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Oct 2015 Issue

Latest Issue: October 2015 - Vol. 120, No. 4

In This Issue

The October issue is shaped by some comings and goings at the journal. After more than a decade of dedicated and productive service as Editor, Robert Schneider moves on (to a much-deserved leave at Oriel College, Oxford). To an extraordinary degree, Rob has shown a knack for innovation while keeping the journal on an even keel during a period of upheaval in academic and scholarly publishing. This issue, transitional as it is, still bears many of his customary marks-a lively AHR Conversation on historical causation that he organized and moderated; a stimulating AHR Roundtable on the crisis of the humanities in global perspective, with contributions by eight scholars from around the world; and the usual complement of first-rate articles and featured reviews. Read more...

In Back Issues

One of the more innovative features introduced to the AHR by my predecessor as Editor, Robert Schneider, was a lively front section called "In Back Issues." For each issue Rob looked back to the same month's issue at the fifty-, seventy-five-, and one-hundred-year marks to invite readers to "dip into the long history of scholarship contained in the pages of the American Historical Review," which is now in the 120th year of its publishing history. This proved a wonderful way to introduce readers to the AHR's venerable history even while reminding them how much the concerns and methodology of the profession have changed over the years.

I intend to continue this tradition in the issues of the journal I oversee in 2015-2016 as Interim Editor, but I plan to put my own particular stamp on it. Rather than mining previous issues on set dates, I will use the power of the digital AHR archive (a nice perquisite of AHA membership, by the way) to identify previous articles that speak to contemporary matters of potential concern to the AHR's readership today. Read more...

Featured Articles

"Translations: Words, Things, Going Native, and Staying True," Michael Wintroub

"The Colonial Rule of Law and the Legal Regime of Exception: Frontier 'Fanaticism' and State Violence in British India," Elizabeth Kolsky

AHR Roundtable

The October roundtable, "The Humanities in Historical and Global Perspectives," long in the works, truly represents a collaborative editorial effort at the journal. Initially commissioned by Acting Editor Sarah Knott in 2011, over the years the roundtable has received editorial input from three Associate Editors-Kon Dierks, Lara Kriegel, and Alex Lichtenstein-and is now brought to fruition by outgoing Editor Robert Schneider. Conceived as a critical response to the generalized sense among historians of an ongoing "crisis" in the humanities, alas it remains timely. It is no secret that humanities education in the United States appears to be under attack, charged with being unpractical, self-indulgent, non-vocational, and out of touch with market values. For the most part, universities have responded to these attacks by shifting resources away from the humanities, rather than by forthrightly defending their contribution to the greater good. And most humanities programs, history among them, have seen steep drops in undergraduate enrollments and majors over the past several years. A full reckoning with this crisis, however, deserves a much more global and historicized approach, as the long-term trajectory and state of humanities scholarship differs dramatically from country to country, region to region. The eight contributors to the discussion cover the recent history and current status of the humanities in South Africa, China, Russia, Britain, the United States, Mexico, the Middle East, and India.  Read more...

AHR Conversation

This year's AHR Conversation, "Explaining Historical Change; or, The Lost History of Causes," will be the last introduced and moderated by outgoing Editor Robert Schneider. The conversation brings together five scholars-Emmanuel Akyeampong, Caroline Arni, Pamela K. Crossley, Mark Hewitson, and William Sewell-with the Editor to discuss competing modes of historical narrative. Should historical practice traffic in efforts to explain change over time? Or, rather, is it more attuned to creating dense portraits and thick descriptions of particular moments? This longstanding tension between diachronic and synchronic approaches to the past animates the lively exchanges among these six expert practitioners of the craft. Read more...

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