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February 2002 Historically Speaking 23 REGIONAL REPORTS Carolinas Jobi/ Headley. University of North Carolina On December 8, 2001, the University of North Carolina's department ofhistory and the Carolinas Region ofThe Historical Societyco-sponsored a one-dayconference at Chapel Hill: "Reconsidering Current Fashions in Historical hiterpretation." The morning session featured Keith Windschuttle's paper "The Historian as Political Activist: The Legacy ofMichel Foucault." Windschuttle , well-known for advocating empirical historical scholarship, attacked Foucault's cavalier use of evidence and the Foucaultian assertion that since all knowledge exudes power, the work of the historian must serve political ends. University ofNorth Carolina history professorJames Hevia responded in defense of Foucault, arguing that Windschuttle fails to appreciate Foucault's contribution of many new and useful issues and themes for further historical inquiry. The afternoon session was devoted to Eric Arnesen's important essay "Whiteness and the Historians' Imagination," which appeared in the Fall 2001 InternationalLabor and Working-Class History (a brief excerpt appears in this issue oíHistorically Speaking). Arnesen, who chairs the history department at the University ofIllinois at Chicago, challenged labor historians' use of "whiteness" on substantive, methodological, and conceptual grounds. Duke University labor historian Robert Korstad gave a response. Chesapeake Don Avery, Harford Comminili) Colle ist againstApartheid in SouthAfrica," Vigne's lecture dealt with the activities of South Africa's nonracial Liberal party, which organized in opposition to the white supremacist Verwoerd regime. Born in South Africa of Huguenot descent, Vigne was educated at Oxford University and returned to South Africa to become national deputy chairman ofthe Liberal party. When the Verwoerd government banned the party, Vigne and others went underground, where he became a founder of the African Resistance Movement. He was assigned the difficult taskofrecruitingblacks inTranskei for the predominantlywhite Liberal party. AfterVigne's house was blown up by government forces, he barely escaped arrest and fled to London. In Britain Vigne continued to oppose South African repression ofhuman and political rights. He worked for the independence ofSouth Africa's illegally occupied colony of South West Africa, chairing the Namibia Support Committee from 1971 to 1990. He was foundingjoint editor ofthe NewAfrican Monthly, which published manyAfricanwriters , including Bessie Head of South Africa. In addition to many articles in literary, historical , and political journals, Vigne has published books on southern African and Huguenot themes, notably LiberalsAgainst Apartheid: The History ofthe Liberal Party of South Africa (1997) and A Gesture ofBelonging : Lettersfrom Bessie Head(1991). On November 7, 2001, Towson University 's department of history and the Chesapeake Region ofThe Historical Society co-sponsored a lecture by Randolph Vigne, a South African journalist/historian. Titled "The Personal Crusade ofaJournalGreater New York City Martin Burke. Lehman College. Cl1NY Jostbh Skelly, College of Mount Saint Vince) On October 12, 2001, the Greater New YorkCityRegion hosted the firstinstallment of a new series of seminars honoring books recentlypublished bymembers ofThe Historical Society. The volume so honored on this occasion wasJohn Buchanan'sJacksons Way:AndrewJackson and the People ofthe Western Waters (John Wiley and Sons, 2001). Mr. Buchanan's book is history without apology. Jacksons Way, Buchanan said, "is about conquest—an ancienttale, as old as the species. This particular tale deals with the American conquest ofwhat was once called the Old Southwest, that vast sweep ofterritorybetween the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi, from the Ohio River to the GulfofMexico." One ofMr. Buchanan's primaryaims "in tellingthis tale ofconquestwas to describe itwarts and all, without, however, the kind ofdemonizing ofAmerican heroes to which we have been subjected by too many historians and writers over the past 30 to 40 years." This trend "probably began with the quite honorable and long overdue effort to bring into the historical mainstream those who had been relegated to the nooks and crannies ofhistory: blacks, women, Indians, ethnics, and so on." Yet this worthwhile "undertaking has too often veered into polemics. And these polemics that pass for history have percolated down to the popular media and general public." This deleterious process has deformed many great American historical figures. AndrewJackson is no exception. The common refrain "he wasn'tverynice to the Indians " has been replaced by the sobriquet "old genocidal Jackson." Yet Buchanan's book reminds us thatAndrewJackson was extraordinarilycomplex —taciturn, aggressive...

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