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Monday, September 15, 2008

Snark: Out of their Historiographic Depth

Go check out this post over on Edge of the American West about Niall Ferguson's comparison of Nazi and American laws on race and eugenics.

See the monster of American exceptionalism raise its ugly head!!!

Watch as Eric and the other Historians from the Edge walk a methodological tightrope... while blindfolded by an ignorance of German historiography ...without the benefit of a safety net or comparative framework!!!

Warning: This post might not be suitable for all audiences. Beware of flailing academics and parochial historiographic traditions.


A rye-drinker said...

More, more, more! Tell us more! Details, man, details!

Matt L said...

American Historians are sooo parochial (present company excepted) Harrumph...

Details you say?

Well, when they started comparing the second generation of the KKK with the brownshirts, I think its fair to say that the thread had jumped the shark.

The one thing that cheeses me off is that _Edge_ is pretty good about sticking up for Historiography and sound methods.

But listening to the post and the discussion thread, it was pretty clear that they were wildly ignorant of the basic historiography of Nazi Germany and the Weimar Republic.

For example, there was a big blowout fight in the German Historical Profession in the 1980s about exactly this issue: to what extent can you make a useful and reliable comparison between German and American (or British) history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? Careers were made and broken over just this issue of comparing Nazi Germany with Liberal Democratic America.

...Maybe I'll just do this as a regular post. Harummph.

A rye-drinker said...

Well, sure, they're out of their element. Comparative history is tough (and definitely not to be pursued by historians who blog).

As for parochialism, you've got me there.