Saturday, November 20, 2010

Heads-up for 20 November 2010

New Books In History by Marshall Poe
Kyra Hicks, “This I Accomplish: Harriet Powers’ Bible Quilt and Other Pieces”
There was a freed slave named Harriet Powers who made really beautiful, highly literate, and deeply religious quilts. In the world of quilting (which is much bigger than you think), she’s a bit like Vermeer: not many pieces, but all highly valued. And like Vermeer, she’s interesting because we don’t know a lot about her. In This I Accomplish: Harriet Powers’ Bible Quilt and Other Pieces (2010), Kyra Hicks does her best to fill in the many blanks. The book is a combination detective story, journey of discovery, and guide to further research. Hicks, a master quilter herself, doggedly pursues every lead she can find regarding the mysterious Powers, and they take her to some very unexpected places (for example, Keokuk, Iowa). The picture of Powers that emerges from This I Accomplish is that of a skilled, religiously-inspired artist, confident and proud of her work, moving through a long-forgotten world of African American quilters.
(review, feed)

Philosopher's Zone
The Mystery of Hegel
His thought was hugely influential and hugely difficult. The philosopher Bertrand Russell once described him as the single most difficult philosopher to understand. He was Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Though he enjoyed relative fame during his lifetime, in the decades after his death in 1831, according to one writer, Hegel´s ideas were treated with "a mixture of contempt, horror and indifference." But something happened during the 20th century that brought Hegel back into sight for philosophers and thinkers. This week on The Philosopher´s Zone find out what that was.
(review, feed)

The State We're In
Stealing children
A father hatches a plan for his son to escape from Japan after his ex-wife took him there illegally. A detective specializing in snatchbacks tells how he returns children to their custodial parents from other countries. And a young black woman raised by a white family in the Netherlands talks about meeting her birth mother in Ghana for the first time.
(review, feed)

Veertien Achttien
Franz Joseph en de ogen van de waarzegster (zondag 19 november 1916)
'Mij blijft niets bespaard', verzucht keizer Franz Joseph van Oostenrijk-Hongarije na de moordaanslag op zijn vrouw Elisabeth, die hem postuum als Sissi naar de kroon zal blijven steken. Al eerder ook van zijn zoon beroofd, krijgt de stokoude vorst in 1914 het lot van de wereld toegespeeld.
(review, feed)

Diarmaid MacCulloch in podcast

As usual it was a great pleasure to listen to BBC's In Our Time. The latest issue contained a discussion of Foxe's Book of Martyrs which was published at the height of the stormy Reformation in England in 1563 and was frequently republished afterward. Foxe's historic work gave the new Protestant Churches a legitimacy by making a connection between Christian martyrs through the ages. (feed)

One of the guests at the BBC was historian Diarmaid MacCulloch whose voice I recognized from a lecture I fondly remember at the LSE about the pasts and futures of Christianity. Here he showed the enormous varieties of Christianity through the ages and in all corners of the world. It made me search for his name in iTunes.

My search brought me to the 24th episode of the podcast Some Books Considered (feed). Historian Diarmaid MacCulloch spoke with podcast host Dan Skinner about his book Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. MacCulloch chose the title to indicate that the history prior to Christianity is important to understand the context of the of religion’s birth and also to indicate that it still has a long history yet to unfold. The book has been described as the first truly global history that examines the great ideas and personalities of Christianity. MacCulloch also examined how Christianity is currently being expressed in different cultures around the world.