In the urgently expanding field of environmental history, two trends are emerging. Research has internationalized, crossing political and historical borders. And urban spaces are increasingly seen as part of, not apart from, the global environment. In this book, Jeffry Diefendorf and Kurk Dorsey have gathered much of the important work pushing the field in new directions. Eleven essays by prominent and regionally diverse scholars address how human and natural forces collaborate in the creation of cities, the countryside, and empires.
The Cities section features essays that examine pollution and its aftermath in Pittsburgh, the Ruhr Valley (Germany), and Los Angeles. These urban areas are far apart on the globe but closely linked in their histories of how human decision making has affected the environment.
Changing rural and suburban spaces are the focus of Countryside. Elizabeth Blackmar "follows the money" in order to understand why the financing of suburban mall developments makes local resistance difficult. Studies of the fractious history of the creation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon and the ongoing impact of hydraulic mining in the early California goldmining era emphasize the misuse of technology in rural spaces.
Such misuse is a central idea of Empires. In "When Stalin Learned to Fish," Paul R. Josephson tells the story of Soviet fishing technology designed to "harness fish to the engine of socialism." Other essays explore the failures of Western agricultural technology in Africa and the relationship between such technology and disease in European attempts to conquer the Caribbean. In a stirring, wide-ranging consideration of the neo-European colonies (the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand), Thomas R. Dunlap observes the ongoing, unsettled interaction of lands and dreams. An afterword by Alfred W. Crosby, an eminent scholar of environmental history, closes the book with a broad and insightful synthesis of the history and future of this critical field.
Wini Breines traces the evolution of the New Left movement through the Free Speech Movement, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and SDS's community organization projects. For Breines, the movement's goal of participatory decision-making, even when it was not achieved, made up for its failure to take practical and direct action. By the late 1960s, antiwar activism contributed to the decline of the New Left, as the movement was flooded with new participants who did not share the founding generation's political experiences or values.
Originally published in 1982, Wini Breines's classic work now includes a new preface in which she reassesses, and for the most part affirms, her initial views of the movement. She argues that the movement remains effective in the midst of radical changes in activist movements. Breines also summarizes and evaluates the new and growing scholarship on the 1960s. Her provocative analysis of the New Left remains important today.
Confronting Historical Paradigms argues that confrontation with major paradigms of world history has marked the fields of African and Latin American history during the last quarter-century, and that the process has dramatically restructured historical and theoretical understanding of peasantries, labor, and the capitalist world system. Moreover, it maintains, the intellectual reverberations within and across the African and Latin American fields constitute a challenging and underappreciated counterpoint to laments that contemporary historical knowledge has suffered a splintering so extreme that it undermines larger dialogue and meaning.
The authors, in their substantive essays, synthesize, order, and evaluate the significance of the enormous resonating literatures that have come to exist for Africa and Latin America on the themes of the capitalist world system, labor, and peasantries. They historicize these literatures by analyzing an entire cycle of critical dialogue and confrontation with historical paradigms and the professional upheavals that accompanied them. They review the initial confrontations with frameworks of historical knowledge that erupted in the 1960s and the early 1970s; the emergence of new “dissident” paradigms; the outpouring of subsequent scholarship on peasants, labor, and capitalism that began to unravel the newly proposed paradigms by the 1980s and 1990s; and the outlines of the new interpretive frameworks that tended to displace both the “traditional” and “early dissident” paradigms. They also suggest possible outlines of a new cycle of “Third World” confrontations with paradigm, anchored in themes such as gender and ethnicity.
Confronting Historical Paradigms employs a historicized awareness of intellectual networks, conversations, and history–theory dialogues. The result is a critical analysis and synthetic presentation of substantive advances that have preoccupied scholarship on Africa and Latin America in recent decades and a powerful challenge to notions that “new” fields of history have ended up destroying intellectual coherence and community.
As this account of crime patterns in medieval England shows, crime can perhaps tell us more about a society's dynamics, tensions, and values than any other single social phenomenon. And Barbara Hanawalt's approach is particularly enlightening because it looks at the subject not from the heights of the era's learned opinion, but from the viewpoint of the people participating in the criminal dramas and manipulating the law for their own benefit.
Hanawalt's sources are those of the new social historian—village and judicial records supplemented by the literature of the time. She examined approximately 20,000 criminal court cases as well as coroners' and manorial court rolls. Her analysis of these data produces striking results. Medieval England, the author reveals, was a society in which all classes readily sought violent solutions to conflicts. The tensions of village life were severe. The struggle for food and for profits caused numerous homicides and property crimes. These felonies were committed in seasonal patterns, with homicides occurring most frequently during the difficult times of planting and harvesting, and burglaries reaching a peak in winter when goods were stored in houses and barns.
Moreover, organized crime was widespread and varied. It ranged from simple associations of local people to professional bands led by members of the nobility. One of Hanawalt's most interesting findings explodes the Robin Hood myth of robbers who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Almost always, she shows, the robbers stole from the poor and kept for themselves. Throughout, Hanawalt carefully places the crimes and their participants within the context of village life in the later middle ages. Along with a description of the social and legal setting of criminal acts, she includes a discussion of the influence of war, politics, and economic, social, and demographic changes on the patterns of crime.
For many liberals, the question “Do others live rightly?” feels inappropriate. Liberalism seems to demand a follow-up question: “Who am I to judge?” Peaceful coexistence, in this view, is predicated on restraint from morally evaluating our peers. But Rahel Jaeggi sees the situation differently. Criticizing is not only valid but also useful, she argues. Moral judgment is no error; the error lies in how we go about judging.
One way to judge is external, based on universal standards derived from ideas about God or human nature. The other is internal, relying on standards peculiar to a given society. Both approaches have serious flaws and detractors. In Critique of Forms of Life, Jaeggi offers a third way, which she calls “immanent” critique. Inspired by Hegelian social philosophy and engaged with Anglo-American theorists such as John Dewey, Michael Walzer, and Alasdair MacIntyre, immanent critique begins with the recognition that ways of life are inherently normative because they assert their own goodness and rightness. They also have a consistent purpose: to solve basic social problems and advance social goods, most of which are common across cultures. Jaeggi argues that we can judge the validity of a society’s moral claims by evaluating how well the society adapts to crisis—whether it is able to overcome contradictions that arise from within and continue to fulfill its purpose.
Jaeggi enlivens her ideas through concrete, contemporary examples. Against both relativistic and absolutist accounts, she shows that rational social critique is possible.
In the sub-field of world history, there has been a surprising paucity of thinking and writing about how to approach and conceptualize the long twentieth century from the 1870s through the early 2000s. The historiographic essays collected in Essays on Twentieth Century History will go a long way to filling that lacuna.
Each contribution covers a key theme and one or more critical sub-fields in twentieth century global history. Chapters address migration patterns, the impact of world wars, transformations in gender and urbanization, as well as environmental transitions. All are written by leading historians in each of the sub-fields represented, and each is intended to provide an introduction to the literature, key themes, and debates that have proliferated around the more recent historical experience of humanity.
Explanation and Power was first published in 1988. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
The meaning of any utterance or any sign is the response to that utterance or sign: this is the fundamental proposition behind Morse Peckham's Explanation and Power. Published in 1979 and now available in paperback for the first time, Explanation and Power grew out of Peckham's efforts, as a scholar of Victorian literature, to understand the nature of Romanticism. His search ultimately led back to—and built upon—the tradition of signs developed by the American Pragmatists. Since, in Peckham's view, meaning is not inherent in word or sign, only in response, human behavior itself must depend upon interaction, which in turn relies upon the stability of verbal and nonverbal signs. In the end, meaning can be stabilized only by explanation, and when explanation fails, by force. Peckham's semiotic account of human behavior, radical in its time, contends with the same issues that animate today's debates in critical theory — how culture is produced, how meaning is arrived at, the relation of knowledge to power and of society to its institutions. Readers across a wide range of disciplines, in the humanities and social sciences, will welcome its reappearance.
Unifying concepts are essential when studying history. They provide students and scholars with ways to organize their thoughts, research, and writings. However, these concepts are also the focus of myriad conflicts within the field. Social history has experienced more than its share of such conflicts since its inception some forty years ago. In recent times the fields of “the social” and of “culture” have sometimes been presented as mutually exclusive and even hostile. Once again, conceptual innovation in history has been cast as a closure by which the new drives out the old: in this case, cultural history radically displacing social history. The Future of Class in History analyzes the effect of the conflict that followed the “turn to culture” in historical work by examining the use of class and demonstrates how practitioners in multiple fields can collaborate to produce the highest quality scholarship.
“Offers new ways of thinking about ‘class’ and ‘society’ in a world in which such categories have been radically called into question.”
—Sherry Ortner, University of California, Los Angeles
“Brilliantly charts social history’s past achievement, present dilemma, and future promise in a work distinguished by intellectual openness and generosity.”
—James A. Epstein, Vanderbilt University
“Eley and Nield seek to rescue the deluded follower of social history from the enormous condescension of the cultural turn. They succeed admirably, making the case for a new hybrid socio-cultural history.”
—Donald Reid, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“This terrific double act has once again produced a text that demands to be read by all those tired of the juxtaposition of social and cultural histories and still interested in the problematic of class and the politics of its past and present.”
—James Vernon, University of California, Berkeley
“Eley and Nield tackle a contentious debate with a gracious plea for collaboration. Their strong desire to get past the ‘culture wars’ and to engage social and cultural historians in fruitful dialogue is a welcome move, stylishly executed.”
—Philippa Levine, University of Southern California
Geoff Eley is Professor of History at the University of Michigan.
Keith Nield is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Hull.
Cultural changes over the past two decades have led to a proliferation of new social movements in Europe and the United States. New social movements such as ecology, peace, ethnicity, New Age philosophies, alternative medicine, and gender and sexual identity are among those that are emerging to challenge traditional categories in social movement theory. Synthesizing classic and modern perspectives the contributors help to redefine the field of social movements and advance an understanding of them through cross-cultural research, comparison with older movements, and an examination of the dimensions of identity—individual, collective, and melding of the two.
From the vantage point of the United States or Western Europe, the 1970s was a time of troubles: economic “stagflation,” political scandal, and global turmoil. Yet from an international perspective it was a seminal decade, one that brought the reintegration of the world after the great divisions of the mid-twentieth century. It was the 1970s that introduced the world to the phenomenon of “globalization,” as networks of interdependence bound peoples and societies in new and original ways.
The 1970s saw the breakdown of the postwar economic order and the advent of floating currencies and free capital movements. Non-state actors rose to prominence while the authority of the superpowers diminished. Transnational issues such as environmental protection, population control, and human rights attracted unprecedented attention. The decade transformed international politics, ending the era of bipolarity and launching two great revolutions that would have repercussions in the twenty-first century: the Iranian theocratic revolution and the Chinese market revolution.
The Shock of the Global examines the large-scale structural upheaval of the 1970s by transcending the standard frameworks of national borders and superpower relations. It reveals for the first time an international system in the throes of enduring transformations.
Smell and History collects many of the most important recent essays on the history of scent, aromas, perfumes, and ways of smelling. With an introduction by Mark M. Smith—one of the leading social and cultural historians at work today and the preeminent champion in the United States of the emerging field of sensory history—the volume introduces to undergraduate and graduate students as well as to historians of all fields the richness, relevance, and insightfulness of the olfactory to historical study.
Ranging from antiquity to the present, these ten essays, most of them published since 2003, consider how olfaction and scent have shaped the history of medicine, gender, race-making, class formation, religion, urbanization, colonialism, capitalism, and industrialization; how habits and practices of smelling informed ideas about the Enlightenment, modernity, and memory; how smell shaped perceptions of progress and civilization; and how people throughout history have used smell as a way to organize categories and inform worldviews.
Hailed as a landmark in its field since its first publication in 1984, Denis E. Cosgrove’s Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape has been influential well beyond geography. It has continued to spark lively debate among historians, geographers, art historians, social theorists, landscape architects, and others interested in the social and cultural politics of landscape.
This first collection of Peter Beilharz's highly influential thought traces the themes and problems, manifestations, and trajectories of socialism and modernity as they connect and shift over a twenty-year period. Woven throughout Beilharz's analysis is the urgent question of modern utopia: how do we imagine freedom and equality in modernity?
The essays in this volume explore the relationship between socialism and modernity across the United States, Europe, and Australia from the mid-1980s to the turn of the twenty-first century, a time that witnessed the global triumph of capitalism and the dramatic turn away from Marxism and socialism to modernity as the dominant perspective. According to Beilharz, we have seen the expansion of a kind of Weberian Marxism, with the concept of revolution giving way to the idea of pluralized forms of power and the idea of rupture giving way to the postmodern sense of difference. These changes come together with the discourse of modernism, both aesthetic and technological.
Socialism and modernity, Beilharz argues, are fundamentally interrelated. In correcting the conflation of Marxism, Bolshevism, and socialism that occludes contemporary political thinking, he reopens a space for discussion of what socialist politics might look like now-in the postcommunist-postcolonial-postmodern moment.
For millennia, the city stood out against the landscape, walled and compact. This concept of the city was long accepted as adequate for characterizing the urban experience. However, the nature of the city, both real and imagined, has always been more permeable than this model reveals.
The essays in Urban Imaginaries respond to this condition by focusing on how social and physical space is conceived as both indefinite and singular. They emphasize the ways this space is shared and thus made into urban culture. Urban Imaginaries offers case studies on cities in Brazil, Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, and India, as well as in the United States and France, and in doing so blends social, cultural, and political approaches to better understand the contemporary urban experience.
Contributors: Margaret Cohen, Stanford U; Camilla Fojas, De Paul U; Beatriz Jaguaribe, Federal U of Rio de Janeiro; Anthony D. King, SUNY Binghamton; Mark LeVine, U of California, Irvine; Srirupa Roy, U of Massachusetts, Amherst; Seteney Shami, Social Science Research Council; AbdouMaliq Simone, New School U; Maha Yahya; Deniz Yükseker, Koç U, Istanbul.
Alev Çinar is associate professor of political science and public administration at Bilkent University, Turkey. Thomas Bender is university professor of the humanities and history at New York University.
Wallerstein explains the defining characteristics of world-systems analysis: its emphasis on world-systems rather than nation-states, on the need to consider historical processes as they unfold over long periods of time, and on combining within a single analytical framework bodies of knowledge usually viewed as distinct from one another—such as history, political science, economics, and sociology. He describes the world-system as a social reality comprised of interconnected nations, firms, households, classes, and identity groups of all kinds. He identifies and highlights the significance of the key moments in the evolution of the modern world-system: the development of a capitalist world-economy in the sixteenth-century, the beginning of two centuries of liberal centrism in the French Revolution of 1789, and the undermining of that centrism in the global revolts of 1968. Intended for general readers, students, and experienced practitioners alike, this book presents a complete overview of world-systems analysis by its original architect.
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