Darwin-L Message Log 1:100 (September 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.

<1:100>From SOSLEWIS@ACS.EKU.EDU  Sat Sep 11 17:54:58 1993

Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1993 18:57:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Universities and charities as fiefs
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Hello Elihi M. Gerson:  I have read your reply and saved it until now. In
addition to having studied early Medieval history, Renaisance and
Reformation history I took a minor in cultural anthropology from the Univ. of
Arizona and at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentukcy. Medieval
studies are undergoing a great deal of change, although the start of this
change goes back some years to small monographs issued by the American
Historical Association where they introduce the concept of Bastard Feudalism
to describe fiefs based on money not land. That is what we are now
  I agree with you that universities and charities are market oriented
corporations but disagree with you whole heartedly that they in no way
resemble feudalism. Feudalism was very much market oriented if you consider
what the nobility was selling--protection.  Moreover if we consider feudal
war as big business then we can see the market. War was designed to be
profitable for the major fief holders. They expected payment from their
liege lords and expected war to provide the opportunity for them to become
instantly rich through ransoms of captives. Some did as you may well know.
The Hundred Years War offers much evidence to support my contention.
  Also there was mention of close personal ties in the feudal system. I see
little difference between that and the "good old boy" net in any modern
university or in the corporate structure of the charities. Their goals are to
survive and to profit. Then and now.
  You could even extend this line of thinking to cover corporate CEOs and
their relations with labor (their serfs). Look at the hostile takeovers and
compare those with the takeovers of another lords' fied by a rival. Sorry
but the long arm of the past is still a potent force. The feudal system
is still alive and doing quite well in many places no matter the verbal
covering. We can continue this discussion in private to prevent it from
becoming "noise" to our colleagues. I look forward to it.
  Ray, EKU

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