Robert R. Palmer wrote his first book, Catholics and Unbelievers in Eighteenth Century France, under the influence of his mentor at Cornell University, Carl L. Becker. Whereas Becker had claimed that the "enlightened" French philosophes were more indebted to Christianity than they recognized, Palmer argued that French Catholic apologists in the eighteenth century were also more "enlightened" than they knew. The two theses are complementary sides of Becker's wider point that beneath an intellectual debate in the public sphere there lay certain shared assumptions that make discussion possible, or what Alfred Whitehead had called a common "climate of opinion." Devoted to the subsequent historiography of Palmer's subject, this article argues that although research has since vindicated aspects of Palmer's portrait of French "enlightened" Jesuits, it has also altered Palmer's picture of French Jansenists as being globally unenlightened. This development in historiography enlarges Palmer's own notion of a "climate of opinion," while challenging the coherence of recent notions of a single "Catholic Enlightenment."
Robert R. Palmer's Catholics and Unbelievers in Eighteenth-Century France
An Overdue Tribute
Dale K. Van Kley
Robert Roswell Palmer
A Transatlantic Journey of American Liberalism
John Layton Harvey
To study how American scholars have written about the history of France over the course of the last hundred years is, in certain ways, to appraise the evolving contours of American liberalism. For American historians who specialize in the past of France, its empire, or its wider continental context, the twentieth century saw a steady growth of institutional optimism. Although conservative suspicion against popular sovereignty and universal Enlightenment reason once markedly influenced the profession, since the late 1950s the American study of France has been increasingly associated with an advancement of progressive-minded ideals. Yet, reflections over the past thirty years on the development of French history in American universities have been curiously silent on the nature or evolution of liberalism within their field. Its contours and challenges over the course of the twentieth century, as a distinct intellectual focus within the wider American Academy, remain in some ways terra incognita.
A Transatlantic Friendship
The Close Relationship between the Historians Georges Lefebvre and Robert R. Palmer
For some twenty years the historians Georges Lefebvre and Robert R. Palmer maintained a "transatlantic friendship." Beginning with his translation of Lefebvre's Coming of the French Revolution, Palmer became a close friend of his French colleague, providing him with much-needed food, books, and information. In return Lefebvre published articles written by his American friend in his journal Annales historiques de la Révolution française as well as offered advice about his research. Thanks to their intellectual cooperation, the two advanced the study of the Revolution in their respective countries. Despite the considerable differences between their political outlooks—Lefebvre was a committed Marxist and Palmer was a liberal Democrat—the two men remained close friends until Lefebvre's death in 1959. Much of this article is based on the recently published correspondence of Lefebvre with Palmer.
Archives, Heritage, and Communities
Elizabeth C. Macknight
This article presents two case studies, from Scotland and the Scottish Islands, of communities' engagement with archives and their attitudes toward heritage. The case studies arise out of knowledge transfer between an historian employed in an academic role at a Scottish university and two “third sector“ organizations. By comparing the perspectives of historians, archivists, and community organizations the article shows the different ways in which these separate interest groups perceive the value of archives. It then points to some of the possibilities and challenges of working collaboratively to deepen understanding about the past and to create wider opportunities, now and in the future, for historical interpretation, teaching, learning, and research. In the era of digital technologies, it is recommended that undergraduate students be taught the key concepts of archival theory and practice, while also being encouraged to experience working with original archival documents.
Censorship as Freedom of Expression
The Tailor and Ansty Revisited
Maryann Gialanella Valiulis
Censorship laws were introduced in the Irish Free State in 1928 and sparked immediate controversy among intellectuals, the media, and the political classes. The issue of censorship became the center of a conversation about Irish national identity. It was, in part, an assertion of independence and a conscious rejection of colonialism, an attempt to decide what stories would be told about them, what image they would portray to the world. In 1942, one text in particular sparked a renewal of the censorship controversy: Eric Cross's book, The Tailor and Ansty, which was banned because it was a realistic portrayal of Irish peasant life that was unacceptable to post-colonial Ireland, and because the author, an English folklorist, was perceived to be trying to undermine post-colonial attempts to establish a modern identity for Ireland. Thus, the application of censorship laws in Ireland can be seen as a move to free Irish self-identity from the negative portrayals of the Irish so prevalent in the colonial period.
Challenging Presumptions of Heterosexuality
Eva Gore-Booth, A Biographical Case Study
In 1925 Virginia Woolf described, with a hint of humor, how biography “is only at the beginning of its career; it has a long and active life before it, we may be sure—a life full of difficulty, danger, and hard work.“ 1 Recent debates suggest that one difficulty in writing a biography is deciding just what issues should be included. Sexuality may not always be of primary importance for a biographical study, but what if a subject's homosexuality is willfully ignored or vehemently denied by a biographer? Using the life of Irish poet and political activist Eva Gore-Booth as a case study, this article examines how misnaming Gore-Booth's relationship with her partner, Esther Roper, has helped to erase both women from the histories of Ireland and England.
Female Correspondence and Early Modern Scottish Political History
A Case Study of the Anglo-Scottish Union
This article examines the political engagement of three Scottish women—Anne Hamilton, Duchess of Hamilton; Katherine Hamilton, Duchess of Atholl; and Katherine Skene, Lady Murray—during the negotiations that led to the 1707 Anglo-Scottish Union. The letters of these women reveal an active female involvement in Scottish politics during the pivotal debates over Union with England. They also serve to demonstrate the importance of family-based power among the landed elites in early modern Scottish politics. Challenging the continued absence of women from early modern Scottish political histories, this article argues that women, exemplied by the three discussed here, must be incorporated into political history if we want to fully understand the history of the Scottish nation.
Gender(ed) Identities? Anglo-Norman Settlement, Irish-ness, and The Statutes of Kilkenny of 1367
Linda E. Mitchell
Through the analysis of three important texts—Gerald of Wales's Topographia Hibernica, the poem known as both The Song of Dermot and the Earl and The Deeds of the Normans in Ireland, and the 1367 Statutes of Kilkenny—this article seeks to demonstrate that characterizations of the Irish by the English during the first centuries of conquest and settlement established the Irish as differently gendered from the English. This is shown through the use of terms that define the Irish as sexually, socially, and culturally deviant, as unmanly and emasculated, and as legally and culturally inferior even to English women.
Gender, History, and Heritage in Ireland and Scotland
Medieval to Modern
Elizabeth C. Macknight
This special issue of Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques derives from panel sessions for the Irish-Scottish Academic Initiative (ISAI) conference held at the University of Aberdeen in October 2009. The conference marked the tenth anniversary of the founding of Aberdeen’s Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies. It was also the first ISAI conference to feature panel sessions dedicated to the study of gender in Irish and Scottish history. The overarching theme of the conferenceGlobal Nations? Irish and Scottish Expansionencouraged discussion of the ways in which the history and heritage of Ireland and Scotland are interpreted and understood both within those countries and abroad. In the two panels on gender, history, and heritage we sought to interrogate past and present notions of Irish and Scottish identity through the lens of gender by bringing together speakers from universities and the heritage sector.
Remembering the Piper Alpha Disaster
The Piper Alpha disaster remains the most significant event in the history of the British North Sea oil industry, yet despite a large range of scholarship on the topic women's experiences of the disaster have not been heard publicly. This article uses oral history testimony to add the private experiences of women who were affected by the disaster to the public experiences of men. The focus of the analysis is on the gendered and political nature of remembrance and the impact that women had on the way that Piper Alpha was commemorated and remembered.