In an effort to highlight the diverse range of scholarship at the upcoming annual meeting, we’re highlighting different sessions here on the blog each week.
Sunday’s New York Times has a story on the growing numbers of courses and research projects on the history of capitalism. The article highlights the creativity of a number of historians who have been looking at financiers, industrialists, and other important economic decision makers, with tools that include, but go beyond, economics.
These scholars use the methods of social and cultural history to understand the worlds in which their subjects operated, and the ways in which they changed the everyday lives of millions.
January 1, 2013, marked the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. Although the general historical consensus is that slavery was at the root of the conflict, questions about the role of the proclamation in defining the Civil War and 19th century race relations continue to dominate the field. In the past few weeks, Washington, D.C., has hosted two events on the topic: A panel discussion at the National Archives (NARA), chaired by Annette Gordon-Reed and featuring James Oakes, Eric Foner, James McPherson, and Ed Ayers, and a more intimate lecture led by Foner at the Wilson Center and sponsored by the National History Center.
Planning was in the works for over a year for the upcoming mega-conference at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, “Telling the History of Slavery: Scholarship, Museum Interpretation, and the Public,” but it may benefit from the more recent public controversies over Jefferson’s character as a slaveholder, produced in part by the dust-up over Henry Wiencek’s book, Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves. This past fall, Master was at the center of a media storm when a number of scholars in the field responded critically to an article in Smithsonian Magazine in which the author claimed to have developed new interpretations of Jeffersonian documents that threw doubt on the current interpretations of Jefferson as a slaveholder.