Review: Mockingbird Song: Ecological Landscapes of the South

While presenting a detailed account on the transformation of the natural environment in the South, the book is less successful at coming to grips with the nature of human interaction with nature. Kirby portrays modern social relations as the shadows of the abstract force of “Modernity,” a term that despite making a recurring appearance is not well-defined in his narrative. At time, modernity appears as an extension of “European imperialism,” at other times it is the force behind the post-Civil War transformation of the Southern landscape.

Review: Mockingbird Song: Ecological Landscapes of the South

While presenting a detailed account on the transformation of the natural environment in the South, the book is less successful at coming to grips with the nature of human interaction with nature. Kirby portrays modern social relations as the shadows of the abstract force of “Modernity,” a term that despite making a recurring appearance is not well-defined in his narrative. At time, modernity appears as an extension of “European imperialism,” at other times it is the force behind the post-Civil War transformation of the Southern landscape.

Review: Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life

Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life argues that the invocation of “race” obscures the nature of social inequality, masking problems of an economic and political nature under the guise of race and racism. Fields & Fields argue that despite the inadequacy of the term, race has become a real abstraction, i.e., an ideology. Key to their understanding of the emergence of race is the role that it played in justifying — and rationalizing– the system of American black slavery.

Review: Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life

Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life argues that the invocation of “race” obscures the nature of social inequality, masking problems of an economic and political nature under the guise of race and racism. Fields & Fields argue that despite the inadequacy of the term, race has become a real abstraction, i.e., an ideology. Key to their understanding of the emergence of race is the role that it played in justifying — and rationalizing– the system of American black slavery.

Review: Steven Hahn and Kate Masur

As a whole, Hahn presents a genealogy of black political consciousness as wholly apart from nineteenth-century bourgeois radicalism. Distancing himself from what he has labeled as “liberal approaches” to Reconstruction, Hahn’s work aims to provide an independent history of black experience and black politics. Although a scholarly work with innumerable contributions, Hahn’s approach problematically treats American blacks as a monolith. And even though Hahn himself recognizes that, for example, black politicians in the rural South pursued “goals of a nascent black bourgeoisie,” he does not explore the implications of these emergent class divisions, but, rather, asserts that even these politicians had come to “see their destinies as inextricably linked to those of the rural masses.”

Review: Steven Hahn and Kate Masur

As a whole, Hahn presents a genealogy of black political consciousness as wholly apart from nineteenth-century bourgeois radicalism. Distancing himself from what he has labeled as “liberal approaches” to Reconstruction, Hahn’s work aims to provide an independent history of black experience and black politics. Although a scholarly work with innumerable contributions, Hahn’s approach problematically treats American blacks as a monolith. And even though Hahn himself recognizes that, for example, black politicians in the rural South pursued “goals of a nascent black bourgeoisie,” he does not explore the implications of these emergent class divisions, but, rather, asserts that even these politicians had come to “see their destinies as inextricably linked to those of the rural masses.”

Review: Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History

The problem with Buck-Morss’s argument is that in replacing freedom with “humanity” (unfreedom with “inhumanity”), and political judgment with “moral judgment” the link between political consciousness and history is severed. In this way, the politics of “resistance” has a depoliticizing effect. The defense of “humanity” throughout time as the guiding beacon for historiography falls short of addressing the problem that, historically, has been at the center of political revolutions the world over: how can humanity be transformed?

Review: Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History

The problem with Buck-Morss’s argument is that in replacing freedom with “humanity” (unfreedom with “inhumanity”), and political judgment with “moral judgment” the link between political consciousness and history is severed. In this way, the politics of “resistance” has a depoliticizing effect. The defense of “humanity” throughout time as the guiding beacon for historiography falls short of addressing the problem that, historically, has been at the center of political revolutions the world over: how can humanity be transformed?

Review: For Cause and Comrades

Behind the lines of North and South, “honor” was defined along different political commitments: While Union men fought to uphold the honor of the nation and punish the rebel states, Confederate troops were livid about the attempted subjugation of the South by “Northern Yankees,” and fought to recover the honor of their home states. Both definitions hinged on a particular interpretation of the founding myths of the American Republic. Northerners saw themselves as defending “the experiment of self-government” by protecting the existence of the Union, and in this way upholding the guiding principles of 1776. With the same revolutionary history in mind, Southerners fought to challenge the “tyrannical force” of the North, which—in quotidian parlance—would turn the South into the “slave” of the North.

Review: For Cause and Comrades

Behind the lines of North and South, “honor” was defined along different political commitments: While Union men fought to uphold the honor of the nation and punish the rebel states, Confederate troops were livid about the attempted subjugation of the South by “Northern Yankees,” and fought to recover the honor of their home states. Both definitions hinged on a particular interpretation of the founding myths of the American Republic. Northerners saw themselves as defending “the experiment of self-government” by protecting the existence of the Union, and in this way upholding the guiding principles of 1776. With the same revolutionary history in mind, Southerners fought to challenge the “tyrannical force” of the North, which—in quotidian parlance—would turn the South into the “slave” of the North.

The Memory of Eric Hobsbawm

Past and Present has made the following articles available online to all: The Machine Breakers (1952) The Crisis of The 17th Century—II (1954) The General Crisis of the European Economy in the 17th Century (1954) Twentieth–Century British Politics (1957) Discussion of H. R. Trevor-Roper:

The Memory of Eric Hobsbawm

Past and Present has made the following articles available online to all: The Machine Breakers (1952) The Crisis of The 17th Century—II (1954) The General Crisis of the European Economy in the 17th Century (1954) Twentieth–Century British Politics (1957) Discussion of H. R. Trevor-Roper:

Review: B. Rushforth, W. Jordan, E. Morgan, S. Smallwood

Throughout the book, Morgan highlights commonalities between English opinions of the poor, and colonial opinions of slaves. He shows how these similar dehumanizing perspectives helped define the conception of the industrious Englishman. In the end, it was because slaves were not seen as men but as “laboring property” that Republican ideas of liberty could develop with such vehemence in the slave society of Virginia.

Review: B. Rushforth, W. Jordan, E. Morgan, S. Smallwood

Throughout the book, Morgan highlights commonalities between English opinions of the poor, and colonial opinions of slaves. He shows how these similar dehumanizing perspectives helped define the conception of the industrious Englishman. In the end, it was because slaves were not seen as men but as “laboring property” that Republican ideas of liberty could develop with such vehemence in the slave society of Virginia.