CEU Press Publishes Two Books Ahead of Natalie Zemon Davis Annual Lecture

Heralding this year’s Natalie Zemon Davis Annual Lecture, CEU Press published the texts of two essays that were exposed at previous occasions of this illustrious lecture series. 

The first is Writing Cities by Professor James S. Amelang of Universidad Autonoma in Madrid. The text explores how writing about cities evolved in the early modern period. Interestingly, much had to be invented because very little was left behind in terms of urban discourse from antiquity. 

The book discusses what citizens found beautiful about their cities five or six centuries ago. The variety of forms in which the authors expressed their views is described, pointing at the widespread use of dialogue as the literary form chosen to describe cities.

The other book is In the Name of History by renowned historian Joan Wallach Scott of Princeton. She chose three events, distinct in place and time, to demonstrate how history is used as arbiter in current dilemmas, and what is expected from historians in this regard. 

The three cases are the Nuremberg Trial after the Second World War, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1996, and the ongoing movement for reparations for slavery in the United States.

Since its launch in 2006, the Natalie Zemon Davis Annual Lecture Series has become a major event of every fall term at CEU, organized by the Department of Medieval Studies and the Department of History. Each year a world-famous historian is invited to give three talks on their current research topic. These lectures are published in a series by CEU Press.

This year’s Natalie Zemon Davis Annual Lecture – the subject of a future CEU Press publication – will be held in three parts, on December 3, 4 and 5 at CEU’s Budapest campus. The speaker will be renowned Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg, who became world famous in 1976 after his book on heresy in the early modern era, titled The Cheese and the Worms, was published. 

Professor Ginzburg will speak about the ambiguities of secularism and religion. The trajectory of the lecture will take the audience from Machiavelli to the contemporary phenomenon of fake news.