Field: Comparative Social History: select themes in consciousness and identity
Consciousness and identity are central themes in the development of contemporary social history. The first generation of new social historians brought together concepts of class and community to suggest an overall historical dynamic based on consciousness and material conditions. A post-modernist critique of this first generation generated debates about discourse and identity. The relationship between consciousness and identity figures in arguments about the context of works on hegemony and the invention of tradition, and in the context of works on the “total world” of seafaring.
Class, Culture, Consciousness and Community:
Davis, Natalie Zemon. The Return of Martin Guerre. Cambridge MA.: Harvard University Press, 1983.
Genovese, Eugene. Roll, Jordan, Roll: The world the slaves made. New York: Vintage Books, 1976.
Genovese, Eugene D., and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese. “The Political Crisis of Social History: A Marxian Perspective.” Journal of Social History 10 (1976-77): 205-220.
Gutman, Herbert George. Power and Culture: Essays on the American working class. New York: Pantheon Books,1987.
______. The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925. New York: Pantheon Books, 1976.
Hobsbawm, E.J. Workers: Worlds of Labor. New York: Pantheon Books, 1984.
Thompson, E. P. The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1978.
______. The Making of the English Working Class. Markham, ON.: Penguin, 1968.
Language and Identity: The Post-modernist Response
Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1990.
Joyce, Patrick. Visions of the People: Industrial England and the question of class, 1848-1914. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
Scott, Joan Wallach. Gender and the Politics of History. Revised edition, New York: Columbia University, 1999.
Smith, Bonnie G. The Gender of History: Men, Women, and Historical Practice. Cambridge MA.: Harvard University Press, 1998.
Stearns, Peter N., ed. Special Issue: The Futures of Social History. Journal of Social History 37, No. 1 (Fall 2003).
Stedman Jones, Gareth. The Languages of Class: Studies in English Working Class History, 1832-1982. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983.
Responses to the Post-modernist Critique
Foster, J. “The Declassing of Language.” New Left Review 150 (1985): 29-46.
Gray, R. “The Deconstruction of the English Working Class,” Social History 11 (1986): 363-374.
Lipsitz, George. Rainbow at Midnight: Labor and Culture in the 1940d. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1994.
Kirk, Neville. “History, Language, Ideas and Postmodernism: A Materialist View.” Social History 19, No. 2 (May 1994): 221-240.
Mayfield, David, and Susan Thorne. “Social History and its Discontents: Gareth Stedman Jones and the Politics of Language.” Social History 17 (1992): 165-88. [Joyce’s response in Social History, 18 (1993): 81-6.]
Norwood, Stephen H. Strike-breaking and Intimidation: Mercenaries and Masculinity in Twentieth-Century America. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.
Steinberg, Marc W. “Culturally Speaking: Finding a Commons between Post-Structuralism and the Thompsonian Perspective.” Social History 21, no. 2 (1996): 193-214.
Vernon, James. “Who’s Afraid of the ‘Linguistic Turn’? The Politics of Social History and its Discontents.” Social History 19, no. 1 (Jan., 1994), 81-97.
Wood, Ellen M. Democracy against Capitalism: Renewing Historical Materialism. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995.
Hegemony and The Invention of Tradition
Hobsbawm, Eric, and Terence Ranger, eds. The Invention of Tradition. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983.
Howard, Vicki. “A ‘Real Man’s Ring’: Gender and the Invention of Tradition.” Journal of Social History 36, no. 4 (2003): 837-856.
Kealey, Gregory S., and Bryan D. Palmer. Dreaming of what might be: The Knights of Labor in Ontario, 1880-1900. Toronto: New Hogtown Press, 1987.
McKay, Ian. The quest of the folk: Antimodernism and cultural selection in twentieth century Nova Scotia. Montréal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1994.
Sider, Gerald. Between History and Tomorrow: Making and Breaking Everyday Life in Rural Newfoundland. Peterborough, ON.: Broadview Press, 2003. [59-178]
Spear, Thomas. “Neo-Traditionalism and the Limits of Invention in British Colonial Africa.” Journal of African History 44, No.1 (2003): 3-27.
A Maritime Case Study
Bolster, Jeffrey. Black Jacks: African American seamen in the age of sail. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1998.
Creighton, Margaret S., and Lisa Norling, eds. Iron Men, Wooden Women: Gender and Seafaring in the Atlantic World, 1700-1920. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1996.
Rediker, Marcus. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Merchant Seamen, Pirates and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700-1750. Revised edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Sager, Eric W. Seafaring Labour: The Merchant Marine of Atlantic Canada, 1820-1914. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1989.
Tabili, Laura. “We ask for British justice”: Workers and racial difference in late imperial Britain. Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1994.