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In the last year several books appeared focused on the United States in the world that seek to combine a study of intellectual history, popular culture and politics in a long breath of the 19th century.
In Room 145 of the Ceramics Galleries of the Victoria & Albert Museum, at the top of case 50, you can see an ‘architectural fragment’, which, according to its label, ‘once ornamented a palace in Yuanmingyuan or “garden of perfect clarity”’.
The aim to cover, in a single monograph, patterns and trends in memory across early modern Europe is an ambitious one. Yet if anyone could achieve this it would be Judith Pollmann. This is an ambitious book in its chronological and geographical scope, but is also pioneering in providing a meta-narrative of continuity and change in early modern memory practices.
Historians of British art have needed a book-length re-examination of the conversation piece and its role(s) in 18th-century society for some time.
In the latest of our occasional Reviews in History podcast series, Jordan Landes talks to Joanna Cohen about her new book and the role and nature of the consumer in the US throughout the nineteenth century.
Joanna Cohen is a Senior Lecturer in American History at Queen Mary University of London.
Since the turn of the millennium it has become increasingly common for general histories of magic and witchcraft to include a section on the phenomenon of magic in the contemporary western world, but the precise relationship between contemporary manifestations of magical belief and their historical antecedents is rarely explored.
Much like the American public, following the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s scholars of United States history have had a complex relationship with blackface minstrelsy. For scholars, as for many Americans, blackface minstrelsy partook in a vibrant and rich vernacular tradition, albeit one that by now most Americans have rightfully grown ashamed of.
This is an extremely ambitious, thought-provoking, challenging and inspiring book.
Although ostensibly a book focused on New Orleans, in Slavery’s Metropolis Rashauna Johnson uses the experiences of individuals and groups of African heritage who resided in the city, as well as those who left from, arrived in, and passed through from local and transnational locations to outline a theory of ‘confined cosmopolitanism’.
In Enslaved Women in America: From Colonial Times to Emancipation, Emily West masterfully presents the narrative of women’s lived experiences in slavery through the prism of gender.