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American Historical Review

Thrift Shop Historiography

I highly recommend James W. Cook’s outstanding essay in the June 2012 AHR, “The Kids are All Right: On the ‘Turning’ of Cultural History.” Cook’s essay was part of the AHR’s forum on historiographic “turns” — cultural turn, linguistic turn, transnational turn, imperial turn, etc., etc.  As is clear from his title, Cook framed his account in “generational” terms, drawing a distinction between historians whose careers were underway before “the turning,” and those who entered graduate school after the contested value of culturalism was reasonably established. “If one cohort’s turns found their expression in mid-career conversion experiences, ” Cook writes, Read more