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The Problem of Violence in Early Modern Europe

Seminar Question

  • What are the key issues which the historian of violence in early modern Europe needs to address?

Required Reading

All students should read

Ruff, Julius R., Violence in Early Modern Europe 1500-1800 (Cambridge, 2001), Introduction

AND two of the following items:


E-Resources


Further Reading

Adler, Jeffrey S., and Thomas W. Gallant, ‘What Do Historians Have to Say about Violence?The Harry Guggenheim Foundation Review of Research 4 (2000)

Arnade, Peter, 'Carthage or Jerusalem? Princely Violence and the Spatial Transformation of the Medieval into the Early Modern City', Journal of Urban History 39/4 (2013), 726-748

Bernstein, Richard J., Violence: Thinking without Banisters (Cambridge, 2013)

Bessel, Richard, Violence: A Modern Obsession (London, 2015), Introduction

Besteman, Catherine, ed., Violence: A Reader (Basingstoke, 2002)

Body-Gendrot, Sophie, and Pieter Spierenburg, eds, Violence in Europe: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (New York, 2008)

Carroll, Stuart, 'Thinking with Violence', History and Theory, Special Issue: Theorizing Histories of Violence, 56/4 (2017), 23-43.

Eisner, Manuel, 'Long-Term Historical Trends in Violent Crime', Crime and Justice 30 (2003), 83-142.

Elias, Norbert, The Civilizing Process, trans. Edmond Jephcott, 2 vols (New York, 1978-82)

Evans, Brad, and Natasha Lennard (eds), Violence: Humans in Dark Times (San Francisco, 2018)

Evans, Brad, and Terrell Carver, 'The Subject of Violence', in Brad Evans and Terrell Carver, eds, Histories of Violence: Post-war Critical Thought (London, 2017), pp. 1-13.

Feldman, Allen, Formations of Violence: the Narrative of the Body and Political Terror in Northern Ireland (Chicago, 1991)

Gartner, Rosemary, and Bill McCarthy (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Gender, Sex, and Crime (Oxford, 2014) [Especially the essays in Part II]

Guilaine, Jean, and Jean Zammit, The Origins of War: Violence in Prehistory (Oxford, 2005)

Hale, J.R., 'Violence in the Late Middle Ages: A Background', in Lauro Martines, ed., Violence and Disorder in Italian Cities, 1200-1500 (Berkeley, 1972), pp. 19-37.

Hallenberg, Mats, 'The Golden Age of the Aggressive Male? Violence, Masculinity and the State in Sixteenth-Century Sweden', Gender & History 25/1 (2013), 132–49.

Heitmeyer, Wilhelm, and John Hagan (eds), International Handbook of Violence Research (Dordrecht, 2003)

Johnson, Eric A., and Eric H. Monkkonen, eds, The Civilization of Crime: Violence in Town and Country since the Middle Ages (Urbana, 1996)

Lacour, Eva, ‘Faces of Violence Revisited. A Typology of Violence in Early Modern Rural Germany’, Journal of Social History 34/3 (2001), 649-667.

Malešević, Siniša, The Sociology of War and Violence (Cambridge, 2010)

Meumann, Markus, ‘The Experience of Violence and the Expectation of the End of the World in Seventeenth-Century Europe’, in Joseph Canning, Hartmut Lehmann and Jay Winter (eds), Power, Violence and Mass Death in Pre-modern and Modern Times (Farnham, 2004), pp. 141–62.

Ong, Walter J., Fighting for Life: Contest, Sexuality and Consciousness (Ithaca, 1981)

Roberts, Penny, 'French Historians and Collective Violence', History and Theory, Special Issue: Theorizing Histories of Violence, 56/4 (2017), 60-75.

Roth, Randolph, 'Homicide in Early Modern England 1549-1800 : The Need for a Quantitative Synthesis', Crime, History & Societies 5/2 (2001), 33-67.

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy, and Philippe I. Bourgois, 'Making Sense of Violence', in Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Philippe I. Bourgois, eds, Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology (Oxford, 2004), pp. 1-31.

Schinkel, Willem, Aspects of Violence: A Critical Theory (Basingstoke, 2010)

Sharpe, James, A Fiery and Furious People: A History of Violence in England (London, 2015)

Spierenburg, Pieter, A History of Murder: Personal Violence in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present (Cambridge, 2008). See the reviews by Trevor Dean and Robert Shoemaker.

Spierenburg, Pieter, ed., Men and Violence: Gender, Honor and Rituals in Modern Europe and America (Columbus OH 1998)

Spierenburg, Pieter,'Punishment, Power, and History: Foucault and Elias', Social Science History 28 (2004), 607-636.

Spierenburg, Pieter, 'Violence and the Civilizing Process: Does it Work?' Crime, History & Societies 5/2 (2001), 87-105.

Spierenburg, Pieter, Violence and Punishment: Civilizing the Body Through Time (Cambridge, 2013)

Springer, Simon, and Philippe Le Billon, Philippe, 'Violence and Space: An Introduction to the Geographies of Violence', Political Geography 52 (2016), 1-3.

Tilly, Charles, The Politics of Collective Violence (Cambridge, 2003)

Watson, Katherine D., 'Introduction', in Katherine D. Watson, ed., Assaulting the Past: Violence and Civilization in Historical Context (Cambridge, 2007), pp. 1-19.

Wood, John Carter, 'Conceptualizing Cultures of Violence and Cultural Change', in Stuart Carroll, ed., Cultures of Violence: Interpersonal Violence in Historical Perspective (Basingstoke, 2007), pp.79-96.

Wood, John Carter, 'It's a Small World After All?: Reflections on Violence in Comparative Perspectives', in Barry Godfrey, Clive Emsley and Graeme Dunstall, eds, Comparative Histories of Crime (Cullompton, 2003), pp. 36-52.

Wood, John Carter, 'The Limits of Culture? Society, Evolutionary Psychology and the History of Violence', Cultural and Social History 4/1 (2007), 95-114.

Wood, John Carter, 'Locating Violence: The Spatial Production and Construction of Physical Aggression', in Katherine D. Watson, ed., Assaulting the Past: Violence and Civilization in Historical Context (Newcastle, 2007), pp. 20-37.

Ziemann, Benjamin, 'Histories of Violence', Reviews in History (2012)

Raphael, Fighting Men