American Historical Review Exchange on The History Manifesto

“A spectre is haunting our time: the spectre of the short term.” This sentence, echoing one of the most influential texts of the modern world, is how historians Jo Guldi and David Armitage begin their own manifesto calling for historians to return to the longue durée. Only this approach, the authors argue, will enable us to engage in current debates and counter the short-term horizons that characterize so much discourse in the public sphere.

Since its publication last year, The History Manifesto has elicited numerous responses and provoked impassioned debate. The April issue of the American Historical Review will include a critique by historians Peter Mandler and Deborah Cohen and a response from Guldi and Armitage. Because of the importance of this conversation, we have published the exchange on the AHR website in advance of its release in print. You can download the PDF of the AHR Exchange now.

We also encourage readers of The History Manifesto and the AHR Exchange to engage in dialogue with Guldi, Armitage, Cohen, Mandler, and other readers by adding their comments below.

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  1. Josh

    Regardless of one’s views on the overall intent and quality of Armitage and Guldi’s thesis, the authors’ serious misrepresentation of Benjamin Schmidt’s data highlighted by Cohen and Mandler in their critique is a matter that deserves closer scrutiny. Armitage and Gould will no doubt receive professional censure from those of their peers who view this matter as a serious breach of professional standards. But what of the publisher? Shouldn’t CUP be embarrassed that they brought to market a work that contains such shoddy analytical work? Will they be amending the open access version of the book to acknowledge the errors that it contains? Will there be a review of how such a work made it through peer review without any of the referees noting that a central component of the authors’ argument rested on fundamentally incorrect analyses of basic data?

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