By Elizabeth Schmidt
“The purpose of foreign policy is to promote national self-interest, not the well-being of others.” This provocative statement from the audience sparked a spirited discussion at a Washington History Seminar in April. In response, I argued that nations must embrace a definition of self-interest that is informed by historical and cultural understanding.
At the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice, just a few feet from Piazza San Marco, where thousands of tourists come each day to pose for pictures and eat gelato, sits a manuscript—Codice Marciano It. XI, 66—containing an invaluable account of a crucial diplomatic mission to Egypt from the 16th century. I consulted this text, which holds the only surviving version of Giovanni Danese’s eyewitness report of Ambassador Benedetto Sanudo’s embassy to the sultan in 1503. Danese, Sanudo’s personal secretary, has left us a wealth of information on the materially based forms of diplomacy that helped maintain a stable relationship between Venetians and Mamluks in the early modern period.
By Jessica Pearson-Patel
In the summer of 2013, I had the incredible fortune to participate in the National History Center’s 8th International Seminar on Decolonization in Washington, DC. I had just received my PhD in history and French studies at New York University and was about to start a postdoc at Tulane University. Although much of the seminar focused on helping participants advance their own research projects on the history of decolonization, I found that some of the most engaging conversations I had with both the seminar faculty and with my fellow participants centered on teaching.
By Amanda Banacki Perry
“I’m not getting curry powder at all. Being a Brit, we eat a lot of curry, and I don’t taste it in this.” As I was watching Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship, this comment by Lorraine Pascale, one of the judges on the show, jumped out at me. Her comment, which drew on a legacy of presumed British culinary expertise concerning curry, carried a clear message: Brits know their curry. And yet, the process by which curry became one of the most popular dishes in modern Britain is a complicated one of imperial appropriation, invention, and transformation.
By Darren A. Raspa
At its finest the news media connects us with human stories and events. As historians, it is these records of humanity from the past that drive us and link us to the people, events, and processes we have the privilege of dedicating our lives to. As a contributing historical editor for Morocco World News last summer, I had the immense opportunity to both participate in the writing of history as it unfolds today, and utilize the tools we have developed as trained historians.
By E. Natalie Rothman
How do we account for the interrelationship between the intense mobilities of persons, objects, and practices of knowledge-making in the medieval and early modern Afro-Eurasian oecumene?
AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.
Somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, sometime in the new millennium: After a few days of negotiating my way into a provincial archive, the big day has finally come. The archivist opens the doors to an old shed