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Sympathy management, or how not to “pull a Genovese”

Since I so enthusiastically endorsed presentism the other day in response to Gordon Wood’s spectacular display of reactionary sympathies, I thought to equivocate myself a bit, just for the sake of confusing the enemy—whoever that might be. For though one’s sympathies are always part of one’s scholarship, there is little doubt in my mind that ‘sympathy management’ is one of the most important—and trickiest—responsibilities of any historian. On this issue, I find the scholarly trajectory I have concocted from quite fragmentary evidence for Eugene Genovese, the great historian of slavery, as an instructive and cautionary tale. For though I’m not Read more