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Bloomsbury Cultural Histories

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.

 

 



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Bloomsbury Cultural Histories on Trial

By Jutta Seibert

Bloomsbury Academic has given the Villanova community generous trial access to the Bloomsbury Cultural Histories book series until May 31. While the community has temporarily lost access to the print titles in the Library’s collection, it has gained electronic access to all titles published in the series.

If you are not familiar with Bloomsbury Cultural Histories, here is what you need to know in a nutshell. Each six-volume set explores a theme from antiquity to the present. Bloomsbury has published 16 sets so far. Topics include, among others, childhood and family, dress and fashion, the human body, the senses, western empires, work, and women. New this academic year are the six-volume Cultural History of Money and the Cultural History of Emotions. Announced for later this year are the Cultural History of Disability, the Cultural History of Marriage, and the Cultural History of Tragedy. Forthcoming themes include color, education, home, medicine, and sports.

Each six-volume set presents an authoritative survey of scholarship on a single topic through time. For example, each volume of the Cultural History of Western Empire has a chapter about race to allow readers to follow the topic through time. The first volume covers race in antiquity, followed by the medieval age, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the age of empire. The last volume covers race in the modern age.

The collection also includes a selection of cultural and social history books from Bloomsbury Academic, Berg, and Continuum. My personal favorites are Alison David’s Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present, Rudy Koshar’s German Travel Cultures. Leisure, Consumption and Culture, and David Sutton’s Remembrance of Repasts: An Anthropology of Food and Memory.

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 from the Library’s Databases A-Z list.

Let us know if you want to recommend this collection for permanent access.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Last Modified: April 1, 2020