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Sincerity is not the same thing as accuracy.

A common phrase heard in graduate seminars and conferences is the call to “take seriously” a historical figure, organization, or idea. Sometimes this mission is declared in the context of struggling over what constitutes the proper subject matter of historians’ attention, such as in debates about whether figures of pop culture should be analyzed as major carriers of the ideological formations central to the work of intellectual historians, or not. Other times, however, this phrase is invoked as a defensive posture to justify a closer examination of phenomenon that is regarded as unethical and, often, already well understood. It is Read more