Spring 2008

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Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
  • Publication
    From the Editor
    (2008-04-01) Omansky, Rachel J.
    The Editorial Board is pleased to present the second issue of the fifteenth volume of the Penn History Review, the Ivy League’s oldest undergraduate history journal. The Review continues to publish outstanding undergraduate papers based on original primary research. The Board is proud to feature scholarship that maintains our tradition of insightful and diverse historiography. These papers span not only centuries and geographic regions, but also across disciplines in the study of history. The authors published in this issue approach their historical inquiries with a particular respect to the larger theme of exploration. In addition to providing four exemplary student essays, this issue of the Review also offers a special section entitled ‘The Study of History.’
  • Publication
    A Tax on Light and Air: Impact of the Window Duty on Tax Administration and Architecture, 1696-1851
    (2008-04-01) Glantz, Andrew E
    It is not at all uncommon for readers of eighteenth and nineteenth century British history to stumble across references to the Window Tax buried within accounts of more notable measures and events of the period. Descriptions of the tax are often trivial, inserted to provide color and context, to demonstrate the peculiarity—at least from a modern viewpoint—of the earlier English tax system and its cultural repercussions. Historians writing about this period frequently include a sentence or two relating the grievances of British homeowners who boarded or bricked up windows to evade the tax. Few bother to enumerate, however, the larger, indirect consequences of the Duty on Lights and Windows, or even explain why it was imposed in the first place.1 There are only a handful of scholarly articles on the subject and hardly anything original written on theWindow tax within the last fifty years. W.R. Ward’s lone article, “The Administration of the Window and Assessed Taxes, 1696-1798,”2 published in The English Historical Review in 1952 and a chapter from Stephen Dowell’s A History of Taxation and Taxes in England, printed as early as 1884, remain the two most important secondary sources on the tax for modern scholars.
  • Publication
    Textbook Giants Face the Future: American Citizenship, the Study of History, and the Uncertain Years Ahead
    (2008-04-01) Schiera, Andrew J
    By definition, American history textbooks have no business contemplating the years to come. A crude definition of history would limit the range of inquiry backwards in time, to the past. After all, is it not true that most history textbooks are simply a “miscellaneous collection of names, dates, and facts” about the past?1 Further, many historians hold the study of “present history” in contempt because the assemblage of present “facts” is simply too disorderly to fashion a coherent thesis. We can interpret the importance of past events because we know their effects. We have no such knowledge in the present and certainly have even less authority to “interpret” the future. Perhaps it is reassuring that high school history classes rarely get to these pages about the future anyway—after all, it is by definition impossible for a history class to finish by studying the future, and it is not a well-kept secret that most classes fail to make it up to the present, Vietnam, WorldWar II, or even the Roaring Twenties.
  • Publication
    The Study of History: The Senior Honors Theses
    The final component of our section on ‘The Study of History’ is the listing of the 2008 senior honors theses. The following abstracts offer a summary of the projects completed this year for the thesis program.
  • Publication
    The Study of History: Graduate School
    As a part of our special section on ‘The Study of History,’ the Review conducted e-interviews with several graduate students in the history department. The students, whose studies encompass a wide range of historical concentrations, are at various stages of their graduate careers. All the students received the same questions proposed by the Editorial Board pertaining to their current research, undergraduate careers, and the transition between the two levels of study.
  • Publication
    How One Fourteenth-Century Venetian Remembered the Crusades: The Maps and Memories of Marino Sanuto
    (2008-04-01) Harte, Julia
    Geographic information acquired over the course of the crusades indisputably altered how most Europeans envisioned the world, yet how that information was acquired and popularized is less certain. No official cartographers accompanied the crusading armies, whose official purpose was to cleanse the Holy Land by reclaiming it for Christendom, not to study neighboring lands or the cultures that tainted it. Curious individuals whom the larger activity of the crusades had fortuitously positioned in exotic places— ambassadors, missionaries, or inhabitants of the crusader states—therefore made most geographic discoveries of the time.