Duquesne Professor’s Book Deemed Top Renaissance Studies Publication

The Renaissance Society of America has decreed a book authored by Dr. Jotham Parsons, associate professor of history at Duquesne University, as the best member-written book in Renaissance studies this year.

Parsons received the 2016 Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize for Making Money in Sixteenth-Century France: Currency, Culture and the State.

His book touches on the creation and circulation of currency in France and the emergence of centralized monetary administration, which played a key role in developing contemporary understanding of money.

Parsons gradually uncovered a little-known side of the French Renaissance that was at once strange and familiar. The regulation of all purchases and sales that make up the economy involved the government providing a sound currency to keep the banking system going.

"We take it for granted nowadays that money is an important part of political and public life," Parsons observed. "Back when I started the book, though, it wasn't something anybody much thought about, and I had to sort of blaze my own path."

Making Money in Sixteenth-Century France unites economic, political, social, intellectual history and contributes to future Renaissance studies in the book-and connects the 16th-century political economy to the current explosion of scholarly interest in the 18th-century political economy.

"A lot of my work has been trying to understand the ways Renaissance writers thought about the world they lived in," said Parsons, a Mount Lebanon resident.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.