Intellectual historian and professor of history at Stetson University, Paul Jerome Croce is a scholar-in-resident at the William James Center at Potsdam University. Croce is the author of the acclaimed book on James, Science and Religion in the Era of William James: Eclipse of Certainty, 1820-1880. He will deliver a lecture on June 4, 2013 entitled, “Matter So Refined: Young James’s ‘Program of the Future of Science.’” For more information please see the poster for this event.
Allison Perlman, chair of the 2013 S-USIH conference committee, has announced the plenaries for the conference. Our thanks go out to her and the committee members, Christopher McKnight Nichols and Paul Rubinson for organizing these sessions.
Plenary #1: Conservatism and Intellectual History: Pasts and Futures
George Nash’s seminal The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America established that the history of American conservatism was not only the history of political mobilization, social movement activism, or backlash politics, but of the articulation and circulation of conservative ideas. Mapping a multifaceted definition of conservatism–one that included anti-statism and libertarianism, social and intellectual traditionalism, and interventionist anti-communism–Nash’s work illustrated the complex and seemingly contradictory strands of post-war conservatism and charted the formation of conservative publications to cohere and circulate conservative ideas. The political and intellectual landscape has changed substantially since Nash’s first edition of this work was published in 1976, as has the scale, reach, and tone of conservative media outlets. In addition, a vast and rich historiography on American conservatism has emerged in the last 20 years, enriching our understanding of the rise of post-war right. This plenary will explore the intellectual history of conservatism in the US. It will consider how our understanding of conservative ideas, conservative intellectuals, and the conservative movement has shifted since the publication of Nash’s work.
Angus Burgin (Johns Hopkins University)
Donald Critchlow (Arizona State University)
George Nash (Independent Scholar)
Kevin Schultz (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Leah Wright (Wesleyan University)
Moderator/chair: Lisa Szefel (Pacific University)
Plenary #2: The United States and the World: Intellectual Histories of American Foreign Relations
U.S. foreign policy frequently has intersected with–and has been informed by–ideas about race and ethnicity, religious faith and spirituality, human rights, social science, and the moral and economic underpinnings of capitalism. Recent work in the field of U.S. international relations has called attention to the significance of ideology, has explored previously un-or-under-examined groups and concepts embedded in wider communities of exchange, and has emphasized the reciprocity inherent in America’s interactions with other nations. Building on such insights, this plenary brings together scholars who are all deeply engaged in a wide variety of intellectual historical approaches to the U.S.’s role in and with the world. The U.S. and the World plenary will discuss new directions in the field and varied efforts to trace the transnational flow of action, thought, and politics in U.S. and world history in and across national boundaries. Ultimately, the goal of this plenary is to examine the reciprocal relationship between intellectual history and the history of U.S. foreign relations with an emphasis on how the history of ideas has played a determinative role in U.S. foreign policy and how U.S. engagement with other nations has influenced the history of ideas in the U.S.
Elizabeth Borgwardt (Washington University)
Mary Dudziak (Emory University)
David Engerman (Brandeis University)
Erez Manela (Harvard University)
Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, winner of the first annual S-USIH book prize, has also won the Morris D. Forkosch Book Prize for best first book in intellectual history from the Journal of the History of Ideas. This highly regarded book, American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas (University of Chicago Press, 2012), has been reviewed widely and won great praise from the S-USIH book award committee: “American Nietzsche is a masterful historical demonstration of reception theory that brings together high and popular culture. Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen allows us to see how Americans of many sorts came to understand their own worlds through coming to terms with or rejecting Nietzsche. By shifting the primary focus from Nietzsche’s thought to how Americans understood his meanings, she ingeniously demonstrates how important Nietzsche was to twentieth-century American intellectual history.” Ratner-Rosenhagen is the Merle Curti Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For more information please visit her website.
Angus Burgin, assistant professor of history at Johns Hopkins University, has won the Merle Curti Award for best book in intellectual history for 2013. Burgin’s book, The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets since the Great Depression (Harvard University Press, 2012), also won the Joseph J. Spengler Prize for best book ob the history of economics from the History of Economics Society. As many of you also know, the S-USIH book award committee also recommended The Great Persuasion as a book of “exceptional merit” in the first annual S-USIH book prize competition.
For more information about Burgin and his work, please visit his website.
Allison Perlman, Assistant Professor of History and Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine, and the 2013 S-USIH conference chair, has won the 2013 School of Humanities Teaching Award. Congratulations to Allison for her remarkable efforts at UC-Irvine in her first year on the faculty. The text below is from the official announcement:
“Professor Perlman is a brilliant lecturer and caring mentor who has successfully contributed to multiple levels of the curriculum in both departments. Colleagues who have seen Professor Perlman in the classroom remark on her exceptional teaching effectiveness and intellectual sophistication. Her work as a public intellectual brings her scholarship on media coverage of the Civil Rights movement and the relation of popular culture to collective memory to the wider community.”
The American Association of University Women has awarded Lilian Calles Barger, doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Dallas, the prestigious American Dissertation Fellowship for 2013-2014. This year marks the 125th anniversary of AAUW’s fellowships and grants supporting women engaged in scholarship, research, and social projects. Barger’s dissertation “Human Liberation from Below: Transnational Origins of Liberation Theology, 1775-1975” provides a cultural history of ideas at the intersection of religion and politics in the American hemisphere.
It is satisfying to me to have a history of theological thought considered valuable for understanding how we think about the nature of the social order, the definition of freedom, and the exclusion of millions from the liberal project. The days of seeing theology as static and produced by theologians in an ecclesiastical ivory tower sequestered from the rest of culture have longed passed. In a 2008 essay, David A. Hollinger asserted that instead of being a “conversation-stopper,” as Richard Rorty assumed, religious ideas should be interrogated understanding them as “constituting a vital matrix of political culture.” [i] While Hollinger is concerned with political dialogue, and I am more concerned with the broader culture, the contested nature of theology running through American thought is inescapable.
I also see recognition for the field of intellectual history and the notion that the examination of ideas is valuable in providing powerful explanations of historical change on multiple levels – social, political, cultural. My subjects are 1960s theologians who drawing from a long history of modern thought contributed to change in the perceived relationship between religion and politics. Their theologies emerged from their attempt to reconcile Black Power, women’s liberation, and Latin American revolutions, in which they were involved, with their theistic worldview. I hope my work contributes to bringing positive attention to the work of intellectual historians.
Personally, I am thrilled to have value ascribed to my project so early in the process. With the support of my committee, the fellowship allows me the opportunity to apply sustained focus in sharpening my arguments and renews the hope of family and friends that I will finish!
I am presenting a portion of my research at the International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association in May, 2013 in Washington DC.
See the AAUW website
[i] David A. Hollinger “ Religious Ideas: Should they be Critically Engage or Given a Pass?” Representations (Winter 2008) 144-154.
The Society for U. S. Intellectual History is pleased to announce that Professor Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen has been awarded the 2013 S-USIH Annual Book Award, which honors the best book in American intellectual history published in 2012, for American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas (University of Chicago Press).
The Awards Committee cited Professor Ratner-Rosenhagen, Merle Curti Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, for her “originality, breadth of research, and execution”: “American Nietzsche is a masterful historical demonstration of reception theory that brings together high and popular culture. Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen allows us to see how Americans of many sorts came to understand their own worlds through coming to terms with or rejecting Nietzsche. By shifting the primary focus from Nietzsche’s thought to how Americans understood his meanings, she ingeniously demonstrates how important Nietzsche was to twentieth-century American intellectual history.”
Professor Ratner-Rosenhagen will receive a $250.00 prize. In addition, there will be a special session at the 2013 S-USIH annual conference discussing the winning book featuring the members of the 2013 Award Committee.
Please see the rest of announcement here, which includes two books of Exceptional Merit and list of notable books in US intellectual history.
On April 25, 2013, Ray Haberski will give the Hundere Lecture in Religion at Oregon State University. At the invitation of Courtney Campbell (Hundere Professor of Religion and Culture), he will give a talk entitled, “Lincoln’s Bequest: Losing and Finding Religion in a Time of War.” Also instrumental to planning the event are Christopher McKnight Nichols (a member of the 2013 S-USIH Conference Committee) and Amy Koehlinger, a scholar of religion who is working on a book that will be paired with Haberski’s volume in series they are contributing to for the Academy of American Franciscan History.
Drew Maciag, a graduate of the doctoral program in history at the University of Rochester, has published his first book: Edmund Burke in America: The Contested Career of the Father of Modern Conservatism (Cornell University Press, 2013).
Maciag was supposed to participate in the ill-fated 2012 S-USIH conference at CUNY. Recently, John J. Miller interviewed Maciag about his new book for the “Between the Covers” podcast hosted at the National Review Online.
On May 7, 2013, the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Oregon State University will host a conference on American Military and Diplomatic History. Christopher McKnight Nichols, a member of the 2013 S-USIH conference committee, is a co-editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Military and Diplomatic History and a chief organizer of the conference that will showcase the publication of this volume.
Read more about it at the conference website. For now, here is a snippet: This conference will bring together international and U.S.-based scholars to offer new perspectives on the historical and contemporary relationship between the United States and the world. The daylong event features scholars from three continents and draws on experts from OSU’s School of History, Philosophy, and Religion, as well as from political science and public policy. It will address a wide variety of scholarly accounts and innovative interpretations of American military and diplomatic history, 1776-present, and seeks to engage the OSU and Corvallis communities in discussions about the pressing international challenges that the U.S. and the world face today.