U.S. Intellectual History Blog

The Baffler Round Table, Entry #4: John Summers’ Reply

For hosting this roundtable, kind thanks to Tim Lacy and his fellow editors, and to Eric Brandom, Adam Parsons, and Keith Woodhouse for their able and observant summaries of the contents of this strange new publication, which is not a magazine, or a journal, or a trade paperback, but contains a little of each of these things.

As the occasional note of uncertainty and overreach in the respondents suggests, the essays in Baffler 19 are neither journalism nor scholarship, but criticism that borrows techniques and knowledge from both fields. It’s not necessarily a respectable form of criticism, either, in the precincts of U.S. higher education where the three respondents are seeking their way. Since Mr. Brandom got to use the fancy word “constructivist” in his review, I’m going to call our “street corner” “interstitial.” Take that, Brandom!

As for the complaints about this or that, give us a chance, will you? It’s only the first issue. By late June, when Baffler 20 is due to be coughed out by the computers, we’ll have marching orders issued to every history phd candidate in the country. You’d better subscribe soon!

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Editor’s Note: Thanks to everyone for participating. This has been something of an experiment—i.e. getting intellectual historians to comment on both the present and something that’s outside their historical comfort zones—but I hope it’s been stimulating. Feel free to let us know your thoughts, on the round table and/or the experiment, below. – TL

2 Thoughts on this Post

  1. I enjoyed the experiment, and I hope that your authors (both the guests and regulars)continue to develop their skills by stepping outside of their comfort zones in terms of content, era, and methodology.

  2. I enjoyed the roundtable as well. Kudos to the contributors. And to Tim, who surely spent a lot of time putting it together and editing it. I only wish Summers had more to say in response.

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