Society for U. S. Intellectual History 2017 Annual Book Award The Society for U. S. Intellectual History (S-USIH) is pleased to announce its Annual Book Award for the best book in U.S. intellectual history. The book should be a work […]
Call for Papers: “Histories of Memory, Memories of History” Society for U.S. Intellectual History Annual Conference Oct. 26-29, 2017 Plano, TX The Society for U.S. Intellectual History invites proposals for its 2017 conference, to be held Oct. 26-29, 2017 at […]
As we all look forward to the upcoming 2016 S-USIH conference this October at Stanford University, the members of the 2017 conference committee (listed below) are pleased to announce that we have finalized key details for the 2017 conference. The […]
Latest Blog Post
The following guest post is by Drew Maciag, author of Edmund Burke in America: The Contested Career of the Father of Modern Conservatism.
A prefatory note by Drew: “Upon reading Andy Seal’s excellent post on “Why Richard Rorty Was Not a Prophet” (which now has a Part 2), an example from my own research instantly sprang to mind. It’s taken me some time to respond because I was experiencing post-election stress disorder. No harm done, this topic is timeless!”
The story is often told like this:
At a particularly crucial moment in Western history, a wise and learned man saw the future and recoiled in horror. Few people accepted his dire predictions until they actually began to occur, then they marveled at the oracle’s foresight. Curiously, the prophet divined the future by looking backward into history and to inherited customs, manners, institutions, laws, and religious practices. When he observed rapid departures from long-held beliefs and patterns of behavior, he extrapolated current threats to their logical conclusions: which included widespread violence, terror, chaos, and authoritarian heroics. The visionary intellectual died while civilization was still in peril, yet his example—and his fundamental principles—survived and congealed into a powerful school of thought. For two hundred years, plenty of intellectuals who were unhappy with the transit of progress have lamented not only the original disaster (of not heeding the prophet early enough or completely enough), but all succeeding echoes of it—as if the tragedy of repeating historical errors has become an addiction. (more…)