Colorado College Professor of History Susan Ashley has published a new book, “‘Misfits’ in Fin-de-Siècle France and Italy.” The book, published by Bloomsbury, focuses on conceptions of marginality in late 19th- and early 20th-century Europe.
As the 19th century drew to a close, France and Italy experienced an explosion of crime, vagrancy, insanity, neurosis, and sexual deviance. “‘Misfits’ in Fin-de-Siècle France and Italy” examines how the raft of self-appointed experts that subsequently emerged tried to explain this aberrant behavior and the many consequences this had.
Ashley considers why these different phenomena were understood to be interchangeable versions of the same inborn defects. The book looks at why specialists in newly-minted disciplines in medicine and the social sciences, such as criminology, neurology, and sexology, all claimed that biological flaws – some inherited and some arising from illness or trauma – made it impossible for these “misfits” to adapt to modern life.
Ashley then goes on to analyze the solutions these specialists proposed, often distinguishing between born deviants who belonged in asylums or prisons and “accidental misfits” who deserved solidarity and social support through changes to laws relating to issues such as poverty and unemployment.
The study draws on a comprehensive examination of contemporary texts and features the work of leading authorities such as Cesare Lombroso, Jean-Martin Charcot, and Théodule Ribot, as well as investigators less known now but influential at the time. The comparative aspect also interestingly shows that experts collaborated closely across national and disciplinary borders, employed similar methods and arrived at common conclusions.
Spot Holmes' New Book - Every window tells a story at Grace and St. Stephens
Alum Pam Riney-Kehrberg
Milestones in History
Our emeritus colleague Frank Hammond Tucker died on January 27, 2017. We in the History Department—and his students over many years at Colorado College—knew Frank not only as a scholar of Asian history but also as a polymath and outdoorsman. Frank was born December 29, 1923 in Millville, New Jersey. He studied as an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University and its Peabody Conservatory, playing for a while with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and then completing his graduate study at Georgetown. He attended the Japanese Language School in Boulder, subsequently joining the Navy in 1943. Frank served for several years in Japan, then at the Naval intelligence school in Maryland. He was involved with the establishment of the Southeast Asian group in what later became National Security Agency. He belonged to a variety of historical societies and the Science Fiction Research Association, and was a leader in a variety of Colorado Springs benevolent societies.
Frank was a member of the History Department from 1963 to his retirement in 1989. In that period he authored three books: The White Conscience (1969), The Frontier Spirit and Progress (1980), and Knights of the Mountain Trails: A Century of Hiking in the Mountains and Parks of the Pikes Peak Region (2003). The first two of these studies bespoke his broad learning and skillful framing of large historical questions. The last was close to home and heart—an account of the elite culture of late nineteenth and twentieth century Colorado Springs as seen through the hiking club with which Frank adventured for decades, the Saturday Knights. Frank continued up until the last year of his life to be an active participant in our monthly departmental seminar. We will miss his deep intelligence, his profoundly gentlemanly manner, and the quick flash of his wit, but we are grateful to have been fellow-travellers along his long and richly varied career. Five boxes of his papers are preserved in Tutt Library’s Special Collections. Frank would smile to acknowledge this trove a lively resource for some future researcher into twentieth century scholarship, the love of nature, and service to nation and community.
Two Summer Student Research Assistantships
Robert D. McJimsey Summer Research - to support the development of students' research interests and skills through apprenticeship
Social Issues and Historical Contexts Summer students Assistantships - to develop both student research skills and student advocacy of the role of historical investigation in the remediation of contemporary social crises such as mass incarceration.
Applications due on first day of Block 7, March 23
Contact History office coordinator, Joanna Popiel (719-389-6523), or Professor Jane Murphy firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.