Q&A with professor Robert Self
Robert Self, an associate professor of history, recently published a new book entitled “All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy Since the 1960s.” Last summer, he also wrote an op-ed for the New York Times that assessed the state of the contemporary Republican party in the context of social reform movements in the 1960s. The Herald sat down with him to talk about his work, the evolution of politics over the past half-century and the current election cycle.
The Herald: What drew you to the topic of your new book?
Self: I was struck by how much of our contemporary politics involved questions of gender, sexuality, family and how … most of my own life, this seemed to be a principal terrain on which Americans talked about the country, what mattered and the national government. And I wanted to understand why that was the case.
And second … there had emerged within American politics a distinction that I found to be artificial between culture and values on the one hand and economics on the other. All of my training as a historian convinced me that these were not separate things, and so I wanted to try to understand how they came to be talked about as separate....
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