Historians have long grappled with the question of how Islamic civilization - so clearly dominant during the medieval period - could fall completely under Western hegemony in the modern age? Many Western writers answer this question by referencing European ingenuity, initiative, and transformative energy in contrast with Islamic parochialism, passivity, and resistance to change. This book challenges such assumptions by studying the career of an aggressive sultan in early-modern Morocco, Mulay Ahmad al-Mansur (r. 1578-1603), who dared to take on the international super-powers of his day and sought to redraw the map of Islamic Africa.Al-Mansur is best known for launching a bold invasion across the Sahara desert to conquer the West African Songhay Empire. Most historians ascribe strictly economic motives for this assault, stating that the sultan wished to capture the prosperous gold trade that had traveled for centuries from West Africa to the Mediterranean. Dr Cory argues instead that Mulay Ahmad was pursuing more expansive goals than simply stuffing his coffers with West African gold, as evidenced by audacious claims made on his behalf in numerous panegyric texts produced by the sultan's court. Through a detailed analysis of official histories, documents and correspondence, writings by European observers, and architectural evidence, he contends that the sultan sought to establish a Western caliphate that would eclipse the Ottoman Empire. Mulay Ahmad advanced this agenda through panegyric literature, elaborate court ceremonies, grand constructions, stunning military conquests, and astute diplomacy with European powers, Ottoman officials, and sub-Saharan rulers. Such assertions of universal caliphal authority had not been seriously promoted in Islam for over three hundred years before al-Mansur's reign. Thus al-Mansur sought to move his country forward into the modern age by returning to an institution that had governed Muslim lands during the fabled golden age of the Abbasid and Andalusian Umayyad caliphates. Through an investigation of the sultan's ambitions and achievements Dr Cory provides new insight into the history of relations between Muslim states and the West.
Through an examination of the role of nuns and the place of convents in both the spiritual and social landscape, this book analyzes the interaction of gender, religion and society in late medieval and early modern Spain. Author Elizabeth Lehfeldt here examines the tension between religious reform, which demanded that all nuns observe strict enclosure, and the traditional identity of Spanish nuns and their institutions, in which they were spiritually and temporally powerful women. Lehfeldt's work is based on the archival records of twenty-three convents in the city of Valladolid, and peninsula-wide documents that include visitation records, the constitutions of religious orders, and spiritual biographies.
Religious Women in Golden Age Spain is the first book-length study in English to pose this chronological and conceptual framework for identifying and analyzing the role of nuns and convents in late-medieval and early-modern Spanish society.
Elizabeth A. Lehfeldt
New to the Problems in European Civilization series, this is the only text to contain secondary sources on the Black Death. Organized by cultural, municipal, and medical reaction to the disease, the essays are preceded by helpful introductions to provide students with a context for each source. The text features the latest in scholarship and a flexible format that allows instructors to assign those essays and sections that best suit course needs.
J. Mark Souther
New Orleans on Parade tells the story of the Big Easy in the twentieth century. In this urban biography, J. Mark Souther explores the Crescent City's architecture, music, food and alcohol, folklore and spiritualism, Mardi Gras festivities, and illicit sex commerce in revealing how New Orleans became a city that parades itself to visitors and residents alike.
Stagnant between the Civil War and World War II—a period of great expansion nationally—New Orleans unintentionally preserved its distinctive physical appearance and culture. Though business, civic, and government leaders tried to pursue conventional modernization in the 1940s, competition from other Sunbelt cities as well as a national economic shift from production to consumption gradually led them to seize on tourism as the growth engine for future prosperity, giving rise to a veritable gumbo of sensory attractions. A trend in historic preservation and the influence of outsiders helped fan this newfound identity, and the city's residents learned to embrace rather than disdain their past.
A growing reliance on the tourist trade fundamentally affected social relations in New Orleans. African Americans were cast as actors who shaped the culture that made tourism possible while at the same time they were exploited by the local power structure. As black leaders' influence increased, the white elite attempted to keep its traditions—including racial inequality—intact, and race and class issues often lay at the heart of controversies over progress. Once the most tolerant diverse city in the South and the nation, New Orleans came to lag behind the rest of the country in pursuing racial equity.
Souther traces the ascendancy of tourism in New Orleans through the final decades of the twentieth century and beyond, examining the 1984 World's Fair, the collapse of Louisiana's oil industry in the eighties, and the devastating blow dealt by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Narrated in a lively style and resting on a bedrock of research, New Orleans on Parade is a landmark book that allows readers to fully understand the image-making of the Big Easy.
J. Mark Souther and Nicolas Dagen Bloom
American Tourism reveals the remarkable stories behind the places Americans love to visit. From Independence Hall to Las Vegas, and from Silver Springs to Seattle’s Pike Place Market, the collection pulls back the curtain on many of America’s most successful tourist attractions to reveal the carefully hidden transformations that turn places into destinations. Readers will discover that a powerful creative process, rather than chance, has separated the enduring attractions from the many failures that litter the highways and byways of tourism history. Written by leading academic and public historians, writers, and tourism professionals, the thirty-five lively, illustrated essays that comprise this volume illuminate the visionaries who created such iconic destinations and the business models that sustained them. Covering issues of design, culture, and impact, American Tourism will appeal to scholars, tourism professionals, and armchair travellers alike.
During the period of America's swiftest industrialization and urban growth, fire struck fear in the hearts of city dwellers as did no other calamity. Before the Civil War, sweeping blazes destroyed more than $200 million in property in the nation's largest cities. Between 1871 and 1906, conflagrations left Chicago, Boston, Baltimore, and San Francisco in ruins. Into the twentieth century, this dynamic hazard intensified as cities grew taller and more populous, confounding those who battled it. Firefighters' death-defying feats captured the popular imagination but too often failed to provide more than symbolic protection. Hundreds of fire insurance companies went bankrupt because they could not adequately deal with the effects of even smaller blazes.
Firefighters and fire insurers created a physical and cultural infrastructure whose legacy—in the form of heroic firefighters, insurance policies, building standards, and fire hydrants—lives on in the urban built environment. In Eating Smoke, Mark Tebeau shows how the changing practices of firefighters and fire insurers shaped the built landscape of American cities, the growth of municipal institutions, and the experience of urban life. Drawing on a wealth of fire department and insurance company archives, he contrasts the invention of a heroic culture of firefighters with the rational organizational strategies by fire underwriters. Recognizing the complexity of shifting urban environments and constantly experimenting with tools and tactics, firefighters fought fire ever more aggressively—"eating smoke" when they ventured deep into burning buildings or when they scaled ladders to perform harrowing rescues. In sharp contrast to the manly valor of firefighters, insurers argued that the risk was quantifiable, measurable, and predictable. Underwriters managed hazard with statistics, maps, and trade associations, and they eventually agitated for building codes and other reforms, which cities throughout the nation implemented in the twentieth century. Although they remained icons of heroism, firefighters' cultural and institutional authority slowly diminished. Americans had begun to imagine fire risk as an economic abstraction.
By comparing the simple skills employed by firefighters—climbing ladders and manipulating hoses—with the mundane technologies—maps and accounting charts—of insurers, the author demonstrates that the daily routines of both groups were instrumental in making intense urban and industrial expansion a less precarious endeavor.
Regennia N. Williams
Featuring over 200 striking photographs from the 1920s through 1980, Black America: Cleveland, Ohio celebrates the rich history of this great city's African-American community. Its neighborhoods, churches, civil, religious, business and cultural leaders, musical icons, and sports heroes are all brought to life here through the archives of local newspapers and historical societies, as well as the private collections of many Cleveland residents.
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