February 5, 2001
History professor Jonathan Beecher is the author of Victor Considerant and the Rise and Fall of French Romantic Socialism (University of California Press, February 2001). In the process of conveying a rich understanding of the life of Victor Considerant, one of the most engaging figures among 1840s French romantic intellectuals and a follower of great utopian thinker Charles Fourier, Beecher traces the rise and fall of French romantic socialism and demonstrates how the utopian visions of thinkers such as Fourier came to inspire a generation of young radicals and reformers not only in France, but also in Dostoyevsky's Russia and in the America of Horace Greeley and Margaret Fuller.
Maria-Elena Diaz, an associate professor in the History Department whose field
is Latin American and Caribbean history, is the author of The Virgin, The King,
and the Royal Slaves of El Cobre: Negotiating Freedom in Colonial Cuba (Stanford
University Press, December 2000). The book tells the story of a village of peasants
and miners in late 17th- and 18th-century Cuba, who were slaves to the king of Spain
and whose local patroness was a miraculous image of the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre.
A review states, "This is an outstanding, highly original piece of work that
should appeal to a very wide audience, given the great variety of themes the author
discusses: slavery, freedom, legality, status, gender roles, authority, marginality,
religion, social structure, colonial society, Cuban history, Caribbean history, and
early Spanish colonial history."