The warring monarchies of early modern Europe are not my specialty, compared to my European-historian peers, so I read Pierre Goubert’s Louis XIV and Twenty Million Frenchmen (1966; English version 1970) at a mild disadvantage. Still, I found that I rarely needed to peruse Wikipedia for extra context, as Goubert writes with a non-specialist audience […]Read more "The History of History 13: Where’d All These Frenchmen Come From?"
It was cold but clear out — good weather for a march in January. My girlfriend had made some signs invoking radical political figures past: Shirley Chisholm, the Industrial Workers of the World (perhaps Elizabeth Gurley Flynn is instructive here). We had planned to park in her old neighborhood in south Boulder, in order to […]Read more "Being History: Reflections on the Women’s March in Denver"
The organic matter residing within the umpteen dimensions of space and time that constitute the grave of our Second President, John Adams, is emitting laughter. Instead of a dystopian hellscape after the election, we are living in a political outcome that has taken “President Adams ‘great fear’” of factionalism to farcical levels. The 2016 presidential […]Read more "President Adams is Laughing."
After reading Kenneth Pomeranz’s Great Divergence and Immanuel Wallerstein’s World-Systems Analysis, we staggered into class this week with the literary equivalent of battle scars. We had read two dense tomes in a week and lived to tell the tale. Most people launched into conversation by stressing the density of Pomeranz, with his many footnotes and nuanced case […]Read more "The History of History 12: How the West Won (For a While…)"
Introduction Before I get into any detail, I wish to state that I’ve been a registered Republican since I turned 18, about 10 years ago. On Election Day 2016, I cast my vote… for former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate who did not know or remember the significance of Aleppo. Governor Johnson […]Read more "Factional Discontent & Electoral Confusion"
Our readings this week disrupted the chronological approach to great books that we have used so far. Last week, we read Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904–05). This week, we read Immanuel Wallerstein’s World-Systems Analysis (2004) and Kenneth Pomeranz’s The Great Divergence (2000). These two books reflect a century’s worth of […]Read more "The History of History 11: The Great Divergence"
This week, we began class by returning to Albert Soboul’s essay “Classes and Class Struggles During the French Revolution.” Using Marx’s framework of historical transitions, Soboul writes about the French transition from feudalism to capitalism. At the start of the revolution (1789–92), guilds were banned and land was divided up, allowing for smaller landowners. In […]Read more "The History of History 10: More Words about Weber and Protestants"