front cover of Adulterous Alliances
Adulterous Alliances
Home, State, and History in Early Modern European Drama and Painting
Richard Helgerson
University of Chicago Press, 2000
Shakespeare, Vermeer, Lope de Vega, Molière, and Diderot dont usually keep company with one another. But in this acclaimed book, Richard Helgerson shows that each contributed to a common project of great significance: the artistic promotion of the middle-class home. In a study that stretches over two centuries, Helgerson looks beneath European drama and painting to reveal an unexpected prehistory of modern domesticity.
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The Ambiguity of Virtue
Bernard Wasserstein
Harvard University Press, 2014

In May 1941, Gertrude van Tijn arrived in Lisbon on a mission of mercy from German-occupied Amsterdam. She came with Nazi approval to the capital of neutral Portugal to negotiate the departure from Hitler’s Europe of thousands of German and Dutch Jews. Was this middle-aged Jewish woman, burdened with such a terrible responsibility, merely a pawn of the Nazis, or was her journey a genuine opportunity to save large numbers of Jews from the gas chambers? In such impossible circumstances, what is just action, and what is complicity?

A moving account of courage and of all-too-human failings in the face of extraordinary moral challenges, The Ambiguity of Virtue tells the story of Van Tijn’s work on behalf of her fellow Jews as the avenues that might save them were closed off. Between 1933 and 1940 Van Tijn helped organize Jewish emigration from Germany. After the Germans occupied Holland, she worked for the Nazi‐appointed Jewish Council in Amsterdam and enabled many Jews to escape. Some later called her a heroine for the choices she made; others denounced her as a collaborator.

Bernard Wasserstein’s haunting narrative draws readers into the twilight world of wartime Europe, to expose the wrenching dilemmas that confronted Jews under Nazi occupation. Gertrude van Tijn’s experience raises crucial questions about German policy toward the Jews, about the role of the Jewish Council, and about Dutch, American, and British responses to the persecution and mass murder of Jews on an unimaginable scale.

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Amsterdam Human Capital
Edited by Willem Salet and Sako Musterd
Amsterdam University Press, 2003
The familiar shape of western cities is changing dramatically. For long times the urban core was taken for granted as the focal point for international contacts and day-to-day activities in the region. Currently, the urban scope is transforming into multi centred forms at metropolitan scale. The transition is not just a matter of spatial form, it is reflecting social, economic and cultural processes. The question is what new identities may develop in such changing historical conditions of space and place.The book is a first attempt to analyse the process of urban transformation in an integral way. The focus is on the region of Amsterdam. All contributions are written by senior researchers of the Amsterdam studycentre for the Metropolitan Environment (AME). AME is the interdisciplinary urban research institute of the Universiteit van Amsterdam.As the urban research institute at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, the Amsterdam studycentre for the Metropolitan Environment (AME) analyses the economic, social and cultural aspects of this spatial transformation, usually in international comparative research. All contributions to this book are written by senior researchers of AME in an attempt to analyse in an integral way the present and future dilemmas out of the historical growth paths of this dynamic city.
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Anne Frank and Etty Hillesum
Inscribing Spirituality and Sexuality
de Costa, Denise
Rutgers University Press, 1998

Studies of Nazi persecution and destruction of Jews have to date largely been based on the accounts of men. And yet gender difference in Western society is so profound that women and men seem to have divergent experiences, speak different languages, and see and hear in dissimilar ways. Denise de Costa's book explores the significance of sex and gender differences in the construction of history and society-specifically, the Nazi genocide of Jews in World War II-by focusing on the writing of two Jewish women, Anne Frank and Etty Hillesum.

De Costa argues that although both of these writers have received much attention, little has been done to understand how the significant difference occasioned by both gender and Jewishness helps to define cultural or personal identity in relation to the Holocaust. De Costa uses a variety of psychoanalytic and feminist theories to approach the writing of Frank and Hillesum. Critiquing as well as employing the concepts of Julia Kristeva, Hélène Cixous, Luce Irigaray, and Simone de Beauvoir among others, she presents a detailed and rich discussion of each writer.

De Costa approaches Anne Frank largely from a psychoanalytical perspective that emphasizes the function of writing itself in the development of self-identity. For Etty Hillesum, she is more concerned with how writing establishes a philosophy, and a faith, that can entertain and is indeed based in doubleness and paradox. Her assessment of these two writers makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the Holocaust as a cultural and historical phenomenon, of the role of writing in the production and expression of gendered identity, and of the complex relation between women, writing, and culture.

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Argonauts of West Africa
Unauthorized Migration and Kinship Dynamics in a Changing Europe
Apostolos Andrikopoulos
University of Chicago Press, 2023
Examines the paradoxes of kinship in the lives of unauthorized African migrants as they struggle for mobility, employment, and citizenship in Europe.

In rapidly changing and highly precarious contexts, unauthorized African migrants turn to kinship in search of security, stability, and predictability. Through the exchange of identity documents between “siblings,” assistance in obtaining such documentation through kinship networks, and marriages that provide access to citizenship, new assemblages of kinship are continually made and remade to navigate the shifting demands of European states. These new kinship relations, however, often prove unreliable, taking on new, unexpected dynamics in the face of codependency; they become more difficult to control than those who enter into such relations can imagine. Through unusually close ethnographic work in West African migrant communities in Amsterdam, Apostolos Andrikopoulos reveals the unseen dynamics of kinship through shared papers, the tensions of race and gender that develop in mutually beneficial marriages, and the vast, informal networks of people, information, and documentation on which migrants rely. Throughout Argonauts of West Africa, Andrikopoulos demonstrates how inequality, exclusionary practices, and the changing policies of an often-violent state demand innovative ways of doing kinship to successfully navigate complex migration routes.
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front cover of Arguments Against the Christian Religion in Amsterdam by Saul Levi Morteira, Spinoza's Rabbi
Arguments Against the Christian Religion in Amsterdam by Saul Levi Morteira, Spinoza's Rabbi
Gregory Kaplan
Amsterdam University Press, 2017
This is the first book to offer a translation into English-as well as a critical study-of a Spanish treatise written around 1650 by Rabbi Saul Levi Morteira, whose most renowned congregant was Baruch Spinoza. Aimed at encouraging the practice of halachic Judaism among the Amsterdam-based descendants of conversos, Spanish and Portuguese Sephardic Jews who had been forced to convert to Christianity, the book stages a dialogue between two conversos that ultimately leads to a vision of a Jewish homeland-an outcome that Morteira thought was only possible through his program for rejudaisation.
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Armed Batavians
Use and Significance of Weaponry and Horse Gear from Non-military Contexts in the Rhine Delta (50 BC to AD 450)
Johan Nicolay
Amsterdam University Press, 2008
Using a life-cycle model for Roman soldiers, Johan Nicolay interprets the large quantity of first-century finds as personal memorabilia brought home by ex-soldiers as a reminder of their twenty-five years of service and a symbol of their newly-acquired veteran status. Underpinning Nicolay’s research is an extensive inventory of militaria from urban centers, rural settlements, rivers, and graves—presented in nearly one hundred individual color plates. Introducing a considerable body of unpublished data, as well as offering a perspective on daily life in the northern frontier of the Roman Empire, this volume is a valuable addition to Roman military and material history.
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Art at Auction in 17th Century Amsterdam
John Michael Montias
Amsterdam University Press, 2003
This book exploits a trove of original documents that have survived on the auctions organized by the Orphan Chamber of Amsterdam in the first half of the 17th century. For the first time, the names of some 2000 buyers of works of art at auction in the 29 extant notebooks of the Chamber have been systematically analyzed. On the basis of archival research, data have been assembled on the occupation of these buyers (most of whom were merchants), their origin (Southern Netherlands, Holland, and other), their religion, their year of birth, their date of marriage, the taxes they paid and other indicators of their wealth. Buyers were found to cluster in groups, not only by extended family but by occupation, religion (Remonstrants, Counter-Remonstrants) and avocation (amateurs of tulips and of porcelain, members of Chambers of Rhetoricians, and so forth). The subjects of the works of art they bought and the artists to which they were attributed (only the most important were attributed) are also analyzed. In the second part of the book on “Selected Buyers”, three chapters are devoted to art dealers who bought at auction and four to buyers who had special connections with artists, including principally Rembrandt. To forge a link between the cultural milieu of Amsterdam in this period and the buying public, two chapters are given over to buyers who were either poets themselves or were connected with contemporary poets. As a whole, the book offers a penetrating insight into the culture of the Amsterdam elite in the 17th century.
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The Art of Staying Neutral
The Netherlands in the First World War, 1914-1918
Maartje Abbenhuis
Amsterdam University Press, 2006
An insightful account of the challenges of neutrality in an era of total war, The Art of Staying Neutral shows how the Netherlands remained peaceful throughout World War I. This sustained neutrality, Maartje Abbenhuis demonstrates, was the result of many factors, including masterly diplomacy, careful adherence to international laws and a decisive measure of good fortune. Neutrality, however, did not come without considerable costs to the nation’s economy and security. 

This book is a major contribution both to the study of neutrality and the domestic history of the Netherlands.

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Artifice and Illusion
The Art and Writing of Samuel van Hoogstraten
Celeste Brusati
University of Chicago Press, 1995
Samuel van Hoogstraten is familiar to scholars of Dutch art as a talented pupil and early critic of Rembrandt, and as the author of a major Dutch painting treatise. In this book, Celeste Brusati looks at the art, writing, and career of this multi-faceted artist.

Analyzing van Hoogstraten's painting treatise, illusionistic pictures, ingenious perspective boxes, and witty trompe-l'oeil images, Brusati reveals the crucial role these endeavors played in the forging of van Hoogstraten's professional and social identity. Brusati looks at the historical circumstances of van Hoogstraten's career, which he fashioned from a convergence of Dutch cultural practices, family genealogy, and his considerable entrepreneurial acumen. She shows how Van Hoogstraten exploited the court patronage system to secure the worth of his work in the newer market culture of the Dutch Republic.

Brusati explores Van Hoogstraten's use of illusionistic artifice in his art and writing to shed new light on the much-disputed nature of Dutch "realism", and she discusses how a notion of "experimental artistry", which linked representational craft to the production of knowledge, informed Van Hoogstraten's many projects and framed the terms within which he and his colleagues understood artistic achievement during this period.
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The Assassination of Theo van Gogh
From Social Drama to Cultural Trauma
Ron Eyerman
Duke University Press, 2008
In November 2004, the controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was killed on a busy street in Amsterdam. A twenty-six-year-old Dutch citizen of Moroccan descent shot van Gogh, slit his throat, and pinned a five-page indictment of Western society to his body. The murder set off a series of reactions, including arson against Muslim schools and mosques. In The Assassination of Theo van Gogh, Ron Eyerman explores the multiple meanings of the murder and the different reactions it elicited: among the Amsterdam-based artistic and intellectual subculture, the wider Dutch public, the local and international Muslim communities, the radical Islamic movement, and the broader international community. After meticulously analyzing the actions and reputations of van Gogh and others in his milieu, the motives of the murderer, and the details of the assassination itself, Eyerman considers the various narrative frames the mass media used to characterize the killing.

Eyerman utilizes theories of social drama and cultural trauma to evaluate the reactions to and effects of the murder. A social drama is triggered by a public transgression of taken-for-granted norms; one that threatens the collective identity of a society may develop into a cultural trauma. Eyerman contends that the assassination of Theo van Gogh quickly became a cultural trauma because it resonated powerfully with the postwar psyche of the Netherlands. As part of his analysis of the murder and reactions to it, he discusses significant aspects of twentieth-century Dutch history, including the country’s treatment of Jews during the German occupation, the loss of its colonies in the wake of World War II, its recruitment of immigrant workers, and the failure of Dutch troops to protect Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995.

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At the Edge of the Abyss
A Concentration Camp Diary, 1943-1944
David Koker; Edited by Robert Jan van Pelt; Translated from the Dutch by Michiel Horn and John Irons
Northwestern University Press, 2012
Finalist for 2012 National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category

David Koker's diary is one of the most notable accounts of life in a German concentration camp written by a Jew during the years of the Holocaust. First brought to attention when the Dutch historian Jacob Presser-Koker's history teacher in high school-quoted from Koker's diary in his monumental history, published in English as The Destruction of the Dutch Jews (1968), the diary itself became a part of the Dutch literary canon when it was published in 1977 as Dagboek geschreven in Vught (Diary Written in Vught). It has remained in print ever since, and is notable for its literary qualities, weaving poetry and powerful observations of the emotional life of a camp prisoner, including reflections after an in-person visit by Heinrich Himmler. Surprisingly, the book has never before been translated into English.

During his time in the Vught concentration camp, the 21-year-old David recorded on an almost daily basis his observations, thoughts, and feelings. He mercilessly probed the abyss that opened around him and, at times, within himself. David's diary covers almost a year, both charting his daily life in Vught as it developed over time and tracing his spiritual evolution as a writer. Until early February 1944, David was able to smuggle some 73,000 words from the camp to his best friend Karel van het Reve, a non-Jew. 

With an informative introduction, annotation, and list of dramatis personae by Robert Jan van Pelt, At the Edge of the Abyss offers an immediate and wholly original look into the life of a concentration camp prisoner.
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Attached to the World
On the Anchoring and Strategy of Dutch Foreign Policy
Ben Knapen, Gera Arts, Yvonne Kleistra, Martijn Klem, and Marijke Rem
Amsterdam University Press, 2011
Due to the rapid rise of globalization, the Netherlands has never been more politically, socially, and economically connected to other countries. To address this development, the Scientific Council for Government Policy is providing new reflections on Dutch foreign policy in this report. The most important suggestions include more governmental transparency, smart use of nongovernmental organizations, and adapting government structures to take advantage of the Netherlands’ position within Europe.
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The Autumn of the Middle Ages
Johan Huizinga
University of Chicago Press, 1996
"Here is the first full translation into English of one of the 20th century's few undoubted classics of history." —Washington Post Book World

The Autumn of the Middle Ages is Johan Huizinga's classic portrait of life, thought, and art in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century France and the Netherlands. Few who have read this book in English realize that The Waning of the Middle Ages, the only previous translation, is vastly different from the original Dutch, and incompatible will all other European-language translations.

For Huizinga, the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century marked not the birth of a dramatically new era in history—the Renaissance—but the fullest, ripest phase of medieval life and thought. However, his work was criticized both at home and in Europe for being "old-fashioned" and "too literary" when The Waning of the Middle Ages was first published in 1919. In the 1924 translation, Fritz Hopman adapted, reduced and altered the Dutch edition—softening Huizinga's passionate arguments, dulling his nuances, and eliminating theoretical passages. He dropped many passages Huizinga had quoted in their original old French. Additionally, chapters were rearranged, all references were dropped, and mistranslations were introduced.

This translation corrects such errors, recreating the second Dutch edition which represents Huizinga's thinking at its most important stage. Everything that was dropped or rearranged has been restored. Prose quotations appear in French, with translations preprinted at the bottom of the page, mistranslations have been corrected.

"The advantages of the new translation are so many. . . . It is one of the greatest, as well as one of the most enthralling, historical classics of the twentieth century, and everyone will surely want to read it in the form that was obviously intended by the author." —Francis Haskell, New York Review of Books

"A once pathbreaking piece of historical interpretation. . . . This new translation will no doubt bring Huizinga and his pioneering work back into the discussion of historical interpretation." —Rosamond McKitterick, New York Times Book Review
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