Blogs > Cliopatria > Two Recommendations and a Question

Sep 5, 2006 10:53 am


Two Recommendations and a Question



Thanks to Nathanael Robinson, here are two recommended articles:

Niall Ferguson,"Conservative Doesn't Mean Anti-Conservation," LATimes, 4 September, argues that American conservatism has begun to be more supportive of conservation efforts.
James Green,"The Rise of the Immigrant," Boston Globe, 4 September, argues that there could be a new era for organized labor in the United States.

There's been a query on H-Teach that intrigues me. Gael Graham at Western Carolina University asks if there are specific examples of American historians influenced by the Annales School who have written on British North America or United States history. The question has had two replies, one very specific and one more general: a) James Henretta,"Families and Farms: Mentalite in Pre-industrial America," William and Mary Quarterly (January, 1978); and b)"all of those colonial historians who wrote closely detailed studies of particular New England villages during the 1970's (Lockridge, et al)."

If the Annalistes influenced the writing of American history, was the influence limited to colonialists? Was the popularity of community studies in subsequent periods influenced by the Annalistes? I'm wondering, for instance, if Jim Cobb's study of the Mississippi Delta as The Most Southern Place on Earth isn't a good example of that. Did the Annalistes contribute to reconfiguring emphases in American history from the constitutional, intellectual, legal, military, and political to social history in ways that are sometimes unacknowledged?

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Rebecca Anne Goetz - 9/5/2006

If we say that the French annales school crossed into colonial history as community studies, then there are community studies after the colonial period (I'm thinking particularly of John Mack Faragher's Sugar Creek, but I am sure there are others...)


Andre Mayer - 9/5/2006

My impression is that the community studies (Lockridge et al.) were more directly influenced by the Cambridge historical demographers (Wrigley, Laslett) than by the Annales school - although there's Michael Zuckerman's Peaceable Kingdoms, in the same period.

The ongoing Annales influence, however, may be in the "Atlantic world" approach.

The "cultural turn" in history was a turn away from social science, and the Annales school was certainly social-scientific. I think it is significant that both the town studies and the Atlantic history are associated in some degree with Bernard Bailyn, whom I see as a very sophisticated example of the historian as social scientist. Bailyn's own influence has lately been disreciated as insufficiently cultural (as proved by the fact that he directed only about 65 dissertations)- but I suspect the jury is still out on that.


Nathanael D. Robinson - 9/5/2006

Schwarzenegger's own position may have nothing to do with older conservative values, rather Germanic interest in Heimatschutz (still conservative).


Michael R. Davidson - 9/5/2006

Odd that Ferguson would neglect to omit Teddy Roosevelt from the discussion. Or the landmark environmental legislation signed into law by Nixon.

When a then little known legislator by the name of John McKernan (later a representative to Congress and Governor) authored, and was the principle driver behind, Maine's bottle bill in the mid 1970's, he was covering ground frequently trod by Conservationist Republicans. The same can be said for the voting records of Bill Cohen, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins.

Schwarzenegger's move represents, if anything, a return to a core issue which, with the exception of a few enclaves, the Republican party has abandoned in the last generation. It strikes me that the real question is whether this is merely a blip on the radar or a broader move.

Unfortunately, I think it most likely that this will merely 'confirm' to the 'Republican wing of the Republican Party' that Schwarzenegger, like Maine Republicans, Nixon, and Roosevelt, is merely a RINO.

Cheers,
Mike Davidson


Thomas Brown - 9/5/2006

The world-systems literature is powerfully influenced by the Annales school. Immanuel Wallerstein would be the most prominent American example. However, most of these American world-systems scholars work in sociology departments instead of history departments.


Nathanael D. Robinson - 9/5/2006

I'm in the same boat with you: I know little, if anything, of the influence of the Annales or its application in American history. However, it seems that, across the board, Annales methods work better in pre-industrial systems and resist eras of rapid transformation brought on by industrial capitalism. I wonder if the nature of the evidence makes modern history more hostile.


Jonathan Dresner - 9/5/2006

Dave Neiwert had a discussion of conservationism vs. environmentalism in public rhetoric a while back which presages some of what Ferguson is saying.

On the Annales influence, I'm less qualified to give examples from US historiography, but finding direct influence in the anglophone Japanese historiography is quite difficult. There's a great deal of implicit crossover, when the great Feudalism debates arose, but it's more the rise of social history in the US, than direct influence from France....

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