How long has it been since you heard someone called a “revisionist,” or heard someone muttering darkly about “revisionism” after a job talk or search committee meeting? (For all of the non-historians out there who might still be reading: “revisionism” was a charge thrown around a lot in the 1980s and 1990s by those historians who imagined that history is the pursuit of Unchanging Truth, and who were generally quite hostile to most of the new approaches to history since 1960 or so–social history, subaltern history, feminist history, queer theory–pretty much everything except political and intellectual history focused on DWEMs, that is, Dead White European/Euro-American Males. Anyone who had different ideas or subjects in mind were called “revisionists,” which implied that we were doing Made-Up history, which was seen as an attack on the Unchanging Truth.) I think it’s been nearly a decade since I’ve heard these terms in serious conversations.
Has the historical profession, much like the blogosphere, gone tribal, such that we don’t even bother having conversations across political lines? Or is this just a brief cease-fire in the kulturkampf? (Or does the kulturkampf continue, and I’m just unaware of it because I’m not on the Front Lines myself?)
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