Recent Faculty Publications
Michael Lower. The Tunis Crusade of 1270: A Mediterranean History
Oxford University Press, 2018.
Why did the last of the major European campaigns to reclaim Jerusalem end in an attack on Tunis, a peaceful North African port city thousands of miles from the Holy Land? In the first book-length study of the campaign in English, Michael Lower tells the story of how the classic era of crusading came to such an unexpected end. Unfolding against a backdrop of conflict and collaboration that extended from England to Inner Asia, the Tunis Crusade entangled people from every corner of the Mediterranean world. Within this expansive geographical playing field, the ambitions of four powerful Mediterranean dynasts would collide. While the slave-boy-turned-sultan Baybars of Egypt and the saint-king Louis IX of France waged a bitter battle for Syria, al-Mustansir of Tunis and Louis's younger brother Charles of Anjou struggled for control of the Sicilian Straits. When the conflicts over Syria and Sicily became intertwined in the late 1260s, the Tunis Crusade was the shocking result.
Katharine Gerbner. Christian Slavery: Conversion and Race in the Protestant Atlantic World
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018
Could slaves become Christian? If so, did their conversion lead to freedom? If not, then how could perpetual enslavement be justified? In Christian Slavery, Katharine Gerbner contends that religion was fundamental to the development of both slavery and race in the Protestant Atlantic world. Slave owners in the Caribbean and elsewhere established governments and legal codes based on an ideology of "Protestant Supremacy," which excluded the majority of enslaved men and women from Christian communities. For slaveholders, Christianity was a sign of freedom, and most believed that slaves should not be eligible for conversion.
Anna Clark. Alternative Histories of the Self: A Cultural History of Sexuality and Secrets, 1762-1917.
Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2017
Alternative Histories of the Self investigates how people re-imagined the idea of the unique self in the period from 1762 to 1917. Some used the notion of the unique self to justify their gender and sexual transgression, but others rejected the notion of the unique self and instead demanded the sacrifice of the self for the good of society. Instead of focusing on the thoughts of great thinkers, this book explores how five unusual individuals twisted conventional ideas of the self as they interpreted their own lives.
Kathryn Reyerson. Mother and Sons, Inc.: Martha de Cabanis in Medieval Montpellier
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017.
In the late 1320s, Martha de Cabanis was widowed with three young sons, eleven, eight, and four years of age. Her challenges would be many: to raise and train her children to carry on their father's business; to preserve that business until they were ready to take over; and to look after her own financial well-being. Examining the visible trail Martha left in Montpellier's notarial registers and other records, Kathryn L. Reyerson reveals a wealth of information about her activities, particularly in the area of business, commerce, and real estate. From these formal, contractual documents, Reyerson gleans something of Martha's personality and reconstructs what she may have done, and a good deal of what she actually did, in her various roles of daughter, wife, mother, and widow.