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The sub-branch of history that is known by the ambiguous (and frightening to undergraduates, cats, and many mainstream academics) name “historiography” seems to be undergoing a Renaissance at the moment.
Never has the extraordinarily rich literature on mass atrocity seemed more relevant as ongoing reports from around the world remind us that we live in an age of genocide. This vast repertoire of scholarly work can appear at maximum capacity with countless overarching theoretical frameworks of mass violence.
Bought by the Harry Ransom Center for a reported $2,000,000, the around 270,000 papers of Gabriel García Márquez’s personal archive – collected in 79 document boxes, 15 oversize boxes, 3 oversize folders and 67 computer disks – provides a literally inexhaustible archive on his life and work.
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.
Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory is novelist Elizabeth Rosner’s first foray into non-fiction.
In what was presumably a formative period for Stefan Collini (born in 1947) in the late 1960s, Perry Anderson published a powerful diatribe against English letters for its imperviousness to the great sweep of 20th-century social thought from Marx through Weber, Durkheim and Pareto onwards.(1) Historians were indentured to facts and sources and an impossible ideal of ac
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.
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.
The commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in the Republic of Ireland have thrown the issue of nationalism and independence into sharp relief once again.
Gary Gerstle’s Liberty and Coercion is a tour de force account of American governance that manages to survey the chronological and geographical breadth of US history with a judicious depth of precise detail and example.