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Are Political Acts Unnatural?

Kousser, J. Morgan (1985) Are Political Acts Unnatural? Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 15 (3). pp. 467-480. ISSN 0022-1953.

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Written history currently lacks a mainstream. Seeming to bob more violently than usual on numerous cross-currents-QUASSH (Quantitative Social Scientific History), the new labor history, public history, the revival of narrative, etc.-the profession is awash in the flotsam and jetsam of agendas, campaigns, calls to arms, and condemnations. I admit to having contributed to the detritus, but believe it better that the craft be buffeted than that it float lazily and aimlessly or drift into scholarly backwaters. My article on restoring politics to political history, however, was less a manifesto or a critique of previous historical works than it was an attempt to chart more clearly a course which some seemed already to be taking, to warn that the political science party up ahead had run aground on certain shoals, and to describe a possible destination of the journey. I did not mean to ban other trips to other places, and, of course, I have no power to do so. Although I welcome Bourke and DeBats' call to take new bearings before continuing the excursion, I believe that the route that they have plotted fails to take adequate account of certain figurative rapids and eddies. Let me begin by very quickly retracing, less metaphorically, my earlier map.

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Additional Information:© 1985 by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the editors of The Journal of Interdisciplinary History. Morgan Kousser is Professor of History and Social Science at the California Institute of Technology. He is the author of The Shaping of Southern Politics (New Haven, 1974). The author thanks R. Douglas Rivers for forcing him to clarify some of his thoughts and for saving him from some errors and absolves him from further complicity in this reply.
Issue or Number:3
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Official Citation:Are Political Acts Unnatural? J. Morgan Kousser. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History , Vol. 15, No. 3 (Winter, 1985), pp. 467-480. Published by: The MIT Press. Article Stable URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:41031
Deposited By: SWORD User
Deposited On:03 Sep 2013 15:48
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 05:45

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