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What History is good for

Service-learning and studying the past

Michael Smith

Many disciplines in the social sciences and humanities can offer profound insights into what it means to be human. History, however, encompasses the totality of human experience: economics, politics, philosophy, art, ethics, sociology, science - all of it becomes part of history eventually. Therefore, the opportunities for incorporating service-learning (carefully integrating community service with academic inquiry and reflecting on insights derived from such integration) into history courses abound. Many historians have taken advantage of this opportunity. Few historians have undertaken a scholarly investigation of the learning taking place in their service-learning courses, however. Indeed, despite the fact that the reflective process so central to service-learning lends itself remarkably well to the scholarship of teaching and learning (it generates very rich data on both the affective and content-based learning students are experiencing), there has been little published SoTL research from any discipline about service-learning. Drawing on qualitative evidence from an honours course comprised of 16 students at a private liberal arts college in the northeastern United States, I argue that not only does service-learning in history lead to more active citizenship, but that it also leads to deeper appreciation of an historical perspective as a key ingredient for being an engaged citizen.

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Ageeth Sluis and Elise Edwards

Many opportunities for more integrated teaching that better capture the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary scholars' work and better achieve the aims of liberal arts education still remain untapped, particularly at smaller schools where combined departments are often necessary. The disciplinary boundaries between history and sociocultural anthropology have become increasingly blurred in recent decades, a trend reflected in scholarly work that engages with both fields, as well as dual-degree graduate programmes at top U.S. research universities. For many scholars, this interdisciplinarity makes sense, with the two disciplines offering critical theoretical tools and methods that must be used in combination to tackle effectively the questions they pursue. This article asks why this interdisciplinarity, so central to professional pursuits of both historians and anthropologists, is significantly less present in the undergraduate classroom. Housed in one of the only joint History and Anthropology departments in the U.S., we detail our own efforts to make the chance joining of our disciplines pedagogically meaningful.

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Nathalie Roseau

In the last two decades many researchers have taken diverse approaches to the study of airports. The airport was long considered a topic for specialists and designers, or admired as a monument celebrating the spectacle of aeromobility—from early aeronautical shows to later Sunday excursions to the huge observation terraces overlooking the airfield. Today the airport as a critical issue permeates the literature at various angles. Why such a profusion and what do these works offer the history of mobility?

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Per Lundin

This essay maintains that thinking with history is an indispensable component of all informed, judicious policymaking, and that this is something historians are particularly good at. It stresses that engaging in social and political life does not necessarily imply the corruption of the norms of what is deemed good scholarship. It suggests that to take on the role of an expert in policy-making processes may be an attractive option for the socially committed historian. In doing so, historians will need to reflect upon what form their particular expertise should take, how it can be used, and how it can be communicated.

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Mimi Sheller

Mobility is not just a theme running throughout Caribbean history, but describes a conceptual approach and theoretical framework for better understanding the region. This review seeks to situate the history of Caribbean tourism in relation to a wider field of mobility studies in the region and highlights recent research in this area.

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The Conceptual and Anthropological History of Bat Mitzvah

Two Lexical Paths and Two Jewish Identities

Hizky Shoham

Anthropological history, from Norbert Elias to the French histoire culturelle and microhistory, conducts a diachronic and developmental study of classic anthropological themes: symbols and ceremonies, body perceptions, folk culture, and the like

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Ottoman Conceptual History

Challenges and Prospects

Alp Eren Topal and Einar Wigen

In this article, we discuss the pitfalls and benefits of conceptual history as an approach to Ottoman studies. While Ottoman studies is blossoming and using a wider set of tools to study the Ottoman past, Ottoman intellectual history is still resigned to a life-and-works approach. Th is absence of synthesizing attempts has left intellectual history in the margins. In addition to the lack of new, theoretically sophisticated accounts of how Ottoman intellectual and political changes were intertwined, the old Orientalist works still hold canonical status in the field. Drawing on recent developments in social and political history, conceptual history may be a good way of doing self-reflective longue durée intellectual history. Ottoman conceptual history may also off er nonspecialists more sophisticated bases for comparison with non-Ottoman cases.

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Max Stille

This review article provides an overview of important, recent approaches to conceptual history from scholarship on South Asia. While conceptual history is not a consolidated field in South Asia, the colonial encounter has greatly stimulated interest in conceptual inquiries. Recent scholarship questions the uniformity even of well-researched concepts such as liberalism. It is methodologically innovative in thinking about the influence of economic structures for the development of concepts. Rethinking religious and secular languages, scholars have furthermore stressed the importance of smaller communicative units such as genre or hermeneutical practices to shape ideas e.g. of the political. As part of global and imperial formations, scholars are well aware of the link between power and colonial temporalities. Lastly, they have suggested new sources for conceptual history, such as literature, film, and sound.

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Ana Isabel González Manso

the perception of a new temporality influenced a certain group of nineteenth-century Spanish intellectuals when they wrote or thought about history (and, consequently, the meaning they gave to it) and the various solutions they put forward for the

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Whither Conceptual History?

From National to Entangled Histories

Margrit Pernau

The last decade has witnessed a remarkable internationalization in conceptual history. Research covers more countries and languages than ever before, and there have been a number of very good comparative studies. This article reflects on the possibility of taking conceptual history beyond comparison. Like nations, languages can no longer be considered as naturally given entities, but have to be viewed as profoundly shaped by historical exchanges. This brings conceptual history into a dialogue with translation studies in a common attempt to unravel how equivalents between languages have been created by the actors.