A small notice in the New York Times this week alerts the reader to the news that, “The Midwest has long had cornfields, niceness and plenty of jokes about such by (ahem) coastal types. And now, it also has its own historical association.”
Full disclosure, I’m at least on the mailing list of this group, the brand-new Midwestern History Association, and am involved in a separate, but also brand-new, interdisciplinary journal, the Middle West Review. I am enthusiastic about these new ventures and the renewed energy about the region which they represent, and I greatly admire the hard work of Jon Lauck, the president of the new association. But I am also interested in the way that such new projects tend to make certain kinds of claims about their scholarly validity, their right to a place in the academic sun. (more…)
Prompted by the always-generous encouragement of Kahlil Chaar-Pérez, I will today try to provide some of the background theoretical discussion about “disavowal” that I cut from my paper on capitalism and greed. Here, I present some attempts at definitional business, followed by the establishment of some links between disavowal and the logic of capitalism. (more…)
We’re currently in the middle of several weeks during which a variety of posts related to the Society for U.S. Intellectual History’s recently concluded annual conference will be appearing on the blog. One of the many functions of the conference is for those of us involved in the actual business of the Society to meet face-to-face. In addition to S-USIH’s annual business meeting, bloggers who attend the conference have an (always too early-in-the-morning) breakfast in which we discuss the state of the blog. I wanted to write a quick post to note a few things that came out of the bloggers’ breakfast that are of potential interest to our readership. (more…)
The following is the conference paper I’d planned to give at the 2014 Society of US Intellectual Historians Conference in Indianapolis. Once again, I apologize for not being able to make it, as my travel plans fell through at the last moment.
Consider this paper as a brief sketch of some key themes to consider in regards to the Rainbow Coalition of the 1980s. And, of course, keep in mind that you’ll be seeing much more about this topic down the road. –RG2
Andrew Hartman’s Comments on “No Bound For Riches Has Been Fixed For Man: Greed and the Intellectual History of Twentieth-Century American Capitalism” Panel
Here are Andrew Hartman’s incisive comments on the panel “No Bound For Riches Has Been Fixed For Man: Greed and the Intellectual History of Twentieth-Century American Capitalism,” convened recently at the S-USIH conference in Indianapolis. Interested readers can find the panel abstract here. Andy Seal’s paper on Dale Carnegie and the links between greed and “insincerity” is here; Robin Marie Averbeck’s paper on the deep psychic structure underlying the trope of the poor-as-greedy is here; Kurt Newman on greed and the 1980s is here. (more…)
Note to readers: Kevin Schultz presented the essay below as part of the S-USIH 2014 Plenary Roundtable in Honor of the Annual Book Award Recipient and Honorable Mentions. The book prize committee selected Ajay K. Mehrotra’s Making the Modern American Fiscal State: Law, Politics, and the Rise of Progressive Taxation, 1877-1929 as this year’s winner and singled out for honorable mention Raúl Coronado’s A World Not to Come: A History of Latino Writing and Print Culture. In the essay below, Schultz discusses the field of entrants from which these two books were chosen.
State of the Field
by Kevin Schultz
In 2012, David Hollinger penned an article for Modern Intellectual History entitled “What is our ‘Canon’? How American Intellectual Historians Debate the Core of their Field.” In the article, he described the process of soliciting opinions from faculty around the country on how the canon of American intellectual history has changed over the past thirty years, how he and his co-editor Charlie Capper debated requests for new entries. The article is a fun read, in part because it’s clear how much Hollinger and Capper have already thought about nearly everything you can think of that they should add, but also because they draw some summaries about our field, the most revealing of which, to me anyway, is that over the past thirty or so years, American intellectual historians have increasingly focused on political ideas and social theory at the expense of philosophy and literary culture. Hollinger cautions us against what he sees as an increasing focus on ideas-in-action because it risks, and I quote, “cutting off inquiries that are of great value to the profession and to the public that we ultimately serve, especially at a time when the studies carried out under the sign of ‘cultural history’ usually attend to only the most general of philosophical ideas and the most popular of literary works.”
I had this article in mind as I embarked on the process of reading this year’s entries for the Society’s Award for Best Book in American Intellectual History. I wanted to see if that thesis bore out. (more…)