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Radical Book History

E. P. Thompson and The Making of the English Working Class

Antoinette Burton

This special issue on E. P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class (1963) grew out of a symposium I organized at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in October 2013 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the book’s publication. I am, on the face of it, one of the least likely modern British historians to be organizing such an event. I can remember the first time I held the weighty tome in my hands: I was a junior in college, in the fall of 1982, and it was on the syllabus for a course I was taking on Victorian Britain, taught by Jonathan Schneer at Yale University. As did many feminist and postcolonial historians of my generation, I struggled with what I saw as Thompson’s indifference to women and gender (oh, those deluded followers of Joanna Southcott!) and his incapacity to see the evidence of race and empire in his sources even when they cried out from below the footnote line for all to see.

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Hide and Seek

Uncovering the Politics of Playtime

Sarah Fishman

Since the publication in 1960 of Philippe Ariès’s foundational, if problematic, Centuries of Childhood, the history of childhood has developed into a rich and varied field. At the annual conference of the Western Society for French History in 2018, a call for panelists for a roundtable on the history of childhood expanded into two separate panels ranging from the medieval era through the thirty glorious postwar years. The panelists and the audience grappled with questions about the social construction of age, the ages of childhood, and the challenges of finding sources for a group that left few “ego documents.” Although children per se never exercised political or global power, attention to children clarifies how critical children were to political and international systems. Material generated by children themselves can be difficult to locate, but adults generated plenty of material about children. The intersectionality of the history of childhood with fields like labor history, urban history, the history of the welfare state, and the history of psychology parallels the intersectionality of children themselves, who come from every race, social class, and gender. All humans, it turns out, start out as children.

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Katherine Weikert and Elena Woodacre

out of a system that perpetuated white, middle- and upper-class men as the primary researchers producing historical narratives about powerful men, the medieval world, as we well know, is far more than that. Discussions of intersectionality in the

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Nicholas L. Syrett

Halperin, who was building on the work of Michel Foucault, age (as well as class and status) asymmetry was key to how ancient Greeks structured sexual pairings between male citizens and the young men they mentored and penetrated. Some of the earliest

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The Modernity of Political Representation

Its Innovative Thrust and Transnational Semantic Transfers during the Sattelzeit (Eighteenth to Nineteenth Centuries)

Samuel Hayat and José María Rosales

, relying on regular elections to select the wisest, and often richest, members of society—a system soon to be called representative government. In many countries, this conceptual polarity both influenced and was a result of class conflicts and rivalries

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Heidi Hakkarainen

Britain and France, moral philosophy became intimately interlinked with emotions, as the nineteenth-century middle classes understood moral sense as being dependent on the cultivation of appropriate feelings. The capacity to feel compassion was supposed to

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Rethinking World War I

Occupation, Liberation, and Reconstruction

George Robb and W. Brian Newsome

States. As more middle- and working-class people studied history at university and became historians, they increasingly turned their attention to people like themselves in the past. New disciplines, such as labor history and women’s history, expanded

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Introduction

Concepts of Emotions in Indian Languages

Margrit Pernau

universalizing claims of post-Enlightenment European middle-class men’s worldviews. The three articles in this special section start at a time when the colonial entanglement of different knowledge systems and concepts was already well under way. Margrit Pernau

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Introduction

When Was Brexit? Reading Backward to the Present

Antoinette Burton

voted the way they did and what it meant for political elites in a world with shifting class identities and alliances. While the original text largely sidesteps questions of race and empire, Riley insists that we read backward through those critical

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Introduction

Cultural Heritages and Their Transmission

Elizabeth C. Macknight

-Forbes, a Scottish gentry family, to understand the consequences of sons going abroad for periods of “sojourning.” Theodore Forbes was brought up in northeast Scotland and fathered one illegitimate son by a working-class Scottish woman, Isobel MacDonald