Jesse Spohnholz’s The Convent of Wesel: The Event That Never Was and the Invention of Tradition and other publications
Dr. Jesse Spohnholz’s new book, The Convent of Wesel: The Event That Never Was and the Invention of Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 2017), centers on a mystery that has perplexed historians for centuries. Purportedly, the Convent of Wesel was a clandestine assembly of Protestant leaders in 1568 that helped establish the foundation for Reformed churches in the Dutch Republic and northwest Germany. Spohnholz shows it was a myth perpetuated by historians and record keepers since the 1600s. Appropriately then, his book offers not just a history of the Reformation but a reflection on the nature of historical inquiry itself. The Convent of Wesel begins by offering a detailed microhistory that solves the mystery, and then traces knowledge about this document over four and a half centuries through historical writing, archiving and centenary commemorations to show how historians and archivists created and shaped the mystery.
The distinguished historian Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks calls the book, “as gripping as any murder mystery” and adds that “In our era of fake news and fabricated traditions, The Convent of Wesel provides both a cautionary tale and a defense of the practice of history.” Another prominent historian, Mary Lindamann, has called the book “a must read for all historians and not just for those interested in the Reformation or religious history.”
About the same time, Spohnholz’s coedited collection, Archeologies of Confession: Writing the German Reformation, 1517–2017 appeared, just in time for the 500-year-anniversary of the German Reformation. The book carefully reconstructs the politics of remembering and forgetting elements of the Reformation over centuries, and offers ways of reconstructing the fascinating and often surprising histories of plurality that have otherwise been lost or obscured. The book appeared in the Berghahn Books’ Spektrum series, published under the auspices of the German Studies Association.
In the past year, articles by Spohnholz appeared in the scholarly journals Church History and The Bulletin of the German Historical Institute on the topics of the memory of the Reformation and religious toleration during Europe’s Age of Religious Wars.
Sue Peabody publishes Madeleine’s Children: Family, Freedom, Secrets and Lies in France’s Indian Ocean Colonies and receives praise for other literary achievements
Professor Sue Peabody has published a new book: Madeleine’s Children: Family, Freedom, Secrets, and Lies in France’s Indian Ocean Colonies. Madeleine’s Children is rare narrative in world history of an enslaved person challenging his status in court and winning his freedom. It is the first full-length biography tracing slavery in the Indian Ocean world and contains a detailed family saga of love, betrayal, hope, and struggle set against the broader context of plantation slavery, Parisian society, and colonization.
Madeleine’s Children has become the center of attention in the French historical community, and earned her multiple awards since its release. For more information on awards related to Madeleine’s Children: Family, Freedom, Secrets, and Lies in France’s Indian Ocean Colonies, please see our article in “Scholarships & Awards.”
Sue Peabody’s 2017-18 literary accomplishments further include the many articles listed below:
Charles Weller edits the 21st-Century Narratives of World History: Global and Multidisciplinary Perspectives
In late 2017, Dr. Charles Weller announced the release of his latest work, 21st-Century Narratives of World History: Global and Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Find out more about this well-received collection of historical research and dialogue. Included below is an “about” excerpt from the publishing company.
“This book makes a unique and timely contribution to world/global historical studies and related fields. It places essential world historical frameworks by top scholars in the field today in clear, direct relation to and conversation with one other, offering them opportunity to enrich, elucidate and, at times, challenge one another. It thereby aims to: (1) offer world historians opportunity to critically reflect upon and refine their essential interpretational frameworks, (2) facilitate more effective and nuanced teaching and learning in and beyond the classroom, (3) provide accessible world historical contexts for specialized areas of historical as well as other fields of research in the humanities, social sciences and sciences, and (4) promote comparative historiographical critique which (a) helps identify continuing research questions for the field of world history in particular, as well as (b) further global peace and dialogue in relation to varying views of our ever-increasingly interconnected, interdependent, multicultural, and globalized world and its shared though diverse and sometimes contested history.”
Journal Articles, News Publications and Essays 2017-2018
Faculty publications to locate and read
- We would like to recognize the arrival of Dr. Shawna Herzog’s new article, “Domesticating Labor: An Illicit Slave Trade to the British Straits Settlements, 1811 – 1845.” It is part of a special edition of The Journal of World History that examines gender and empire. Released this January, her contribution demonstrates the ways gender complicated the enforcement of anti-slavery legislation on the colonial frontier. Please take a moment to read here and share!
- The department would like to share this Seattle Times article, “Jerusalem: Trump’s gift to evangelicals,” penned by Dr. Matthew Sutton. Professor Sutton teaches courses in 20th-century United States history, cultural history, and religious history.
- Dr. Ashley Wright’s article, “Not just a place for the smoking of opium: the Indian opium den and imperial anxieties in the 1890s” was published in the Summer 2017 edition of the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History. Check out her article!