the library before any move was made to choose Cochrane’s successor. As he had told his brother, Carlyle wanted a patient, careful process to unfold. Jane returned to report a “revolution,” which Carlyle relayed to his brother on 10 May:

Forster as I knew he wd, patronised all these salutary notions, ready to swear for them on the Koran if needful; but at the same time said, there was not the least hope of getting them carried; or anything but one carried, viz. the Election of Gladstone’s Neapolitan,—whh G. and his Helpers “were stirring Heaven and Earth to bring about; and which from the prest composition of the Committee (Milman, Lyttelton, Milnes, Hallam &c, a clear majority of malleable material, some of it as soft as butter, under the hammer of a Minister in posse [with that capacity]) they were “perfectly certain” to do it. . . . Gladstone, I think with Forster, will probably succeed: but he shall not do it without one man at least insisting on having Reason and common Honesty as well as Gladstone and Charity at other men’s expense, satisfied in the matter; and protesting to a plainly audible extent against the latter amiable couple walking over the belly of the former.— Such protest I am clearly bound to; and that, I believe, will prove to be all that I can do. Of Gladstone’s Neapolitan no man, Italian or other, has ever heard the name before: from G.’s own acct to me, I figured him as some ingenuous bookish young advocate, who probably had helped G. in his Pamphlets underhand,—a useful service, but not done to the Ln Library particularly. (CLO: TC to JAC, 10 May 1852)

The underlying reason for Carlyle’s dismay seems apparent enough. As if it were not bad enough dealing with one Neapolitan librarian, Anthony Panizzi of the British Museum, Gladstone had put forward a second one to take charge of Carlyle’s beloved London Library.

 

drs-bek-ho london 2017Stay connected! Learn more about Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle and to read their many letters, visit the Carlyle Letters Online. Follow @carlyleletters for daily tweets from these prolific writers.

Readings on the 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution

October 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution and a distinct turning point in world history. Check out our books and journal issues on the Revolution and its legacy.

ddlab_14_3In the most recent issue of Labor, the journal’s Up for Debate section focuses solely on the anniversary of October 1917. In the introduction to the section, Eric Arnesen writes, “The revolution brought about by the Bolsheviks had a profound impact not merely on what was to become the Soviet Union but on the development of the Left and the fate of workers’ movements in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas as well.”

Contributors to the section track socialism throughout the last 100 years, analyze the Revolution and the American Left, and view the Revolution through a micro-history of a Brazilian metalworker of African descent. Read the essays from this section, made freely available.

978-0-8223-6949-3The centenary of the Russian Revolution is the perfect time to consider the legacy of communism. In her new book Red Hangover, Kristen Ghodsee examines the legacies of twentieth-century communism twenty-five years after the Berlin Wall fell. Ghodsee’s essays and short stories reflect on the lived experience of postsocialism and how many ordinary men and women across Eastern Europe suffered from the massive social and economic upheavals in their lives after 1989. An accessible introduction to the history of European state socialism and postcommunism, Red Hangover reveals how the events of 1989 continue to shape the world today.

dispatchesA special correspondent for the Manchester Guardian, Morgan Philips Price was one of the few Englishmen in Russia during all phases of the Revolution. Although his Bolshevik sympathies accorded him an insider’s perspective on much of the turmoil, his reports were often heavily revised or suppressed. In Dispatches from the RevolutionTania Rose collects for the first time Price’s correspondence from Russia—official and unofficial, published and unpublished—to reveal a side of Russian life and politics that fell largely unreported in the years before, during, and after the Revolution.

978-0-8223-6324-8Originally published in 1937, C. L. R. James’s World Revolution, 1917-1936 is a pioneering Marxist analysis of the history of revolutions during the interwar period and of the fundamental conflict between Trotsky and Stalin. A new definitive edition, published this year to commemorate the centenary of the Russian Revolution, features an introduction by Christian Høgsbjerg and includes rare archival material, selected contemporary reviews, and extracts from James’s 1939 interview with Trotsky.

The Russia Reader, edited by Adele Marie Barker and Bruce Grant, includes a section on the Revolution that reprints many primary documents, from The Communist Manifesto, Lenin’s The Withering Away of the State, and Viktor Shklovsky’s Revolution and the Front to Anton Okninsky’s Two Years among the Peasants in Tambov Province and letters written by ordinary Russians in the wake of the Revolution.

Forthcoming from South Atlantic Quarterly

ddsaq_116_4October! The Soviet Centenary
edited by Michael Hardt and Sandro Mezzadra

Contributors to this issue approach the October 1917 Russian Revolution and the experiments of the revolutionary period as events that opened new possibilities for politics that remain vital one hundred years later. The essays highlight how those events not only affected Russia and Europe but led to the emergence of a new political image of the world and a profound rethinking of Marxist traditions. This issue globalizes the 1917 revolution, emphasizing its echoes throughout the world and the parallel development of political possibilities beyond Russia. Topics include the Soviets from the revolution to the present, the impact of the revolution in Latin America, the work of the legal theorist Evgeny Pashukanis analyzed through the lens of the revolution, anarchist imaginaries, and the historicizing of communism.

Look for this issue of South Atlantic Quarterly in November.

Unpacking Tourism

ddrhr_129Tourism shapes popular fantasies of adventure, structures urban and natural space, creates knowledge around difference, and demands an array of occupations servicing the insatiable needs of those who travel for leisure. Even as migrants and refugees have become targets of ire from far-right parties, international tourism has grown worldwide.

The most recent issue of Radical History Review, “Unpacking Tourism,” posits a radical approach to the study of tourism, highlighting how tourism as a paradigmatic modern encounter bleeds into diplomacy, militarism, and empire building. Contributors investigate, among other topics, how the United States has used tourism in Latin America as a tool of interventionist foreign policy, how Bethlehem’s Manger Square has become a contested space between Palestinians and the Israeli state, how Spain’s economy increasingly relies on northern European tourists, and how the US military’s Cold War–era guidebooks attempted to convert soldiers stationed abroad into “ambassadors of goodwill.”

Read the introduction to the issue, made freely available.

New Books in October

October is upon us, and we have a number of new books to introduce to you this month. Be on the lookout for these exciting titles at bookstores, online, or at academic meetings later this fall.

978-0-8223-6918-9In The Right to Maim, Jasbir K. Puar continues her pathbreaking work on the liberal state, sexuality, and biopolitics to theorize the production of disability, using Israel’s occupation of Palestine as an example of how settler colonial states rely on liberal frameworks of disability to maintain control of bodies and populations.

Jennifer Terry, in Attachments to War, traces how biomedical logics entangle Americans in a perpetual state of war, in which new forms of wounding necessitate the continual development of treatment and prosthetic technologies while the military justifies violence and military occupation as necessary conditions for advancing medical knowledge.

978-0-8223-6973-8Life in the Age of Drone Warfare, edited by Lisa Parks and Caren Kaplan, explores the historical, juridical, geopolitical, and cultural dimensions of drone technology and warfare, showing how drones generate ways of understanding the world, shape the ways lives are lived and ended on the ground, and operate within numerous mechanisms of militarized state power.

 

Tracing the college experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in her new book Grateful Nation, Ellen Moore challenges the popular narratives that explain student veterans’ academic difficulties while showing how these narratives and institutional support for the military lead to suppression of campus debate about the wars, discourage anti-war activism, and encourage a growing militarization.

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The Extractive Zone by Macarena Gómez-Barris extends decolonial theory into greater conversation with race, sexuality, and Indigenous studies; and traces the political, aesthetic, and performative practices of South American indigenous activists, intellectuals, and artists that emerge in opposition to the ruinous effects of extractive capital.

Essays, interviews, and artist statements in Collective Situations —many of which are appearing in English for the first time—present a range of socially engaged art practices in Latin America between 1995 and 2010 that rethink the boundaries between art and activism. The collection is edited by Bill Kelley Jr. and Grant H. Kester.

In Never Alone, Except for Now, juxtaposing contemporary art against familiar features of the Web such as emoticons, Kris Cohen explores how one can be connected to people and places online while simultaneously being alone and isolated. This phenomenon lies in the space between populations built through data collection, and publics created by interacting with others.

Originally published in 1939, Aimé Césaire’s Cahier d’un Retour au Pays Natal is a landmark of modern French poetry and a founding text of the Négritude movement. Journal of a Homecoming, a bilingual edition, features a new authoritative translation, revised introduction, and extensive commentary, making it a magisterial edition of Césaire’s surrealist masterpiece.

978-0-8223-6949-3In Neoliberalism from Below, Verónica Gago provides a new theory of neoliberalism by examining how Latin American neoliberalism is propelled not just from above by international finance, corporations, and government, but by the activities of migrant workers, vendors, sweatshop workers, and other marginalized groups in and around the La Salada market in Buenos Aires.

Kristen Ghodsee, in Red Hangover, examines the legacies of twentieth-century communism on the contemporary political landscape twenty-five years after the Berlin Wall fell, reflecting on the lived experience of postsocialism and how many ordinary men and women across Eastern Europe suffered from the massive social and economic upheavals in their lives after 1989.

978-0-8223-5884-8Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and his experience trading derivatives, in The Social Life of Financial Derivatives, Edward LiPuma theorizes the profound social dimensions of derivatives markets and the processes, rituals, mentalities, and belief systems that drive them.

In Monrovia Modern, Danny Hoffman uses the ruins of four iconic modernist buildings in Monrovia, Liberia as a way to explore the relationship between the built environment and political imagination, showing how these former symbols of modernist nation building transformed into representations of the challenges that Monrovia’s residents face.

Steeped in Heritage, by Sarah Ives, explores the racial and environmental politics behind South Africa’s rooibos tea industry to examine heritage-based claims to the indigenous plant by two groups of contested indigeneity: white Afrikaners and “coloured” South Africans.

In Tropical Freedom, Ikuko Asaka examines emancipation’s intersection with settler colonialism in North America, showing how emancipation efforts in the United States and present-day Canada were accompanied by attempts to relocate freed blacks to tropical regions, thereby conceiving freedom as a racially segregated condition based upon geography and climate.

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Sneak Peek: Kristen Ghodsee, Red Hangover

We’re pleased to share the prelude, titled Freundschaft, of Kristen Ghodsee’s upcoming book Red Hangover: Legacies of Twentieth-Century Communism. In Red Hangover Ghodsee reflects on the lived experience of postsocialism and how many ordinary men and women across Eastern Europe suffered from the massive social and economic upheavals in their lives after the fall of the Berlin Wall. This text is not final, but we hope it gives you a taste of this impactful new book, to be published in late October.

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Two pairs of earrings, four bracelets, and a mixtape inspired me to write this book. I was in the Stadtmuseum in the German city of Jena, peering into the various display cases of an exhibit called Freundschaft! Mythos und Realität im Alltag der DDR (Friendship! Myth and reality in everyday life in the GDR [German Democratic Republic]). The exhibit ruminated on the official and unofficial uses of the word “friendship” in the context of communist East Germany between 1949 and 1989. In one case, the museum’s curators displayed the personal items of a teenage girl who had gone to a Freie Deutsche Jugend (Free German Youth) summer camp in 1985. There, accompanying some photos and a letter she sent home to her parents, sat a white cassette tape, some plastic bracelets, and two pairs of oversized, cheap earrings, the kind once fashionable in the mid-1980s when every girl’s hair was two stories too high.

Back in 1985, I spent several weeks of my summer at a camp in the Cuyamaca Mountains one hour east of San Diego. When I left home, I remember packing several pairs of the same horrible earrings, some plastic bangles, and a stack of mixtapes with my favorite songs recorded off the local Top 40 radio station. Standing in Jena thirty years later, I experienced one of those moments of radical empathy, and tried to imagine what my life would have been like if I’d gone to summer camp in communist East Germany rather than in capitalist California. This girl and I might have shared the same passion for similar material objects, but we would have been ideological enemies, surviving our adolescences on different sides of the Iron Curtain.

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A billboard for the Freundschaft exhibit in Jena. All photos by the author.

From the placard on the display case, I understood that this girl was born in 1971, one year after me. Somewhere out there, this girl was now a woman about my age, and I longed to talk to her, to ask her what she remembered about that summer of 1985, and how things had worked out for her since. This German girl would have been eighteen when the Berlin Wall fell, and nineteen when her country ceased to exist. She would have just graduated from secondary school, and probably listened to Madonna and Fine Young Cannibals as I did: “Express Yourself,” “Like a Prayer,” and “She Drives Me Crazy.” But where I had the luxury of geopolitical continuity in my personal life, this East German faced a young adulthood of dramatic social and economic upheaval.

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Items from the East German Freie Deutsche Jugend (Free German Youth).

When I left the museum, I wandered through the cobblestone alleyways leading off the main market square. I saw posters for two upcoming demonstrations in Jena. The right-wing, anti-immigrant political party Alternative for Germany (AfD) would organize a rally and a march in the Marktplatz while Germany’s left-wing party, Die Linke (The Left), in a coalition with other centrist and leftist parties, would organize a counterdemonstration in front of the church. The counterprotesters had plastered the small city with posters saying “FCK AFD” and “refugees welcome,” and I guessed that the center/left demonstrators would outnumber their right-wing counterparts.

(more…)

New Books in August

We hope you’re enjoying your summer! Our fall list is now in full swing with lots of new books to check out in August.

LazarreIn her memoir, The Communist and the Communist’s DaughterJane Lazarre tells the fascinating history of her father Bill, a radical activist who, as part of his tireless efforts to create a better world for his family, held leadership positions in the American Communist Party, fought in the Spanish Civil War, and organized labor unions.

In The Look of a Woman, Eric Plemons explores the ways in which facial feminization surgery is changing the ways in which trans- women are not only perceived of as women, but in the ways it is altering the project of surgical sex reassignment and the understandings of what sex means.

Jason Dittmer, in Diplomatic Material, applies new materialism to international relations and offers a counterintuitive reading of foreign policy by tracing the ways that complex interactions between people and things shape the decisions and actions of diplomats and policymakers.
Hough-Snee and Sotelo Eastman

Dexter Zavalza Hough-Snee and Alexander Sotelo Eastman’s collection, The Critical Surf Studies Reader, is an innovative exploration of the history and culture of surfing that recasts wave-riding as a complex cultural practice and reclaims the forgotten roles that women, indigenous peoples, and peoples of color have played in the its evolution.

In Disturbing Attachments, Kadji Amin challenges the idealization of Jean Genet as a paradigmatic figure within queer studies to illuminate the methodological dilemmas at the heart of queer theory, bringing the genealogy of Genet’s imaginaries of attachment to bear on pressing issues within contemporary queer politics and scholarship, including prison abolition, homonationalism, and pinkwashing.

art1Nicholas De Genova’s The Borders of “Europe” examines the perceptions of the staggering refuge and migration crisis in Europe, demonstrating how it stems from migrants exercising their right to the freedom of movement, leads states to create new technologies of regulating human movement, and prompts the questioning of the very idea of Europe.

In Vibrator Nation, Lynn Comella tells the fascinating history of how feminist sex-toy stores such as Eve’s Garden, Good Vibrations and Babeland raised sexual consciousness, redefined the adult industry, provided educational and community resources, and changed the way sex was talked about, had, and enjoyed.

Alexandra Chang’s catalog, Circles and Circuits—which examines Chinese Caribbean art in Cuba, Trinidad, Jamaica, and Panama—accompanies the exhibition, Circles and Circuits: Chinese Caribbean Art, presented in two parts: History and Art of the Chinese Caribbean Diaspora at the California African American Museum from September 15, 2017 through February 25, 2018, and Contemporary Chinese Caribbean Art at the Chinese American Museum from September 15, 2017 through March 11, 2018.

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Tatiana Flores and Michelle Ann Stephens’ Relational Undercurrents accompanies an exhibition by the same name that opens at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California in September, 2017. The exhibition and edited volume call attention to the artistic production of the Caribbean islands and their diasporas, challenging the conventional geographic and conceptual boundaries of Latin America.

Both exhibitions, Circles and Circuits and Relational Undercurrents, are part of the Pacific Standard Time Art Project. 

The largely unknown story of the FBI’s surveillance operations in Latin America during the 1940s is the topic of Marc Becker’s The FBI in Latin America. He provides new insights into leftist organizations and the nature of the U.S.’s imperial ambitions in the western hemisphere.

Ambassadors of the Working ClassIn Ambassadors of the Working Class, Ernesto Semán tells the story of Argentina’s diplomatic worker attachés dispatched to further Peronism, organized labor became a crucial aspect in defining democracy and perceptions of social justice, freedom, and sovereignty in the Americas.

Kojin Karatani’s Isomania and the Origins of Philosophy questions the canonical glorification of philosophy and democracy in ancient Athens by placing Western philosophy’s origins in Ionia, a set of Greek colonies located in present-day Turkey that practiced isonomia—a system based on non-rule and a lack of social divisions whereby equality is realized through individual freedom.

Never miss a new book! Sign up for Subject Matters, our e-mail newsletter, and get notifications of new titles in your preferred disciplines as well as discounts and other news.

Read to Respond: Migration Studies

R2R final logoOur “Read to Respond” series addresses the current climate of misinformation by highlighting articles and books that encourage thoughtful, educated debate on today’s most pressing issues. This post focuses on immigration in commemoration with World Refugee Day, an international movement that supports families forced to flee and honors the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. Read, reflect, and share these resources in and out of the classroom to keep these important conversations going.

Migration Studies

These articles are freely available until December 15, 2017. Follow along with the series over the next several months and share your thoughts with #ReadtoRespond.

 

French Historical Studies Authors Win Two Prizes

The Society for French Historical Studies has awarded two prizes to articles featured in French Historical Studies!

ddfhs_39_4The 2016 William Koren, Jr. Prize is awarded by the Society for French Historical Studies to the most outstanding article on any period of French history published the previous year by a scholar appointed at a college or university in the United States or Canada. The prize committee seeks out contenders from American, Canadian, and European journals and may decide whether articles that have appeared as part of a book or in the published proceedings of a scholarly conference are eligible for consideration. This year’s award goes to Nguyễn Thị Điểu, author of “Ritual, Power, and Pageantry: French Ritual Politics in Monarchical Vietnam.” This article is featured in French Historical Studies, volume 39, issue 4 (October 2016).

ddfhs_39_2The runner up for the 2016 Malcolm Bowie Prize was Dónal Hassett, whose article, “Pupilles de l’Empire: Debating the Provision for Child Victims of the Great War in the French Empire,” was featured in French Historical Studies volume 39, issue 2 (April 2016). The Malcolm Bowie Prize, given by the Society for French Historical Studies, is awarded each year for the best article published in the preceding year by an early-career researcher in the broader discipline of French Studies.

Congratulations to both winners! Read these award-winning articles, made freely available.

Archives in French History

ddfhs_40_2In the most recent issue of French Historical Studies, “Archives in French History,” editors Sarah A. Curtis and Stephen L. Harp examine the role of the archive in the study of French history. “Archives are a subject as well as an object of study, not simple depots for boxes containing unambiguous evidence of the past waiting to be discovered by historians,” they write in the introduction. “This issue reveals not only the breadth of archives now used to write French history but also the depth of thinking about the relationship between archives and history and between archives and historians.”

Contributors to this issue question the nature, origin, or history of the archive in French history to examine its dynamic relationship to the history that is written, rather than treating the archive as static or inert. The archives, therefore, are the historical subjects themselves. They answer questions like what constitutes an archive, what is the role of the state in the archival collection, what is no longer in the archive, who controls access to the archive, and what historians owe to their sources.

From the introduction:

Despite these new questions, our contention is that historians of France, like historians in many other fields today, use a wider array of archives, and we use them more broadly, more deeply, and more self-consciously than ever before. One special issue cannot fully capture that depth or that breadth, but the essays here offer a taste of the richness that characterizes current work on France while also providing thoughtful understandings of the structure and context of archives. We hope they encourage you to reflect—critically or not—on your own archive stories.

Topics in this issue include the ownership of history, sex in the archives, discovering an accidental archive, and the destruction and salvation of the archive. Browse the full table-of-contents.

Read the introduction to the issue, made freely available.

Nazi-Looted Art and Its Legacies

ddngc_44_1_130This special issue of New German Critique, edited by Andreas Huyssen, Anson Rabinbach, and Avinoam Shalem, examines the legacy of Nazi-looted art in light of the 2012 discovery of the famous Hildebrand Gurlitt collection of stolen artwork in Germany. When the German government declassified the case almost two years later, the resulting scandal raised fundamental questions about the role of art dealers in the Third Reich, the mechanics of the Nazi black market for artwork, the shortcomings of postwar denazification, the failure of courts and governments to adjudicate stolen artwork claims, and the unwillingness of museums to determine the provenance of thousands of looted pieces of art.

The contributors to this issue explore the continuities of art dealerships and auction houses from the Nazi period to the Federal Republic and take stock of the present political and cultural debate over the handling of this artwork. Topics include Socialist cultural policy, Gurlitt and his dealings with German museums, German restitution politics since the Gurlitt case, and the political aspects of the “trophy art” problem.

Read the introduction to the issue, made freely available.