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BACKWARDS TO THE FUTURE: THE CULTURAL TURN AND THE WISDOM OF INTELLECTUAL HISTORY*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 March 2012

DAVID D. HALL*
Affiliation:
Harvard Divinity School E-mail: david_hall@harvard.edu

Extract

Unlike the memory of the querulous and time-bending White Queen in Through the Looking Glass, mine befits her complaint, inclined as I am to thinking backwards when asked to contemplate the state of our field. Backwards, then, I go in the first section of this essay, after a few opening comments on the situation of our field at the present moment. Thereafter, I describe the emergence of cultural history and summarize some of its strengths and weaknesses, to the end of reflecting on its implications for intellectual history.

Type
Forum: The Present and Future of American Intellectual History
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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References

1 Observations I owe to Daniel Walker Howe. On the other hand, transformations internal to the history of science have ended its connections with intellectual history.

2 McKenzie, Donald F., Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts (London, 1985)Google Scholar.

3 Quitslund, Beth, The Reformation in Rhyme: Sternhold, Hopkins, and the English Metrical Psalter, 1547–1603 (Aldershot, 2008), 5, 55Google Scholar.

4 Brown, Matthew P., The Pilgrim and the Bee: Reading Rituals and Book Culture in Early New England (Philadelphia, 2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

5 Parrish, Susan Scott, American Curiosity: Cultures of Natural History in the British Atlantic World (Chapel Hill, 2006)Google Scholar.

6 Ahlstrom, Sydney E., A Religious History of the American People, 2nd edn (New Haven, 2004), Preface, xixviiGoogle Scholar.

7 See also Poirrier, Philippe, ed., L'histoire culturelle: un “tournant mondiale” dans l'historiographie? (Dijon, 2008)Google Scholar.

8 See, in particular, Revel, Jacques, “Microanalysis and the Construction of the Social,” in Revel, Jacques and Hunt, Lynn, eds., Histories: French Constructions of the Past (New York, 1995)Google Scholar.

9 See, in general, Chartier, Roger, Cultural History: Between Practices and Representations, trans. Cochrane, Lydia (Ithaca, 1988)Google Scholar; Poirrier, Philippe, Les enjeux de l'histoire culturelle (Paris, 2004)Google Scholar, 57 and chap. 2 passim. Also useful in reckoning with the relationship between cultural history and other fields are several articles in Delpore, Christian, Mollier, Jean-Yves, and Sirinelli, Jean-Francois, eds., Dictionnaire d'histoire culturelle de la France contemporaine (Paris, 2010)Google Scholar. I am grateful to Jean-Yves Mollier for calling both of these books to my attention.

10 MacCulloch, Diarmaid, The Reformation: A History (New York, 2004), xxGoogle Scholar.

11 Knott, John R., John Foxe's Book of Martyrs and Early Modern Print Culture (Cambridge, 2006)Google Scholar; Johns, Adrian, The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge (Chicago, 1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

12 See, e.g, Lake, Peter and Pincus, Steve, “Rethinking the Public Sphere in Early Modern England,” Journal of British Studies 45 (2006), 270–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

13 de Certeau, Michel, The Practice of Everyday Life (Berkeley, 1984)Google Scholar.

14 Marcus, Greil and Sollors, Werner, eds., A New Literary History of America (Cambridge, MA, 2009), xiiiGoogle Scholar.

15 Frijhoff, Willem, “How Plural were the Religious Worlds in Early-Modern Europe? Critical Reflections from the Netherlandic Experience,” in Dixon, C. Scott, Freist, Dagmar, and Greengrass, Mark, eds., Living with Religious Diversity in Early-Modern Europe (Burlington, VT, 2009), 23Google Scholar.

16 Dolan, Frances, Whores of Babylon: Catholicism, Gender, and Seventeenth-Century Print Culture (Ithaca, 1999), 2Google Scholar.

17 Crawford, Julie, Marvelous Protestantism: Monstrous Births in Post-Reformation England (Baltimore, 2005)Google Scholar.

18 Kidd, Colin, The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600–2000 (Cambridge, 2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

19 French attempts of this kind are briefly described in Antoine De Baeque, “Histoire culturelle et histoire sociale,” in Delpore, Mollier, and Sirinelli, Dictionnaire d'histoire culturelle de la France Contemporaine, 401–4. A similar uneasiness with some aspects of the cultural turn is voiced in Bonnell, Victoria E. and Hunt, Lynn, “Introduction,” in Bonnell, Victoria E. and Hunt, Lynn, eds., Beyond the Cultural Turn: New Directions in the Study of Society and Culture (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1999)Google Scholar. And see Alexander, Jeffrey C., The Meanings of Social Life: A Cultural Sociology (New York, 2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, Introduction.

20 See, e.g., Hempton, David and Walsh, John, “E. P. Thompson and Methodism,” in Noll, Mark A., ed., God and Mammon: Protestants, Money, and the Market, 1790–1860 (New York, 2002), 99120Google Scholar; Hotson, Howard, “Anti-Semitism, Philo-Semitism, Apocalypticism, and Millenarianism in Early Modern Europe: A Case Study and Some Methodological reflections,” in Chapman, Alister, Coffey, John, and Gregory, Brad S., eds., Seeing Things Their Way: Intellectual History and the Return of Religion (Notre Dame, 2009), 91133Google Scholar.

21 In doing so I was influenced by the work assembled in Griffiths, Paul L., Foxe, Adam and Hindle, Steve, eds., The Experience of Authority in Early Modern England (New York, 1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

22 Hall, David A., A Reforming People: Puritanism and the Transformation of Public Life in New England (New York, 2011), 15Google Scholar.

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