Call for Contributors: Cultural History of Philanthropy book series to be published by Bloomsbury in 2028

Tuesday 25 June 2024

We are seeking contributors for the six-volume Cultural History of Philanthropy, which will be published by Bloomsbury Press as part of its Cultural History Series in spring 2028. This series will be the first publication to follow the historical phenomenon of philanthropy from Antiquity to modern times. Each volume is devoted to an examination of philanthropy in one of six historical periods.

Volume 1: Antiquity (500 BCE – 700 CE), to be edited by Sitta von Reden (Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg) and Arjan Zuiderhoek (Ghent University)

Volume 2: The Middle Ages (700 – 1400), to be edited by Tillmann Lohse and Annette Schmiedchen (both Humboldt University Berlin)

Volume 3: The Renaissance (1400 – 1650), to be edited by Benjmain Scheller (University Duisburg-Essen)

Volume 4: Age of Enlightenment (1650 – 1815), to be edited by Rupert Graf Strachwitz (Maecenata Institute) and Hugh Cunningham (University of Kent)

Volume 5: Age of Empire (1815 – 1914), to be edited by Thomas Adam (University of Arkansas) and Shariq Siddiqui (Indiana University)

Volume 6: The Modern Age (1914 – 2024), to be edited by Tobias Jung (University of St. Andrews) and Jenny Harrow (University of London)

Each volume will follow the same structure and contain eight thematical chapters that are about 10,000 words in length (including footnotes and bibliography). Authors are expected to present the current state of research and to provide a global perspective on philanthropy – i.e. provide a discussion of philanthropy within various cultures/societies and in various religions. To secure a global reach, we envision that some chapters will be authored by two authors.

Chapter 1. Cultures, Concepts, and Institutions of Philanthropy

Philanthropy has always been the result of cultural pressures and motivations that encouraged individuals to provide aid for the support of non-economic activities. Motivations of philanthropy, thinking about the need for philanthropy, and preferences for specific institutions of philanthropy change over time. This chapter will discuss the cultural pressures and ideologies that led to the creation of specific manifestations of philanthropy and the formation of specific institutions – i.e., endowment or foundation or association – of philanthropy.

Chapter 2: Legal, Political, and Religious Frameworks for Philanthropy

This chapter will provide an introduction to the contexts in which philanthropy developed. Philanthropy as a relationship between individuals and groups who provided gifts for public institutions was determined not only by these two parties to philanthropy but also by the surrounding culture of law, politics, and religion. This chapter will explore the manifestation of philanthropy within specific cultures as it was shaped by law, politics, and religion.     

Chapter 3. Economics of Philanthropy

Philanthropy was always based upon the giving of material values (i.e., agricultural and craft products, land, buildings, money, stocks, bonds, art objects, artifacts, etc.) for specific purposes with specific instructions about the safe-keeping and use of these values. The investment of these values into philanthropy has always had economic consequences for the society, in which these acts of philanthropy occurred. This chapter will introduce the reader to the perceived and real economic and financial ramifications of philanthropy for the economy of societies.

Chapter 4. Religious Philanthropy

A lion share of philanthropy has been dedicated to the support of religious purposes and religious institutions. This chapter will provide a survey of philanthropic support across various religious traditions and religious communities.

Chapter 5. Communal Philanthropy

Philanthropy provided funding for a wide array of purposes within urban and rural communities and thereby gave structure to those communities. This chapter will discuss philanthropic support for those in need and those who were afforded recognition (for their service) by their community. This includes the support for specific groups such as wounded soldiers, widows, orphans, the sick, and the disabled and for institutions including alms houses, asylums, hospitals, etc. Social philanthropy afforded philanthropists opportunities to participate in the creation of social hierarchies and social values.

Chapter 6. Educational Philanthropy

The training of individual students, the maintenance of institutions of education and higher learning, and the support of scholars and their research as well as research institutions required extensive funding provided by philanthropists. This chapter will discuss the many ways in which philanthropists instigated and funded the pursuit of learning as well as the preservation and transmission of knowledge. Participation in educational philanthropy gave philanthropists an opportunity to participate in the selection of knowledge that was preserved and transmitted.

Chapter 7. Cultural Philanthropy

The embellishment of sacral spaces, the celebration of communal festivals and holidays, the creation of collections of art, of archaeological artifacts, ethnographic artifacts, scientific developments, etc., the building of museums, and the maintenance of such institutions requires extensive funding, which was often provided by philanthropists. Such philanthropic engagement allowed philanthropists to participate in the creation of aesthetic standards.

Chapter 8. Philanthropic Landmarks

This chapter will provide one to three case studies of one philanthropist and his/her philanthropic activities. This philanthropist and the philanthropic activities should be representative for the philanthropic culture of the era.  

Selected authors will receive advance contracts by March 2025. They will be expected to deliver their manuscript chapters to the volume editors by the end of March 2026.

We invite scholars interested in participating in this project to submit an email with a short statement of interest. This statement of interest should include their current academic position, a short statement about their research with regards to philanthropy, and a declaration of interest for a specific volume and chapter. These emails should be sent to Thomas Adam at [email protected] and arrive before September 1, 2024.

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