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Introduction to a 1995 Conversation with Eric Hobsbawm

  • Michael Hanagan (a1) and Behrooz Moazami (a2)
Extract

Eric Hobsbawm, who died on October 1, 2012, was one of a handful of extraordinary labor historians who emerged from the British Communist Party Historians' Group in the 1940s and 1950s. Today he is widely acknowledged as one of the great historians of our era. His influence is truly international. For a long time, a significant limitation on the extent of his renown was the USSR where, during the era of “actually-existing socialism,” his works were never translated or published. This was ironic since he was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) from 1936 until its dissolution in 1991.

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References
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NOTES

1. Shortly after the interview was transcribed, it was edited and approved by Eric Hobsbawm.

2. Hobsbawm, Eric, “The General Crisis of the European Economy in the 17th Century,” Past & Present 5 (1954): 3353 and The Crisis of the Seventeenth Century,” Past and Present 6 (1954): 4465. For the modern state of the debate, see Parker, Geoffrey and Smith, Lesley M., The General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century, 2nd edition (New York, 1987).

3. Hobsbawm, Eric, “The British Standard of Living Debate, 1790–1850,” Economic History Review 10 (1957): 4668.

4. Hobsbawn, Eric, Bandits (New York, 1969), 30.

5. Hobsbawm, Eric and Rudé, Georges, Captain Swing: A Social History of the Great English Agricultural Uprising of 1830 (New York, 1968), 15.

6. Primitive Rebels: Studies in Archaic Forms of Social Movements in the 19th and 20th Centuries (Manchester, 1959); Hobsbawm, Eric and Rudé, Georges, Captain Swing (New York, 1968).

7. For some critiques of Hobsbawm's approach by social and economic historians and anthropologists, see Blok, Anton, The Mafia of a Sicilian Village, 1860–1960: A Study of Violent Peasant Entrepreneurs (New York, 1975) and Mintz, Jerome R., The Anarchists of Casas Viejas (Bloomington, 1994).

8. Hobsbawm, Eric, The Age of Revolution, 1789–1848 (London, 1962); The Age of Capital, 1848–1875 (London, 1975); The Age of Empire, 1875–1914 (London, 1987); The Age of Extremes, 1914–1991 (New York, 1995), 178.

9. Hobsbawm, Eric ed., Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations: Karl Marx (New York, 1964); Marx, Karl, Grundrisse (New York, 1968).

10. Forgacs, David, ed., The Antonio Gramsci Reader Selected Writings, 1916–1935 (New York, 1988).

11. Cohen, G. A., Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence (Princeton, 1978).

12. Eric Hobsbawm, “Interview,” 7.

13. Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes, 178.

14. See the accompanying interview.

15. Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution.

16. Hobsbawm, Eric, Interesting Times: A Twentieth Century Life (New York, 2002), 291.

17. Hobsbawm, Eric, “From Social History to the History of Society,” Daedalus 100 (1971): 2045; and Hobsbawm, Eric, “Looking Back Half a Century,” in Histories of Labour: National and International Perspectives, eds. Allen, Joan, Campbell, Alan, and Mcllroy, John (London, 2010), 15, 5.

18. Industry and Empire: From 1750 to the Present Day (London, 1968); His three volumes, The Age of Revolution: 1789–1848, The Age of Capital: 1848–1875, and The Age of Empire: 1875–1914) along with its sequel, The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914–1991.

19. Hobsbawm, The Age of Capital, 2.

20. Ibid., 12.

21. Ibid., 340.

22. Hobsbawm, Interesting Times, 86.

23. Bobbio, Norbert, Which Socialism? Marxism, Socialism and Democracy (Minneapolis, 1987).

24. Hobsbawm, Eric, “The Forward March of Labour Halted,” in The Foreign March of Labour Halted, ed. Hobsbawm, Eric, (London, 1978), 1.

25. Hobsbalm, Eric, Politics of a Rational Left (New York, 1989), 165.

26. Hobsbawm, Interesting Times, 276.

27. Eric Hobsbawm, “Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in Quotes,” The Guardian, October 1, 2012.

28. Hobsbawm, Eric, “The Prospects for Democracy,” in Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism, Hobsbawm, Eric, ed. (New York, 2007), 95114, 113.

29. Eric Hobsbawm and Jacques Attalli, “The New Globalisation Guru?” The New Statesman, September 27, 2010.

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International Labor and Working-Class History
  • ISSN: 0147-5479
  • EISSN: 1471-6445
  • URL: /core/journals/international-labor-and-working-class-history
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