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As the British and French empires expanded, constructing new imperial dimensions through growing commerce and the relationships of industrialisation, the bases of Spanish power were being undermined. Nationalism, revolt, the pursuit of forms of decolonisation (often aided by Spain's rivals) became the prime characteristic of Central and South American politics. This book examines the study of natural history in the Spanish empire in the years 1750-1850, explaining how the Spanish authorities collected specimens for the Real Jardín Botanico and the Real Gabinete de Historia Natural. During this period, Spain made strenuous efforts to survey, inventory and exploit the natural productions of her overseas possessions, orchestrating a series of scientific expeditions and cultivating and displaying American fauna and flora in metropolitan gardens and museums. This book assesses the cultural significance of natural history, emphasising the figurative and utilitarian value with which eighteenth-century Spaniards invested natural objects, from globetrotting elephants to three-legged chickens. Attention is also paid to the ambiguous position of Creole (American-born Spanish) naturalists, who were simultaneously anxious to secure European recognition for their work, to celebrate the natural wealth of their homelands. It considers the role of precision instruments, physical suffering and moral probity in the construction of the naturalist's professional identity. The book assesses how indigenous people, women and Creoles measured up to these demanding criteria. Finally, it discusses how the creation, legitimisation and dissemination of scientific knowledge reflected broader questions of imperial power and national identity.

Intercession and integration in the medieval English leper hospital
Carole Rawcliffe

special status were further encouraged by the longstanding belief that they belonged among the fortunate few, specifically designated by the Councils of Lyon (1274) and Florence (1438), who would be ‘purified’ of sin on earth through their physical suffering. As a result, they would ascend ‘straightway into heaven and have the pure vision of God himself’, bypassing purgatory altogether. 11 Far less attention has, however, been paid to the ways in which these ideas may have influenced practical responses to leprosy, both before and after the Black Death, by which time

in Leprosy and identity in the Middle Ages
Shanyn Altman

recovery, ‘comes to stand for and reveal divine strength made perfect through weakness’. 96 As Mary Ann Lund argues, in the Devotions ‘the experience of illness is reinscribed, precisely and paradoxically, as “spirituall recovery”, where physical suffering leads to penitence and forgiveness’, and the convalescence period is ‘a time and place of physical vulnerability when one can look backwards and

in Witnessing to the faith
Living spirituality

Between 1598 and 1800, an estimated 3, 271 Catholic women left England to enter convents on the Continent. This study focuses more particularly upon those who became Benedictines in the seventeenth century, choosing exile in order to pursue their vocation for an enclosed life. Through the study of a wide variety of original manuscripts, including chronicles, death notices, clerical instructions, texts of spiritual guidance, but also the nuns’ own collections of notes, this book highlights the tensions between the contemplative ideal and the nuns’ personal experiences. Its first four chapters adopt a traditional historical approach to illustrate the tensions between theory and practice in the ideal of being dead to the world. They offer a prosopographical study of Benedictine convents in exile, and show how those houses were both cut-off and enclosed yet very much in touch with the religious and political developments at home. The next fur chapters propose a different point of entry into the history of nuns, with a study of emotions and the senses in the cloister, delving into the textual analysis of the nuns’ personal and communal documents to explore aspect of a lived spirituality, when the body, which so often hindered the spirit, at times enabled spiritual experience.


The book explores the relationship between violence against women on one hand, and the rights to health and reproductive health on the other. It argues that violation of the right to health is a consequence of violence, and that (state) health policies might be a cause of – or create the conditions for – violence against women. It significantly contributes to feminist and international human rights legal scholarship by conceptualising a new ground-breaking idea, violence against women’s health (VAWH), using the Hippocratic paradigm as the backbone of the analysis. The two dimensions of violence at the core of the book – the horizontal, ‘interpersonal’ dimension and the vertical ‘state policies’ dimension – are investigated through around 70 decisions of domestic, regional and international judicial or quasi-judicial bodies (the anamnesis). The concept of VAWH, drawn from the anamnesis, enriches the traditional concept of violence against women with a human rights-based approach to autonomy and a reflection on the pervasiveness of patterns of discrimination (diagnosis). VAWH as theorised in the book allows the reconceptualisation of states’ obligations in an innovative way, by identifying for both dimensions obligations of result, due diligence obligations, and obligations to progressively take steps (treatment). The book eventually asks whether it is not international law itself that is the ultimate cause of VAWH (prognosis).

Protection of animals in nineteenth-century Britain

This book explores for the first time women’s leading roles in animal protection in nineteenth-century Britain. Victorian women founded pioneering bodies such as the Battersea Dogs’ Home, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and the first anti-vivisection society. They intervened directly to stop abuses, promoted animal welfare, and schooled the young in humane values via the Band of Mercy movement. They also published literature that, through strongly argued polemic or through imaginative storytelling, notably in Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, showed man’s unjustifiable cruelty to animals. In all these enterprises, they encountered opponents who sought to discredit and thwart their efforts by invoking age-old notions of female ‘sentimentality’ or ‘hysteria’, which supposedly needed to be checked by ‘masculine’ pragmatism, rationality and broadmindedness, especially where men’s field sports were concerned. To counter any public perception of extremism, conservative bodies such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for long excluded women from executive roles, despite their crucial importance as donors and grassroots activists. However, women’s growing opportunities for public work in philanthropic projects and the development of militant feminism, running in parallel with campaigns for the vote, gave them greater boldness in expressing their distinctive view of animal–human relations, in defiance of patriarchy. In analysing all these historic factors, the book unites feminist perspectives, especially constructions of gender, with the fast-developing field of animal–human history.

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Helen Cowie

in increased public involvement in the natural sciences, as savants like Mieg strove to banish ‘sterile admiration’ from museum visits. It was also reflected in changing attitudes towards scientific practitioners, whose intellectual heroism and physical sufferings attracted increasing reward and prestige at a time when virtue and personal merit were slowly superseding an impeccable genealogy as the

in Conquering nature in Spain and its empire, 1750–1850
Murderers, martyrs and the ‘sacred space’ of the early modern prison
Lynn Robson

the austeritie of his profession, and a pulpit … drawing many soules out of the sinke of heresie’. 37 The physical sufferings caused by his devotions made even Protestant ministers (who flocked to ‘converse’ with him) remonstrate against his chosen privations. Benet's devotions prove a piety that derives from his ordination, but the physical sufferings which form part of his devotions intensify his sanctity. It is his sufferings in particular that ‘get God’ into Benet's cell. This is a common theme in accounts of

in People and piety
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Christopher Lloyd

self-effacing or serves the cause of popular entertainment is too easily overlooked (or subsumed into broader discussions of generic features which pay little attention to the specificity of individual works). Yet Clouzot is evidently more than an entertainer, particularly if entertainment is taken to mean the production of formulaic fantasies that offer banal or consoling simplifications of life’s problems. His most potent films are rarely consoling, since they dwell relentlessly on mental and physical suffering, human duplicity, social injustice and hypocrisy, and the

in Henri-Georges Clouzot
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Myra Seaman

's sin]; / Lecher, of luste I rede [advise] thee blyne [cease]’ (13–16). The feeding of vinegar and the being born of a virgin are even less like the five wounds than is the unconventional wound of the head pricked by thorns; they are certainly torments, however, the former (drinking vinegar) more familiarly evoking physical suffering than the latter (being born human). Shuffelton notes that the equivalent line to ‘Of a clene meyden I was born’ (13) is, in Cambridge University Library MS Ff.5.48, ‘Alle my body was beten for sin’, which he observes seems ‘a clearer

in Objects of affection