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Highly Recommended Euro History Books


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I have not yet started applying for MA programs, but I would like to know if anyone can recommend books relating to Medieval or Early Modern Europe that they have read that really impressed them.

It has been a bit since I graduated, so my coursework probably hasn't covered the last bit of scholarship.

Basically looking for any leads as I am still looking to narrow down time period and region.  I will be reviewing old syllabi and doing searches online and in footnotes, but always interested in other perspectives.

Thanks in advance.

Edited by poliecon
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I don't have any specific book recommendations, more of an overall recommendation -- find something published relatively recently that you're interested, read it, and then comb through the bibliography to see what works and authors that author is engaging with. I find tons of great recommendations that way.

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E. Natalie Rothman, Brokering Empire: Trans-Imperial Subjects between Venice and Istanbul (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012).

David A. Frick, Kith, Kin, and Neighbors : Communities and Confessions in Seventeenth-Century Wilno (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013).

Michael Dietler, Archaeologies of Colonialism: Consumption, Entanglement, and Violence in Ancient Mediterranean France (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010).

Geraldine Heng, The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages, 2018.

Roni Ellenblum, Crusader Castles and Modern Histories (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

Gillian Lee Weiss, Captives and Corsairs: France and Slavery in the Early Modern Mediterranean (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011).

Joyce E. Chaplin, Subject Matter : Technology, the Body, and Science on the Anglo-American Frontier, 1500-1676 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001).

Martin Gravel, Distances, rencontres, communications: réaliser l’empire sous Charlemagne et Louis le Pieux, 2012.

Warren Brown et al., eds., Documentary Culture and the Laity in the Early Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Seems a pretty good list to be getting on with.

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Some older monographs that virtually every medievalist will read in grad school include Holy Feast and Holy Fast by Caroline Walker Bynum, From Memory to Written Record by Michael Clanchy, and The Formation of a Persecuting Society by R. I. Moore. These have all been superseded for one reason or another by now, but they’re still considered foundational texts. Same goes for The King’s Two Bodies by Ernst Kantorowicz, I guess.

Re. more recent scholarship, telkanuru has given some good suggestions.

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7 hours ago, L13 said:

Some older monographs that virtually every medievalist will read in grad school include Holy Feast and Holy Fast by Caroline Walker Bynum, From Memory to Written Record by Michael Clanchy, and The Formation of a Persecuting Society by R. I. Moore. These have all been superseded for one reason or another by now, but they’re still considered foundational texts. Same goes for The King’s Two Bodies by Ernst Kantorowicz, I guess.

Re. more recent scholarship, telkanuru has given some good suggestions.

Kantorowicz is very much worth reading, even if you're not a medievalist. Karl Shoemaker has argued that The King's Two Bodies is, in part, a response to the Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt's work.

On another note, a bit surprised: no application thread yet!? 

Edited by psstein
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15 hours ago, psstein said:

Karl Shoemaker has argued that The King's Two Bodies is, in part, a response to the Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt's work.

This is a wise interpretation.

15 hours ago, psstein said:

On another note, a bit surprised: no application thread yet!? 

Be the change you want to see in the world.

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20 hours ago, telkanuru said:

Be the change you want to see in the world.

A year of history PhD programs not accepting applicants would be a good thing for the job market and the profession as a whole. Wisconsin welcomed 20+ graduate students this Fall. In view of the job prospects, that's damn near malpractice.

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20 minutes ago, psstein said:

A year of history PhD programs not accepting applicants would be a good thing for the job market and the profession as a whole. Wisconsin welcomed 20+ graduate students this Fall. In view of the job prospects, that's damn near malpractice.

*shrug* State schools gotta teach those classes. At some point we also have to start shouldering some of the blame for going

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7 hours ago, telkanuru said:

*shrug* State schools gotta teach those classes. At some point we also have to start shouldering some of the blame for going

Hey, I try to discourage people! 😀

Wisconsin actually has a shortage of TAs, to the extent that students on fellowship were asked if they wanted to teach last year. 

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33 minutes ago, psstein said:

Wisconsin actually has a shortage of TAs, to the extent that students on fellowship were asked if they wanted to teach last year. 

We have the same problem, but only because so many of us got external fellowships *flex*.

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