Monday, March 5, 2007

Sacco & Vanzetti globalized, Military History re-examined and more in the new JAH

From slaves as civil war "contraband," to a global history of Sacco and Vanzetti, to a new look at military history, there is much for legal historians in the new issue of the Journal of American History, now on-line. A subscription is required, but there also should be access in university libraries. Here are a few previews:
"'The Cause of Her Grief': The Rape of a Slave in Early New England," by Wendy Anne Warren
In the essay that won the 2006 Louis Pelzer Award, Warren tells the story of the rape of an enslaved African woman on an island in Boston Harbor in 1638. That assault calls our attention to the importance of African slavery and transatlantic connections to colonial New England, and the fragmentary nature of the evidence raises larger questions concerning the nature of history itself.

"'A Rare Phenomenon of Philological Vegetation': The Word 'Contraband' and the Meanings of Emancipation in the United States," by Kate Masur
At the beginning of the Civil War, Gen. Benjamin Butler of the Union army designated escaping slaves as "contraband of war." Masur explores how and why the term "contraband" leapt instantly into popular culture and became a crucial part of Americans' vocabulary of race and servitude during the war.

"The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti: A Global History," by Lisa McGirr
Between 1921 and 1927, the trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti sparked a movement among international radicals, labor movement activists, and intellectuals as well as the popular masses. McGirr explores the dynamics of the worker-led and worldwide protests, both at the time of the trial and during the subsequent memorialization, to capture a unique moment of transnational solidarity.
ROUND TABLE: American Military History
"Mind and Matter--Cultural Analysis in American Military History: A Look at the State of the Field," by Wayne E. Lee

Lee challenges historians to follow recent trends in military scholarship that bring a humanistic perspective to the study of war, viewing military institutions and behavior through a cultural lens. He synthesizes conventional wisdom in military scholarship, while highlighting arenas of ongoing debate.

Responses are from Tami Davis Biddle, Brian P. Farrell, Marc Milner, Brian Holden Reid and Ronald H. Spector.