Historian, Teacher, Writer

Books & Articles

Engineering Operations game with Milton Weiner, Olaf Helmer, and others, 1966. RAND Archives.

Insider Intellectual History

Historians have recently revived the sociology of knowledge as a method of analyzing the transatlantic projects of “insider intellectuals” in the middle of the 20th century.

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Engineering Operations game with Milton Weiner, Olaf Helmer, and others, 1966. RAND Archives.

Insider Intellectual History

Historians have recently revived the sociology of knowledge as a method of analyzing the transatlantic projects of “insider intellectuals” in the middle of the 20th century.

Read More

Assembling a New Left

What social forces exist under neoliberal capitalism that might form the basis for a new left? How should that new left organize itself politically – as a socialist party, one big union, a spontaneous assembly, or all of the above? See my essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books on Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Assembly (2017), the most general appraisal yet of post-2008 radical left politics in the Read More

The Socialist Minimum

What would it take to build a global challenge to neoliberal capitalism? How might socialists from different countries join together and devise collective solutions to problems that transcend national borders? Talbot C. Imlay provides a historical answer to these questions in his important new book The Practice of Socialist Internationalism: European Socialists and International Politics, 1914-1960 (OUP, 2018). Check out my review essay in H-Diplo. It turns out that pragmatic Read More

Inflatable Marx

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth. Gareth Stedman Jones’ recent biography, Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion, gives us the chance to take stock of Marx’s legacy. Do his theories still speak to our twenty-first century world? Stedman Jones doesn’t think so. My review essay in H-Ideas reconstructs the book’s arguments in the context of its author’s own intellectual biography. The image we get is of an inflatable Read More

Historians of the World, Adapt?

Professors Jo Guldi and David Armitage threw down the scholarly gauntlet six months ago when they published their bold appeal to rescue History from the “bonfire of the humanities.” The History Manifesto claims that the discipline’s descent into public irrelevance has resulted from current historical scholarship’s lack of long-term thinking. Citing statistics that show a precipitous decline (then slow rise) in the average time span of History dissertations over the 20th Read More

Dr. Pangloss on Science and the Humanities

Steven Pinker’s latest article in The New Republic seems designed to enrage the very audience that it wants to assuage: “neglected novelists, embattled professors, and tenure-less historians.” In seeking to convince these hardy defenders of the humanities that modern science is not in fact the enemy, Dr. Pangloss, er, Pinker paints a rosy picture of our best of all possible worlds in which scientific advancements, like those of the 18th-century Enlightenment, Read More