Medical Cultures of the Early Modern Spanish Empire
Early modern Spain was a global empire in which a startling variety of medical cultures came into contact, and occasionally conflict, with one another. Spanish soldiers, ambassadors, missionaries, sailors, and emigrants of all sorts carried with them to the farthest reaches of the monarchy their own ideas about sickness and health. These ideas were, in turn, influenced by local cultures. This volume tells the story of encounters among medical cultures in the early modern Spanish empire. The twelve chapters draw upon a wide variety of sources, ranging from drama, poetry, and sermons to broadsheets, travel accounts, chronicles, and Inquisitorial documents; and it surveys a tremendous regional scope, from Mexico, to the Canary Islands, the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, and Germany. Together, these essays propose a new interpretation of the circulation, reception, appropriation, and elaboration of ideas and practices related to sickness and health, sex, monstrosity, and death, in a historical moment marked by continuous cross-pollination among institutions and populations with a decided stake in the functioning and control of the human body. Ultimately, the volume discloses how medical cultures provided demographic, analytical, and even geographic tools that constituted a particular kind of map of knowledge and practice, upon which were plotted: the local utilities of pharmacological discoveries; cures for social unrest or decline; spaces for political and institutional struggle; and evolving understandings of monstrousness and normativity. Medical Cultures of the Early Modern Spanish Empire puts the history of early modern Spanish medicine on a new footing in the English-speaking world.
Humans have eaten earth, on purpose, for more than 2,000 years. They also crave starch, ice, chalk, and other unorthodox food items. Some even claim they are "addicted" and "go crazy" without these items. Sifting through extensive historical, ethnographic, and biomedical findings, Sera L. Young creates a portrait of pica, or nonfood cravings, from humans' earliest ingestions to current trends and practices. In engaging detail, she describes the substances most frequently consumed and the many methods used to obtain them. She reveals how pica is remarkably prevalent, identifies its most avid partakers, and describes the potentially healthful and harmful effects. She evaluates the many hypotheses about the causes of pica, from the fantastical to the scientific, including hunger, nutritional deficiencies, and protective capacities. Never has a book examined pica so thoroughly or accessibly, merging absorbing history with intimate case studies to illuminate a behavior deeply entwined with human biology and culture.
In the early modern world, botany was big science and big business, critical to Europe's national and trade ambitions. Tracing the dynamic relationships among plants, peoples, states, and economies over the course of three centuries, this collection of essays offers a lively challenge to a historiography that has emphasized the rise of modern botany as a story of taxonomies and "pure" systems of classification. Charting a new map of botany along colonial coordinates, reaching from Europe to the New World, India, Asia, and other points on the globe, Colonial Botany explores how the study, naming, cultivation, and marketing of rare and beautiful plants resulted from and shaped European voyages, conquests, global trade, and scientific exploration. From the earliest voyages of discovery, naturalists sought profitable plants for king and country, personal and corporate gain. Costly spices and valuable medicinal plants such as nutmeg, tobacco, sugar, Peruvian bark, peppers, cloves, cinnamon, and tea ranked prominently among the motivations for European voyages of discovery. At the same time, colonial profits depended largely on natural historical exploration and the precise identification and effective cultivation of profitable plants. This volume breaks new ground by treating the development of the science of botany in its colonial context and situating the early modern exploration of the plant world at the volatile nexus of science, commerce, and state politics. Written by scholars as international as their subjects, Colonial Botany uncovers an emerging cultural history of plants and botanical practices in Europe and its possessions.
Mystics Monarchs and Messiahs
Focusing on idealists and visionaries who believed that Justice could reign in our world, this book explores the desire to experience utopia on earth. Reluctant to await another existence--another form, or eternal life following death and resurrection--individuals with ghuluww, or exaggeration, emerged at the advent of Islam, expecting to attain the apocalyptic horizon of Truth. In their minds, Muhammad's prophecy represented one such cosmic moment of transformation. Even in the early modern period, some denizens of Islamdom continued to hope for a utopia despite aborted promises and expectations. In a moment of enthusiasm, one group called the Qizilbash (Red Heads) took up arms at the turn of the sixteenth century to fight for Shaykh Isma'il Safavi, their divinely inspired leader. The Safavis succeeded in establishing an empire, but their revolutionary sensibilities were exposed to erasures and expulsion into the realms of heresy. The social settings in which such beliefs were performed in early modern Iran are highlighted in order to tease out the relationship between discourse and practice, narrating the ways in which a Persianate ethos uncovered new Islamic identities (Alid and Sufi). Mystics, Monarchs and Messiah explores these belief systems within a dialogue between Semitic, Indo-Iranian, and Hellenic cultures that continued to resist the monotheist impulse to delay the meeting of the holy with the human until the end of time.
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
The name Genghis Khan often conjures the image of a relentless, bloodthirsty barbarian on horseback leading a ruthless band of nomadic warriors in the looting of the civilized world. But the surprising truth is that Genghis Khan was a visionary leader whose conquests joined backward Europe with the flourishing cultures of Asia to trigger a global awakening, an unprecedented explosion of technologies, trade, and ideas. In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford, the only Western scholar ever to be allowed into the Mongols’ “Great Taboo”—Genghis Khan’s homeland and forbidden burial site—tracks the astonishing story of Genghis Khan and his descendants, and their conquest and transformation of the world. Fighting his way to power on the remote steppes of Mongolia, Genghis Khan developed revolutionary military strategies and weaponry that emphasized rapid attack and siege warfare, which he then brilliantly used to overwhelm opposing armies in Asia, break the back of the Islamic world, and render the armored knights of Europe obsolete. Under Genghis Khan, the Mongol army never numbered more than 100,000 warriors, yet it subjugated more lands and people in twenty-five years than the Romans conquered in four hundred. With an empire that stretched from Siberia to India, from Vietnam to Hungary, and from Korea to the Balkans, the Mongols dramatically redrew the map of the globe, connecting disparate kingdoms into a new world order. But contrary to popular wisdom, Weatherford reveals that the Mongols were not just masters of conquest, but possessed a genius for progressive and benevolent rule. On every level and from any perspective, the scale and scope of Genghis Khan’s accomplishments challenge the limits of imagination. Genghis Khan was an innovative leader, the first ruler in many conquered countries to put the power of law above his own power, encourage religious freedom, create public schools, grant diplomatic immunity, abolish torture, and institute free trade. The trade routes he created became lucrative pathways for commerce, but also for ideas, technologies, and expertise that transformed the way people lived. The Mongols introduced the first international paper currency and postal system and developed and spread revolutionary technologies like printing, the cannon, compass, and abacus. They took local foods and products like lemons, carrots, noodles, tea, rugs, playing cards, and pants and turned them into staples of life around the world. The Mongols were the architects of a new way of life at a pivotal time in history. In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford resurrects the true history of Genghis Khan, from the story of his relentless rise through Mongol tribal culture to the waging of his devastatingly successful wars and the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed. This dazzling work of revisionist history doesn’t just paint an unprecedented portrait of a great leader and his legacy, but challenges us to reconsider how the modern world was made. From the Hardcover edition.
Empires of the Atlantic World
Compares the empires built by Spain and Britain in the Americas, from Columbus's arrival in the New World to the end of Spanish colonial rule in the early nineteenth century.
American Empire and the Politics of Meaning
When the United States took control of the Philippines and Puerto Rico in the wake of the Spanish-American War, it declared that it would transform its new colonies through lessons in self-government and the ways of American-style democracy. In both territories, U.S. colonial officials built extensive public school systems, and they set up American-style elections and governmental institutions. The officials aimed their lessons in democratic government at the political elite: the relatively small class of the wealthy, educated, and politically powerful within each colony. While they retained ultimate control for themselves, the Americans let the elite vote, hold local office, and formulate legislation in national assemblies. American Empire and the Politics of Meaning is an examination of how these efforts to provide the elite of Puerto Rico and the Philippines a practical education in self-government played out on the ground in the early years of American colonial rule, from 1898 until 1912. It is the first systematic comparative analysis of these early exercises in American imperial power. The sociologist Julian Go unravels how American authorities used “culture” as both a tool and a target of rule, and how the Puerto Rican and Philippine elite received, creatively engaged, and sometimes silently subverted the Americans’ ostensibly benign intentions. Rather than finding that the attempt to transplant American-style democracy led to incommensurable “culture clashes,” Go assesses complex processes of cultural accommodation and transformation. By combining rich historical detail with broader theories of meaning, culture, and colonialism, he provides an innovative study of the hidden intersections of political power and cultural meaning-making in America’s earliest overseas empire.
Dreams Dreamers and Visions
In Europe and North and South America during the early modern period, people believed that their dreams might be, variously, messages from God, the machinations of demons, visits from the dead, or visions of the future. Interpreting their dreams in much the same ways as their ancient and medieval forebears had done—and often using the dream-guides their predecessors had written—dreamers rejoiced in heralds of good fortune and consulted physicians, clerics, or practitioners of magic when their visions waxed ominous. Dreams, Dreamers, and Visions traces the role of dreams and related visionary experiences in the cultures within the Atlantic world from the late thirteenth to early seventeenth centuries, examining an era of cultural encounters and transitions through this unique lens. In the wake of Reformation-era battles over religious authority and colonial expansion into Asia, Africa, and the Americas, questions about truth and knowledge became particularly urgent and debate over the meaning and reliability of dreams became all the more relevant. Exploring both indigenous and European methods of understanding dream phenomena, this volume argues that visions were central to struggles over spiritual and political authority. Featuring eleven original essays, Dreams, Dreamers, and Visions explores the ways in which reports and interpretations of dreams played a significant role in reflecting cultural shifts and structuring historic change. Contributors: Emma Anderson, Mary Baine Campbell, Luis Corteguera, Matthew Dennis, Carla Gerona, María V Jordán, Luís Filipe Silvério Lima, Phyllis Mack, Ann Marie Plane, Andrew Redden, Janine Rivière, Leslie Tuttle, Anthony F. C. Wallace.
Love Money and HIV
How do modern women in developing countries experience sexuality and love? Drawing on a rich array of interview, ethnographic, and survey data from her native country of Kenya, Sanyu A. Mojola examines how young African women, who suffer disproportionate rates of HIV infection compared to young African men, navigate their relationships, schooling, employment, and finances in the context of economic inequality and a devastating HIV epidemic. Writing from a unique outsider-insider perspective, Mojola argues that the entanglement of love, money, and the transformation of girls into "consuming women" lies at the heart of women’s coming-of-age and health crises. At once engaging and compassionate, this text is an incisive analysis of gender, sexuality, and health in Africa.