Ex libris: Books Recently Published with NEH Support
May 7, 2017 3:35 AM   Subscribe

Among the books recently published with support from the still funded NEH, six are prizewinning history books, each of which has related material online. For example, Mark G. Hanna wrote a short piece on his book Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570–1740 for the NEH's own Humanities magazine: "A Lot of What Is Known about Pirates Is Not True, and a Lot of What Is True Is Not Known."

posted by Wobbuffet (13 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
This more-than-passing interest in pirates, as opposed to fathers, left me quite concerned. I had already taken my qualifying exams. I knew nothing about piracy. And since few scholars had written about piracy, I assumed it was not an important topic. Yet there it was, boarding the ship of my research agenda without permission.

posted by Bringer Tom at 5:29 AM on May 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

Man, that Newell book sounds fascinating:
In 1641 Massachusetts Bay passed the first slave law in the English Atlantic world, though the legal status of Indigenous Peoples in New England would remain ambiguous as colonists tried to have it both ways. If the Indians were subjects of the king or of the colonial governments, they were bound by English law, which meant they could be punished by servitude, but not slavery. If, however, they were “foreigners,” they could be taken as captives and forced into slavery, but that stance implicitly recognized the sovereignty of Indian nations, a problematic concept. The colonies never settled the status of American Indians definitively, which allowed individuals huge leeway in deciding whether their workers were servants or slaves, how long they could be held and whether or not their children were also slaves.

“Chattel slavery and freedom were at opposite ends of a broad spectrum, and many Indians occupied points along that spectrum in varying degrees of unfreedom,” writes Newell. Forced labor became one of the grievances that led to King Philip’s War in the mid 1670s. At the war’s end, as many as 40 percent of the Indians in southern New England were living in English households as indentured servants or slaves. Indians lived side-by-side with the English in those households, creating an intimacy that would have profound influences on both Indian and colonial societies, says Newell.
Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 7:28 AM on May 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

The distinction betwixt pirate, privateer and naval officer is narrow at best. Captain William Kidd was an accidental pirate, a privateer that lost control of his crew. Captain Henry Morgan was a protected from accusations of piracy by letters of marque; his reward was to become governor of Jamaica. Captain Francis Drake's privations against the Spanish resulted in a knighthood. Thank goodness for Captain Bartholomew Roberts, an repentant scoundrel that flew his black standard proudly and died, as he lived, at sea.
posted by SPrintF at 8:46 AM on May 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Fantastic post! Thank you!
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 9:20 AM on May 7, 2017

Oh wow, I want to read all of these. Yay for historians and the NEH, and thanks for the great post!
posted by mixedmetaphors at 12:36 PM on May 7, 2017

... yarrr?

Come on, you were all thinking it.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:38 PM on May 7, 2017

Yes. Great post!
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:57 PM on May 7, 2017

I'm so sleepy, but I thought the post was "Wobbuffet published with the aid of NEH" and I was like, "Yes, this is what a good government program is, we allow Pokemon to publish their original thoughts instead of it remaining in the subaltern. Why do the trainers keep dominating the narrative? Do we really know what Pikachu really thinks?!"

I will actually read this post now after posting this comment, but I couldn't resist...
posted by yueliang at 8:41 PM on May 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

Privateers, you say?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:02 PM on May 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Interesting timeline of piracy in the article.
I had to go back to the eye witness account of the sack of Panama that I found in the Library of Congress and saw that it predates the hightime decade mentioned in the article.
The original is called De Americaensche zee-roovers and is in Dutch. Quite readable still. The translation is called The American Buccaneers.
posted by jouke at 9:31 PM on May 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Many colonists feared that crack-downs on piracy masked darker intentions to impose royal authority, set up admiralty courts without juries of one’s peers, or even force the establishment of the Anglican Church.

Now they have substituted the United Nations for royal authority and Sharia law for the Anglican Church. The admiralty law thing is still around, of course.
posted by TedW at 6:35 AM on May 8, 2017

Great post! I'm glad to see Atlantic history is still going strong.
posted by HumanComplex at 6:39 AM on May 8, 2017

He's lucky it wasn't monkeys or ninjas; it's harder to find a thesis committee for those
posted by thelonius at 6:41 AM on May 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

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