Browse all Reviews
About 40 years ago, the field of US intellectual history entered a period of self-doubt about the rigor of its methods, about the narrowness of its archive and its interests, even about the ontological gravity of the subjects it treated.
How do you take your liberalism? Passionately? Rationally? Passionate moral energy had been the hallmark of the Liberal Prime Minister William Gladstone’s public oratory and parliamentary addresses.
Even after John Adams’s belated success on American television, and Alexander Hamilton’s recent conquest of Broadway, Federalists still seem to lag Jeffersonians in popular and scholarly interest.
In the last year several books appeared focused on the United States in the world that seek to combine a study of intellectual history, popular culture and politics in a long breath of the 19th century.
The aim to cover, in a single monograph, patterns and trends in memory across early modern Europe is an ambitious one. Yet if anyone could achieve this it would be Judith Pollmann. This is an ambitious book in its chronological and geographical scope, but is also pioneering in providing a meta-narrative of continuity and change in early modern memory practices.
The disciplinary development of the ‘human sciences’ has attracted extensive scholarly discussion in the last three or four decades.
Thomas Jefferson has had a rough few years. Since DNA established beyond a reasonable doubt that he fathered children with his slave Sally Hemings, Jefferson has been pushed into the shadows and forced to watch as his political rivals John Adams and Alexander Hamilton enjoy the limelight.
Paradigm shifts in historiography seem to come all at once rather than being spaced evenly along the disciplinary trajectory. The last such shift in writing about slavery and race (including civil rights) in the United States came between the late 1950s and the mid-1970s.
In The Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam, Edmund Burke does the important work of historicizing colonial-era research on Morocco and Moroccans.
Civil war plagues our times. As David Armitage notes in his brilliant work, Civil Wars: A History in Ideas, the idea of the ‘Long Peace’ after the Second World War is in many ways misleading as intrastate conflict has become far more common than in previous centuries.