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Volume I offers historiographical surveys and general overviews of central topics in the history of world sexualities. Split across twenty-two chapters, this volume places the history of sexuality in dialogue with anthropology, women's history, LGBTQ+ history, queer theory, and public history, as well as examining the impact Freud and Foucault have had on the history of sexuality. The volume continues by providing overviews on the sexual body, family and marriage, the intersections of sexuality with race and class, male and female homoerotic relations, trans and gender variant sexuality, the sale of sex, sexual violence, sexual science, sexuality and emotion, erotic art and literature, and the material culture of sexuality.
Volume III provides in-depth analyses of specific times and places in the history of world sexualities, to investigate more closely the lived experience of individuals and groups to reveal the diversity of human sexualities. Comprising twenty-five chapters, this volume covers ancient Athens, Rome, and Constantinople; eighth- and ninth-century Chang'an, ninth- and tenth-century Baghdad, and tenth- through twelfth-century Kyoto; fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Iceland and Florence; sixteenth-century Tenochtitlan, Istanbul, and Geneva; eighteenth-century Edo, Paris, and Philadelphia; nineteenth-century Cairo, London, and Manila; late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Lagos, Bombay, Buenos Aires, and Berlin, and twentieth-century Sydney, Toronto, Shanghai, and Rio de Janeiro. Broad in range, this volume sheds light on continuities and changes in world sexualities across time and space.
Volume II focuses on systems of thought and belief in the history of world sexualities, ranging from early humans to contemporary approaches. Comprising eighteen chapters, this volume opens with a chapter on the evolutionary legacy and then delves into the sexualities of ancient Egypt, the Near East, Greece, and Rome, continuing with pre-modern South Asia, China, and Japan, Africa, the Americas, and Oceania. Chapters include an examination of sexuality in the religious traditions of Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and also look at more recent approaches, including scientific sex, sexuality in socialism and Marxism, and the intersections between sexuality, feminism, and post-colonialism.
Volume IV examines the intersections of modernity and human sexuality through the forces, ideas, and events that have shaped the modern world. Through eighteen chapters, this volume examines connections between sexuality and the defining forces of modern global history including capitalism, colonialism, migration, consumerism, and war; sexuality in modern literature and print media; sexuality in dictatorships and democracies; and cultural changes such as sex education and the sexual revolution. The volume ends with discussions of the difficult issues we in the modern world continue to face, such as restrictions on reproductive rights, sex tourism, STDs and AIDS, sex trafficking, domestic violence, and illiberal attacks on sexuality.
The economy of many parts of Europe changed significantly during the period from 1450 to 1600. The vast majority of Europeans continued to live in villages and make their living by agriculture, but new, larger-scale processes of trade and production shaped both the cities and the countryside, altering the landscape and leading to environmental problems. Population growth and the worsening climate of the Little Ice Age contributed to food shortages, rising prices of basic commodities, and a growing polarization of wealth. In western Europe landless people often migrated in search of employment, while in eastern Europe noble landowners reintroduced serfdom, tying peasants to the land. Rural areas in both western and eastern Europe became more specialized in what they produced, and in cities wealth increasingly came from trade. Investment in equipment and machinery to process certain types of products, such as metals and cloth, increased significantly, with coal replacing increasingly scarce wood in some areas as a source of heat and power. Successful capitalist merchant-entrepreneurs made vast fortunes in banking and moneylending, while the poor supported themselves any way they could.
In the seventeenth century, the British and French established successful permanent settler colonies in North America, while the Dutch established colonies and trading centers in North America, southern Africa, and southeast Asia. In the Indian Ocean basin, first the Dutch and then the British took over more and more trade. Private companies supported these ventures, providing financial backing, ships, and personnel. In the Caribbean and parts of the Americas, European powers established colonies where enslaved Africans worked producing crops on large plantations. Colonization involved the willing and coerced migration of millions of people, who carried their customs, languages, religious beliefs, food ways, and other aspects of their culture with them. These blended into new hybrid forms in a process of creolization, just as groups themselves blended through intermarriage and other sexual relationships. The Europeans who ruled the colonies developed systems of defining and regulating people using changing conceptualizations of difference, in which a hierarchical system based on “race” became increasingly dominant. Colonization also spread Christianity around the world, which blended with other existing and imported spiritual traditions. Colonies also had a powerful economic impact, though the degree to which they shaped the “rise of the West” is hotly debated.
During this era educated individuals and professionally trained writers, artists, and composers developed new and distinctive types of cultural products, but they also continued to share many traditions with their less educated neighbors. Universities offered the most advanced education, and increasingly adopted humanist curricula that emphasized original texts. Humanists asserted that educated men should be active in political life, and several wrote important works of political theory. Italian humanists grew interested in Greek philosophy, while northern humanists regarded humanism as a way to bring about needed reforms in the Christian Church. The increase in literacy provided a market for all types of printed books in vernacular languages, and theaters staged the works of playwrights for a variety of audiences. Artists, especially in Italy, developed an innovative style in which they tried to achieve a sense of balance, proportion, and harmony. The word “Renaissance” was first used by authors writing about art in the sixteenth century, who began to see painters, sculptors, and architects as creative geniuses rather than simply artisans. They viewed this as a revival of Europe’s classical past, but art and other aspects of culture were also powerfully shaped by contacts with Asia, Africa, and (after 1492) the Americas.
In the seventeenth century, every state in Europe had an official Church, whose clergy worked with secular authorities to enforce morality and confessional unity. Authorities imprisoned and banished religious dissidents, and tried and executed witches, who were increasingly understood as enemies of God. Many people came to feel that state Churches were hollow or overly formal, however, and instead turned to groups that encouraged more personal forms of devotion and individual piety. This interiorization of religion occurred among Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christians, and also among Jews and Muslims. In the eighteenth century, educated elites became increasingly secular, but, for most Europeans, religious devotion, expressed through individual actions such as prayer or communal activities such as worship services, remained strong. Movements such as Methodism, Jansenism, pietism, and Hasidism made religion more rather than less important in many people’s lives. The religious landscape of Europe was more diverse by the end of the eighteenth century than it had been two hundred years earlier, however. Within many denominations there was a wide spectrum of belief and practice, from those who attended services only for holidays and family events to those for whom faith shaped every activity.
After 1450 the size and scope of more centralized government institutions increased in many parts of Europe. Rulers of larger states, beginning with the Ottoman sultans, established permanent standing armies and supported more professionalized naval forces. They developed new types of taxes and bureaucracies to pay for these increased military expenditures, and engaged in shrewd marital strategies to expand their holdings through marriage as well as warfare. The processes of consolidation followed similar patterns, but with local variations in England, France, Spain, Portugal, the Ottoman Empire, Poland–Lithuania, Muscovy, Denmark–Norway, and Sweden. In the Holy Roman Empire the Habsburg emperors were unable to establish a centralized nation-state because of political and religious divisions, and in Italy wealthy city-states ruled by merchants dominated politics. Everywhere lower levels of government, such as cities, villages, and parishes, also collected taxes, issued laws, and maintained courts, and traditional elites adapted to new circumstances very well. Rulers in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries did not limit their activities to what we would consider politics but often attempted to shape the cultural and religious lives of their subjects as well, recognizing that these were integral to maintaining power.
Covering European history from the invention of the printing press to the French Revolution, the third edition of this best-selling textbook is thoroughly updated with new scholarship and an emphasis on environmental history, travel and migration, race and cultural blending, and the circulation of goods and knowledge. Summaries, timelines, maps, illustrations, and discussion questions illuminate the narrative and support the student. Enhanced online content and sections on sources and methodology give students the tools they need to study early modern European history. Leading historian Merry Wiesner-Hanks skillfully balances breadth and depth of coverage to create a strong narrative, paying particular attention to the global context of European developments. She integrates discussion of gender, class, regional, and ethnic differences across the entirety of Europe and its overseas colonies as well as the economic, political, religious, and cultural history of the period.
The “rise of the individual” is often viewed as one of the key themes of early modern European history, but research has also shown the continued importance of family status and connections. The social structure was not rigid, although both middle-class and upper-class people tried to reinforce distinctions between social groups. Literate people often spent time each day writing letters, which, combined with diaries and journals, provide insight into people’s thoughts and emotions, including love and affection for family members. Early modern physicians and anatomists studied the body to examine physical processes and the ways these connected with the mind and soul. In some places public health measures, such as quarantining or the disposal of waste, slowed down the spread of such diseases. Most childbirths were handled by female midwives, who were trained professionally in the larger cities and varied in their techniques to handle births. Certain forms of sexual behavior, including pregnancy out of wedlock, the sale of sex, and same-sex relationships, were increasingly criminalized, although the enforcement of sexual laws was intermittent and dependent on one’s social class and gender.
In the seventeenth century, the economic center of Europe shifted from Italy to northwestern Europe, because of technological advances, institutions that promoted capital accumulation, and stronger networks of exchange in a booming Atlantic economy. The lack of all these made eastern Europe the least prosperous part of the continent. In western Europe, new crops and crop rotation patterns, improved livestock breeding, the draining of marshes, and other developments led to significant growth in agricultural productivity, though they were also socially disruptive. Demand for new consumer goods increased, spurring both global trade and local production. With a slight improvement in the climate in the middle of the eighteenth century, along with new food crops, better public health measures, and other factors, the population of Europe began to rise more swiftly than it had beforehand. Many people combined agricultural work with handicraft production, or migrated to cities in search of work, gathering together in manufactories organized by investors. Work increasingly involved the use of machines powered by hand, animals, water, wind, and – by the eighteenth century – coal. This transformation occurred first in cloth production, and then in mining, with negative effects on air quality and the environment.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, scientists, philosophers, writers, artists, and composers were interested in questions of order and structure – of the universe, human society, and the individual. So were the people who read, saw, heard, and discussed their works in clubs, coffeehouses, salons, newspapers, and journals. Many people developed new ways to contemplate the universe and the place of humans in it: physicians, chemists, and alchemists observed and experimented on the natural world; astronomers searched the skies with the newly invented telescope; mathematicians posited laws to explain how basic forces worked. Philosophers increasingly argued that reason was the best tool for understanding the world, though most thought that the capacity for rational thought varied widely between different types of people. Concern with order and the limits of human understanding emerged in literature as well, while art and music saw giant works on a huge scale but also smaller, more reflective pieces. The eighteenth century saw a broadening of culture and learning, but also a growing split between professional and amateur – both trends that created a larger market for many types of cultural products.
The seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries are often viewed as the “age of absolutism,” but customary privileges, legal variations, and the enormous expenses of nearly constant warfare imposed limits on absolute monarchs. Wars included regional wars, civil wars, dynastic wars, revolts, and Europe-wide conflicts, all fought with larger and more deadly standing armies and navies. Warfare shaped the internal political history of each state, which followed somewhat distinct patterns but also exhibited certain common themes: an expansion of centralized authority; the continued development of government bureaucracy; and the pursuit of territorial power and colonial wealth. France, Spain, Britain, the Ottoman Empire, the Austrian Habsburgs, Brandenburg–Prussia, Sweden, Poland, and Russia all saw struggles between the nobles and the ruler, and warfare with one another. In the British Isles, disputes led to civil war and a temporary overthrow of the monarchy, while the Dutch Republic became amazingly prosperous through trade and toleration. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, rulers in many of these states, who saw themselves as “enlightened,” began programs of reforms designed to enhance their own power and military might, but also to improve the lives of their subjects.
This chapter presents a snapshot of all of Europe in 1450, when the climate was colder and wetter than it had been several centuries earlier, which led to poor harvests and recurring famine. Most people lived in small villages in households organized around a marital couple, and never traveled very far. Cities were growing in many parts of Europe, however, with some urban dwellers becoming wealthy and powerful, though the nobility remained the dominant group. In some areas nation-states were slowly coalescing, and everywhere warfare was common, with gunpowder weapons becoming increasingly important. The invention of the printing press with movable metal type spurred the expansion of literacy in vernacular languages, though advanced education was in Latin, and limited to men. The Christian Church in central and western Europe was a wealthy, hierarchical, bureaucratic institution headed by the pope. Most people living in Europe were Christian, and engaged in a variety of religious rituals throughout the year and across their lifespans, as did Jews and Muslims. Production of most commodities was organized through guilds, but cloth-making and mining were increasingly organized along capitalist lines, with an investor providing money for tools, and workers paid for their labor.