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Jacob Burckhardt

The Use and Abuse of Intellectual History: Reflections of an Early Americanist (part 3)

In last week’s post, the second in this series, I argued that much of early American historiography—the revolutionary period in particular—has suffered from an inadequate conceptual framework for analyzing power. While most intellectual historians did not afford struggles over power a significant role in their interpretations, most materialist historians overemphasized the category of class—at the expense of race and gender—as most instructive for evaluating power dynamics. Today I would like to evaluate what the suggestions made during the plenary session “What is US Intellectual History” might offer us in light of these shortcomings. Read more