Wednesday, May 28, 2008

PUB: HISTORY AND THEORY February and May (2008).

The February issue ( contains an article by Kevin Thompson entitled "Historicity and Transcendality: Foucault, Cavaillès, and the Phenomenology of the Concept." One would have thought that there was not much new to say about Foucault’s historical methodology but Thompson disabuses us of this thought by exploring a neglected inspiration for Foucault—phenomenology—and by showing how this gave Foucault a way to articulate a method that is at once transcendental and historical. If you’re interested in Foucault you’ll learn something important from this well-written essay. The issue also contains two Forums: one on Historical Explanation, edited by David Carr, and the second on Dipesh Chakrabarty’s important book, Provincializing Europe. Forum on Historical Explanation:
  • David Carr, "Narrative Explanation and Its Malcontents"
  • Karsten R. Stueber, "Reasons, Generalizations, Empathy, and Narratives: The Epistemic Structure of Action Explanation"
  • Tor Egil Førland, "Mentality as a Social Emergent: Can the Zeitgeist Have Explanatory Power?"
  • Paul A. Roth, "Three Dogmas (More or Less) of Explanation"

Forum on Provincializing Europe:

  • Carola Dietze, "Toward a History on Equal Terms: a Discussion of Provincializing Europe"
  • Dipesh Chakrabarty, In Defense of Provincializing Europe: a Response to Carola Dietze"

The issue also contains four review essays:

  • David D. Roberts on Donald R. Kelley, Frontiers of History: Historical Inquiry in the Twentieth Century
  • Virginia H. Aksan on Gabriel Piterberg, An Ottoman Tragedy: History and Historiography at Play
  • Daniel P. Tompkins on Mohammad Nafissi, Ancient Athens and Modern Ideology: Value, Theory and Evidence in Historical Sciences: Max Weber, Karl Polanyi and Moses Finley
  • Tyler Stovall on Peter Fritzsche, Stranded in the Present: Modern Time and the Melancholy of History

The May 2008 issue ( contains four articles: Berber Bevernage, "Time, Presence, and Historical Injustice," examines the metaphysics of time with an eye to undermining the dichotomy of present/absent in both historiography and in questions regarding historical justice. This essay is a definite mind-expander that certainly got me to rethink some fundamental categories of my thought. Two articles about explanation in history, both of which mine the pragmatic tradition, follow. The first is Jeroen Van Bouwel and Erik Weber, "A Pragmatist Defense of Non-Relativistic Explanatory Pluralism in History and Social Science," a rigorously argued essay in favor of what it calls "non-relativistic explanatory pluralism" in history and the social sciences, a pluralism that allows for a continuing role for structural, functional, and intentional explanations in these disciplines. The second is by Carl Hammer, "Explication, Explanation, and History," an innovative approach that relies on what it calls "pragmatic explication" as a way to understand what it means to explain events in history—and in a way that shows just how explanation in history relates to explanation in the natural sciences. The last article is by Eileen Ka-May Cheng; it is entitled "Exceptional History? The Origins of Historiography in the United States." This very well-written essay offers a different reading of the emergence of historiography in the U. S during the period from 1890 to the 1930s than is standard—a reading that is far more nuanced and persuasive than anything to date. But the essay is of particular interest to readers of H&T because it shows how historical writing can be both the product of its context, while still insisting on a commitment to objectivity. It turns out that the tension between the ideal of objectivity and the recognition of the perspectival nature of history was something that historians were aware of early on, and that their reflections about this tension were more sophisticated than heretofore thought. The issue also contains a long review article by Gregory S. Brown, "Am ‘I’ a ‘Post-Revolutionary Self’? Historiography of the Self in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution," which discusses the following books: The Post-Revolutionary Self: Politics and Psyche in France, 1750– 1850, by Jan Goldstein; The Idea of the Self: Thought and Experience in Western Europe since the Seventeenth Century, by Jerrold Seigel; The Making of the Modern Self: Identity and Culture in Eighteenth- Century England, by Dror Wahrman; The New Biography: Performing Femininity in Nineteenth-Century France, edited by Jo Burr Margadant; and Sexing la Mode: Gender, Fashion and Commercial Culture in Old Regime France, by Jennifer Jones. The issue also includes these review essays:

  • Irmline Veit-Brause on David Carr, Thomas R. Flynn, and Rudolf A. Makkreel, eds., The Ethics of History
  • Jörn Rüsen on Finn Fuglestad, The Ambiguities of History: the Problem of Ethnocentrism in Historical Writing
  • Sanford Shieh on Michael Dummett, Truth and the Past
  • Joan W. Scott on Judith M. Bennett, History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism
  • Richard Biernacki on Charles Tilly, Why?
  • Warren Schmaus on Michel Bourdeau, Les Trois États: Science, théologie, et métaphysique chez Auguste Comte
  • William H. McNeill on Cynthia Stokes Brown, Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present

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