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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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Robert L. Paquette

Most historians, even specialists in the field of slavery, know little about the largest and bloodiest slave insurrection in United States history. The revolt broke out in a sugar-producing region in the Territory of Orleans in 1811, one year before Louisiana's statehood. A disciplined army of rebels composed of men and women, African-born slaves and creole slaves, mulattoes and blacks, skilled slaves and field hands, marched down the east bank of the Mississippi River in quickstep toward New Orleans. Stunned eyewitnesses observe slaves in military formation with drums beating and flags waving. At least some of the leaders of the revolt were uniformed, mounted on horseback, and wielded rearms. Charles, a mulatto slave driver allegedly from Saint-Domingue (Haiti), led the uprising. The 1811 insurrection raises big questions about the causes and content of slave rebellion. Why did the insurrection break out when and where it did? How were slaves of different types from different plantations mobilized to revolt? Was the Louisiana insurrection influenced by the slave revolution in Saint-Domingue? Or were the causes of the revolt local? Why did free-people of color assist whites in suppressing the movement? What were the goals of the rebels? Summary justice led to the grisly executions and mutilations of scores of slaves. Did torture and terror have the desired results for the master class?

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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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Populism

The Timeline of a Concept

Juan Francisco Fuentes

contribution and to the influence of the Latin American case he was studying: “In general, populism might be described as a political movement led by a charismatic leader, usually from some discontented sector of the ruling class, who mobilizes an essentially

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The Specter of Communism

Denmark, 1848

Bertel Nygaard

politicocultural hegemony between social classes and political “parties”. At the same time, the particular concept of communism allows us to study a case of what Jacques Derrida termed “spectrality” (or, perhaps better, “spectral otherness”) involved in certain

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Michael B. Loughlin

the rhetoric of revolution, but by then he generally described his socialism using rhetoric calling for an end to class conflict under the “supposed” inspiration of the French revolutionary tradition and an indictment of German materialist socialism as

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Socialisms in the Tsarist Borderlands

Poland and Finland in a Contrastive Comparison, 1830—1907

Wiktor Marzec and Risto Turunen

and Finland from a less fatalistic perspective, and argue that the active choices of popular classes in a way determined the political futures of various states throughout Europe. And one can see that these choices, though made in the past, are

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Sandbags, Strikes, and Scandals

Public Disorder and Problematic Policing in Occupied Roubaix during World War I

James E. Connolly

engaging in “misconduct.” 20 Such breaches and disdain are at the heart of this article, which demonstrates that the culture de l’occupé involved more than just the bourgeoisie; working-class French people were also concerned with and had an

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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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Bonnie White

declined overall in the early and mid-1920s, the number of middle-class women in farming increased, and some stayed on after marriage. Two factors help to account for this trend. The flexibility of single middle-class women was an asset to farmers, as farm