Wednesday, August 26, 2009

September Issue of Historically Speaking

Randall Stephens

The new issue of Historically Speaking will soon be mailed out to subscribers. Not long after that, it will appear on Project Muse. The September issue includes a variety of essays, interviews, and an extended forum on the current state of intellectual history. Senior editor Donald Yerxa introduces the forum as follows:

The sense that the discipline of history was marginalizing traditional fields like diplomatic, economic, military, constitutional, and intellectual history—fields that critics charge focus far too much on elite decision makers—was a major concern of the founders of the Historical Society. As the Society enters its second decade, it is appropriate to revisit this matter, especially when the status of traditional historical fields is still debated, most recently in the pages of the New York Times (Patricia Cohen, “Great Caesar’s Ghost! Are Traditional History Courses Vanishing?” June 10, 2009). [See this earlier post on the matter here.] Historically Speaking has received a generous grant from the Earhart Foundation to publish a series of forums examining the state of four traditional fields that some believe are being neglected in today’s academy. Intellectual history is the focus of our first forum. We asked Daniel Wickberg, a cogent observer of historiographical trends, to write the lead essay. Three distinguished intellectual historians—David Hollinger, Sarah Igo, and Wilfred McClay—respond, followed by Wickberg’s rejoinder.

In his lead essay, Daniel Wickberg writes:

What the transformations wrought by both the linguistic and cultural turns point to is just how much the methods, approaches, and theoretical concerns that have characterized intellectual history have become central to mainstream historical practice. A generation ago, intellectual history was in crisis. Today there is evidence everywhere that intellectual history speaks to the dominant historiography of our day; its insights and methods have become part of the common coin of the most significant work currently being done. And yet there is a lingering sense that intellectual history as intellectual history is a field safely ignored by most historians, that the old arguments for its dismissal still retain life, that intellectual historians sit on the margin of the history department where more mainstream historians are free to characterize them as not quite historians. So the contemporary condition of intellectual history is somewhat paradoxical.

Table of Contents, Historically Speaking, September 2009

A Superficial Evocation of Our Times
Joseph Amato

Becoming Historians: An Interview with James M. Banner, Jr. and John R. Gillis
Conducted by Donald A. Yerxa

Pillars of World Christianity: A Review Essay
Robert Eric Frykenberg

Securing Possession: A New Way of Understanding the Past
David Day

Last Rites: A Conversation with John Lukacs
Conducted by Donald A. Yerxa

A Forum on the Current State of Intellectual History

Is Intellectual History a Neglected Field of Study?
Daniel Wickberg

Thinking is as American as Apple Pie
David A. Hollinger

Reply to Daniel Wickberg
Sarah E. Igo

Response to Daniel Wickberg
Wilfred M. McClay

Rejoinder to Hollinger, Igo, and McClay
Daniel Wickberg

America in the Jacksonian Era: An Interview with David S. Reynolds
Conducted by Randall J. Stephens

Dual Discovery, Dual Dialogue: Reflections on the Global Modernization of Historical Writing
Q. Edward Wang

Peaceable Kingdom Lost
Kevin Kenny

Lincoln and His Admirals: An Interview with Craig L. Symonds
Conducted by Donald A. Yerxa

Who’s Counting?
Derek Wilson

The History of Race on Trial in America
Ariela J. Gross

Spiritual, Yes; But Religious? A Review of Edward J. Blum's
W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet
Kevin M. Schultz


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