(5 resources)

The Return of Merchant Capitalism
Lichtenstein, Nelson - University of California, Santa Barbara
2010-09-09 16:13:15-04:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Tisch Hall Room 1014
Duration: 01:35:26

Exemplified by the rise to commercial power and political influence of the Wal-Marts and other transnational retailers of our own time, the political economy of 21st century merchant capitalism echoes that of the antebellum era when the merchant traders and wholesalers of Boston, New York, and Liverpool also occupied a strategically vital locale in the world economy. Now, as then, the manufacturing enterprise stands in a subordinate relationship to that of the merchant; commodity-like products are traded and sold on a global basis; and labor from the new “workshops of the world” is often squeezed, sweated, mobile, and unfree.

Introduction by Ron Suny, Director of the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies

Dr. Lichtenstein is Professor of History and the director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His latest book is The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business, Picador Press
The Aftershocks of History in Haiti
Dubois, Laurent - Duke University
2010-09-23 16:13:53-04:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Tisch Hall Room 1014
Duration: 01:50:26

In this lecture Professor Dubois presents the broad outlines of his new book Haiti: The Aftershocks of History, which seeks to explain how internal conflicts and external pressures have shaped state and society in Haiti since its independence in 1804. The work interprets Haitian history by focusing on the struggle over the meaning of freedom in the post-slavery society, and highlights the history of democratic movements within the country in an effort to understand and analyze their failure to transform the state. It also seeks to provide a broad historical analysis of the causes of poverty in Haiti. The talk, in it’s broadest sense, emphasizes the vitality and necessity of returning to history in order to comprehend and confront Haiti’s present and future.

Introduction by Ron Suny, Director of the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies

Laurent Dubois is Professor of French Studies and History at Duke University and a leading expert on Haitian history and culture. His books include Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France (University of California Press, forthcoming spring 2010), Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804: A Brief History With Documents (with John Garrigus; 2006), and Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution (2004).
Torture and the Moral Risks of Excess in Muscovite Witch Trials
Kivelson, Valerie - University of Michigan
2010-10-07 16:13:16-04:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Tisch Hall Room 1014
Duration: 01:41:52

Torture was a routine part of formal Muscovite witchcraft and murder trials in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, yet its application outside of the court setting was considered a heinous violation of moral and legal norms. Muscovite moral and pragmatic reasoning drew the line at a loosely defined concept of “excess.” Torture within limits, exercised in authorized venues by designated officials, carried the sacral weight of tsarist justice; torture outside of those parameters was deemed a violation of the obligations of fundamental principles of social order. The definitions of justifiable and unjustifiable violence against the human body illuminate the pivotal structures of Muscovite society. In today’s world, when torture has reappeared as a widely accepted tool for interrogation, attempting to understand the logic and limits of the use of torture assumes new salience.

Introduction by Ron Suny, Director of the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies

Valerie Kivelson is Professor of History and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the university of Michigan.
She is the author of Autocracy in the Provinces: Russian Political Culture and the Gentry in the Seventeenth Century (Stanford University Press, 1997), and of Cartographies of Tsardom: The Land and Its Meanings in Seventeenth-Century Russia, (Cornell University Press, 2006), awarded the Bainton History and Theology Prize and the Held Prize for the Best Book by a Woman in Slavic Studies for 2007. She has co-edited three volumes of essays: The New Muscovite Cultural History: A Collection in Honor of Daniel B. Rowland, with Karen Petrone, Nancy Shields Kollmann, and Michael Flier (Slavica Publishers, 2009); Picturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture, with Joan Neuberger (Yale university Press, 2008); and Orthodox Russia: Studies in Belief and Practice, with Robert H. Green (Penn State University Press, 2003). She is currently finishing a book on Russian witchcraft, from which her talk derives.
Poor People's Movements and the Cold War in the Middle East
Thompson, Elizabeth - University of Virginia
2010-10-21 16:14:18-04:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Tisch Hall Room 1014
Duration: 01:48:14

On September 15, 1951, tens of thousands of peasants gathered in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo to rally for land reform and an end to landowner privilege. Never before had such a large and public congress been held on behalf of peasants in the Middle East. The leader of the movement was Akram al-Hawrani, a dapper lawyer and parliamentarian who had launched the peasant movement a decade before, to challenge the lock hold of landowners on Syrian politics. Hawrani’s movement had contributed to ousting the French from Syria in 1946 and had won electoral reforms that now guaranteed direct and secret ballots. But in the 1950s the movement collided with a foe that it would not vanquish: the Cold War. Hawrani’s Arab Socialist Party aimed to ally with urban workers largely controlled by the Syrian communist party, and to ally with the urban middle class organized by the Ba`th party in a coalition that might have mirrored the successful coalitions that produced social democracy in Scandinavia. But anti-communist policies of the Eisenhower administration magnified landowner power and encouraged foreign intervention, leading to the complete collapse of the political arena in Syria. Hawrani’s peasant coalition, like poor people’s movements elsewhere in the region, disappeared from history and memory. This amnesia persists today, when a hegemonic discourse about anti-Western subversion diverts attention from the problem and politics of poverty in the Arab world.
Economic Systems, Colonization and the Production of Difference: Thinking Through Southern New Zealand
Ballantyne, Tony - University of Otago, New Zealand
2010-12-02 16:06:00-05:00
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Tisch Hall Room 1014
Duration: 01:43:00

This lecture examines the complex connections between environment, economic systems, and understandings of cultural difference. It uses a particular space - the southern part of New Zealand that was known as 'Murihiku' - to explore how ecology, technology, and resource use framed the very different economies of the region's Maori communities and its later Anglo-Celtic colonists. It also demonstrates the ways in which these later colonists and the colonial state used these divergent economic orders to justify the dispossession and marginalization of Maori. This case study serves as a basis for a broader set of reflections on how both British imperial and world historians have grappled with the connections between race and economics.

Tony Ballantyne is Professor of South Asian and Colonial history at University of Otago, New Zealand