Some New Questions From Reading Old Books: Imagining & Imaging the Agro-Ecology & Pathology of European Empire

[Forthcoming presentation & discussion in a meeting of
The Ticknor Society of Boston]

Several new dimensions for the study of the humanities have been opened up by the digital revolution. One of these involves our newly acquired capacity to read “old books” and view, share and analyze their maps and illustrations on a scale never previously possible. The result has led recently to a substantial re-assessment of much of what we thought we knew about the world and its evolution since 1492.

See related:

as well as numerous re-assessments of the history of the Americas since the publication in 1983 of:

through the ensuing decades to the publication twenty-five years later of:

* * * *

The Ticknor Society in Boston holds an annual “Show & Tell” meeting of its members in which some of these themes will be discussed this year as an aspect of the ways in which new kinds of analysis can now be shared among international groups of book scholars, historical cartographers, medical historians and ethnobotanists because of the ongoing digital revolution in the humanities.

Ticknor-show-tell

A brief summary of one of the “Show & Tell” talks is by scanning this QR code:For additional information contact  ticknorinfo@gmail.com

Maps and Epidemiology: Lessons for COVID-19: Virtual Mapping as Knowing Series Talk by Professor Frank Snowden | The Franke Program in Science and the Humanities

Maps and Epidemiology: Lessons for COVID-19: Virtual Mapping as Knowing Series Talk by Professor Frank Snowden

Event Image:

Event time:
Wednesday, December 2, 2020 – 4:00pm

Event description:

This talk will consider the importance of mapping for the understanding of epidemic diseases since John Snow’s work on cholera in London. The focus will be on ways in which traditional maps have greatly helped to understand the way in which race, pre-existing conditions, and air pollution have served as drivers of the coronavirus pandemic.

Professor Snowden received his Ph.D. from Oxford University in 1975. His books include Violence and Great Estates in the South of Italy: Apulia, 1900-1922 (1984); The Fascist Revolution in Tuscany, 1919-1922 (1989); Naples in the Times of Cholera (1995) and The Conquest of Malaria: Italy, 1900-1962 (2006). Conquest was awarded the Gustav Ranis Prize from the MacMillan Center at Yale in 2007 as “the best book on an international topic by a member of the Yale Faculty,” the Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize by the American Historical Association as the best work on Italy in any period, and the 2008 Welch Medal from the American Association for the History of Medicine.

He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Italian history, European social and political history, and the history of medicine.

Professor Frank Snowden on Forever Changed? The Probable Legacy of COVID-19

The Yale Club Tv

Jul 29, 2020

Will Modern Civilization be the Death of Us? (Part 1 — with Dr. William Rees)



How independent bookstores are weathering tough economic times


PBS NewsHour

Published on Nov 27, 2020

These are perilous times for independent bookstores. More than one independent bookstore has closed each week since the pandemic began, and 20 percent across the country are in danger of closing, according to a recent study by the American Booksellers Association. Jeffrey Brown has the story.

Native Americans renew decades-long push to reclaim millions of acres in the Black Hills


PBS NewsHour

Published on Nov 27, 2020

President Trump’s visit this year to Mt. Rushmore has drawn new attention to a decades-long battle between Native Americans and the federal government over millions of acres in South Dakota. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports on the campaign to reclaim that land. This report is in partnership with the Under-Told Stories Project and is part of the series, “Agents for Change.”

Death toll surges as migrants try to reach Europe


PBS NewsHour

Published on Nov 27, 2020

There’s been a surge in the numbers of people drowning in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean as migrants from Africa try to reach Europe. Activist groups are blaming European Union policies for their deaths and have been critical of its border agency, Frontex, for its cooperation with the Libyan coastguard. NewsHour Special Correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports.

The Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Age of Enlightenment Andrew S. Curran

This volume examines the Enlightenment-era textualization of the Black African in European thought. Andrew S. Curran rewrites the history of blackness by replicating the practices of eighteenth-century readers. Surveying French and European travelogues, natural histories, works of anatomy, pro- and anti-slavery tracts, philosophical treatises, and literary texts, Curran shows how naturalists and philosophes drew from travel literature to discuss the perceived problem of human blackness within the nascent human sciences, describes how a number of now-forgotten anatomists revolutionized the era’s understanding of black Africans, and charts the shift of the slavery debate from the moral, mercantile, and theological realms toward that of the “black body” itself. In tracing this evolution, he shows how blackness changed from a mere descriptor in earlier periods into a thing to be measured, dissected, handled, and often brutalized. Penetrating and comprehensive,

The Anatomy of Blackness shows that, far from being a monolithic idea, eighteenth-century Africanist discourse emerged out of a vigorous, varied dialogue that involved missionaries, slavers, colonists, naturalists, anatomists, philosophers, and Africans themselves.

Review

“This is an important contribution to an important topic. But it is also a model of how intellectual history should be done. Curran moves well beyond the parade of Big Thinkers that have long dominated the history of ideas. He reads them, to be sure, but he also reads what they read. By this technique, he moves deeper and deeper into the culture of ethnography, anatomy, and slavery in search of the origins and forms of ‘Blackness.'”

(Marshall Poe New Books in History)

“Curran’s approach to intellectual history is an exciting one that transcends the oft-written biographies and other author-centered discussions. His focus on trends and his immersion in the writings of the time creates an accurate rather than anachronistic mindset, which is truly useful for historians.”

(Sarah Goodwin Alpata: A Journal of History)

“A definitive statement on the complex, painful, and richly revealing topic of how the major figures of the French Enlightenment reacted to the enslavement of black Africans, often to their discredit. The fields of race studies and of Enlightenment studies are more than ready to embrace the type of analysis in which Curran engages, and all the more so in that his book is beautifully written and illustrated.”

(Mary McAlpin Symposium)

“A highly intelligent book on an important topic. The breadth of Andrew Curran’s knowledge about the Enlightenment is astonishing… The book makes the convincing point not only that Africa is a major focus in the Enlightenment’s imagination, but also that natural history and anthropology are central to understanding not only its scientific agenda, but also its humanitarian politics.”

(Carl Niekerk Centaurus)

“This engrossing, comprehensive study traces 18th-century European thought on anatomical blackness of Africans… Curran’s ability to dissect and explain complicated arguments of the period’s major thinkers is impressive.”

(Choice)

“Curran’s Francotropism and medical background enable him to develop insights that should prove important to the ongoing transnationalization and discipline-blurring of literary and cultural studies.”

(Ian Finseth Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment)

“This study reveals with striking clarity the complex interaction of the science of human difference in this period with other strands of Enlightenment thought as well as the practices of (French) slave trading and colonial slavery.”

(Carolyn Vellenga Berman H-France)

“A major contribution to the study of the uses of natural history, the presence and absence of universalism in the Enlightenment, and the origins of modern racial thought.”

(Martin S. Staum H-France)

“Curran has produced a powerful argument about how Europeans defined not only Africans but themselves in the early modern period; about how depictions of the ‘other’ furnished slavers and planters with the necessary intellectual justifications for slavery; about how natural science has the (frightening) ability to define both body and soul.”

(Jeremy L. Caradonna H-France)

The Anatomy of Blackness is an intense and challenging reading experience, but one that certainly repays the effort.”

(Stephen Kenny Reviews in History)

From the Inside Flap

This volume examines the Enlightenment-era textualization of the Black African in European thought. Andrew S. Curran rewrites the history of blackness by replicating the practices of eighteenth-century readers. Surveying French and European travelogues, natural histories, works of anatomy, pro- and anti-slavery tracts, philosophical treatises, and literary texts, Curran shows how naturalists and philosophes drew from travel literature to discuss the perceived problem of human blackness within the nascent human sciences. He also describes how a number of now-forgotten anatomists revolutionized the era’s understanding of black Africans and charts the shift of the slavery debate from the moral, mercantile, and theological realms toward that of the “black body” itself. In tracing this evolution, he shows how blackness changed from a mere descriptor in earlier periods into a thing to be measured, dissected, handled, and often brutalized.

A definitive statement on the complex, painful, and richly revealing topic of how the major figures of the French Enlightenment reacted to the enslavement of black Africans, often to their discredit. The fields of race studies and of Enlightenment studies are more than ready to embrace the type of analysis in which Curran engages, and all the more so in that his book is beautifully written and illustrated.–Symposium

This is an important contribution to an important topic. But it is also a model of how intellectual history should be done.–New Books in History

The breadth of Andrew Curran’s knowledge about the Enlightenment is astonishing . . . The book makes the convincing point not only that Africa is a major focus in the Enlightenment’s imagination, but also that natural history and anthropology are central to understanding not only its scientific agenda, but also its humanitarian politics.–Centaurus

Curran’s Francotropism and medical background enable him to develop insights that should prove important to the ongoing transnationalization and discipline-blurring of literary and cultural studies.–Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

Curran’s ability to dissect and explain complicated arguments of the period’s major thinkers is impressive.–Choice

–Sue Peabody, author of There Are No Slaves in France: The Political Culture of Race and Slavery in the Ancien Régime “Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment”

From the Back Cover

This volume examines the Enlightenment-era textualization of the Black African in European thought. Andrew S. Curran rewrites the history of blackness by replicating the practices of eighteenth-century readers. Surveying French and European travelogues, natural histories, works of anatomy, pro- and anti-slavery tracts, philosophical treatises, and literary texts, Curran shows how naturalists and philosophes drew from travel literature to discuss the perceived problem of human blackness within the nascent human sciences. He also describes how a number of now-forgotten anatomists revolutionized the era’s understanding of black Africans and charts the shift of the slavery debate from the moral, mercantile, and theological realms toward that of the “black body” itself. In tracing this evolution, he shows how blackness changed from a mere descriptor in earlier periods into a thing to be measured, dissected, handled, and often brutalized.

“A definitive statement on the complex, painful, and richly revealing topic of how the major figures of the French Enlightenment reacted to the enslavement of black Africans, often to their discredit. The fields of race studies and of Enlightenment studies are more than ready to embrace the type of analysis in which Curran engages, and all the more so in that his book is beautifully written and illustrated.”―Symposium

“This is an important contribution to an important topic. But it is also a model of how intellectual history should be done.”―New Books in History

“The breadth of Andrew Curran’s knowledge about the Enlightenment is astonishing… The book makes the convincing point not only that Africa is a major focus in the Enlightenment’s imagination, but also that natural history and anthropology are central to understanding not only its scientific agenda, but also its humanitarian politics.”―Centaurus

“Curran’s Francotropism and medical background enable him to develop insights that should prove important to the ongoing transnationalization and discipline-blurring of literary and cultural studies.”―Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

“Curran’s ability to dissect and explain complicated arguments of the period’s major thinkers is impressive.”―Choice

About the Author

Andrew S. Curran is a professor of French at Wesleyan University and a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine in the history of medicine. He is the author of Sublime Disorder: Physical Monstrosity in Diderot’s Universe.

  • Item Weight : 1 pounds
  • Paperback : 326 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1421409658
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1421409658
  • Dimensions : 6 x 0.74 x 9 inches

Medicalizing Blackness: Making Racial Difference in the Atlantic World, 1780-1840: Rana A. Hogarth

In 1748, as yellow fever raged in Charleston, South Carolina, doctor John Lining remarked, “There is something very singular in the constitution of the Negroes, which renders them not liable to this fever.” Lining’s comments presaged ideas about blackness that would endure in medical discourses and beyond. In this fascinating medical history, Rana A. Hogarth examines the creation and circulation of medical ideas about blackness in the Atlantic World during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. She shows how white physicians deployed blackness as a medically significant marker of difference and used medical knowledge to improve plantation labor efficiency, safeguard colonial and civic interests, and enhance control over black bodies during the era of slavery.

Hogarth refigures Atlantic slave societies as medical frontiers of knowledge production on the topic of racial difference. Rather than looking to their counterparts in Europe who collected and dissected bodies to gain knowledge about race, white physicians in Atlantic slaveholding regions created and tested ideas about race based on the contexts in which they lived and practiced. What emerges in sharp relief is the ways in which blackness was reified in medical discourses and used to perpetuate notions of white supremacy.

Reviews

Impressive in its geographic scope and heavily researched . . . Medicalizing Blackness is a much-needed addition to both the historiography of slavery and of medicine, and an excellent methodological model for studying the interconnectedness of the Atlantic World.–American Historical Review

A sharp, rigorous, stimulating, and thoroughly rewarding investigation of medicine’s key role in the manufacture, manipulation and mobilisation of white racial notions of blackness . . . . A model of academic and editorial excellence.–Social History of Medicine

A strong and important new work, one that will be of value for historians of Atlantic science and medicine as well as of race and slavery.–Bulletin of the History of Medicine

Hogarth’s insightful work will provoke important debates.–Journal of the Civil War Era

Provides careful insight into the medical construction of race in Jamaica and South Carolina during the period of slavery.–Journal of Caribbean History

Shows that the idea that black and white bodies are somehow physiologically and racially different from one another has a long history, one rooted in slavery and racism. This is crucial context for understanding the current state of medicine and serves as an important corrective to assumptions about race. . . . Hogarth’s book is sure to generate both fruitful discussion and further research in the critical history of medicine and race.–William and Mary Quarterly

This project is especially strong as Hogarth reaches across otherwise separate fields–the British Caribbean in the final decades of debates over the slave trade and emancipation and the newly independent slaveholding United States–to demonstrate the way that medicine tied the Greater Caribbean region together. Hogarth also effectively engages with efforts by historians of slavery to study silences in the archive (of which there are always many).–Isis Review

A useful book for historians interested in the intersections between race and disability, the overlaps between disease and disability, and the power of the medical profession in shaping the understandings of so-called different bodies.–H-Net

About the Author

Rana A. Hogarth is assistant professor of history at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

  • Paperback : 292 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 146963287X
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1469632872
  • Dimensions : 6.14 x 0.66 x 9.21 inches
  • Publisher : University of North Carolina Press; Illustrated edition (October 9, 2017)

New Book Honors John Cole’s Contributions to Library of Congress | Library of Congress

October 23, 2011 New Book Honors John Cole’s Contributions to Library of Congress

Essays and Bibliography Document 45-Year Career

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

Few individuals are recognized by essays published in their honor while they are still fully engaged in their chosen profession. John Y. Cole, Director of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is one of those exceptions.

“The Library of Congress and the Center for the Book: Historical Essays Honoring John Y. Cole,” has been published by the Library of Congress and the University of Texas Press at Austin. Edited by Mary Niles Maack of the University of California at Los Angeles, the volume features nine essays marking Cole’s dual achievements as a scholar who is “known internationally as the foremost expert on the history of the Library of Congress” and as the founding director, in 1977, of the Center for the Book.

The essays were originally published as a special issue (2010, vol. 45, no. 1) of the University of Texas quarterly journal “Libraries & the Cultural Record: Exploring the History of Collections of Recorded Knowledge,” also edited by Maack. This clothbound edition includes a new, illustrated essay by Cole (“A Life at the Library of Congress”), an updated bibliography of his writings 1970-2010 and a comprehensive index. The frontispiece is a poem, “Voyage,” which was dedicated to John Cole in 2003 by U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. The volume’s dust jacket features a photograph of the Library’s Main Reading Room by Carol M. Highsmith and reproductions of Center for the Book posters and promotional items.

The invitational essays address topics representing different aspects of John Cole’s contributions and interests as a scholar and a librarian. The topics and their authors are:

  • “Histories of the Library of Congress,” by Jane Aikin, National Endowment for the Humanities
  • “Properly Arranged and Properly Recorded: The Library of Congress Archives,” by Josephus Nelson, Library of Congress
  • “The National and International Roles of the Center for the Book,” by Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress
  • “The Center for the Book and the History of the Book,” by Eleanor F. Shevlin, West Chester University of Pennsylvania and Eric N. Lindquist, University of Maryland
  • “The Choice of Books: Ainsworth Rand Spofford, the Ideology of Reading, and Literary Collections at the Library of Congress in the 1870s,” by Carl Ostrowski, Middle Tennessee State University
  • “The Library of Congress in 1892: Ainsworth Rand Spofford, Houghton Mifflin and Company, and ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’” by Michael Winship, University of Texas
  • “‘Wake Up and Read!’ Book Promotion and National Library Week, 1958,” by Jean Preer, Indiana University
  • “The Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Global Exchange of International Documents, 1834-1889,” by Nancy E. Gwinn, Smithsonian Institution Libraries
  • “International Trends in Library History,” by Donald G. Davis Jr., University of Texas

The 223-page book, “The Library of Congress and the Center for the Book: Historical Essays Honoring John Y. Cole,” is available for $24.95 from the Library of Congress Sales Shop (888-682-3557) and online at www.loc.gov/shop/. It is also available from Oak Knoll Press (800) 996-2556 and online at www.oakknoll.com External.