Open Access (free)
Smoke as urban life in early modern London
William Cavert

Early modern London consumed a vast amount of mineral coal, which created a uniquely dirty, smoky, urban atmosphere. The phrase ‘sin and sea coal’, used in plays, essays and private letters, came to stand for this physical environment and its moral meaning, but in ways that were complex and variable. By about 1700 it represented the medical and moral dangers of the urban environment, but also inhabitants’ self-aware choices to endure or even to enjoy those dangers. Such uses show how perceptions of the city, rather than shifting from negative to positive, could remain unresolved across the early modern period. It was a metaphor for urban life that could be either serious or playful, earnest or mocking, moralising or libertine. London as smoky and sinful was a stereotype, but one that did not contribute to increasing social tension or political division, nor cause people to fight their neighbours or kill their enemies. Instead, it contributed to a nagging and persistent sense that urban growth and economic improvement had regrettable but perhaps inevitable costs, environmental as well as social and moral.

in Stereotypes and stereotyping in early modern England
Puritans, papists and projectors
Editor:

Early modern stereotypes are often studied as evidence of popular belief, something mired with prejudices and commonly held assumptions. This volume of essays goes beyond this approach, and explores practices of stereotyping as contested processes. To do so the volume draws on recent works on social psychology and sociology. The volume thereby brings together early modern case studies, and explores how stereotypes and their mobilisation shaped various negotiations of power, in spheres of life such as politics, religion, everyday life and knowledge production. The volume highlights early modern men’s and women’s remarkable creativity and agency: godly reformers used the ‘puritan’ stereotype to understand popular aversion to religious discipline; Ben Jonson developed the characters of the puritan and the projector in ways that helped diffuse anxieties about fundamental problems in early modern church and state; playful allusions to London’s ‘sin and sea coal’ permitted a knowing acceptance of urban growth and its moral and environmental costs; Tory polemics accused of ‘popery’ returned the same accusations to Whig Protestants; humanists projected related Christian stereotypes outwards to make sense of Islam and Hinduism in the age of Enlightenment. Case studies collectively point to a paradox: stereotyping was so pervasive and foundational to social life and yet so liable to escalation that collective engagements with it often ended up perpetuating the very processes of stereotyping. By highlighting these dialectics of stereotyping, the volume invites readers to make fresh connections between the early modern past and the present without being anachronistic.

Open Access (free)
A neoclassical realist perspective of Saudi foreign policy towards Iran in the post-2011 Middle East
May Darwich

This chapter employs a neoclassical realist approach to unravel the dynamics of Saudi-heightened tensions with Iran. It argues that Saudi foreign policy is at the intersection of international, regional and domestic conditions. Rising Saudi tensions with Iran are the result of structural conditions, exemplified in the multipolarity of the regional structure and the decline of US hegemonic control of the region. These structural conditions were compounded with the rise of a nascent top-down Saudi nationalism presenting the Kingdom as destined to play a leading role in rolling back Iranian expansion in the Arab world. Firstly, it presents the tenets of neoclassical realism. It then sets out the structural conditions that Saudi elites were facing during the decade following the 2011 uprisings. Thirdly, the chapter examines the rise of Saudi nationalism at the domestic level, which shaped Saudi elites’ responses to the structural conditions leading to tensions and escalation in its rivalry with Iran.

in Saudi Arabia and Iran
Francophobia and francophilia in Samuel Pepys’s Diary
David Magliocco

Stereotyping cannot be adequately understood in terms either of escalation or containment. Another aspect worth critical attention is the co-existence within society and within one individual of contradictory stereotypes – what social psychologists call cognitive polyphasia. This chapter explores this aspect of stereotyping by diving into the world of metropolitan sociability and cultural distinction, as recorded in copious diaries by one wealthy individual: Samuel Pepys. Pepys’s diaries recorded all things French, music, language, clothing and people. These were mentioned far more frequently than the Dutch, Scottish and other nationalities. This chapter demonstrates that Frenchness carried greater ambiguity than hitherto appreciated. While French Catholicism was linked with absolutism and arbitrary government (as discussed by both Harris and Morton), Frenchness was also associated in Pepys’s world with prestige, refined taste and distinction. It was possible for individuals like Pepys to embrace contradictory stereotypes, invoking different aspects of them depending on context. This understanding of dispositions towards French things, people and France itself complicates our understanding of ‘public opinion’ in this period, too often cast as a shift from anti-Dutch to anti-French positions. Transnational interactions then – as now – often gave prompted repulsion and ethnocentrism as well as emulation of the 'others'.

in Stereotypes and stereotyping in early modern England
Monika Gehlawat

Using political and critical theory, this article identifies in James Baldwin a model for citizenship unique to the Black artist who assumed the dual responsibilities of art practice and political activism. I engage with Baldwin’s fiction and his writing about other Black artists working in theater, film, dance, and music during the period of the civil rights movement. Across his career, Baldwin’s prevailing view was that, because of their history, Black artists have the singular, and indeed superlative, capacity to make art as praxis. Baldwin explains that the craft of the Black artist depends upon representing truths, rather than fantasies, about their experience, so that they are at once artists pursuing freedom and citizens pursuing justice. This article pays particular attention to the tension between living a public, political life and the need for privacy to create art, and ultimately the toll this takes on the citizen artist. Baldwin demonstrates how the community of mutual support he finds among Black artists aids in their survival. In his writings on Sidney Poitier and Lorraine Hansberry, his friendships with Beauford Delaney and Josephine Baker, as well as his reviews of music and literature, Baldwin assembles a collective he refers to as “I and my tribe.”

James Baldwin Review
A Review
Herb Boyd

This review of the James Baldwin symposium at Virginia State University weighs the insights presented by a number of Black and white scholars, only a few of whom might be considered deeply informed about his life and legacy. Even so, the emerging thinkers provide a wealth of new and interesting perspectives on Baldwin, and the event was highlighted by Molefi Kete Asante’s critical lecture. His comments are a veritable call to arms, an invitation to Baldwin devotees to contend with his conclusions, a process which this article will begin.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Justin A. Joyce

Justin A. Joyce introduces the eighth volume of James Baldwin Review with a discussion of the US Supreme Court, the misdirected uproar over Critical Race Theory, a survey of canonical dystopian novels, and the symbolism of masking during COVID-19.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Michael A. L. Broyles

In this mixture of memoir, reflection, and scholarship, the author details how, during a time of suffering, James Baldwin and singer Celia Cruz helped him understand his tense relationship with his toxic paternal grandparents and celebrate the reclamation of his stifled Mexican heritage.

James Baldwin Review
Circulating Baldwin in Contemporary Europe
Remo Verdickt

For several years now, James Baldwin’s life, portrait, and work have enjoyed a central place in the public eye. Although social and audiovisual media have made significant contributions to Baldwin’s return to the cultural and political limelight, the circulation of his published writings remains a vital part of the author’s ubiquity. Moreover, since Baldwin’s omnipresence in bookstores transcends an American or even Anglophone context, this international and multilingual circulation contributes to Baldwin’s world literary standing, as befits the self-described “transatlantic commuter.” This article moves beyond the customary approach to Baldwin’s published success by tracing presently circulating European translations of his work. The article examines the historical developments in Baldwin’s European circulation-through-translation from the time of his death (1987) up until the present, including brief discussions of the French, Italian, and West German translations from the 1960s onward. Of special interest are the pioneering and dominant roles that French and Italian publishers have played since the late 1990s, and the acceleration in circulation that took place across the continent in the wake of the films I Am Not Your Negro and If Beale Street Could Talk. The article concludes with a few remarks on the translation strategies of several key publishers in France, Italy, Germany, and Romania.

James Baldwin Review