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BOOK SALE! To save 20% on select titles, visit our website: Use coupon code BHM13
Use coupon code BHM13
BOOK SALE! To save 20% on select titles, visit our website: Use coupon code BHM13
Speakers: Niza Yanay, Ph.D., professor of sociology and anthropology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and Judith Butler, Ph.D., Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature and the co-director of the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley. Sponsored by Fordham University Press.
Contact: Fordham University Press (718) 817-4795
The Ideology of Hatred: The Psychic Power of Discourse Speakers: Niza Yanay, Ph.D., professor of sociology and anthropology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and Judith Butler, Ph.D., Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature … Full Story
Valentine’s Day, one of our most popular holidays, has evolved into a cult of consumption. Everywhere you turn there are sappy love-themed, cupid-ridden ads meant to draw in consumers. But what is the deeper meaning behind all of the candy-coated romance? Fordham spotlights a few books that examine the many dimensions of love.
On Love: In the Muslim Tradition by Rusmir Mahmutcehajic, is a study of the Islamic faith, most specifically Sufism. In addition to being an astute scholarly collection, the book looks at the relationship between love and faith, knowledge and spirituality. Sufism is Islamic Mysticism, but the book is written in a language that is universal and simple to understand–like the language of love itself.
In Poets of Divine Love: The Rhetoric of Franciscan Spiritual Poetry, Alessandro Vettori examines the vernacular of a different faith–that of the pre-Renaissance Franciscans. The poets in this case are St. Francis of Assisi and Jacopone da Todi, two Franciscans writing in Umbria during the 13th century. The resulting poems form a backbone of vernacular Italian literary tradition, and establish an essential relationship between faith and love.
Switching gears completely, Love and Other Technologies: Retrofitting Eros for the Information Age takes a look at love through the lens of modern technology–what is love’s place in our contemporary plugged-in culture? Love, as Dominic Pettman sees it, is every society’s interpretation of self in relation to others. So in today’s world, is love just another form of technology? For Pettman, the articulation of love is a technique of belonging: a way of responding to the basic plurality of everyone’s identity, a process that becomes increasingly complex as the forms of mediated communication, from cell phone and text messaging to the mass media, multiply and mesh together. This book brings love from the romance-cloaked past firmly into the here and now.
Vist our website and receive a 20% discount on all books this Valentine’s Day!
Valentine’s Day, one of our most popular holidays, has evolved into a cult of consumption. Everywhere you turn there are sappy love-themed, cupid-ridden ads meant to draw in consumers. But what is the deeper meaning behind all of the candy-coated … Full Story
Long before Spielberg took on Lincoln, we were publishing books about America’s 16th president—and we continue to do so. From his cabinet’s politics to his own struggles with depression, Lincoln remains the most written-about story in our history. And each year historians find something new and important to write about one of our greatest presidents.
Lincoln Revisited is a brilliant gathering of important scholarship by the leading Lincoln historians of our time. The Lincoln Forum tackles uncharted territory as well as taking a fresh look at established debates (including those about their own landmark works).
Lincoln and Leadership: Military, Political, and Religious Decision Making offers many fresh perspectives. The book explores Lincoln’s leadership through essays focused, respectively, on Lincoln as commander-in-chief, deft political operator, and powerful theologian.
The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln remains one of the most prominent events in U.S. history. It continues to attract enormous and intense interest from scholars, writers, and armchair historians alike, ranging from painstaking new research to wild-eyed speculation.
The Lincoln Assassination: Crime and Punishment, Myth and Memory offers a close look at the assassination itself and the immediate aftermath, chronicling the pursuit and prosecution of the conspirators–a relentless period that isn’t often well covered. All of the contributors are leading Lincoln scholars, and each essay offers a different perspective on an event that shook a still-fledgling nation.
Summers with Lincoln: Looking for the Man in the Monuments won the 2009 J. Owen Grundy History Award for its provoking look at what the 200 statues erected in Lincoln’s honor mean to us as Americans. James Percoco, a high school history teacher, embarked on a journey spanning four summers and an entire country, seeking to understand the significance behind Lincoln’s being the single most commemorated American in history. Along the way, he documents each monument’s history and impact in and on its respective community, discovering the human stories behind the immutable stone. Acclaimed author and Civil War historian James M. McPherson says of the book, “This splendid evocation of Lincoln’s image in sculpture combines poetic description, human-interest anecdotes, and incisive analysis. James Percoco shows how the different styles of public art shed light on the changing memories of our greatest president. Each chapter alone is worth the price of this book.”
To find more books on Lincoln, visit our website.
Long before Spielberg took on Lincoln, we were publishing books about America’s 16th president—and we continue to do so. From his cabinet’s politics to his own struggles with depression, Lincoln remains the most written-about story in our history. And each … Full Story
By Timothy J. Orr
In the summer of 2006, as a member of the PHMC’s scholars-in-residence program, I spent a month in Harrisburg researching at the Pennsylvania State Archives. I spent time sifting through Record Group 19, the records of Pennsylvania’s adjutant general, examining Civil War commissions’ files.
Early on, a particular set of correspondence captured my attention. I encountered a stack of letters related to the promotion of Lieutenant Colonel Gustavus Town. In 1862, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general had to answer a hefty stack of letters about Town’s promotion to colonel. As I read the ill-toned epistles, the reason for the controversy became obvious. A cluster of Union generals, all of them well-known Democrats, wanted to deny Town—a Republican—his promotion to colonel. Meanwhile, state politicians—all Republicans—insisted upon Town’s elevation. I expressed shock to learn that the promotion of a single junior officer could paralyze the functioning of Pennsylvania’s executive office for months, and I wondered what made Lieutenant Colonel Town’s case so special. But then, as I examined the commissions’ files for other Pennsylvania regiments, I noticed similar stacks of papers, all of them filled with vicious, petty squabbles over promotions. I must have examined over 100 Pennsylvania regiments that summer, and I had yet to find a single regiment that did not bicker like petty school children.
When I left Harrisburg, I wondered why Pennsylvanians were so quick to argue about promotions. Did something make them particularly factious? I kept this question in my pocket until the next summer, when I visited the state archives in Albany, New York. When examining the records of these adjutants-general, I noticed the same trend. Indeed, for four years, New York’s three adjutants-general answered volumes of letters from irate Union officers demanding promotion, usually on account of their partisan loyalty. After Albany, I visited more state archives and at each one I found the same kinds of letters. “Goodness,” I wondered, “what was wrong with the Union army?” No group of people in nineteenth-century America appeared more vindictive, more ruthless, more back-stabbing, and more ambitious than the junior officer corps of the Union army. Clearly, I had discovered a dysfunction of the Union army that had never appeared in the literature. What, though, should I make of this?
My eyes opened when I presented my initial findings at the Society for Military History’s annual conference. Mark Neely, for whom This Distracted and Anarchical People honors, served as commentator. In his remarks, he announced, “Timothy Orr shows us that the typical Union regiment was as corrupt as the New York Customs House.” I let this sink in. Is that what I proved? The Union army was a crooked system founded on political spoils? As a military historian, such an idea seemed alarmingly contrarian. I understood that all modern officers derive their promotions through the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980, which set into place specific parameters that determined a person’s promotion eligibility and fitness. I always knew that in regards to command-fitness, Civil War officers lived in a pre-modern world, but until then—until Neely pointed it out to me—I never comprehended how different that world really was.
Later on, after the conference had ended, Neely offered me more advice, saying, “I see politics in everything. In fact, I borrow an idea from the historian Roy Franklin Nichols: the nineteenth-century suffered from ‘too much politics.’ Introduce a little Roy Franklin Nichols into your problem, and I think you’ll come up with an answer.”
Following Neely’s direction, I used political history to make sense of a military history problem. The result is my contribution to This Distracted and Anarchical People. I hope that readers might stand in awe of the subject as I do. Nowadays, we live in a world where the U.S. government takes strenuous precaution to elevate the most qualified officers to positions so they can lead our servicemen and servicewomen into battle competently. During the Civil War, no such system of meritocracy existed. From 1861-1865, state governments directed the course of promotions, using partisan loyalty unashamedly as the barometer for leadership in the U.S. Army.
Leadership is a fascinating thing, and I think it is an enlightening exercise to contrast the way Americans have defined the meaning of military leadership over the course of 150 years.
Dr. Timothy J. Orr is Assistant Professor at Old Dominion University. He specializes in American Military History and History of the Civil War Era. In particular, he has written on Union mobilization and the lives of Union soldiers. His latest research focuses on partisan conflict within the officer corps of the Army of the Potomac and also upon U.S. Naval dive bombing during the Battle of Midway. Dr. Orr teaches courses on American Military History, American Naval History, Virginia History, and the History of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Captions for the photos:
*Photo 1: The first image depicts King’s accuser, Arthur Harper Grimshaw (seated, center). In 1862, Grimshaw became colonel of the 4th Delaware Infantry. (In this photograph, Grimshaw is surrounded by his fellow officers.) The commissions’ files kept in the Delaware Public Archives reveal that Grimshaw never stopped intervening in matters of promotion. During the war, he deluged the office of Delaware’s Secretary of State (who assumed the duties of an adjutant general during a time of war) with opinionated letters, most of them aimed at elevating his Republican officers or denying promotions to the 4th Delaware’s Democrats. (Image courtesy of the Delaware Historical Society.)
*Photo 2: The second image depicts a segment of “Traitor in the Camp,” a broadside published by Arthur H. Grimshaw of Wilmington, Delaware. Grimshaw, a Republican, sent this broadside to New York’s Adjutant General, Thomas Hillhouse, with an aim to rescind the lieutenancy offered to Adam E. King, a Delaware Democrat who served in the 31st New York Infantry. Although Grimshaw’s effort to remove King represented an unusual amount of hateful obsession, by no means did it embody a rarity among the files of the adjutants-general in the Northern states. In every regiment, in every state, Republicans accused Democrats of promoting unworthy officers, and the Democrats accused the Republicans of playing political favoritism. (Image courtesy of the New York State Archives, Albany, New York.)
*Photo 3: The third image depicts Adam E. King, the subject of “Traitor in the Camp.” Although Arthur Grimshaw painted King as an inveterate secessionist, King’s fellow officers—the Democratic ones, only—vouched for his sterling character. Swayed by their plea, New York’s governor, Edwin Morgan, elected to keep King at his post. Eventually, King rose to the rank of brevet brigadier general, as seen here. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress).
By Timothy J. Orr In the summer of 2006, as a member of the PHMC’s scholars-in-residence program, I spent a month in Harrisburg researching at the Pennsylvania State Archives. I spent time sifting through Record Group 19, the records of … Full Story