Monday, August 29, 2016

Rumors of Our Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Mark Graber

The New York Times editorial page today announced the death of political history.  This may well be true of history departments, but the more accurate statement is that political history has migrated from history to political science. As this week's American Political Science Association convention demonstrates, prominent senior (think Sandy, Rogers Smith, Steve Skowronek, Karen Orren, etc.), mid-career (think Julie Novkov, Keith Whittington, Pamela Brandwein, etc.), and younger (think Emily Zackin, Anna Law, Mariah Zeisberg, Eric Lomazoff, etc.) are all engaged in what might be considered political history (and profuse apologies to the numerous friends not named).  There may be a lot to be said about what happens when political history is done by political scientists rather than historians (we call it "political development"), but calling the field dead is confusing what may be happening in one discipline with what is not happening in the academy at large.

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