Between the Middle Ages and Modernity: Individual and Community in the Early Modern World

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9780742553095: Between the Middle Ages and Modernity: Individual and Community in the Early Modern World

This groundbreaking book examines the complex relationships between individuals and communities during the profound transitions of the early modern period. Historians have traditionally identified the origins of a modern individualist spirit in the European Renaissance and Reformation. Yet since the 1960s, evolving scholarship has challenged this perspective by calling into question its basic assumptions about individualism, its exclusive focus on elite individuals, and its inherent Eurocentric bias. Arguing that individual identity drew from traditional forms of community, these essays by leading scholars convincingly show that individual and community created and recreated one another in the major structures, interactions, and transitions of early modern times. The authors contend that on the one hand, communities provided the stability that allowed for individual agency, even as they imposed new forms of discipline that confined individuals to more rigid moral and social norms. On the other hand, individuals established forms of association to advance their own economic, social, political, and religious agendas. Offering an important contribution to our understanding both of the early modern period and of its historiography, this volume will be an invaluable resource for scholars working in the fields of medieval, early modern, and modern history, and on the Renaissance and Reformation.

Contributions by: Jerry H. Bentley, Thomas A. Brady Jr., Douglas Catterall, Donald J. Harreld, Susan C. Karant-Nunn, Marie Seong-Hak Kim, Henk van Nierop, Charles H. Parker, Michael N. Pearson, Carla Rahn Phillips, William D. Phillips Jr., Elizabeth Bradbury Pollnow, Kathryn L. Reyerson, Hugo de Schepper, Ulrike Strasser, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, and Markus P. M. Vink

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About the Author:

Charles H. Parker is associate professor of history at Saint Louis University. Jerry H. Bentley is professor of history and director, Center for World History, at the University of Hawai`i.

Review:

Parker and Bentley have done a nice job of pulling together a wide range of topics in these 16 essays, which make the case for the early modern world as a field of historical studies. . . . This collection is a significant contribution to the study of early modernity. Highly recommended. (CHOICE)

The editors selected a program of . . . broad relevance to the early modern subfield, one that successfully accommodates both methodological reflections and more empirical studies. (Sixteenth Century Journal)

This excellent volume powerfully makes the case for Early Modernity as a field of historical studies, doing so specifically from the perspective of the ‘new social history.' It is impressive both in its insistence on bringing the ‘structures of everyday life' to the fore and its vigour in moving away from eurocentrism. (Jonathan Israel, Institute for Advanced Study)

A fine volume that will contribute significantly to understanding of both the early modern period and its historiography. At the cutting edge of historical scholarship, it is particularly illuminating in combining European with non-European histories and exploring interactions between cultures and continents. (Anthony Black, University of Dundee)

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