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Published September 1994 | public
Journal Article Open

The New History of Race Relations [Book Review]


Political history, some historians say, is dead. Concerned only with the petty squabbles of rich white men, irrelevant to the real lives of the deprived or less favored, the territory of messy compromise, not lofty ideas, electoral and legislative politics, in this view, is unworthy of much attention. The methods of the "new political historians" of the 1960s and 1970s-the formulation of clear hypotheses informed by explicit social scientific theories and their testing through using statistical methods-are elitist, pseudo-scientific (when "truth" is relative and fleeting), inherently right-wing, and no fun to read about. In a "postmodern" age, better to write what you feel about "texts" (and anything and everything qualifies as a text), always being careful to include some and preferably several of the following words in your title: gendered, cultural, republican, class, race, and carnival.

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© 1994 The Johns Hopkins University Press. Book review of: Robert R. Dykstra. Bright Radical Star: Black Freedom and White Supremacy on the Hawkeye Frontier. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993. ISBN: 9780674081802

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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023