The Amsterdam Colloquium: Some Thoughts

By Martijn Icks On June 21st, Edwina Hagen and I organized the colloquium “Character Assassination! Media and Mudslinging from Caligula to King Gorilla” in Amsterdam. We invited experts on various periods in Western history to discuss practices of character assassination from an historical perspective. Comparing various case studies, we hoped to shed light on some... Continue Reading →

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Character Assassination: The Historical Perspective [Part 2]

By Martijn Icks In my previous blog, I argued for the importance of historical perspectives on character assassination. However, historical research also comes with its own challenges and limitations. Let’s have a look at some of these. Perhaps the most obvious challenge is the danger of anachronism: we should be very careful not to assume... Continue Reading →

As Crazy As Caligula? [Part 1]

By Henri van Nispen Oderint, dum metuant. “Let them hate, so long as they fear.” It certainly is an adage appropriate for a creature like Wolverine. The saying, attributed to the Roman emperor Gaius Caligula (12-41 CE), would also fit someone like President Trump, even though Nobel laureate Paul Krugman thought Caligula the better of... Continue Reading →

The Character of Thomas Jefferson: Then and Now [Part 2]

Today, the most notable character attacks of Thomas Jefferson derive from widely-circulated newspapers, campus protests, or national figureheads. But Jefferson’s character is also questioned in students' history texts. This has not always been so. In the mid-nineteenth century, instruction books devoted considerable space to Jefferson, casting him in a favorable light. Publications from 1835, 1842... Continue Reading →

The Character of Thomas Jefferson: Then and Now [Part 1]

By Mikayla Knutson In recent years, research into Sally Hemings’ life highlighted the experiences of slaves at Monticello and prompted questions of Thomas Jefferson’s apparent hypocrisy: the Founding Father who penned that “all men are created equal” and hold “unalienable Rights” to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” was a slave master. As part of... Continue Reading →

New Book Announcement

By Jennifer Keohane I want to use this post to share a bit of exciting news. I have a new monograph, released with Lexington Books, an imprint of Rowman and Littlefield. The book is available now on the Rowman website or Amazon. This project is the culmination of 6 years of archival research at the... Continue Reading →

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