Faculty Bookshelf

Aster, Sidney 

Book cover for Power, Policy and Personality


Power, Policy and Personality: The Life and Times of Lord Salter, 1881-1975

Order from: Amazon, April 2016

There is hardly a historical biography or monograph dealing with the first half of the twentieth century which does not refer to Sir Arthur (later Lord) Salter. Yet, this book represents his first biography. The historical record reveals Salter had intimate, global access to the seats of power. He rose doggedly, through increasingly influential positions, national and global, political and economic. As a prominent civil servant he was instrumental in shaping the welfare state. He was a pioneering administrator with the League of Nations and the United Nations. He was an original member of the European Movement, a world recognized authority on economics and finance, an Oxford professor, an Independent and then a Conservative MP, and a cabinet minister in two of Sir Winston Churchill’s governments. He was, as well, an influential author, journalist, advocate and broadcaster.


Brown, Elspeth 

Book cover for Work! A Queer History of Modeling

Work! A Queer History of Modeling

Order from: Duke University Press, May 2019

From the haute couture runways of Paris and New York and editorial photo shoots for glossy fashion magazines to reality television, models have been a ubiquitous staple of 20th- and 21st-century American consumer culture. In Work! Elspeth H. Brown traces the history of modeling from the advent of photographic modeling in the early 20th century to the rise of the supermodel in the 1980s. Brown outlines how the modeling industry sanitized and commercialized models' sex appeal in order to elicit and channel desire into buying goods. She shows how this new form of sexuality —whether exhibited in the Ziegfeld Follies girls' performance of Anglo-Saxon femininity or in African American models' portrayal of black glamour in the 1960s — became a central element in consumer capitalism and a practice that has always been shaped by queer sensibilities. By outlining the paradox that queerness lies at the center of capitalist heteronormativity and telling the largely unknown story of queer models and photographers, Brown offers an out of the ordinary history of 20th-century American culture and capitalism.

Book cover for Feeling Photography

Feeling Photography

Edited by Elspeth Brown and Thy Phu

Order from: Duke University Press, March 2014

This innovative collection demonstrates the profound effects of feeling on our experiences and understanding of photography. It includes essays on the tactile nature of photos, the relation of photography to sentiment and intimacy, and the ways that affect pervades the photographic archive. Concerns associated with the affective turn— intimacy, alterity and ephemerality, as well as queerness, modernity and loss — run through the essays. At the same time, the contributions are informed by developments in critical race theory, postcolonial studies and feminist theory. As the contributors bring affect theory to bear on photography, some interpret the work of contemporary artists, such as Catherine Opie, Tammy Rae Carland, Christian Boltanski, Marcelo Brodsky, Zoe Leonard and Rea Tajiri. Others look back, whether to the work of the American Pictorialist F. Holland Day or to the discontent masked by the smiles of black families posing for cartes de visite in a Kodak marketing campaign. With more than 60 photographs, including 20 in colour, this collection changes how we see, think about, and feel photography, past and present. 


Charles, Nicole

Book cover for Suspicion

Suspicion: Vaccine, Hesitancy, and Affective Politics of Protection in Barbados

Order from: Duke University Press, February 2022

In 2014 Barbados introduced a vaccine to prevent certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and reduce the risk of cervical cancer in young women. Despite the disproportionate burden of cervical cancer in the Caribbean, many Afro-Barbadians chose not to immunize their daughters. In Suspicion, Nicole Charles reframes Afro-Barbadian vaccine refusal from a question of hesitancy to one of suspicion. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, black feminist theory, transnational feminist studies and science and technology studies, Charles foregrounds Afro-Barbadians' gut feelings and emotions and the lingering trauma of colonial and biopolitical violence. She shows that suspicion, far from being irrational, is a fraught and generative affective orientation grounded in concrete histories of mistrust of government and coercive medical practices foisted on colonized peoples. By contextualizing suspicion within these longer cultural and political histories, Charles troubles traditional narratives of vaccine hesitancy while offering new entry points into discussions on racialized biopolitics, neocolonialism, care, affect, and biomedicine across the Black diaspora.


Chrubasik, Boris

Book cover for Hellenism and the Local Communities of the Eastern Mediterranean

Hellenism and the Local Communities of the Eastern Mediterranean 400 BCE - 250 CE

Edited by Boris Chrubasik & Daniel King

Order from: Oxford University Press, November 2017

Re-introduces Greek culture as an important element in the study of the region and period in question, offering a new perspective on the relationship between Greek and non-Greek communities. Transcends the traditional boundaries of the 'Hellenistic period,' questioning orthodox views on defining historical and cultural periods and inviting future debate. Utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach, bringing together cutting edge contributions from political and cultural historians, Hellenists, Assyriologists and papyrologists.

Book cover for Kings and Usurpers in the Seleukid Empire

Kings and Usurpers in the Seleukid Empire

Order from: Oxford Classical Monographs, December 2016

Offers a wholly novel approach to studying the Seleukid empire by investigating kings and usurpers equally and together. Revises the history of the Seleukid empire, its kings, counter-kings and dynasts in the third and second centuries. Advances a new approach to writing political history of the ancient world predicated on social power. 


Coleman, Kevin

Book cover for Capitalism and the Camera

Capitalism and the Camera

Order from: Verso, May 2021

A provocative exploration of photography’s relationship to capitalism, from leading theorists of visual culture.

Photography was invented between the publication of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and Karl Marx and Frederick Engels’s The Communist Manifesto. Taking the intertwined development of capitalism and the camera as their starting point, the essays in Capitalism and the Camera investigate the relationship between capitalist accumulation and the photographic image, and ask whether photography might allow us to refuse capitalism’s violence – and if so, how?

Drawn together in productive disagreement, the essays in this collection explore the relationship of photography to resource extraction and capital accumulation, from 1492 to the postcolonial; the camera’s potential to make visible critical understandings of capitalist production and society, especially economies of class and desire; and propose ways that the camera and the image can be used to build cultural and political counterpublics from which a democratic struggle against capitalism might emerge.

Book cover for A Spanish Translation of selections from A Camera in the Garden of Eden

Sabían que estaban haciendo historia. La Huelga de 1954 en las fotos de Rafael Platero Paz: A Spanish Translation of selections from A Camera in the Garden of Eden (February 2016)

Order from: Editorial Guaymuras, May 2019

Book cover for A Camera in the Garden of Eden

A Camera in the Garden of Eden

Order from: Amazon, February 2016

This pioneering contribution to visual culture studies reveals how banana plantation workers and their families used photography to visually assert their identities and rights as citizens, despite being outmatched by a powerful multinational corporation.


Cowan, Mairi

Book cover for The Possession of Barbe Hallay

The Possession of Barbe Hallay: Diabolical Arts and Daily Life in Early Canada

Order from: Amazon, October 2022

When strange signs appeared in the sky over Québec during the autumn of 1660, people began to worry about evil forces in their midst. They feared that witches and magicians had arrived in the colony, and a teenaged servant named Barbe Hallay started to act as if she were possessed. The community tried to make sense of what was happening, and why. Priests and nuns performed rituals to drive the demons away, while the bishop and the governor argued about how to investigate their suspicions of witchcraft. A local miller named Daniel Vuil, accused of using his knowledge of the dark arts to torment Hallay, was imprisoned and then executed.

Stories of the demonic infestation circulated through the small settlement on the St Lawrence River for several years. In The Possession of Barbe Hallay Mairi Cowan revisits these stories to understand the everyday experiences and deep anxieties of people in New France. Her findings offer insight into beliefs about demonology and witchcraft, the limits of acceptable adolescent behaviour, the dissonance between a Catholic colony in theory and the church’s wavering influence in practice, the contested authority accorded to women as healers, and the insecurities of the colonial project. As the people living through the events knew at the time, and as this study reveals, New France was in a precarious position.

The Possession of Barbe Hallay is both a fascinating account of a case of demonic possession and an accessible introduction to social and religious history in early modern North America.

Book cover for Writing History: A Guide for Canadian Students

Writing History: A Guide for Canadian Students, 5th Canadian Edition

Order from: Oxford University Press, March 2019

An invaluable writing guide. Revised and updated. Provides history students with the most current and important information available on researching and writing history assignments, including article reviews, journal responses, proposals, document analysis, and historical research papers.

Book cover for Death, Life, and Religious Change in Scottish Towns

Death, Life, and Religious Change in Scottish Towns, c. 1350-1560

Order from: Manchester University Press, January 2013

Examines lay religious culture in Scottish towns between the Black Death and the Protestant Reformation. It looks at what the living did to influence the dead and how the dead were believed to influence the living in turn; it explores the ways in which townspeople asserted their individual desires in the midst of overlapping communities; and it considers both continuities and changes, highlighting the Catholic Reform movement that reached Scottish towns before the Protestant Reformation took hold. Students and scholars of Scottish history and of medieval and early modern history more broadly will find in this book a new approach to the religious culture of Scottish towns between 1350 and 1560, one that interprets the evidence in the context of a time when Europe experienced first a flourishing of medieval religious devotion and then the sterner discipline of early modern Reform.


Derry, Ken

Book cover for Festschrift on Teaching and Learning Religion in Honour of Michel Desjardins

Festschrift on Teaching and Learning Religion in Honour of Michel Desjardins

Edited by Ken Derry and Elysia Guzik

Special double issue of Religious Studies and Theology 38.1–2 (2019) 

Book cover for The Myth Awakens: Canon, Conservatism, and Fan Reception of Star Wars

The Myth Awakens: Canon, Conservatism, and Fan Reception of Star Wars

Edited by Ken Derry and John C. Lyden

Order from: Amazon, September 2018

The trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens made a strong impression on fans. Many were excited by what they saw as a return to the spirit of George Lucas’s 1977 creation. Others — including several white supremacy groups — were upset and offended by key differences, most notably the shift away from a blond, blue-eyed, male protagonist. When the film was finally released, reactions similarly seemed to hinge on whether or not The Force Awakens renewed the 'mythic' aspects of the original trilogy in ways that fans approved of. The Myth Awakens examines the religious implications of this phenomenon, considering the ways in which myth can function to reinforce 'traditional' social and political values. In their analyses the authors of this book reflect on fan responses in relation to various elements of (and changes to) the Star Wars canon — including toys, video games and novels, as well as several of the films. They do so using a variety of critical tools, drawing from studies of gender, race, psychology, politics, authority, music, ritual and memory.


Ellapen, Jordache

Book cover for 'we remember differently': Race, Memory, Imagination

'we remember differently': Race, Memory, Imagination

Edited by Jordache Ellapen and Jyoti Mistry

Order from: Amazon, November 2018

Using the short film we remember differently (2005) as a focal point, this collection of essays addresses the conditions of cultural production in post-apartheid South Africa. Art practice in an apartheid context was strongly motivated as ‘struggle art’; but in an environment more consciously informed — by revisiting history and excavating the past — the imagination must feature strongly to exercise the breath of freedom made possible in a democratic South Africa. This invitation ‘to imagine’ is not free from the context of history and it is the central aspect of rethinking history that informs the making of the film. Each of the creative contributors in the making of the film reflects on the creative process and how history and memory informs their creative choices.


Gettler, Brian

Book cover for Colonialism's Currency: Money, State, and First Nations in Canada, 1820-1950

Colonialism's Currency: Money, State, and First Nations in Canada, 1820-1950

Order from: McGill-Queen's University Press, June 2020

Colonialism's Currency analyzes the historical experiences and interactions of three distinct First Nations — the Wendat of Wendake, the Innu of Mashteuiatsh, and the Moose Factory Cree — with monetary forms and practices created by colonial powers. Whether treaty payments and welfare provisions such as the paper vouchers favoured by the Department of Indian Affairs, the Canadian Dominion's standardized paper notes, or the 'made beaver' (the Hudson's Bay Company's money of account), each monetary form allowed the state to communicate and enforce political, economic and cultural sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and their lands.


Hanssen, Jens

Book cover for Arabic Thought against the Authoritarian Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Present

Arabic Thought against the Authoritarian Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Present

Edited by Jens Hanssen and Max Weiss

Order from: Cambridge University Press, February 2018

In the wake of the Arab uprisings, the Middle East descended into a frenzy of political turmoil and unprecedented human tragedy which reinforced regrettable stereotypes about the moribund state of Arab intellectual and cultural life. This volume sheds important light on diverse facets of the post-war Arab world and its vibrant intellectual, literary and political history. Cutting-edge research is presented on such wide-ranging topics as poetry, intellectual history, political philosophy, and religious reform and cultural resilience all across the length and breadth of the Arab world, from Morocco to the Gulf States. This is an important statement of new directions in Middle East studies that challenges conventional thinking and has added relevance to the study of global intellectual history more broadly.

Arabic Thought Beyond the Liberal Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Nahda

Arabic Thought Beyond the Liberal Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Nahda

Edited by Jens Hanssen and Max Weiss

Order from: Cambridge University Press, December 2016

What is the relationship between thought and practice in the domains of language, literature and politics? Is thought the only standard by which to measure intellectual history? How did Arab intellectuals change and affect political, social, cultural and economic developments from the 18th to the 20th centuries? This volume offers a fundamental overhaul and revival of modern Arab intellectual history.


Kasturi, Malavika

Book cover for Embattled Identities

Embattled Identities

Order from: Amazon, July 2002

This study of the encounter between the Rajputs of North India and the British in the nineteenth century focuses on factors such as caste, kinship, and colonial relations. It examines the reconstitution of Rajput identity through property and inheritance strategies, marriage, female infanticide, feuding, banditry, rebellion and collective violence.


Lam, Tong

Book cover for A Passion for Facts

A Passion for Facts

Order from: University of California Press, November 2011

In this path-breaking book, Tong Lam examines the emergence of the “culture of fact” in modern China, showing how elites and intellectuals sought to transform the dynastic empire into a nation-state, thereby ensuring its survival. Lam argues that an epistemological break away from traditional modes of understanding the observable world began around the turn of the twentieth century. Tracing the Neo-Confucian school of evidentiary research and the modern departure from it, Lam shows how, through the rise of the social survey, 'the fact' became a basic conceptual medium and source of truth. In focusing on China’s social survey movement, A Passion for Facts analyzes how information generated by a range of research practices — census, sociological investigation and ethnography— was mobilized by competing political factions to imagine, manage and remake the nation.

Book cover for Abandoned Futures

Abandoned Futures

Order from: Amazon, September 2013

What will the end of the world look like?
‘Abandoned Futures’ is a breathtaking global overview of the decay and abandonment that sits in the midsts of humanities constant push towards an uncertain future. It’s a visual epic dedicated to the edge of our power, where human industry fails and decay takes over. These are the landscapes that give the lie to our dreams of immortality. 


MacArthur, Julie

Book cover for Dedan Kimathi on Trial, Colonial Justice and Popular Memory in Kenya's Mau Mau Rebellion

Dedan Kimathi on Trial, Colonial Justice and Popular Memory in Kenya's Mau Mau Rebellion

Edited by Julie MacArthur

Order from: Ohio University Press, November 2017

Perhaps no figure embodied the ambiguities, colonial fears, and collective imaginations for Kenya's decolonization era more than Dedan Kimathi, the self-proclaimed field marshal of the rebel forces that took to the forests to fight colonial rule in the 1950s. Kimathi personified many of the contradictions that the Mau Mau rebellion represented: rebel statesman, literate peasant, modern traditionalist.

Book cover for Cartography and the Political Imagination

Cartography and the Political Imagination

Order from: Ohio University Press, August 2016

After four decades of British rule in colonial Kenya, a previously unknown ethnic name — Luyia — appeared on the official census in 1948. The emergence of the Luyia represents a clear case of ethnic 'invention.' At the same time, current restrictive theories privileging ethnic homogeneity fail to explain this defiantly diverse ethnic project, which now comprises the second-largest ethnic group in Kenya.


MacDowell, Laurel Sefton 

Book cover for An Environmental History of Canada

An Environmental History of Canada

Order from: University of British Columbia Press, July 2012

Throughout history most people have associated northern North America with wilderness — with snow-capped mountains, endless forest and prairie, myriad lakes and abundant fish and game. Canada’s contemporary picture gallery, however, contains more disturbing images — melting ice caps, deforestation, polluted waterways and depleted fisheries. Adopting both a chronological and thematic approach, Laurel MacDowell explores human interactions with the land, and the origins of our current environmental crisis, from first peoples to the Kyoto Protocol. This richly illustrated exploration of the past from an environmental perspective will change the way Canadians and others around the world think about — and look at — Canada.

Book cover for Renegade Lawyer, The Life of J. L. Cohen

Renegade Lawyer, The Life of J.L. Cohen

Order from: Amazon, November 2001

J.L. Cohen, one of the first specialists in labour law and an architect of the Canadian industrial relations system, was a formidable advocate in the 1930s and 1940s on behalf of working people. A 'radical lawyer' in the tradition of the great American counsel Clarence Darrow or contemporary advocate Thomas Berger who represent the less powerful and seek to reform society and to protect civil liberties, Cohen was also a 'labour intellectual' in Canada, similar to those supporting Roosevelt's New Deal in the United States. He wrote Collective Bargaining in Canada, served on the National War Labour Board during the war, and advised the Ontario government about policy issues such as mothers' allowances, unemployment insurance legislation and labour law.  

Book cover for Canadian Working-Class History

Canadian Working-Class History

Edited by Laurel Sefton MacDowell and Ian Radforth

Order from: Amazon, March 2006

Canadian Working-Class History: Selected Readings, Third Edition, is an updated version of the bestselling reader that brings together recent and classic scholarship on the history, politics and social groups of the working class in Canada. Some of the changes readers will find in the new edition include better representation of women scholars and nine provocative and ground-breaking new articles on racism and human rights, women's equality, gender history, Quebec sovereignty and the environment.​ 


Metso, Sarianna

Book cover for The Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls

Edited by Sarianna Metso, Hindy Najman, and Elieen Schuller

Order from: Brill, July 2010

How were Jewish texts produced and transmitted in late antiquity? What role did scribal practices play in the shaping of both scriptural and interpretive traditions, which are — as the Scrolls show so decisively — intimately intertwined?

Book cover for Qumran Cave 1 Revisited

Qumran Cave 1 Revisited

Edited by Daniel K. Falk, Sarianna Metso, Donald W. parry, and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar

Order from: Brill, July 2010

This volume contains a selection of the papers presented at the sixth meeting of the International Organization for Qumran Studies, held in 2007 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on the topic “Qumran Cave 1 Revisited: Reconsidering the Cave 1 Texts Sixty Years

Book cover for The Serekh Texts

The Serekh Texts

Order from: Amazon, July 2007

The Serekh Texts discusses the central rule documents produced by a pious Jewish community of the Essenes that lived at Qumran by the Dead Sea at the turn of the era. The texts describe the life of a highly ascetic group that had rejected the hellenistic Jewish culture and had withdrawn into the desert to live a life of perfect obedience to the Torah. Sarianna Metso introduces the twelve manuscripts of the Community Rule found in Qumran Caves 1, 4 and 5 in terms of their content, textual history, literary function, and significance for the study of ancient Judaism and early Christianity. The writings of the community open a fascinating window onto the religious life in Palestine at the time of the emergence of early Christianity and rabbinic Judaism. There are few other contemporary Jewish sources in which the life and religious practices of a Jewish group are so vividly and authentically illustrated. The Serekh Texts provides an accessible summary of current scholarly discussion on the central topics related to the Community Rule, such as the community's identity and history, and offers comprehensive bibliographies for further study.

Book cover for The Textual Development of the Qumran Community Rule

The Textual Development of the Qumran Community Rule

Order from: Amazon, August 1997

This investigation into the formation of the Community Rule is the first to make full use of all the evidence of the Cave 4 fragments which have recently been made available to scholars.


Murray, Alexander Callander

Book cover for A Companion to Gregory of Tours

A Companion to Gregory of Tours

Edited by Alexander C. Murray

Order from: Brill, November 2015

Gregory, bishop of Tours (573-594), was among the most prolific writers of his age and uniquely managed to cover the genres of history, hagiography and ecclesiastical instruction. A Companion to Gregory of Tours brings together 14 scholars who provide an expert guide to interpreting his works, his period and his legacy in religious and historical studies. 


Noel, Jan

Book cover for Along A River, The First French-Canadian Women

Along a River: The First French-Canadian Women

Order from: Amazon, July 2013

French-Canadian explorers, traders and soldiers feature prominently in this country's storytelling, but little has been written about their female counterparts. In Along a River, award-winning historian Jan Noel shines a light on the lives of remarkable French-Canadian women — immigrant brides, nuns, tradeswomen, farmers, governors' wives and even smugglers — during the period between the settlement of the St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Victorian era. Along a River builds the case that inside the cabins that stretched for miles along the shoreline, most early French-Canadian women retained old fashioned forms of economic production and customary rights over land ownership. Noel demonstrates how this continued even as the world changed around them by comparing their lives to those of their contemporaries in France, England and New England.

Book cover for Canada Dry, Temperance Crusades before Confederation

Canada Dry: Temperance Crusades before Confederation

Order from: Amazon, April 1995

The Temperance movement has played a large part in the history of Canada. From the founding of the first known temperance society in 1822 until the passage or near passage of prohibition laws in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the province of Canada in 1855, over half a million colonists took the abstinence pledge.

This overview by Jan Noel is the first major study of the subject since Prohibition in Canada by Ruth Spence, published in 1919. Whereas Spence's book was the work of a dedicated prohibition warrior, Noel's study is social history examining the forces that created the temperance movement and the effect of the movement on work, women, children, religion and social structure.


Raffaelli, Enrico G. 

Book cover for The Sih-Rozag in Zoroastrianism

The Sih-Rozag in Zoroastrianism

Order from: Routledge, January 2014

Focusing on the Avestan and Pahlavi versions of the Sih-rozag, a text worshipping Zoroastrian divine entities, this book explores the spiritual principles and physical realities associated with them.

Introducing the book is an overview of the structural, linguistic and historico-religious elements of the Avestan Sih-rozag. This overview, as well as reconstructing its approximate chronology, helps in understanding the original ritual function of the text and its relationship to the other Avestan texts.The book then studies the translation of the text in the Middle Persian language, Pahlavi, which was produced several centuries after its initial composition, when Avestan was no longer understood by the majority of the Zoroastrian community. 


Rao, Ajay

Book cover for Re-figuring the Rāmāyana as Theology

Re-figuring the Rāmāyana as Theology

Order from: Routledge, October 2014

The Rāmāyana of Vālmīki is considered by many contemporary Hindus to be a foundational religious text. But this understanding is in part the result of a transformation of the epic’s receptive history, a hermeneutic project which challenged one characterization of the genre of the text, as a work of literary culture, and replaced it with another, as a work of remembered tradition.


Revermann, Martin  

Book cover for Brecht and Tragedy: Radicalism, Traditionalism, Eristics

Brecht and Tragedy: Radicalism, Traditionalism, Eristics

Order from: Cambridge University Press, December 2021

A wide-ranging, detailed and engaging study of Brecht's complex relationship with Greek tragedy and tragic tradition that argues that this is fundamental for understanding his radicalism.

Book cover for A Cultural History of Theatre in Antiquity, Vol. 1

A Cultural History of Theatre in Antiquity, Vol. 1

Edited by Martin Revermann

Order from: Bloomsbury, September 2017

A Cultural History of Theatre presents an authoritative survey from ancient times to the present. The set of six volumes covers a span of 2,500 years, tracing the complexity of the interactions between theatre and culture.

Book cover for The Cambridge Companion To Greek Comedy

The Cambridge Companion to Greek Comedy

Order from: Cambridge University Press, June 2014

Greek comedy flourished in the fifth and fourth centuries BC, both in and beyond Athens. Aristophanes and Menander are the best-known writers whose work is in part extant, but many other dramatists are known from surviving fragments of their plays. This sophisticated but accessible introduction explores the genre as a whole, integrating literary questions (such as characterisation, dramatic technique or diction) with contextual ones (for example audience response, festival context, interface with ritual or political frames). In addition, it also discusses relevant historical issues (political, socio-economic and legal) as well as the artistic and archaeological evidence. The result provides a unique panorama of this challenging area of Greek literature which will be of help to students at all levels and from a variety of disciplines but will also provide stimulus for further research.

Book cover for Beyond the Fifth Century: Interactions with Greek Tragedy from the Fourth Century BCE to the Middle Ages

Beyond the Fifth Century: Interactions with Greek Tragedy from the Fourth Century BCE to the Middle Ages

Edited by Ingo Gildenhard and Martin Revermann

Order from: Amazon, July 2010

Beyond the Fifth Century brings together 13 scholars from various disciplines (Classics, Ancient History, Mediaeval Studies) to explore interactions with Greek tragedy from the 4th century BCE up to the Middle Ages. The volume breaks new ground in several ways. Its chronological scope encompasses periods that are not usually part of research on tragedy reception, especially the Hellenistic period, late antiquity and the Middle Ages. The volume also considers not just performance reception but various other modes of reception, between different literary genres and media (inscriptions, vase paintings, recording technology). There is a pervasive interest in interactions between tragedy and society-at-large, such as festival culture and entertainment (both public and private), education, religious practice, even lifestyle. Finally, the volume features studies of a comparative nature which focus less on genealogical connections (although such may be present) but rather on the study of equivalences.

Book cover for Performance, Iconography, Reception

Performance, Iconography, Reception

Edited by Martin Revermann and Peter Wilson

Order from: Oxford University Press, October 2008

Performance, Reception, Iconography assembles 23 papers from an international group of scholars who engage with, and develop, the seminal work of Oliver Taplin. Oliver Taplin has for over three decades been at the forefront of innovation in the study of Greek literature, and of the Greek theatre, tragic and comic, in particular. The studies in this volume centre on three key areas — the performance of Greek literature, the interactions between literature and the visual realm of iconography, and the reception and appropriation of Greek literature, and of Greek culture more widely, in subsequent historical periods. 

Book cover for Comic Business

Comic Business

Order from: Oxford University Press, July 2006

Comic Business situates Aristophanic comedy in the context of competitive (re)performance culture in fifth- and fourth-century Greece. It seeks to illuminate how the dazzling busyness of Aristophanic comedy is the creation of a carefully manipulating craftsman trying to outdo his rivals in the fierce competition of the dramatic festivals. Theoretically informed by theatre semiotics and frame-based models of conceptualizing the theatrical event, it analyzes in a number of case studies how theatrical resources of all kinds are utilized in order to generate theatrical meaning as well as capture and sustain audience interest. The approach therefore combines philological analysis with methodologies developed in Theatre Studies. Special attention is given to the visual dimension of theatrical communication. Material from comparator traditions is brought to bear, as is the evidence of the pictorial record.


Ruffle, Karen

Everyday Shi'ism in South Asia book cover

Everyday Shi'ism in South Asia

Order from: Amazon, March 2021

Everyday Shi'ism in South Asia is an introduction to the everyday life and cultural memory of Shi’i women and men, focusing on the religious worlds of both individuals and communities at particular historical moments and places in the Indian subcontinent. Author Karen Ruffle draws upon an array primary sources, images, and ethnographic data to present topical case studies offering broad snapshots Shi'i life as well as microscopic analyses of ritual practices, material objects, architectural and artistic forms, and more.

Focusing exclusively on South Asian Shi'ism, an area mostly ignored by contemporary scholars who focus on the Arab lands of Iran and Iraq, the author shifts readers' analytical focus from the center of Islam to its periphery. Ruffle provides new perspectives on the diverse ways that the Shi'a intersect with not only South Asian religious culture and history, but also the wider Islamic humanistic tradition.

Gender, Sainthood, and Everyday Practice book cover

Gender, Sainthood, and Everyday Practice in South Asian Shi'ism

Order from: The University of North Carolina Press, February 2014

In this study of devotional hagiographical texts and contemporary ritual performances of the Shi'a of Hyderabad, India, Karen Ruffle demonstrates how traditions of sainthood and localized cultural values shape gender roles. Ruffle focuses on the annual mourning assemblies held on 7 Muharram to commemorate the battlefield wedding of Fatimah Kubra and her warrior-bridegroom Qasem, who was martyred in 680 C.E. at the battle of Karbala, Iraq, before their marriage was consummated.


Scott, J. Barton 

Book cover for Slandering the Sacred: Blasphemy Law and Religious Affect in Colonial India

Slandering the Sacred: Blasphemy Law and Religious Affect in Colonial India

Order from: The University of Chicago Press, April 2023; Delhi: Permanent Black, 2023

A history of global secularism and political feeling through colonial blasphemy law.

Why is religion today so often associated with giving and taking offense? To answer this question, Slandering the Sacred invites us to consider how colonial infrastructures shaped our globalized world. Through the origin and afterlives of a 1927 British imperial law (Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code), J. Barton Scott weaves a globe-trotting narrative about secularism, empire, insult, and outrage. Decentering white martyrs to free thought, his story calls for new histories of blasphemy that return these thinkers to their imperial context, dismantle the cultural boundaries of the West, and transgress the borders between the secular and the sacred as well as the public and the private.

Book cover for Spiritual Despots: Modern Hinduism and the Genealogies of Self-Rule

Spiritual Despots: Modern Hinduism and the Genealogies of Self-Rule

Order from: The University of Chicago Press, July 2016; Delhi: Primus Press, 2017

Historians of religion have examined at length the Protestant Reformation and the liberal idea of the self-governing individual that arose from it. In Spiritual Despots, J. Barton Scott reveals an unexamined piece of this story: how Protestant technologies of asceticism became entangled with Hindu spiritual practices to create an ideal of the 'self-ruling subject' crucial to both 19th-century reform culture and early 20th-century anticolonialism in India.

Book cover for Imagining the Public in Modern South Asia

Imagining the Public in Modern South Asia

Edited by Brannon Ingram, J. Barton Scott, SherAli K. Tareen

Order from: Routledge, April 2016

In South Asia, as elsewhere, the category of ‘the public’ has come under increased scholarly and popular scrutiny in recent years. To better understand this current conjuncture, we need a fuller understanding of the specifically South Asian history of the term. To that end, this book surveys the modern Indian ‘public’ across multiple historical contexts and sites, with contributions from leading scholars of South Asia in anthropology, history, literary studies and religious studies.


Simalchik, Joan

Book cover for Women's Realities, Women's Choices - An Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies, Canadian Edition

Women's Realities, Women's Choices: An Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies, Canadian Edition

Joan Simalchik & Hunter College Women's and Gender Studies Collective

Order from: Oxford University Press, 2017

This Canadian edition takes a critical look at social and cultural definition of gender while incorporating thoughtful discussions of women's realities within Canadian cultural contexts. Covering the most recent developments in politics, labour, family life, religion and culture, while incorporating Canadian issues and perspectives throughout, this is a broad, nuanced and in-depth treatment of women's and gender studies in Canada today.


Smith, Kyle

Book cover for Cult of the Dead

Cult of the Dead: A Brief History of Christianity

Order from: University of California Press, November 2022

A cultural history of how Christianity was born from its martyrs.

Though it promises eternal life, Christianity was forged in death. Christianity is built upon the legacies of the apostles and martyrs who chose to die rather than renounce the name of their lord. In this innovative cultural history, Kyle Smith shows how a devotion to death has shaped Christianity for two thousand years.

For centuries, Christians have cared for their saints, curating their deaths as examples of holiness. Martyrs’ stories, lurid legends of torture, have been told and retold, translated and rewritten. Martyrs’ bones are alive in the world, relics pulsing with wonder. Martyrs’ shrines are still visited by pilgrims, many in search of a miracle. Martyrs have even shaped the Christian conception of time, with each day of the year celebrating the death of a saint. From Roman antiquity to the present, by way of medieval England and the Protestant Reformation, Cult of the Dead tells the fascinating story of how the world’s most widespread religion is steeped in the memory of its martyrs.

Book cover for The History of Mar Behnam and Sarah: Martyrdom and Monasticism in Medieval Iraq

The History of Mar Behnam and Sarah: Martyrdom and Monasticism in Medieval Iraq

Edited by Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent and Kyle Smith

Order from: Gorgias Press, July 2018

The History of Mar Behnam and Sarah tells the story of two siblings who convert to Christianity under the tutelage of Mar Mattai, a monastic leader and wonderworker from the Roman Empire. This is the first critical edition and English translation of this fascinating martyrdom narrative.

Book cover for Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persia: Martyrdom and Religious Identity in Late Antiquity

Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persia: Martyrdom and Religious Identity in Late Antiquity

Order from: University of California Press, 2016

It is widely believed that the Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity politicized religious allegiances, dividing the Christian Roman Empire from the Zoroastrian Sasanian Empire and leading to the persecution of Christians in Persia. This account, however, is based on Greek Ecclesiastical histories and Syriac martyrdom narratives that date to centuries after the fact. In this groundbreaking study, Kyle Smith analyzes diverse Greek, Latin and Syriac sources to show that there was not a single history of fourth-century Mesopotamia.

Simeon book cover

The Martyrdom and History of Blessed Simeon Bar Sabba'e

Order from: Gorgias Press, November 2014

Around the year 339 CE, Simeon bar Sabba'e (the bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon on the Tigris) was killed by the Persian king Shapur II. Simeon was arrested for refusing to collect taxes from his flock, and he was beheaded for disobeying the king’s order to worship the sun. The bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon was no minor figure. In fact, Simeon’s martyr acts proclaim that he was the leader of the Christians of Persia and the protomartyr of Shapur’s 40-year persecution. Curiously, however, two very different versions of Simeon’s death exist. Each is presented here with an accompanying translation and notes. 

Syriac Encounters book cover

Syriac Encounters

Edited by: Maria Doerfler, Emanuel Fiano, and Kyle Smith 

Order from: Amazon, June 2015

The Sixth North American Syriac Symposium brought together scholars from across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and India. Syriac Encounters offers twenty-five papers that were originally delivered at the Symposium, and represents a cross-section of both the Symposium and the current state of Syriac studies more broadly. Although most of the papers in the volume focus on the late antique heyday of Syriac Christianity, several papers contribute to the study of other, related fields, including Islamic studies and Middle Eastern anthropology. The blossoming of Syriac studies beyond church historians and Semitic philologists can be attributed to a wider recognition of Syriac as a bridge language and culture linking (and fostering encounters between) Rome and Persia, Byzantium and Baghdad, and Christianity and Islam.

Paul John book cover

The History of the Great Deeds of Bishop Paul of Qentos and Priest John of Edessa

Order: Amazon, September 2010

Desiring to lead an ascetic life during the 5th century, Paul abandons his bishopric in Italy and travels to Edessa. John realizes that Paul is a wonderworker, and so begs to accompany him on his travels. The two leave Edessa to visit the monks on Sinai, but instead of reaching their destination they are abducted and taken to Yemen by tree-worshipping Arabs. After a battle with a tree-god, they succeed in converting the Arabs to Christianity. During the journey home, they encounter a wandering band of monks among whom is a woman disguised as a man.


Tahmasebi-Birgani, Victoria

Book cover for Emmanuel Levinas and the Politics of Non-Violence

Emmanuel Levinas and the Politics of Non-Violence

Order from: Amazon, January 2014

French philosopher and Talmudic commentator Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995) has received considerable attention for his influence on philosophical and religious thought. In this book, Victoria Tahmasebi-Birgani provides the first examination of the applicability of Emmanuel Levinas' work to social and political movements. Investigating his ethics of responsibility and his critique of the Western liberal imagination, Tahmasebi-Birgani advances the moral, political and philosophical debates on the radical implications of Levinas' work. Emmanuel Levinas and the Politics of Non-Violence is the first book to closely consider the affinity between Levinas' ethical vision and Mohandas Gandhi's radical yet non-violent political struggle. Situating Levinas' insights within a transnational, transcontinental and global framework, Tahmasebi-Birgani highlights Levinas' continued relevance in an age in which violence is so often resorted to in the name of 'justice' and 'freedom.'


Tavakoli-Targhi, Mohamad

Book cover for Refashioning Iran

Refashioning Iran

Order from: Amazon, October 2001

Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi offers a corrective to recent works on Orientalism that focus solely on European scholarly productions without exploring the significance of native scholars and vernacular scholarship to the making of Oriental studies. He brings to light a wealth of 18th and 19th-century Indo-Persian texts, made 'homeless' by subsequent nationalist histories and shows how they relate to Indo-Iranian modernity. In doing so, he argues for a radical rewriting of Iranian history with profound implications for Islamic debates on gender. 


Virani, Shafique N.

Book cover for The Ismailis in the Middle Ages

The Ismailis in the Middle Ages

Order from: Oxford University Press, April 2007

"None of that people should be spared, not even the babe in its cradle." With these chilling words, the Mongol warlord Genghis Khan declared his intention to destroy the Ismailis, one of the most intellectually and politically significant Muslim communities of medieval Islamdom. The massacres that followed convinced observers that this powerful voice of Shi'i Islam had been forever silenced. Little was heard of these people for centuries, until their recent and dramatic emergence from obscurity. Today they exist as a dynamic and thriving community established in over twenty-five countries. Yet the interval between what appeared to have been their total annihilation, and their modern, seemingly phoenix-like renaissance, has remained shrouded in mystery. Drawing on an astonishing array of sources gathered from many countries around the globe, The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, A Search for Salvation is a richly nuanced and compelling study of the murkiest portion of this era.


 Wellum, Caleb

Book cover for Energizing Neoliberalism

Energizing Neoliberalism: The 1970s Energy Crisis and the Making of Modern America

Order from: Amazon, October 2023

How the 1970s energy crisis facilitated a neoliberal shift in US political culture.

In Energizing Neoliberalism, Caleb Wellum offers a provocative account of how the 1970s energy crisis helped to recreate postwar America. Rather than think of the crisis as the obvious outcome of the decade's "oil shocks," Wellum unpacks the cultural construction of a crisis of energy across different sectors of society, from presidents, policy experts, and environmentalists to filmmakers, economists, and oil futures traders. He shows how the dominant meanings ascribed to the 1970s energy crisis helped to energize neoliberal visions of renewed abundance and power through free market values and approaches to energy.

Deeply researched in federal archives, expert discourse, and popular culture, Energizing Neoliberalism demonstrates the central role that energy crisis narratives played in America's neoliberal turn. Wellum traces the roots of the crisis to the consumption practices and cultural narratives spawned by the petrocultural politics of Cold War capitalism. In a series of illuminating case studies—including 1970s energy conservation debates, popular car films, and the creation of oil futures trading—Wellum chronicles the consolidation of a neoliberal capitalist order in the United States through an energy politics marked by anxious futurity, petro-populist sentiment, and financialized energy markets. He shows how experiences of energy shortages and fears of future energy crises unsettled American national identity and power yet also informed Reagan-era confidence in free markets and US global leadership.

In taking a cultural approach to the 1970s energy crisis, Wellum offers a challenging meditation on the status of "crisis" in modern history, contemporary life, and critical thought and how we rely on crises to make sense of the world.


Wittmann, Rebecca

Book cover for Beyond Justice, The Auschwitz Trial

Beyond Justice: The Auschwitz Trial

Order from: Harvard University Press, March 2012

In 1963, West Germany was gripped by a dramatic trial of former guards who had worked at the Nazi death camp Auschwitz. It was the largest and most public trial to take place in the country and attracted international attention. Using the pretrial files and extensive trial audiotapes, Rebecca Wittmann offers a fascinating reinterpretation of Germany's first major attempt to confront its past. Evoking the courtroom atmosphere, Wittmann vividly recounts the testimony of survivors, former SS officers, and defendants — a cross-section of the camp population. Attorney General Fritz Bauer made an extraordinary effort to put the entire Auschwitz complex on trial, but constrained by West German murder laws, the prosecution had to resort to standards for illegal behaviour that echoed the laws of the Third Reich. This provided a legitimacy to the Nazi state. Only those who exceeded direct orders were convicted of murder. This shocking ruling was reflected in the press coverage, which focused on only the most sadistic and brutal crimes, allowing the real atrocity at Auschwitz — mass murder in the gas chambers — to be relegated to the background. The Auschwitz trial had a paradoxical result. Although the prosecution succeeded in exposing SS crimes at the camp for the first time, the public absorbed a distorted representation of the criminality of the camp system. The Auschwitz trial ensured that rather than coming to terms with their Nazi past, Germans managed to delay a true reckoning with the horror of the Holocaust.​