Contemporary social history is premised on the idea of writing histories of ordinary people. This article reflects critically on the concept of “ordinariness“ as facilitated by the author's brief moment of personal fame and her professional experiences of learning and writing about women's and gender history in and of southern Africa. These perspectives then informed her attempts to write and publish a story of the brief encounter in the late 1930s between a member of her family and the brilliant African-American writer, Richard Wright. The article explores the parameters and definitions of “ordinariness“ in African and American history.
Children's Literacy in Rural France, 1800–1950
Elizabeth C. Macknight
This article presents an interdisciplinary approach to archival research on records produced by children that survive in family archives. It corresponds with the aims of education specialists who investigate patterns in language learning to understand how young minds absorb influences concurrently from familial, religious, and social circles across disparate cultural settings. Drawing upon the concept of syncretic literacy, the article interprets French archival evidence of children’s development of linguistic competency and sensitivity to language use in context. It argues for the need to advocate both the conservation of children’s archives and the design of educational programs that enable children to discover the role of archivists and the purposes of recordkeeping in society.
Hayek, Pluralism, Democracy
Reading Friedrich Hayek’s late work as a neoliberal myth of the state of nature, this article finds neoliberalism’s hostilities to democracy to be animated in part by a romantic demand for belonging. Hayek’s theory of spontaneous order expresses this desire for belonging as it pretends the market is capable of harmonizing differences so long as the state is prevented from interfering. Approaching Hayek’s work in this way helps to explain why his conceptions of both pluralism and democracy are so thin. It also suggests that neoliberalism’s assaults upon democracy are intimately linked to its relentless extractivism. Yet the romantic elements in Hayek’s work might have led him toward a more radical democratic project and ecological politics had he affirmed plurality for what it enables. I conclude with the suggestion that democratic theory can benefit from learning to listen to what Hayek heard but failed to affirm: nature’s active voice.
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.
David Allen Harvey
Despite its long-standing reputation for skepticism and irreverence, the Enlightenment took religion quite seriously. Historians have long recognized this fact, and have often represented the intellectual history of the eighteenth century in terms of the struggle between religious faith and philosophical skepticism. One common view of the period holds that religious dogmatism and intolerance, memorably condemned by Voltaire as l’Infâme, served as the negative pole against which the positive Enlightenment ideals of secularism, reason, and tolerance were articulated. Nearly a century ago, Ernst Cassirer characterized this view (which he did not entirely share) by writing, “French Encyclopedism declares war openly on religion,” accusing it of “having been an eternal hindrance to intellectual progress.” Around the same time, Carl Becker argued that the eighteenth-century philosophes sought to recast the “heavenly city” imagined by church fathers such as St. Augustine into a vision of a terrestrial utopian future. A generation later, Peter Gay described the philosophes as “modern pagans,” who “used their classical learning to free themselves from their Christian heritage.” For such scholars, the historical signifi cance of the Enlightenment lay in its break with religious tradition and embrace of “modernity”, defined primarily by secularism and rationality.
In this article the author examines the way in which concepts of citizenship and rights have been transmitted not only by conquest, but also by the imitation of Greek and Roman models. Also, the article discusses the way in which early modern empires, modelling themselves on the classical Roman empire in particular, bring these two elements together. Extensive historiographical work on the reception of European thought in the New World has been produced on both sides of the Atlantic and some important contributions that deal with the impact of the New World encounters in European thought have recently been made. However, the author argues that little work has been done on classical modelling as a vehicle for the transmission of concepts. The long tradition of classical learning, revived in the European Renaissance, made Latin the lingua franca of Europe, and school curricula across Europe ensured that members of the Republic of Letters were exposed to the same texts. This, together with the serviceability of the Roman model as a manual for Empire, ensured the rapid transmission of classical republican and imperial ideas. The author takes England and the British Empire as a case study and provides a variety of examples of classical modelling.
Which Governance Systems are Having a “Good” Pandemic?
Jennifer Gaskell and Gerry Stoker
four positive qualities of multilevel governance can contribute, when combined, to give greater chances of positive practical outcomes in times of crisis. Multi-level governance benefits from both centralized and decentralized capacity, mutual learning
A View from Natural Philosophy
science are and should be the aims of learning. “Natural philosophy shall not vanish in the fumes of subtle or sublime speculations, but shall be operative to relieve the inconveniences of man’s estate.” 6 Yet “it is esteemed a kind of dishonour upon
CDT are described in the second section, followed by the introduction of the central concept of “constellations.” Reasons for pursuing CDT are discussed in the third section, including the types of learning which might be required. This article
Jeffrey D. Hilmer and Max Halupka
’s analysis of the key findings of the CivicWeb ( http://www.civicweb.eu ) research project further cements existing commentary on the role that the internet plays in young people’s engagement. Andreas Walther’s contribution, titled “Learning to Participate or