By Jutta Seibert
Bloomsbury’s Cultural Histories are multi-volume sets that survey the social and cultural construction of specific subjects through the ages. All volumes in a set explore the same themes. For example, the Cultural History of Western Empires consists of six volumes covering antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Empire, and the modern age. Each volume in the set includes a chapter on race written by an expert in the field. Compare the chapter on race by Cord Whitaker from the volume covering the Middle Ages in the Cultural History of Western Empires to the chapter on race by Vanita Seth from the volume covering the Age of Enlightenment to gain a better understanding of what the series has to offer.
The digital platform currently comprises 24 subjects ranging from animals to work. Recently added subjects include comedy, education, home, memory, and peace. Color, democracy, fairy tales, genocide, medicine, and sport are among the subjects currently in production.
The collection also includes a small selection of complementary cultural and social history books from Bloomsbury Academic, Berg, and Continuum. Among them are David Sutton’s exploration of the relationship between food and memory in Remembrance of Repasts: An Anthropology of Food and Memory (Berg, 2001) and Mark M. Smith’s Sensory History (Berg, 2017), to give just two examples.
Visual resources from the Wellcome Collection, the Rijksmuseum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art round out the collection, which also includes an interactive timeline and lesson plans for the undergraduate classroom. Remote access is provided through the Library’s Databases A-Z list under B.
Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.