History Buzz April 14, 2014: Historian Alan Taylor Wins 2014 Pulitzer for Book on Slaves and War

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

U.Va. Historian Alan Taylor Wins 2014 Pulitzer for Book on Slaves and War

University of Virginia historian Alan Taylor, one of the nation’s premier experts in Colonial America and the early U.S. republic, has received a Pulitzer Prize for his book, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832.”….READ MORE

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History Buzz February 21, 2012: James Johnson: Unmasking the Past Boston University history professor examines mask-wearing in 18th-century Venice

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Unmasking the Past

CAS prof examines mask-wearing in 18th-century Venice

Source: BU Today, 2-21-12
Woman Holding a Mask and a Pomegranate, James Johnson author of book Venice Incognito: Masks in the Serene Republic For his new book, James Johnson, a CAS associate professor of history, researched how masks were used by 18th-century Venetians. Woman Holding a Mask and a Pomegranate, Lorenzi Lippi, Musée d’Angers. Courtesy of Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resources, NY

James Johnson is the kind of historian who wants to get inside people’s heads.

In his 1996 book Listening in Paris: A Cultural History, the College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of history, explored what it was like for people 200 years ago to attend concerts and how they experienced music differently from modern audiences. His newest book, Venice Incognito: Masks in the Serene Republic (University of California Press, 2011), investigates the subject of identity by focusing on the role that masks played in 18th-century Venice.

“As a historian I’m drawn to the inner experience of people who lived centuries ago,” he says. “That’s very elusive to research. You have to generalize from other clues, such as behavior.”

Why focus on mask-wearing as a way to research people’s ideas of self? Johnson, winner of a 1996 Metcalf Award, one of the University’s highest teaching honors, reasoned that uncovering why people disguised themselves in the past might reveal how they thought about identity. As he writes in the preface to Venice Incognito, he was drawn naturally to Venice, where the tradition of masking dates back to the 13th-century. The city’s history of mask-wearing continues today with Carnevale, the annual festival that begins 58 days before Easter and concludes today, Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday, the last day before Lent.

Modern Carnevale revelers don masks largely for celebratory reasons. But as Johnson found through his research, the 18th-century masks themselves, and the reasons people wore them then, bear little resemblance to the feathered, sequined versions you see on partiers parading through the streets of Venice today.

BU Today spoke to Johnson about his research and his book, which recently won the 2011 George Mosse Prize from the American Historical Association.
Spectators buying tickets outside the theater, James Johnson author of book Venice Incognito: Masks in the Serene RepublicVenetians, Johnson found, wore masks six months of the year. Spectators buying tickets outside the theater, Carlo Goldoni, Commedie (1788-95), vol. 21. Courtesy of Houghton Library, Harvard University

BU Today: What surprised you most in your research?

Johnson: To learn that Venetians wore masks six months out of the year, from when the theater season started in the fall through Carnevale. Also, they were not wearing masks to disguise themselves or for intrigue or corruption, as people visiting Venice at the time thought. It was a custom, a fashion….READ MORE

History Buzz January 31, 2012: Fred Anderson: Noted historian to speak on empire and liberty at Western Michigan University

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Noted historian to speak on empire and liberty at Western Michigan University

Source: WMU News, 1-31-12

Photo of Dr. Fred Anderson.

Anderson

A historian in wide demand for his views on a variety of historical topics will address an audience next month at Western Michigan University as a visiting scholar.

Dr. Fred Anderson, professor of history at Colorado State University, will speak at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, in the Meader Rare Book Room of Waldo Library. His presentation, titled “Empire and Liberty in 18th-Century North America,” draws upon the Oxford History of the United States volume he is writing with Miami University Distinguished Professor of History Andrew Cayton and is free and open to the public.

Anderson, one of the Organization of American Historians’ “distinguished lecturers,” earned his bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University in 1971 and his doctoral degree from Harvard University in 1981. He has taught at Harvard and has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Charles Warren Center of Harvard University, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

He is the author or editor of five books, including “Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 ” which won the 2001 Francis Parkman Prize as best book in American history. Together with Cayton, he recently published “The Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America, 1500-2000.” His most recent book, “The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War,” was the companion volume for the Public Broadcasting System television series of the same title. He and Andrew Cayton are currently engaged in writing “Imperial America, 1672-1764,” a volume in the Oxford History of the United States.

Anderson’s visit is sponsored by the WMU Department of History and Center for the Humanities and through WMU’s Visiting Scholars and Artists Program….READ MORE

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