A Passion for History: Conversations With Denis Crouzet (Early Modern Studies, Volume 4)

A Passion for History: Conversations With Denis Crouzet (Early Modern Studies, Volume 4)

Natalie Zemon Davis, Denis Crouzet

Language: English

Pages: 233

ISBN: 2:00316299

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The pathbreaking work of renowned historian Natalie Zemon Davis has added profoundly to our understanding of early modern society and culture. She rescues men and women from oblivion using her unique combination of rich imagination, keen intelligence, and archival sleuthing to uncover the past. Davis brings to life a dazzling cast of extraordinary people, revealing their thoughts, emotions, and choices in the world in which they lived. Thanks to Davis we can meet the impostor Arnaud du Tilh in her classic, The Return of Martin Guerre, follow three remarkable lives in Women on the Margins, and journey alongside a traveler and scholar in Trickster Travels as he moves between the Muslim and Christian worlds. In these conversations with Denis Crouzet, professor of history at the Sorbonne and well-known specialist on the French Wars of Religion, Davis examines the practices of history and controversies in historical method. Their discussion reveals how Davis has always pursued the thrill and joy of discovery through historical research. Her quest is influenced by growing up Jewish in the Midwest as a descendant of emigrants from Eastern Europe. She recounts how her own life as a citizen, a woman, and a scholar compels her to ceaselessly examine and transcend received opinions and certitudes. Natalie Zemon Davis reminds the reader of the broad possibilities to be found by studying the lives of those who came before us, and teaches us how to give voice to what was once silent.

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equation. xii Foreword A second approach, one that also emerged from divisions developed during the Internationalist moment, was more humanistic but no less social-scientific in its analysis of individual and collective motives for action, alike. This approach led to cultural studies with themes articulated through the artistic, the ritualistic, and the historical. Through her speeches and her talent as an organizer and writer, Rosa Luxemburg worked out a powerful alternative model for

my Sunday School—“Fellow Jews in foreign lands / whose lives are in a monster’s hands,” it began—and I recall that my family was proud of me for that. I certainly read the newspapers that came into my house, so I had access to news if not dinner-table discussion about it. I left for Smith College in September 1945, and most of my political discussion, which was very extensive, took place there. DC:  Why do you think there was so little discussion of the Holocaust within your family? NZD:  During

because “class” had fallen into disrepute as a mainstream term during the cold war (“social stratification” was preferred). The main quarrels I recall on that subject were among us on the left: there was a famous debate in Paris, where Joan Scott, Louise Tilly, and I took on Edward P. Thompson—we wanted gender to be part of the story along with class, and we felt we won the day.34 Another contrast is in the more decentralized structure of American universities compared to France. In France,

of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, it’s her long study of the myth of the Queen Margot. DC:  France, whatever else it might be, has never succeeded in becoming fully attuned to American research approaches to the history of women. There don’t exist, as far as I know, in the great Parisian universities any professorial chairs in the history of women. NZD:  American research approaches are not the relevant criterion. It would be helpful to have a chair or two in France focused on

this was a social version of the idea of the chosen people, but one born from my personal experience rather than from formal teaching. 130 Commitments 131 Then at Kingswood, my high school, a Jew among the goyim, I was president of the student council: I took my role very seriously indeed and wrote in the student newspaper about “an alert, enlightened student body” and about how “there can be no barrier between the [student] groups, for each of us finds her place in the scheme of things.” My

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