U.S. Intellectual History Blog

S-USIH conference featured on NY Times blog

Last week’s conference of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History was covered in an article by Jennifer Schuessler in the ArtsBeat blog on the website of the New York Times. The very favorable piece highlights several of the conference’s specific papers and panels, including Pauline Maier’s keynote address. More broadly, it positions the resurgence in American intellectual history represented by S-USIH as one that is both respectful of previous conceptions of the subject, and responsive to the criticisms and revisions to it that have characterized recent decades. “Young intellectual historians, scholars at the conference were quick to emphasize, have fully absorbed the lessons of the profession’s increased attention to questions of race, class and gender, without losing hold of the premise that ideas matter, even in a culture that still considers ‘intellectual’ a term of abuse.”

5 Thoughts on this Post

  1. Great writeup, nice quotes from all the quoted. And *fascinating* that the article gestures towards some of the (gendered?) ambivalence about self-identifying as an “intellectual historian.”

  2. The best line in the piece: Today, however, a new breed of young intellectual historian is aiming to integrate the spirit of “history from below” with an approach that doesn’t chop American history off at the neck.

    I couldn’t agree more.

    Kudos to Andrew and Mike for getting quoted. – TL

  3. Worst line in the piece? The title, hands down. “Embattled Intellectual Historians Make a Stand” makes us sound beleaguered and defensive—a tone that’s both not necessary and won’t get us anywhere. – TL

  4. Colleagues,

    I just submitted to the following comment to the Arts Beat post:
    ———————————–

    As a conference attendee, intellectual historian, and a co-coordinator (with Paul Murphy) of the first two events in 2008 and 2009, I’m very happy to see this year’s gathering covered in the NYT. Kudos to Jennifer Schuessler for capturing the spirit of the proceeding in 900 or so words. Most excellent.

    But who chose the headline? It doesn’t at all capture the tone of the event described in the article. A great many of the intellectual historians attending were in no way defensive, combative, or dour. They came, happily, because this is one of the few annual gatherings were all of the attendees are interested in the history of thought, the history of ideas, and the way in which people of all stripes leave their mark on the intellectual history of the United States.

    The new inclusive U.S. intellectual history is marked by joy and thoughtfulness. Are some of us on the perennially bad history job market? Yes. It’s a hazard of the profession. But many of us attended on our own dime, spending hundreds of dollars, and will continue to do so in spite of the travails of academia. We came mainly for the love of U.S. intellectual history; changing the establishment is secondary.

    Many thanks to Ms. Schussler for the write up, and to the NYT for publishing this piece. – TL

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