History department faculty members spend a great deal of time outside the classroom working on research projects in their specific fields of interest.  This research directly benefits students and often results in the publication of scholarly articles and books. 

New Books by History Faculty

Kevin Kern & Greg Wilson

Ohio - A History of the Buckeye State.

Wiley-Blackwell, 2013

Professors Kevin Kern and Gregory Wilson have just published Ohio: A History of the Buckeye State. Hailed by Purdue University’s R. Douglas Hurt as “The best book on Ohio’s history in more than a generation,” the new volume builds on our department’s long-recognized prominence in the field of Ohio History that Professor Emeritus George Knepper established during his illustrious career. Drawing on the latest scholarship from history, archaeology, and political science, the interdisciplinary and thematic text explores the entire range of Ohio’s past from the earliest geological periods to the present day while weaving together major social, economic, and political trends over time.

The book has the distinction of being the first survey of Ohio history designed specifically for use in college-level courses, but Miami University’s Andrew Cayton believes it will have an even broader appeal: “Kevin Kern and Gregory Wilson’s readable, authoritative, and comprehensive book immediately becomes the standard point of departure for anyone interested in learning about Ohio’s rich and diverse past.”


Gang Zhao,

The Qing Opening to the Ocean: Chinese Maritime Policies, 1684-1757.

University of Hawai’i Press, 2013

Did China drive or resist the early wave of globalization? Some scholars insist that China contributed nothing to the rise of the global economy that began around 1500. Others have placed China at the center of global integration. Neither side, though, has paid attention to the complex story of China’s maritime policies. Drawing on sources from China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and the West, this important new work systematically explores the evolution of imperial Qing maritime policy from 1684 to 1757 and sets its findings in the context of early globalization.

Gang Zhao argues that rather than constrain private maritime trade, globalization drove it forward, linking the Song and Yuan dynasties to a dynamic world system. As bold Chinese merchants began to dominate East Asian trade, officials and emperors came to see private trade as the solution to the daunting economic and social challenges of the day. The ascent of maritime business convinced the Kangzi emperor to open the coast to international trade, putting an end to the tribute trade system. Zhao’s study details China’s unique contribution to early globalization, the pattern of which differs significantly from the European experience. It offers impressive insights into the rise of the Asian trade network, the emergence of Shanghai as Asia’s commercial hub, and the spread of a regional Chinese diaspora.

To understand the place of China in the early modern world, how modernity came to China, and early globalization and the rise of the Asian trade network, The Qing Opening to the Ocean is essential reading.



Constance Brittain Bouchard, editor

Three Cartularies from Thirteenth-Century Auxerre

University of Toronto Press, 2012


This edition presents the recently rediscovered episcopal cartulary of Auxerre, composed in the 1280s but assumed lost since the French Revolution. Along with confirmations by popes, quarrel settlements with counts, and agreements with the bishop’s tenants, the cartulary contains documents that were previously unknown, notably several papal decisions. Auxerre was unusually well documented for the period 800–1200, but little information on the bishopric’s history after 1200 has been available until now. The text contains a wealth of information about relationships between church leaders and other churches, between churches and secular leaders, and details on peasant rights and obligations.

This edition also includes the short thirteenth-century cartularies of the nuns of St.-Julien and of the cathedral chapter, the latter existing only in fragmentary form. With full annotation of people and places and English-language summaries, these cartularies make a valuable contribution to our understanding of this significant episcopal centre’s history.


Martha S. Santos,

Cleansing Honor with Blood: Masculinity, Violence, and Power in the Backlands of Northeast Brazil, 1845–1889.

Stanford University Press, 2012


This book offers a critical reinterpretation of male violence, patriarchy, and machismo in rural Latin America. It focuses on the lives of lower-class men and women, known as sertanejo/as, in the hinterlands of the northeastern Brazilian province of Ceará between 1845 and 1889. Challenging the widely accepted depiction of sertanejos as conditioned to violence by nature, culture, and climate, Santos argues that their concern with maintaining an honorable manly reputation and the use of violence were historically contingent strategies employed to resolve conflicts over scant resources and to establish power over women and other men. She also traces a shift in the functioning of patriarchy that coincided with changes in the material fortunes of sertanejo families. As economic dislocation, environmental calamity, and family separation led to greater female autonomy and an erosion of patriarchal authority in the home, public—and often violent—enforcement of male power maintained patriarchal order in these communities.


Janet Klein,

The Margins of Empire Kurdish Militias in the Ottoman Tribal Zone.

Stanford University Press, 2011

At the turn of the twentieth century, the Ottoman state identified multiple threats in its eastern regions. In an attempt to control remote Kurdish populations, Ottoman authorities organized them into a tribal militia and gave them the task of subduing a perceived Armenian threat. Following the story of this militia, Klein explores the contradictory logic of how states incorporate groups they ultimately aim to suppress and how groups who seek autonomy from the state often attempt to do so through state channels.

In the end, Armenian revolutionaries were not suppressed and Kurdish leaders, whose authority the state sought to diminish, were empowered. The tribal militia left a lasting impact on the region and on state-society and Kurdish-Turkish relations. Putting a human face on Ottoman-Kurdish histories while also addressing issues of state-building, local power dynamics, violence, and dispossession, this book engages vividly in the study of the paradoxes inherent in modern statecraft.