And we're back!
Started by Syt, March 16, 2009, 01:52:42 AM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on September 05, 2022, 10:25:47 PMCan you elaborate a bit? It's common knowledge that part of the motivation for Columbus' journeys was to cut the Muslim middleman out of the spice trade, but you seem to be suggesting more personal to it.
Quote from: The Brain on September 06, 2022, 01:11:59 AM*fingerguns temple* Put it down?
Quote from: Habbaku on September 05, 2022, 08:56:41 PMI think you made the correct decision. When it came out, I was lured in by the title, but held off purchase after reading a pretty damning review of it:https://oajournals.fupress.net/index.php/cromohs/debate
Quote from: Oexmelin on September 06, 2022, 11:57:29 AMI am a bit ambivalent about it, to be honest. First, the critique by Subrahmanyan & Co. of Mikhail isn't a true academic critique, in the sense that they reacted to the attention Mikhail's book got in the non-specialized press. This is a result of the divorce between academic books, being read by fewer and fewer readers, and the trade books, that benefit from press agents etc. In a sense, they were acting from the fear that a bad book may make a durable impression. Now, in academic journals, there are indeed fewer and fewer "take-downs". On the one hand, I agree with you if this means that old quarrels between "schools" or "camps", as existed before, are no longer featured. These often were wars of ego, rather than conflicts of interpretation. However, there *were* often conflicts of interpretation - and these deserved to be debated, even if somewhat harshly at times, if only to make some of the opposing points stand out. And they still deserve to be debated. Are they? I am not sure. Book reviews are often polite affairs, and it's not always there that you get harsh words - often, you find that in review essays. But review essays are no longer very much valued by tenure and promotion committees, and they take an insane amount of time (and prudence) during which you may as well have published two or three articles on your own research. The pressures to publish have also had other impacts that would otherwise warrant careful consideration from readers: pressures to cut corners, more and more work to absorb quickly, which in turn offer fewer and fewer insights (and thus, less to critique); tenure has become a lot more difficult, and thus, reviewers often tend to look with a lot more benevolence what comes their way (because the stakes are perceived as being so high). In short, there are a few concerning developments - at least to me. They mostly concern "ordinary critique" within the field, and not the sort of full-on take down you wondered about, so in a way, I agree with you. It's a good thing they are mostly gone. But I wish we could perhaps take a step back, and think about the sorts of fault lines we necessarily create within any discipline. What do we disagree on, and why?The general trends of our times have also had their impact. I think we have collectively - inside academia and out - lost a bit of our skills for critique; it seems to oscillate wildly between unhinged and polite cough, with very little in between. And critique has become, at least in certain topics, embedded not just in politics, as before, but in morals. I think it was easier to dissociate one's politics from one's own being: the critique of the historiography of "New Capitalism History", which often had very little time for "Capitalism", found itself quickly entangled with issues of slavery, in a four way matrix between assholes who had a point, nice people who were mistaken, assholes who were mistaken, and nice people who had a point... But that's probably an old problem.
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Quote from: Syt on September 08, 2022, 08:26:59 AMThough the section of the pre-1939 fighting in China between Nationalists, Reds and Japanese is hard to follow without looking at a map. The place names and persons, besides the "biggest" are not exactly household names for me.
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