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Confessing History Cover

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Confessing History

Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian's Vocation

edited by John Fea, Jay Green, and Eric Miller

At the end of his landmark 1994 book, The Soul of the American University, historian George Marsden asserted that religious faith does indeed have a place in today’s academia. Marsden’s contention sparked a heated debate on the role of religious faith and intellectual scholarship in academic journals and in the mainstream media. The contributors to Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian’s Vocation expand the discussion about religion’s role in education and culture and examine what the relationship between faith and learning means for the academy today. The contributors to Confessing History ask how the vocation of historian affects those who are also followers of Christ. What implications do Christian faith and practice have for living out one’s calling as an historian? And to what extent does one’s calling as a Christian disciple speak to the nature, quality, or goals of one’s work as scholar, teacher, adviser, writer, community member, or social commentator? Written from several different theological and professional points of view, the essays collected in this volume explore the vocation of the historian and its place in both the personal and professional lives of Christian disciples.

A Crooked Line Cover

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A Crooked Line

From Cultural History to the History of Society

Geoff Eley

Eley brilliantly probes transformations in the historians' craft over the past four decades. I found A Crooked Line engrossing, insightful, and inspiring. --Lizabeth Cohen, author of A Consumers' Republic "A Crooked Line brilliantly captures the most significant shifts in the landscape of historical scholarship that have occurred in the last four decades. Part personal history, part insightful analysis of key methodological and theoretical historiographical tendencies since the late 1960s, always thoughtful and provocative, Eley's book shows us why history matters to him and why it should also matter to us." --Robert Moeller, University of California, Irvine "Part genealogy, part diagnosis, part memoir, Eley's account of the histories of social and cultural history is a tour de force." --Antoinette Burton, Professor of History and Catherine C. and Bruce A. Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies, University of Illinois "Eley's reflections on the changing landscape of academic history in the last forty years will interest and benefit all students of the discipline. Both a native informant and an analyst in this account, Eley combines the two roles superbly to produce one of most engaging and compelling narratives of the recent history of History." --Dipesh Chakrabarty, author of Provincializing Europe Using his own intellectual biography as a narrative device, Geoff Eley tracks the evolution of historical understanding in our time from social history through the so-called "cultural turn," and back again to a broad history of society. A gifted writer, Eley carefully winnows unique experiences from the universal, and uses the interplay of the two to draw the reader toward an organic understanding of how historical thinking (particularly the work of European historians) has evolved under the influence of new ideas. His work situates history within History, and offers students, scholars, and general readers alike a richly detailed, readable guide to the enduring value of historical ideas. Geoff Eley is Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

The Demise of the Inhuman Cover

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The Demise of the Inhuman

Afrocentricity, Modernism, and Postmodernism

Ana Monteiro-Ferreira

Employs a critical Afrocentric reading of Western constructions of knowledge so as to overcome the dehumanizing tendencies of modernity.

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Demon of the Lost Cause

Sherman and Civil War History

Wesley Moody

 
At the end of the Civil War, Union general William Tecumseh Sherman was surprisingly more popular in the newly defeated South than he was in the North. Yet, only thirty years later, his name was synonymous with evil and destruction in the South, particularly as the creator and enactor of the “total war” policy. In Demon of the Lost Cause, Wesley Moody examines these perplexing contradictions and how they and others function in past and present myths about Sherman.

 

            Throughout this fascinating study of Sherman’s reputation, from his first public servant role as the major general for the state of California until his death in 1891, Moody explores why Sherman remains one of the most controversial figures in American history. Using contemporary newspaper accounts, Sherman’s letters and memoirs, as well as biographies of Sherman and histories of his times, Moody reveals that Sherman’s shifting reputation was formed by whoever controlled the message, whether it was the Lost Cause historians of the South, Sherman’s enemies in the North, or Sherman himself.

 

With his famous “March to the Sea” in Georgia, the general became known for inventing a brutal warfare where the conflict is brought to the civilian population. In fact, many of Sherman’s actions were official tactics to be employed when dealing with guerrilla forces, yet Sherman never put an end to the talk of his innovative tactics and even added to the stories himself. Sherman knew he had enemies in the Union army and within the Republican elite who could and would jeopardize his position for their own gain. In fact, these were the same people who spread the word that Sherman was a Southern sympathizer following the war, helping to place the general in the South’s good graces. That all changed, however, when the Lost Cause historians began formulating revisions to the Civil War, as Sherman’s actions were the perfect explanation for why the South had lost.

 

 Demon of the Lost Cause reveals the machinations behind the Sherman myth and the reasons behind the acceptance of such myths, no matter who invented them. In the case of Sherman’s own mythmaking, Moody postulates that his motivation was to secure a military position to support his wife and children. For the other Sherman mythmakers, personal or political gain was typically the rationale behind the stories they told and believed.  In tracing Sherman’s ever-changing reputation, Moody sheds light on current and past understanding of the Civil War through the lens of one of its most controversial figures.

Doing Recent History Cover

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Doing Recent History

On Privacy, Copyright, Video Games, Institutional Review Boards, Activist Scholarship, and History That Talks Back

Claire Bond Potter

Recent history—the very phrase seems like an oxymoron. Yet historians have been writing accounts of the recent past since printed history acquired a modern audience, and in the last several years interest in recent topics has grown exponentially. With subjects as diverse as Walmart and disco, and personalities as disparate as Chavez and Schlafly, books about the history of our own time have become arguably the most exciting and talked-about part of the discipline.

Despite this rich tradition and growing popularity, historians have engaged in little discussion about the specific methodological, political, and ethical issues related to writing about the recent past. The twelve essays in this collection explore the challenges of writing histories of recent events where visibility is inherently imperfect, hindsight and perspective are lacking, and historiography is underdeveloped.

Those who write about events that have taken place since 1970 encounter exciting challenges that are both familiar and foreign to scholars of a more distant past, including suspicions that their research is not historical enough, negotiation with living witnesses who have a very strong stake in their own representation, and the task of working with new electronic sources. Contributors to this collection consider a wide range of these challenges. They question how sources like television and video games can be better utilized in historical research, explore the role and regulation of doing oral histories, consider the ethics of writing about living subjects, discuss how historians can best navigate questions of privacy and copyright law, and imagine the possibilities that new technologies offer for creating transnational and translingual research opportunities. Doing Recent History offers guidance and insight to any researcher considering tackling the not-so-distant past.

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The Dunning School

Historians, Race, and the Meaning of Reconstruction

edited by John David Smith and J. Vincent Lowery. foreword by Eric Foner

From the late nineteenth century until World War I, a group of Columbia University students gathered under the mentorship of the renowned historian William Archibald Dunning (1857--1922). Known as the Dunning School, these students wrote the first generation of state studies on the Reconstruction -- volumes that generally sympathized with white southerners, interpreted radical Reconstruction as a mean-spirited usurpation of federal power, and cast the Republican Party as a coalition of carpetbaggers, freedmen, scalawags, and former Unionists.

Edited by the award-winning historian John David Smith and J. Vincent Lowery, The Dunning School focuses on this controversial group of historians and its scholarly output. Despite their methodological limitations and racial bias, the Dunning historians' writings prefigured the sources and questions that later historians of the Reconstruction would utilize and address. Many of their pioneering dissertations remain important to ongoing debates on the broad meaning of the Civil War and Reconstruction and the evolution of American historical scholarship.

This groundbreaking collection of original essays offers a fair and critical assessment of the Dunning School that focuses on the group's purpose, the strengths and weaknesses of its constituents, and its legacy. Squaring the past with the present, this important book also explores the evolution of historical interpretations over time and illuminates the ways in which contemporary political, racial, and social questions shape historical analyses.

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Economics and the Historian

Thomas G. Rawski

These essays provide a thorough introduction to economics for historians. The authors, all eminent scholars, show how to use economic thinking, economic models, and economic methods to enrich historical research. They examine such vital issues as long-term trends, institutions, labor—including an engaging dialogue between a labor historian and a labor economist—international affairs, and money and banking. Scholars and teachers of history will welcome this volume as an introduction and guide to economics, a springboard for their own research, and a lively and provocative source of collateral reading for students at every level.

The combined research experience of these authors encompasses many varieties of economics and covers a kaleidoscopic array of nations, subjects, and time periods. All are expert in presenting the insights and complexities of economics to nonspecialist audiences.

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Essays on Twentieth-Century History

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.

Faithful Account of the Race Cover

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Faithful Account of the Race

African American Historical Writing in Nineteenth-Century America

Stephen G. Hall

The civil rights and black power movements expanded popular awareness of the history and culture of African Americans. But, as Stephen Hall observes, African American authors, intellectuals, ministers, and abolitionists had been writing the history of the black experience since the 1800s. With this book, Hall recaptures and reconstructs a rich but largely overlooked tradition of historical writing by African Americans.

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Fordham

A History and Memoir, Revised Edition

Raymond Schroth

Fordham University is the quintessential American-Catholic institution-and one now looked upon as among the best Catholic universities in the country. Its story is also the story of New York, especially the Bronx, andFordham's commitment to the city during its rise, fall, and rebirth. It's a story of Jesuits, soldiers, alumni who fought in World Wars, chaplains, teachers, and administrators who made bold moves and big mistakes, ofpresidents who thought small and those who had vision. And of the first women, students and faculty, who helped bring Fordham into the 20th century. Finally it's the story of an institution's attempt to keep its Jesuitand Catholic identity as it strives for leadership in a competitive world. Combining authoritative history and fascinating anecdotes, Schroth offers an engaging account of Fordham's one hundred thirrty-seven years-here, updated, revised, and expanded to cover the new presidency of Joseph M. McShane, S.J., and the challenges Fordham faces in the new century.

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