James Edward Baldwin
Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
James E. Baldwin is a lecturer in the History Department at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of Islamic Law and Empire in Ottoman Cairo (Edinburgh University Press, 2017). He previously taught at the University of Warwick, held a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship at Queen Mary, University of London, and held visiting fellowships at Harvard Law School and Koç University, Istanbul. He was awarded his PhD by New York University in 2010.
Mobile Archives in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman Empire kept records scrupulously, and it left to historians a quantity of documentation unmatched by any other pre-modern Muslim state. But there are gaps in the Ottoman central and provincial archives, which resulted from the Ottoman practice of transporting parts of their archives to the frontline during sixteenth- and seventeenth-century wars, so that the business of government could be carried on from the camp. Some of the transported records were lost to plunder, first entering the Oriental curiosity collections of European aristocrats, before being donated to public research libraries by their descendants. I am using these collections to study Ottoman archiving practices, focusing on archives’ mobility. I am particularly interested in exploring the difference between central records, which were held within the institutions that produced them, and provincial records, which in some cases appear to have been held by individual officials who accumulated records from different postings as personal archives. Ottoman archives seem to have become less mobile during the eighteenth century, as the Ottoman government was increasingly dominated by bureaucratic rather than military officials. The Yale-Humboldt Grant will allow me to visit several libraries in western and central Europe with relevant collections.
University of Stuttgart, Germany
Norman Domeier is Assistant Professor of Modern European History at the University of Stuttgart/Germany. He studied History, Political Science and Media and Communication in Göttingen, Cambridge and at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. The English edition of his Ph.D thesis, ‘The Eulenburg Affair. A Cultural History of Politics in the German Empire’, was published by Boydell & Brewer in 2015. His second book project—the focus of his current work—looks at the relationship between foreign journalists and the Third Reich.
Secret Photos. The Cooperation between Associated Press (AP) and Nazi Germany 1942-1945
Surprisingly, historical research has until now largely ignored the activities of the accredited foreign correspondents in Berlin during the Third Reich. Instead it has focused almost exclusively on ‚the other side of journalism’, the state public relations and propaganda apparatus. New archival evidence from the papers of AP’s Berlin correspondent Louis P. Lochner found in 2017 reveals the existence of a secret German–American cooperation between Associated Press (AP) and the Bureau Laux, an agency of the SS and the German Foreign Office, during the war years 1942 to 1945. With the permission of the Roosevelt administration, AP and the Bureau Laux exchanged approximately 40,000 photographs by diplomatic pouch via Lisbon and Stockholm on a daily basis until spring 1945.
In Berlin, the AP photos were presented to Hitler and the highest Nazi leadership every day. They were then used by the German press for anti-American and anti-Semitic propaganda. Conversely, thousands of Nazi photos received by AP New York were printed in the American and international press. The photo exchange was probably the only channel of communication used everyday between these enemies during the Second World War.
My main aim is now to shed light on how the exchange worked via the neutral European capitals: Who were the people and institutions/companies involved in the photo trade? With the Humboldt Yale History Network Travel Grant, I want to reconstruct the role of the Swedish news agency „Pressens Bild“ in Stockholm.
Newcastle University, UK
Dr Chloë N. Duckworth is a historical archaeologist and archaeological scientist, specialising in the production of glass and related pyrotechnologies in medieval southern Spain. She is a lecturer in Archaeological Materials Science at Newcastle University, UK, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and a board member of the Association for the History of Glass. Her work to date has combined history, science, and archaeology to address the social context of past technology, especially glass production. Prior to working in Newcastle, she was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Leicester.
Glass Production, Environment, and Knowledge Transfer in Medieval Spain and Beyond.
Medieval Iberia had a pivotal role in the transfer of technology, science, and knowledge from the Islamic world to Europe, but very little research has investigated technological practice within Iberian societies, impoverishing our understanding of this process. This work will add fundamental archival research to an ongoing programme of scientific and archaeological analysis of the industrial production of glass from Late Antiquity to the medieval period. Archival evidence from the 13th to the 16th centuries in south-western Spain will be examined. The grant will cover the cost of travel to and within southern Spain, to spend four weeks examining public and private documents written in Castilian, the majority dating to the late 15th and 16th centuries.
It will shed much-needed light upon the use of local resources and the organisation of the glass industry in south-west Spain. Part of a larger programme of interdisciplinary research, it will examine glass production, its relationship with the natural environment, the identity of the glassmakers, and the relationship between glassmaking and the export of Spanish barilla, a salt-rich plant ash developed from local resources in the Iberian Peninsula, and traded widely throughout Europe by the late 16th century.
New York University, USA
Erica Feild holds a BA Spanish and French, Seattle University (2011), an MA Arab and Hebrew Cultures: Past and Present, Universidad de Granada (2013), and an MA Translation, Universidad de Zaragoza (2014). She is a PhD candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University. Her research focuses on the representations of Muslims and moriscos in the Spanish Empire (from Spain to the Philippines) and the construction of racial categories. She approaches her work with insight from literary studies, history of race, social and intellectual history, global history and archival theory.
Imagining moros from Granada to Manila
An astute scholar recently observed, “Like the term ‘Oriental,’ the word ‘Moor’ tells us more about the person who uses it than it does about the thing it supposedly describes. It is thus best understood as a category of the Spanish imagination[.]” (Calderwood 2018) Following Calderwood, this project examines how Spanish officials and intellectuals depicted moros (Moors), moriscos (Iberian Muslims who converted to Christianity), and other individuals identified as turcos, berberiscos, mahometanos (Turks, Berbers, and Mahometans). The terms I just listed were employed imprecisely across the Spanish Empire to refer to Muslims (though morisco also came to denote mixed parentage in colonial Mexico). Yet, they are characterized by striking instability: they slip between geographical and religious markers of difference. My research asks whether, and how, the slipperiness of these terms played a rhetorical role in the how Spaniards imagined and represented the individuals upon whom they were imposed. My approach cuts across genres to analyze depictions of Muslims in a range of texts from Spain and New Spain (c.1550-c.1750): novels, chronicles, geographies, royal decrees, trial records, and correspondence between officials. Funding from the Humboldt Yale History Network supports archival research in Andalucía to expand the body of texts for analysis.
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Lisa Hellman is a postdoctoral scholar at the Graduate School Intellectual Global History at Freie Universität Berlin, but formerly worked at Stockholm University and University of Tokyo. She has recently published the book “This house is not a home: European everyday life in Canton and Macao 1730–1830” with Brill. She works in the intersection between cultural, maritime and global history, with a special focus on gender relations. Her regional focus is on early modern Central and East Asia, and she has published in five languages about how intercultural interaction changed the lives of the men and women involved.
Connections in Shackles: Swedish prisoners of War in the Central Asian Borderlands 1700–1740
This project examines circulation of knowledge in the Central Asian borderlands 1700–1730. At this time, Russia and China west clashed with Dzungaria. Simultaneously, over twenty thousand Swedish men and women were taken as prisoners of war as an effect of the Great Northern War (1700–1721). The majority of these prisoners were removed from the Western front, and employed in the Russian expansion eastwards, some of them ending up in the Qing and the Dzungar empire, and some in the Central Asian borderlands between them. Officially labelled prisoners or slaves, these Swedes were put to work as craftspersons, technical experts and map-makers, but also formed part of diplomatic missions and the local economy. Unfree but mobile, the prisoners offer an unusual opportunity to explore the intercultural contacts and empire building in early 18th century Central Asia. Tracing the prisoners through Swedish, Chinese and Russian sources offers insights first into the borderland circulation of knowledge and, second, into the role of displaced people in that process of globalisation. This particular trip is intended for the gathering of material from the Russian administration for prisoners of war, as well as diplomatic letters and reports.
University of Connecticut, USA
Daniel Hershenzon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of “The Captive Sea: Slavery, Communication, and Commerce in Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean.” (University of Pennsylvania)
Captive-Objects: Material Culture and Piracy in the Early Modern Mediterranean
This project explores the trajectories of religious objects and manuscripts in the early modern Mediterranean and how they intervened in the plunder economy and in human trafficking. Between 1581 (the Spanish-Ottoman truce) and 1708 (the Algerian conquest of Spanish Oran) religious artifacts—Korans and Bibles, and pictures of Christ and the Virgin—circulated in the thousands in the western half of the sea, crisscrossing religious and political boundaries. This mobility, which was largely a byproduct of piracy, took three forms. First, objects were shipped to captives to help them endure the trials of captivity without converting to their captors’ confession. Second, some Maghribi rulers looted religious pictures and sculptures from Christian captives’ churches, and Spanish kings and captives later negotiated these images’ redemption. Third, Jewish and Muslim religious manuscripts fell prey to maritime piracy and were taken captive; their owners subsequently negotiated their restitution. In all cases, members of the religious groups to which the objects pertained made enormous efforts to redeem them, willing to provide hefty ransoms to that end. These objects’ paths, shifting meanings, and functions are key to understanding violent interactions across the early modern Mediterranean.
Birkbeck College, University of London, UK
I am a Lecturer in Early Modern History at Birkbeck and work on religion, identity and culture in the early modern world. I studied at the University of Oxford, where I was also a British Academy Post-Doctoral scholar. I have published articles and a monograph on Anabaptist identities in the Reformation era, and my recent research on Lutheran culture after Luther’s death resulted in a Past and Present volume. My current research examines groups such as the Mennonites and Hutterites in the early modern world as they formed new communities, faced exile or migrated, and constructed identities in transnational contexts.
Diasporic Materialities: Dispersed Afterlives of Global Anabaptism in the Early Modern World
My project focuses on migration and material cultures in Anabaptist diasporas. It will uncover how materialities sustained communal identity, embodying memory and emotion for groups in flux as they migrated. My proposed research follows the material remnants of groups evolving from the Anabaptists tradition across national boundaries and examines material global stories that connected communities across space and time. These mobile groups migrated rom the Netherlands and Germany to Poland and eastern Europe, the Ukraine and Russia, and then in the last 150 years to north and south America. The project will examine diverse aspects of material culture: the materiality of records and membership books; the Kroeger clocks of Vistula delta Mennonites; ceramics produced by Hutterite communities; furniture, clothes, and domestic items; and cemeteries and burial sites. Material culture presents a particularly interesting research problem in the Anabaptist tradition since communities eschewed excessively decorative forms, and objects were often made specifically for the community’s own use. As groups migrated, distinctive objects, forms of expression and skills formed a connection across space and time. This research will examine how materialities became repositories of emotional, familial and communal bonds in the face of dispersion, and investigate contemporary legacies of these material cultures.
University of Washington, USA
Arthit Jiamrattanyoo is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History, University of Washington, Seattle. He has been granted a scholarship for his graduate studies from Queen Sirikit of Thailand and was also awarded the Usha Mahajani Memorial Prize in 2012 for the most outstanding graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute, where he started learning Tagalog. His areas of interest include Southeast Asian history (especially Thai and Filipino histories), history of emotions and the senses, literary and cultural theory, affect studies, and translation studies. He is based in Bangkok and Seattle.
Empire of Amity: Affective Politics and Poetics of Friendship in the Spanish Philippines
My project examines trans/imperial and transnational histories of friendship in the contexts of Philippine colonial domination, endurance, and resistance during the Spanish era. Drawing upon the notion of friendship as a mode of intimate experience and a set of affective, bodily, and discursive practices—it explores the ways in which friendship was forged within and across sociocultural boundaries and implicated in the colonial politics of the Philippines under Spain. In so doing, it looks specifically at the cultural production of amity, especially in written forms, which constituted a “poetics of friendship” and a testimonial archive of the social and emotional self in which experiences and imaginations of friendship were registered. My project moves beyond the metropole-colony axis by bringing to light intra-imperial friendships in conjunction with transimperial ones made through the Philippines. By the preposition “through,” I suggest that the colonial Philippines served as a condition of possibility for friend-making that did not necessarily occur in the archipelago, but nonetheless mobilized it as a point of reference for affective attachments and articulations. My particular research focus in Spain under the Humboldt Yale History Network Travel Grant will be on the transimperial politics of friendship between Spain, Portugal, and the East Indies in the early period of Iberian imperial expansions in Southeast Asia.
Hyeok Hweon Kang
Harvard University, USA
Hyeok Hweon Kang is a PhD candidate in History and East Asian Languages at Harvard University. He works at the intersection of history of technology and global military history, specializing in Korea and East Asia during the early modern period (1500–1800). His dissertation, “Divine Machine: A Social History of Military Technology,” probes Korea’s adoption of the matchlock musket, and its interface with governance, commerce, and institutional reform. His works can also be found on the Military Revolution Debate, where he contributed comparative studies of technological and tactical aptitude between militaries of Western Europe and East Asia.
How did Europe—once a backwater of world history—rise to sudden global dominance in the early modern period
Recent scholarship on the “rise of the West” has expanded in scope to military matters, and historians have debated the origins of the “Great Military Divergence.” On one side, traditionalists argue that Europe experienced more sustained innovations in “gunpowder technologies.” On the other, revisionists refute that developed areas of Eurasia—especially East Asia—were just as capable and vigorous in deploying the same technologies. Valuable as this debate is, historians have not understood the social and cultural context of technology before subjecting it to comparative analyses. My project addresses this lack by recognizing gunpowder technology as a core element in the rise of a distinctive sociotechnical system endemic to the early modern period. Guns and gunpowder, I argue, were material artifacts around which crystallized new ways of assimilating technical knowledge, mobilizing society, and extracting materiel. With the Humboldt Yale History Network Grant, I will put this theory to a test of field research, and investigate European variations on the theme. This research will, in turn, lay the global comparative framework for my dissertation, which brings the neglected case of Chosŏn Korea (1392–1910) and early modern East Asia to bear on this globalist discourse
University of California Santa Cruz, USA
Sean Lawrence is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is interested in the intersection of international finance, politics, and environment in Europe and the Middle East. Sean received his Bachelor of Science from Santa Clara University where he studied Arabic before pursuing his first M.A. in World Heritage Studies at Brandenburg University of Technology in Cottbus, Germany. After starting his Ph.D. in 2014, his research has focused on the history and politics of water infrastructure as capital flowed from Germany into the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic.
What do you suppose this rain is worth?”: Agriculture, capital, and political ecology in central Anatolia, 1903-1945
In 1903 Germany’s largest multinational corporation, Deutsche Bank, began collaborating with Ottoman authorities to radically alter the physical geography of water in central Anatolia. Drawn by the promise of some of the world’s richest soil and dreams of reclaiming the literal “Garden of Eden” in the Fertile Crescent, German financiers sought to inscribe Anatolia’s steppe frontier with one of the seals of European modernity: systematic, engineered water channels encouraging settlement across previously fallow plains. Irrigation boosted agricultural productivity from three- to eight-fold over traditional dry farming thus ensuring a steady flow of export-oriented crops– cotton in particular– wherever it was implemented. Eventually this “modern” irrigation network transformed the physical, economic and social landscape of south-central Anatolia and redefined the region’s relationship to its central government, first in Istanbul and later Ankara. My dissertation weaves together the historical literatures of rural environments and capitalism in the Ottoman and Turkish Middle East, as well as literatures of rural identity in Turkey and of the economic expansion of European multinationals.
Al Akhawayn University, Morocco
Paul Love is assistant professor of North African, Middle Eastern, and Islamic Studies at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. He holds a PhD in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan. His first book, Ibadi Muslims of North Africa: Manuscripts Mobilization, and the Making of a Written Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 2018), is a historical study of the formation of an Ibadi tradition in the Maghrib. His research interests focus on the history of Northern Africa, Arabic manuscript traditions in the Maghrib, and the intersections of colonialism and manuscript collections in northern Africa.
The Buffalo Agency: Ibadi Muslims in late-Ottoman Cairo through British Sources
This project explores the history of an Ibadi Muslim trade agency, school, and library known as the “Buffalo Agency” (Wikālat al-jāmūs) that operated in Cairo, Egypt, from the 17th to the 20th centuries. The story of the Buffalo Agency is one of transregional commerce, far-flung intellectual networks, and the unexpected cosmopolitanism of a minority religious community in Ottoman-era Egypt. The founders as well as many of the students and scholars who passed through the Buffalo Agency in these centuries came originally from the island of Jerba in what is today Tunisia, whose inhabitants maintained a special connection to the Agency over its long history. Jerban scholars or merchants regularly traveled to Cairo and often stayed at the Buffalo Agency for years or even decades before returning home.
I will use my Humboldt Yale History Network Travel Grant to explore evidence for this back and forth movement of Ibadi Muslims between Jerba and Cairo in the British National Archives. The British operated a consulate in Jerba from the 18th century before occupying Egypt at the end of the 19th century. During my grant period, I will be examining files related to the British consulate in Jerba over these two centuries, in search of traces of the Buffalo Agency in the form of individuals or groups traveling to or from Cairo.
Yale University, USA
Kathleen McCrudden, originally from the U.K., graduated in 2014 with a B.A. (Hons) in History from the University of Cambridge. She remained at Cambridge to undertake an M.Phil. in Political Thought and Intellectual History, before beginning her Ph.D. in the History Department of Yale University (2016-2022), for which she received a Richard J. Franke Fellowship. She will be spending the academic year 2018-19 in Paris, thanks to a grant from the Masséna Society and the Yale Macmillan Center. Here, she will undertake archival research, as well as attend seminars at the EHESS.
The Dying of the Light: Sophie de Grouchy and the Afterlives of the Enlightenment
My project focuses on Sophie de Grouchy (1764-1822), wife of the famous philosophe the marquis of Condorcet (1743-1794), as the central node of a transnational intellectual network that spanned Europe and North America, and continued from the outbreak of the French Revolution to her death (1789-1822). My Ph.D. dissertation, through an interdisciplinary study of the ideas these of figures; their political manoeuvrings; and the shifting cultural context in which they operated, will demonstrate that the work of Grouchy and her allies represents a forgotten — and crucial — moment in the history of the development of human rights. More broadly, by recovering the intellectual, cultural, and political history of this group, I will be able to shed fresh light on the last days of the movement that has subsequently been labeled ‘the Enlightenment’. The generosity of the Humboldt Yale History Network Travel Grant will allow me to plumb the depths of this genuinely transnational movement; and discover why and how — in the minds of this important coterie at least — their Enlightenment ended with the eighteenth century.
Stuart Michael McManus
Chinese University of Hong Kong/University of Chicago
Stuart M. McManus is an historian and classicist working on pre-modern Hispanic culture from a global and multi-ethnic perspective. He received his Ph.D. in history (secondary field in classical philology) from Harvard, and is currently Assistant Professor of Pre-Modern World History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prior to this, he taught Mexican and ancient Mediterranean history at the University of Chicago, where he was the inaugural postdoctoral fellow at the Institute on the Formation of Knowledge.
Entangled Slave Regimes in the Early Modern World
“Entangled Slave Regimes in the Early Modern World” seeks to make two main interventions. First, it will be the first study of early modern Iberian slavery from a global, rather than a proto-national or regional perspective. As such, it will treat the connected histories of the slave regimes of Spain and Portugal in the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, and their symbiotic relationship with the slave systems of early modern Africa, Asia and the Americas. Second, the book will address the wholly unstudied interactions between Iberian concepts of slavery, dependency, freedom and “just war” and those of other parts of the world by focusing on the moment when enslaved people crossed the borders of slave regimes, as well as non-European impressions of Iberia’s Neo-Roman slave law and vice versa. In this way, this study will test the widely accepted dichotomy, popularized by Orlando Patterson, between western and non-western ideas of slavery and freedom, with the former’s sharp distinction between the two socio-legal statuses generating both the horrors of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the strong attachment in western societies to personal freedom.
University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA
Eva Maria Mehl is an associate professor of Latin American history at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (Ph.D. UC Davis, 2011; Ph.D. University of Alicante, Spain, 2002). She is the author of Forced Migration in the Spanish Pacific World: From Mexico to the Philippines, 1765-1811 (Cambridge University Press, 2016). Under her maiden name, Eva M. St. Clair Segurado, she has published extensively in Spain on the missionary labor of the Jesuits in China and the expulsion of this religious order from Mexico in 1767.
Expanding (and Raveling) Boundaries: Spanish Augustinian Missionaries in China in the Late Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries
My project centers on the establishment of an apostolic presence by the Spanish Augustinian missionaries in southern China between 1680 and the 1720s, a time when the Catholic China mission reached its climax in terms of the numbers of converts and the concentration of missionaries of different nationalities. My sources come from the Lilly Library in Bloomington, Indiana, and two Spanish archives: the archive of the Augustinian Province of the Philippines in Valladolid and the General Archive of the Indies in Seville. My working thesis is that, while multiple actors participated in the Spanish Catholic China mission (Pope, monarchs, governors of the Philippines, Council of the Indies, private donors, and the Chinese emperors), the agency of the missionaries was a fundamental piece in this endeavor. This project revisits some stereotypes about the historical significance of mendicant orders in China, especially the not-well-known Augustinian order, in the context of a historiography of evangelization of European empires that has been statistically dominated by the literature on the Society of Jesus. Ultimately, by studying the Augustinian enterprise in China I intend to explore the early modern missionary culture, the far-reaching connections of a Spanish empire committed to expand Catholicism beyond its political boundaries, and the global awareness of historical actors.
University of Chicago, USA
Sarath Pillai is a PhD Candidate in History at the University of Chicago. His PhD dissertation examines the currency of federalist ideas in colonial South Asia in the 1920s through 1940s. His research is informed by legal and constitutional history, postcolonial studies, sovereignty studies, histories of empire, nationalism, and decolonization. He holds a Master of Studies in Law (MSL) from Yale Law School and an MA in History from the University of Delhi among others. His publications include “Fragmenting the Nation: Divisible sovereignty and Travancore’s quest for federal independence,” Law and History Review (August, 2016).
Decolonizing the Empire by Treaties: Indian Princely States and the Quest for a Federal India
My project studies the rise of federalist ideas in indirectly ruled parts of the British empire in the 1920s through 1940s. It focuses on the federalist advocacy of the Indian princely states, which had treaty relations with the British, for an all-India federation consisting of directly ruled British provinces and indirectly ruled princely states. In colonial South Asia, nation-state and federation were two rival projects grounded in the political and legal thought engendered by a Manichean empire consisting of direct and indirect British rule. My project will throw into sharp relief the politico-legal bases of these competing state-making projects in decolonizing India. The eventual success of the argument for nation-state, in many ways, led to the partition of the subcontinent and the establishment of a centralized unitary state in India. The historiographical hold of the nation-state in decolonizing South Asia is such that there is hardly any study on the colonial lives of federalist thoughts in South Asia and the alternative visions of postcolonial statehood that they fostered. Furthermore, this project also situates federalist ideals in colonial India in the larger context of British imperial political thought and constitutionalism on the one hand, and ideas of federation in USA, imperial Germany, Canada, French Africa, and British Malay on the other.
Johannes-Gutenberg Universität Mainz, Germany
Jakub Sypiański’s research deals with intercultural encounters in the Eastern Mediterranean in the first centuries after the Islamic conquests. He holds degrees in Mediterranean Cultures from the University of Warsaw and in Medieval Mediterranean History from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, where he wrote two master theses, on the movement of scholars between Byzantium and Islamic lands, and on the social background to the first Constantinopolitan literary reactions to cultural challenges posed by Islam – topics on which he published articles thereafter. He studied and did research in Cairo, Athens and Istanbul and is currently a doctorate candidate at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz.
Social and political context of intellectual exchanges between the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world in C.E. 750-1000
My project aims to introduce social and political dimensions into the research of Arabo-Roman intellectual relations in various fields from medicine to astrology. I try to identify the social context behind the Arabic and Greek literary depictions of these exchanges and to understand in what way they were involved in and shaped by internal and foreign politics of rulers on one hand and in the popular religious prejudices on the other. I analyze the diﬀevent connotations of “foreign” origin of knowledge which were resulted from the immersion of scientific production into politics and religion. An important role in the Arabo-Byzantine intellectual interactions seems to have been played by the diplomatic rivalry, which is often the setting of various accounts of intellectual interactions. My research aims to answer the question of whether this a ”cultural rivalry” was a literary creation or rather an actual mode of communication in diplomacy between two cultures. In order to understand that better, I analyze the role of the Mediterranean “international court culture“ in shaping supranational modes of behavior of the elites and I investigate the social and political uses of possession of knowledge in both societies, because internal (in)compatibilities would facilitate/handicap usage of science in intercultural exchanges
University of California, Berkeley, USA
Dr. Timothy Wright is a historian of Early Modern Europe, with a focus on Christianity, Intellectual History, and the movement of people and ideas across the Atlantic World. Dr. Wright completed his PhD at UC Berkeley in August, 2018 with a dissertation titled “Hidden Lives: Asceticism and Interiority in the Late Reformation, 1650-1745”. The dissertation examined the debates surrounding ascetic practice, as well as the endeavors to reintroduce them into the Protestant tradition, across the seventeenth- and eighteenth centuries. In fall 2018, Dr. Wright will be a visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.
Rituals of the Reborn: Ascetic Protestantism and Alternative Christianities in the Atlantic World, 1680-1780
My research explores the diverse responses to a crisis in Protestant religion and culture in the mid-seventeenth century, a crisis borne from the unsettled question of what role ascetic practices should play in the Reformation tradition. Despite Luther and Calvin doing away with monastic devotion, large numbers of Protestants continued to feel the call to renounce the secular world to live holy lives through celibacy, solitude, prayer and self-denial. This ascetic revival ultimately gave rise to a new type of experimental Protestant community of contemplative, withdrawn, and celibate men and women. Centered in Amsterdam, northern Germany, and ultimately in multiple colonies in North America, this devotional form stood at odds with mainstream Protestant culture.
With the help of the Humboldt Yale grant, I will examine the European roots of two ascetic communities that eventually settled in North America. The first is a circle of apocalyptic hermits led by the mystic Johannes Kelpius that settled just outside Philadelphia in the 1690s. To understand the formation of this group, I will travel to archives in Berlin and Halle (Germany). The second community is that of the French Catholic turned Calvinist, Jean de Labadie and his itinerant community of apostolic Christians. This group practiced communal property, self-denial, and is often cited as an important influence on later Pietist reformers. Their records will take me to the Hague and Amsterdam.