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History's Impasse: Radical Historiography, Leftist Elites, and the Anthropology of Historicism in Southern France

Hodges, Matt (2019) History's Impasse: Radical Historiography, Leftist Elites, and the Anthropology of Historicism in Southern France. Current Anthropology, 60 (3). pp. 391-413. ISSN 0011-3204. E-ISSN 1537-5382. (doi:10.1086/703204) (KAR id:63685)


The ‘historic turn’ marked a new era of convergence between anthropology and history. However, recent research proposes that this anthro-historical field is informed by a latent cultural ‘historicism’. When studying historical consciousness, and deploying history in analysis, theorists argue, we must clarify how historicism—the ideology and practices underpinning ‘Western’ historical understanding—informs anthropological theory, or risk ethnocentrism. Historicist ‘regimes of truth’ also demand anthropological study, given their pervasive influence in the social sciences and wider society. This article develops a comparative ‘anthropology of historicism’, drawing on historical anthropology, and ethnographic fieldwork. First, I analyse the ‘history practices’ of a network of leftist historians, the Forum-Histoire, based at l’Université de Paris VII, and their role in an influential protest movement against the state; secondly, I assess the work of a socialist public historian in his efforts to refashion historical consciousness in Mediterranean France. The article clarifies the role of historicism in French ‘history practices’, and its conflict and synthesis with ‘nonhistoricist’ ways of knowing the past during an influential period (1975-2005) for relations between history and anthropology. In a genealogical vein, this facilitates analysis of anthropology’s relationship to historicism, and indicates how to better deploy historicist analysis within anthropological discourse.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1086/703204
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D203 Modern History, 1453-
D History General and Old World > DC France
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Matthew Hodges
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2017 12:14 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 15:39 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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