Faculty in the department are actively engaged in research. Here are some of their current and recent projects:
Professor Graham recently received a Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship from the ACLS to support her new project entitled The Economy of Pleasure in Eighteenth-Century France. She is currently one of the scholars in residence at Columbia University's Institute for Scholars in Paris where she is conducting research for this project. Tracing debates about pleasure from the reign of Louis XIV to the Revolution in 1789, Graham argues that discussions of fiction, marriage, sexuality, commercial society and government reveal a profound anxiety about pleasure. These anxieties and tensions suggest that our understanding of "modern" depends on Enlightenment efforts to discipline the human drive to pleasure.
Professor Hayton is finishing his first book on the science of astrology at the Holy Roman Court in Vienna. This work explores the multifarious relationships between politics and science in at the end of the fifteenth century. His book argues that astrology provided a coherent and persuasive philosophical justification for Emperor Maximilian's political, social, religious, and artistic goals. Indeed, astrology united the otherwise disparate activities of the numerous courtiers, humanists, artists, and scientists whom Maximilian so eagerly attracted to his court and so generously supported once they were there. Building on his earlier work on science in central Europe, Hayton's new project uses science and court patronage as a lens onto the fascinating world of Matthias Corvinus, Hungary's most famous Renaissance monarch.
Professor Kitroeff is currently revising and updating his book Wrestling with the Ancients: Modern Greek Identity & the Olympics (2004) that analyzed Greece’s relationship to the modern Olympic movement from the first modern games held in Athens in 1896 through the preparations for the 2004 Athens Olympics. The book argues that Greece’s role in the international Olympic movement entailed a construction of, and confrontation with, its dual identity as presumptive heir to antiquity’s heritage and putatively modernized European state. The book’s updated edition covers the last minute preparations for the Athens Olympics, the cultural meaning the hosts attached to the Games themselves and their aftermath. It considers whether the 2004 Olympics shaped Greek national identity or national identity shaped Greece's relationship to the Games.
Professor Krippner's current research investigates visual representations of Mexico and “Mexicanidad” created during the 1920’s and 1930’s following the Mexican Revolution, with an emphasis on the work of the North American photographer and filmmaker Paul Strand. He recently published "Traces, Images and Fictions: Paul Strand in Mexico, 1932-34" in the journal The Americas 64(2007). Drawing on traditional historical sources as well as evidence from photographs and a film, Krippner discusses local politics and cultural production in Mexico during the 1930s. He is currently working on a book-length project that builds on these questions and themes.
Professor Smith’s conference volume on “The Song-Yuan-Ming Transition in Chinese History” (co-edited with Richard von Glahn) identifies the period between 1100 and 1600 as a distinct historical era, unified by evolutionary trends in social organization, economic activity, and the production and consumption of knowledge and culture. A Chinese translation of his introductory essay has been included in a volume on significant Western approaches to periodizing Chinese history. His recent publications focus on the problems of war and political culture during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), a theme he is pursuing in his current book project on “Warriors and Courtiers in Mid-Imperial China: The Song Officer Corps and the Literati State, 1040-1140.” Although the literati bureaucrats of the Song endeavored to promote civil over military values and institutions, their aspirations were impeded by the presence of powerful and expansionist non-Chinese polities on their northern frontier. Thus long after the dynastic founding a robust military culture persisted in North China that Song officials sought to harness in the century from 1040 to 1140, when a series of defensive and irredentist wars obliged the court to revive the careers of northern military families, conscript northern peasants out of the fields, and entrust the survival of the dynasty to powerful “house armies” like those led by Yue Fei. This century-long revival of North China’s military culture ended only with the court’s formal surrender of the region to the Jurchen Jin in 1141, after which the literocentric values of the south that historians associate with Song “civilism” finally came to dominate Song culture in general. At its broadest, Smith’s study will explore how the intersecting and often conflicting imperatives of war, state-building, and class formation helped shape the political culture of mid-imperial China.