✍ A Life of Learning. Charles Homer Haskins Lecture [1997]

por Teoría de la historia

41GQlJ6l0iL._SL500_AA300_Charles Homer Haskins (1870-1937), for whom the ACLS lecture series is named, was the first Chairman of the American Council of Learned Societies, 1920-26. He began his teaching career at the Johns Hopkins University, where he received the B.A. degree in 1887, and the Ph.D. in 1890. He later taught at the University of Wisconsin and at Harvard, where he was Henry Charles Lea Professor of Medieval History at the time of his retirement in 1931, and Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from 1908 to 1924. He served as president of the American Historical Association, 1922, and was a founder and the second president of the Medieval Academy of America, 1926. A great American teacher, Charles Homer Haskins also did much to establish the reputation of American scholarship abroad. His distinction was recognized in honorary degrees from Strasbourg, Padua, Manchester, Paris, Louvain, Caen, Harvard, Wisconsin, and Allegheny College, where in 1883 he had begun his higher education at the age of thirteen. In 1983, to recognize Haskins’ signal contributions to the world of learning in the United States, the ACLS inaugurated a series of lectures entitled “The Life of Learning” in his honor. Designed to pay tribute to a life of scholarly achievement, the Haskins Lecture is delivered at the Annual Meeting of the Council by an eminent humanist. The lecturer is asked to reflect and to reminisce upon a lifetime of work as a scholar, on the motives, the chance determinations, the satisfactions and the dissatisfactions of the life of learning. The Haskins Lecturer in 1997 was Natalie Zemon Davis, Henry Charles Lea Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University and, for 1996- 1997, Northrop Frye Visiting Professor of Literary Theory at the University of Toronto. Born in Detroit, Michigan, she was educated at Smith College, Radcliffe College, and the University of Michigan, from which she received her Ph.D. in 1959. In positions at Brown University, the University of Toronto, the University of California at Berkeley, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, the Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University, Balliol College Oxford, as well as at Princeton and the University of Toronto, Professor Davis has taught courses in the history of early modern France, and has also pioneered in interdisciplinary courses in history and anthropology, history and film, and history and literature; the study of women and gender; and the history of the Jews in early modern Europe and in Jewish studies. Her publications include Society and Culture in Early Modern France (1975); The Return of Martin Guerre (1983), the basis for the feature film; Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales and their Tellers in Sixteenth-Century France (1987); and Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth Century Lives (1995). Natalie Davis has been awarded honorary degrees from the Universit& de Lyon II and from several American institutions, and has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. She has been president of the Society for French Historical Studies and during 1987 was president of the American Historical Association. She is currently first vice-president of the International Congress of Historical Sciences. She now resides in Toronto, Canada, where she is associated with the University of Toronto. Her husband is a professor of mathematics. She has three children and three grandchildren. The particulars of jobs held, prizes won, and work published cannot possibly convey the dramatic impact Natalie Davis has had on the profession of history in the United States, and in so many other places around the world. Professor Davis has written important books, but she is preeminently an essayist. She has developed the essay into an art form, developing her ideas historically and aesthetically in very small packages that have immediate attraction and impact. This talent has also made her perhaps the outstanding historical lecturer of the era. For anyone who has had the pleasure of being Natalie’s colleague, however, even her shining historical intuition pales beside her moral courage and conviction. She has written, and writes, about subjects that concern her deeply. She is one of the most emotionally intense historians in the profession, and recently she has reached out to film to enable herself to express even more richly the texture of her insights and feelings. She has been engaged, politically and morally, throughout her career, without ever compromising her scholarly standards. Those who joined us in Philadelphia at the Benjamin Franklin Hall of the American Philosophical Society on that beautiful May evening will well remember the impact of her highly charged performance. It is our great pleasure to bring the 1997 Haskins Lecture by Natalie Zemon Davis to a wider audience.

[Natalie ZEMON DAVIS. A Life of Learning. Charles Homer Haskins Lecture. American Council of Learned Societies, Occasional Paper nº 39, Charles Homer Haskins Lecture for 1997, pp. 5-6]