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George Huppert, Editor
Scott Hovey, Managing Editor

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Table of Contents
HEditor’s Introduction 

From the Managing Editor

Deborah Symonds, "The Road to Ruindunan" 

Can There Be a History of Sound? In Response to Mark Smith’s Listening to Antebellum America 
Mitchell Snay, "Cultural History and the Coming       of the Civil War: A Response to Mark Smith"
   Bruce R. Smith, "How Sound is Sound History?         A Response to Mark Smith"
  Mark M. Smith, "Echoes in Print: Method and       Causation in Aural History"
   R.A.R. Edwards, "'Seeing' and 'Hearing' in a             Deaf-Blind World: Laura Bridgman’s Legacy

Darryl Hart, "The Personal is Personal"

Mark Bauerlein, A Review of Victor Davis Hanson, John Heath, and Bruce S. Thornton's Bonfire of the Humanities: Rescuing the Classics in an Impoverished Age 

Charles Pete Banner-Haley, “Transformations and Re-inventions: Juneteenth and Ralph Ellison’s American Identity”

Thomas Burns, A Review of John Man's Atlas of the Year 1000

11 September: A Symposium 
M. ShahidAlam, "A Clash of Civilizations?            Nonsense"
Fraser Harbutt, "Hazy Historiographical       Perspectives and September 11th"
  James Kurth, "Domestic Security and Muslim       Immigrants" 
Salim Rashid, "Can This War End?"

Antony T. Sullivan, A Review of Robert Kaplan's The Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite 

Jeffrey Vanke, "The Isolation of Daniel Goldhagen:  A Response to Robert Herzstein"
Eugene Genovese, "The Gracchi and Their Mother in the Mind of American Slaveholders"


From Deborah Symonds's “The Road to Ruindunan”

“When Jean Key was returned to government representatives in Edinburgh in March of 1751, after a little over three months of being carried hither and yon across the Highlands, the government did not know quite what to do with her. By then she had described herself as a married woman to one or more witnesses, and theMacGregors insisted that she and Robert had planned the attack, in the face of violent opposition to their marriage by her relatives. 
The officers of the court placed Key in the house of a lawyer’s widow to recover and eventually tell the court her true wishes. The only person to whom she said much was KathrineInglis, the daughter of her hostess and guardian. Kathrine, who was fifteen at the time, reported that Jean Key seemed “not to be perfectly sound in her Mind and Judgement for that she had odd Gestures and frequently spoke to herself and appeared to be in such a Condition that [Kathrine] was affraid to stay in a Room with her by herself, but that some considerable time before [she] left the Deponents’s Mother’s house she appeared quite recovered.” But Jean never slept well, and admitted hoping that she would die soon.  She also told Kathrine that ‘her constitution and her heart were both broke’ and ‘that James MacGregor and Robert both deserved to die a thousand or ten thousand Deaths . . . but she would not wish any Life were taken on her Account.’ 

By October or earlier Jean Key had returned to her mother, now in Glasgow, and she died there on October fourth, a little over nine months after the kidnapping. James died in France in 1753, an outlaw and penniless. The last act of this miserable fiasco came in 1754, when Robert, brought to trial on Christmas Eve, was found guilty and hanged in January, comporting himself as a gentleman all the while. Jean Key’s property was sequestrated shortly after her kidnapping, by a suit brought by her two uncles. The MacGregors never got a cent of her money. And much of the importance of marriage in early modern Europe derived from its role in the power to rule, to inherit, and to control property.

James and Robert died because they failed to understand that the legitimacy of force that this marriage depended upon was fading fast, fading, to put it briefly, into a world where individuals made decisions. Contracts, whether political, economic, or personal, were just coming into focus as either consensual or invalid. But force had not faded completely, so James could and would force a number of men—MacEwan, Neilson, Blair, Graham, other MacGregors—to help them carry off Jean Key. But he could not bend Jean Key to the old pattern, and he could not believe that neither she nor her family would bend.  And Jean Key died not only because of the MacGregors’ rough use of her, but because her alternative and supposed salvation was to be back with her mother and uncles. She did not die in the Highlands, because there she had some hope of escape; she died back in Glasgow , with her family, because there she had none.”

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From Mitchell Snay’s “Cultural History and the Coming of the Civil War: A Response to Mark Smith”
“Class remains central to Smith's understanding of the construction of social power and legitimacy through soundscapes. In his efforts to historicize sound, Smith seems to follow an older Marxist tradition distilled to historians through the writings of such English scholars as E.P. Thompson and Eric Hobsbawm: ‘Slavery as a mode of production had a particular and meaningful keynote to antebellum slaveholders; for northern elites, the sound of democratic capitalism and industry had its own soundmark.’  In a nod to the Marxist tradition and American labor history of the past few decades, Smith gives slaves and northern industrial workers agency in the creation of soundscapes. He explains with great insight that ‘slaves used the art and skill of silence as an effective tool for resistance.  Slaves turned the masters' ideal of quietude against them.’ Early industrial workers responded with similar forms of aural insurgency. Factory operatives in the mill towns of New England turned to religious silence for a refuge from the din of industrial progress.  The early labor movement, unlike the slaves in the plantation South, could also make their voices heard through collective protest.

Smith's use of evidence in writing a cultural history of sound remains open to questions. His normal practice seems to consist of extracting quotations from a variety of sources to suggest the sounds Americans heard and what meanings they ascribed to them. Thus, Smith quotes a writer to the RichmondEnquirer who described ‘the rattling of the hammer, and the clinking of the trowel’ on a trip to Switzerland in 1772, which to his ears sounded like ‘the progress of wealth and population.’ Smith clearly wants to establish an association between sounds and material progress, but one might ask further questions. Why did this writer to the Enquirer remember these particular noises in his Swiss journey? What else did he hear? What other sounds were recorded in his recounting? What might the traveler’s ears have missed? My goal is not to question the integrity of Smith's research (which I consider beyond reproof), but to wonder whether he provides only those quotes which support his argument. Clearly, Smith's use of quotations from sources to illustrate and support his argument follows a long-accepted practice in historical writing. Yet his practices serves as a caution that we should all strive to attend carefully to the full context of our sources. 
The history of sound can illuminate patterns of class formation, which makes an important contribution to cultural history, but Smith's essay proves more ambitious because he tries to identify a causal relation. His claim that soundscapes reflected and shaped the growing sectional controversy over slavery implies that soundscapes helped to hasten the outbreak of the Civil War. In this respect, his description of aural sectionalism furnishes an opportunity to examine the relevance of the new cultural history to one of the most persistent problems in American historiography. What power does a history of soundscapes provide to explain the origins of the Civil War?”

From Bruce R. Smith’s “How Sound is Sound History? A Response to Mark Smith”
“Smith attends most to speech and ambient sounds, the latter heard by Smith (and most of his informants) as noise, and the tension between them constitutes a recurring motif in his study. Northerners and Southerners alike sharply distinguished between the loud, random noises of cities and the softer, more regular sounds of the countryside.  Smith remains suspicious of music. Other scholars, he notes, have stressed music and dancing as licensed forms of expression for slaves. In contrast, Smith emphasizes the restrictions that plantation owners placed on the sounds slaves could make. As a result, those upturned pots become truly poignant signifiers of slavery. Smith’s attempt to reconstruct the sound world that slaves inhabited illustrates the potential of sound studies to give voice to the experiences of groups of people who seldom or never speak for themselves in written documents. In my own work, sound has a special ability to reveal the experiences of such marginalized groups as women, illiterate laborers in England ’s shires, and the Native Americans who encountered the first English settlers in New England and Virginia . Similarly, when Smith attends to sound, slaves suddenly emerge out of the written documents with startling, unexpected presence.

Plenty of evidence suggests that Smith’s informants heard the sounds around them in just the ways he describes, but when he attempts to argue that they contributed to the War Between the States, I sense a missing step. Smith stakes his causal claim on the notion of ‘modal metaphors,’ which Bernard Hibbitts defines in ‘Making Sense of Metaphors: VisualityAurality, and the Reconfiguration of American Legal Discourse.’ Metaphors become ‘modal,’ Hibbitts claims, when the people who use them accept them as real. Thus, Smith argues, ‘Elites heard social order at the everyday level of interaction and, simultaneously, as an abstraction, often with the former reinforcing the latter. What they heard either reassured or frightened them.  Metaphors and analogies are clumsy devices, because when actual sounds gain metaphorical status they lose some of their precision. Southerners heard most Northerners to be noisy, and Northerners heard most Southerners–slave and free–to be disturbingly silent or cacophonous.’ Smith loses the precision of his argument when he moves from actual sounds to abstractions, particularly after such a solidly grounded reconstruction of the dominant sound worlds of nineteenth-century America. To accept ‘aural sectionalism’ as a cause for war, I need a sturdier bridge of evidence than Smith can build in the article’s last two pages, although he probably provides it in the ampler spaces of his book. (I wrote this response several months before Listening to Nineteenth-Century America was published.) The problem could be one of cause and ‘affect’ or, perhaps, ‘affect’ and cause: How do human beings transform physical sensations into abstract ideas?”

From Mark M. Smith’s “Echoes in Print: Method and Causation in Aural History”
“I began this response by expressing gratitude for Smith and Snay’s serious engagement with my work, and I cannot adequately emphasize the need for that seriousness. Historians of hearing and aurality—indeed, historians of the senses in general—run something of a risk when they write about their topics. When they write, for example, about the sounds of the past and suggest that no reason exists to compel historians to fixate so tenaciously and often unwittingly on what was seen rather than heard, smelled, tasted, or touched in times earlier than our own, they offer a potentially embarrassing (although hardly deliberate) challenge to the majority of their colleagues, who interpret the past through the eyes of historical actors. The fetish for the visual can provoke dismissive criticism. The quality of the remarks and criticism offered by Smith and Snay stands in stark contrast to another, briefer response to my essay ventured by Gertrude Himmelfarb in her review of the first issue of The Journal in the Times Literary Supplement in December 2000. Himmelfarb singled out my essay for its ‘novelty’ and ‘ambitiousness’ and called the study of sound ‘a new field of history.’ None of these quotations were complimentary—in fact, she believed the piece redolent of ‘postmodern rhetoric.’ My argument that some aspects of human experience are ‘constructed’ invoked particular criticism. Himmelfarb’s insinuation that my essay was simply ‘trendy’ and fashionable because it dealt with something other than vision should cause her to blush. Historians who venture such criticism while simultaneously laying claim to the intellectual authority of the classics would do well to revisit some of the thinkers they purport to revere. Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, and Marx, among others, recognized the importance of the senses to human history and offered commentary on the relation between the senses and their relevance to human political, economic, and social identity and development. 

Rather than contend that sound history is appropriate because it carries the heavy endorsement of Plato et al, we should pause to write the history of the senses based solely on the nature of the evidence. If hearing were demonstrably important to people in the past, and if they left evidence to that effect, then the topic demands and deserves our attention, lest we continue to evaluate the past solely through the lens of the eye. Moreover, were historians to recognize that hearing and the other senses were relevant to the ways in which particular people understood themselves and their societies, we might rescue the writing and research of history from a modernist, presentist conceit that parades vision as the unquestionably dominant and naturalized way to understand the past.”

From R.A.R. Edwards’s “'Seeing’ and ‘Hearing’ in a Deaf-Blind World: Laura Bridgman’s Legacy”
“Mark Smith’s recent book, Listening to Nineteenth-Century America, represents a departure for the historical treatment of hearing people simply by recognizing that they could hear—that is, historians before Smith have taken hearing as normative and not worthy of investigation, while deafness, seen as departing from the norm, has been an object of historical study for some time. Smith’s work serves to remind us that hearing, as much as deafness, has a history that needs to be recovered and explored. It should also reveal that hearing, as much as deafness, has shaped culture. While historians of deafness have long argued that, in certain places and in certain historical circumstances, physical deafness has given rise to cultural deafness, few historians have demonstrated how the physical sense of hearing has also constructed culture—or, as Smith argues, cultures—in various times and circumstances. By seeking to recover hearing as a category of historical inquiry, Smith follows in the footsteps of historians of deafness, who already were attentive to the ways that a lack of hearing has historically informed cultural development. Smith’s work, together with the works of scholars of deafness and scholars of disability, serve to focus our attention on new concerns and questions. Collectively, such work reminds us that, while deafness and hearing—much like blindness and sight—constitute measurable physical abilities, their cultural expression varies over time and in relation to historical context, which offers opportunities for historians to explore individuals’ experiences as they reflect and define changing attitudes toward disability.

Capturing that individual experience frequently falls under the purview of biography. Biographies of deaf-blind people suggest that the cultural categories of disability and ability are more linked that separate, and the barriers between the two more permeable than impenetrable. Two recent biographies, Ernest Freeberg’s The Education of Laura Bridgman: The First Deaf and Blind Person to Learn Language and Elizabeth Gitter’sThe Imprisoned Guest: Samuel Gridley Howe and Laura Bridgman, the Original Deaf-Blind Girl, lament Bridgman’s lapse into obscurity and attempt to recover her as a significant historical figure. ‘By the time she died in 1889,’ Gitter writes, ‘she had been almost totally forgotten, eclipsed by the nine-year-old prodigy Helen Keller.’ Keller’s life raises fascinating questions . . . . Can a person successfully learn language, even if cut off from sight and sound? Can language be not just vocal but gestural? Lacking language, can we truly be human? How does deaf-blindness shape one’s perceptions of the world?” 

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From Darryl Hart’s “The Personal is Personal”
“The notion that faith makes a difference in historical scholarship has gained a measure of plausibility during the last decade thanks in part to the increasing prominence of evangelical historians in the field of American religion. George M. Marsden, who teaches American history at the University of Notre Dame, has built the most sustained case for the influence of religious convictions on scholarly endeavors. In his book, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship (1997), for instance, Marsden argues that faith may determine the topic a scholar chooses or the implications derived from his or her work. Although critics (the present author included) have questioned this argument, Autobiographical Reflections on Southern Religious History appears to prove Marsden’s point. As John B. Boles, the editor, explains in the introduction, the aim of this collection of essays is to show how personal beliefs affected the leading scholars of southern religious history. Faith was by no means the only factor that Boles originally solicited from the contributors. He also wanted to know about southernness, race relations, and educational influences. The result, however, is a series of essays that seems to vindicate the position that faith makes a difference in doing history.” 

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From Mark Bauerlein’s review of Victor Davis Hanson, John Heath, Bruce S. Thornton’s Bonfire of the Humanities: Rescuing the Classics in an Impoverished Age
“The authors name their antagonists at the start of Bonfire of the Humanities: ideologues of the multicultural and postmodern Left (ix), who include theorists more interested in citing Foucault than exploring ancient culture; feminists eager to scold the ancients for sexism; political critics thirsting to blame the sins of the West on the Greeks; and Martha Nussbaum and her confused, hand-wringing fusion of multiculturalism and liberal education. Easy targets, yes, and their fallacies come to light again and again in Bonfire of the Humanities. But Hanson, Heath, and Thornton recognize that, despite hack writing and phony epistemology, the ideologues have prospered. Hanson, Heath, and Thornton’s judgment against the ideologues can be summarized in a single charge: hypocrisy, which they find in the ideologues’ claim to be virtuous minorities who fight a powerful establishment, despite their absolute control of the humanities. Another hypocrisy: the ideologues talk like advocates of the disenfranchised, yet they cling to elite sanctuaries like bureaucrats. Another: they pose as radicals, but they cite Derrida like ‘the campus nerd who has just made friends with the captain of the football team’ (168). Other examples abound, including that of the contentious colleague who turned Hanson and Heath in to the FBI as Unabomber suspects. In this sometimes hilarious, sometimes sad, volume, Hanson, Heath, and Thornton show that the conduct—not the ideas—of the multiculturalists requires scrutiny, for the path of reform lies through modification of the behavior.” 

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From Charles Pete Banner-Haley’s “Transformations and Re-inventions: Juneteenth and Ralph Ellison’s American Identity”
“The discovery of one’s race; the obsession with that discovery; and the final search for peace in that racial identity have long been standard themes in the fictive work of African-American writers. But in Juneteenth, Ellison tried to take the standard themes of coming-of-age and search for identity and dovetail them neatly into the historical experience of early to mid-twentieth century America. ‘The American Century,’ after all, started out with the steady influx of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe and the brilliant young African-American intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois’ classic exposition of the double consciousness of African-Americans. It was also a time when the black masses in this country tried to adjust to and search for dignity within Jim Crow segregation and the often-vicious moral ethos of white supremacy. As the visual and historical records have shown, this period was often a bleak one for African-Americans. 

But the heart of Juneteenth is about transformations and identity re-inventions. On the one hand, Ellison wanted to show us the quintessential meaing of being an American—a continuous evolution, transformation, and reinvention of one’s identity. Ellison saw race as an important, if not tragicomically absurd, component of the American identity. However much white America envisioned a ‘White man’s country,’ they could not escape from the history of Africans’ having been brought here as slaves; Africans transformed into African-Americans; the Civil War; Emancipation and Reconstruction. The veil of segregation may have purposed to make black people invisible, but it only confirmed white America’s studied denial of what Ellison, Du Bois, James Weldon Johnson, Anna Julia Cooper, Ida Wells-Barnet, to name but a few, knew full well: African-Americans are central to the American enterprise. African-Americans are central to the American identity.”

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From Thomas Burns’s review of John Man’s Atlas of the Year 1000
“In fewer than 150 pages John Man surveys the world at the end of the first millennium, moving from eight vignettes on the Americas eastward to Europe (11 entries), Africa (4), the World of Islam (7), Asia (9), and Oceania (3). Considering the slenderness of the volume it is remarkably well illustrated. The maps, color, and shaded sketches and photographs are all relevant to the particular culture under the microscope. Very little attempt is made to draw comparisons or to posit questions; rather each essay focuses on the political developments then current region by region. This pattern is only occasionally broken by comments about cultural values. Those seeking a beginning to a world history course might find this contribution provocative, especially if in their classes they were able to expand upon its skeletal framework even slightly so as to provide a basis for a more substantive comparison of the societies in question. At the very least, these essays offer a sure cure for Euro-centricism. While those on that continent clawed their way up anthills to see beyond the neighbor’s barnyard, much of the rest of our species was enjoying a much higher standard of living and higher levels of cultural sophistication than anyone in Europe could have imagined. Man’s view of the year 1000 provides an enjoyable afternoon’s read, and, with its surprisingly up-to-date and lengthy bibliographies, the steppingstone to much more.” 

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From M. ShahidAlam’s “A Clash of Civilizations? Nonsense”
“The events of September 11 mark an escalation in attacks of a similar nature. The history of such attacks—starting with the 1983 attacks on US interests in Lebanon, winding through more attacks on US embassies, US military facilities, US officials, and US citizens in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Britain, Germany, Tanzania, and Kenya, and leading up to their culmination in the attacks of September 2001—reveal two unpleasant facts. In nearly all cases, the target of these attacks was unmistakably the United States. In nearly every case, these attacks were carried out by Arabs, on Arab soil at first, then in non-Arab countries, and, eventually, to attacks on US soil. In the 1980s, the attackers were mostly Lebanese and Palestinians. Later, Egyptians and Saudis joined them.

This history establishes that the attackers were not waging war against ‘all civilized societies in general,’ but against one in particular—the United States—with less than one-third of the population of the West. They were not waging war against the West, or the freedom, democracy, and pluralism of Western societies. The attacks were directed mostly against military and official targets, with the Lockerbie crash and the two attacks on the WorldTradeCenter as notable exceptions. Equally important, nearly all the attackers were of Arab ethnicity. We must reject Huntington’s reading of the attacks of September 11, which, like previous attacks, have had a specific target—the United States. Even if we regard the attackers as representative of all Arab societies—a highly questionable assumption—this only pits one-sixth of Islam against less than one-third of the West. It is not exactly a clash between two civilizations.  Instead, we should direct our focus to the United States and the Arab world—and to US policies in the Middle East which have mediated the relations between the two.”

From Fraser Harbutt’s “Hazy Historiographical Perspectives and September 11th
“Gradually various elements in the American character–idealistic and practical–fused into a secular, function-oriented, progressive vision of international comity in which, putting aside moral judgments for a moment, we can identify three primary features. The founding value was surely a belief in reason, and the second a faith in beneficent evolution as the mainspring in history, reflecting a widespread belief in American good fortune and steady development. By themselves, reason and evolution are admittedly loose concepts that can be evoked to explain many things.  he third element, however, gives the progressive vision a more solid efficacy, namely the strongly managerial approach to America’s political and economic relations with the external world that is clearly visible from the nation’s first emergence as a great power . . . .

The possibilities of a general managerial interpretation in foreign policy have been lost, however, in the preoccupation with more dramatic conceptions. One explanation may be that by definition, the workings of the managerial tradition are generally bureaucratic, unobtrusive, and often, it must be said, less than successful. Indeed, the key to understanding both the existence and the limitations of this tendency in diplomacy lies in the distinction we see between its prominence during stable periods, when the United States typically does well, and its comparative ineffectuality in the more difficult transitions from one international order to another . . . .

Therefore, the practical purpose of United States foreign policy, when shorn of all rhetorical posturing, may arguably best be described not as a search for peace, a better world, or market domination (although all of these may have been significant motives), but for those conditions that, by bringing the managerial mode into play, secure or at least promote stability and predictability.”

From James Kurth’s “Domestic Security and Muslim Immigrants”
“Muslim immigrants cannot assimilate into Western or American culture without betraying their faith. Western culture, especially American culture, once Christian and now largely secular (from the Islamic perspective, it was once infidel and is now largely pagan), simultaneously inspires contempt and temptation for Muslim immigrants, who must resist it with the myriad teachings, rituals, and practices Islam provides. Good Muslims would come to an alien, infidel, pagan Western country, including the United States, only to better their economic condition so they could afford a better life as a Muslim within a Muslim community. America is not their community; it is only an economy. Muslim immigrants would prefer to find a better life within their ethnic or tribal community in their Muslim home country. America, however, offers decisive economic advantages compared to the pervasive economic disadvantages they would face back home, which means they must establish an ethnic community within the alien territory of the United States. This Muslim community constitutes the Islamic millet within a multiethnic American society—an alien society ruled by an alien state or institution. For Muslim immigrants, therefore, membership in the Islamic millet is essential while they reside within the alien American political system. To live outside the Islamic millet—or to assimilate—would demonstrate bad faith. For the Muslim who resides within the United States or any other Western country, one must be a bad Muslim to be a good citizen, or one must be a bad citizen to be a good Muslim.

Of course, most Muslims who reside in the United States will not engage in bad behavior or illegal activity. They will, however, hold persistent and pervasive grievances against the United States and American society, and U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle Eastwill continually irritate and inflame those grievances. The Islamic millet will provide a supportive environment and a validating culture for the Islamic extremists, even terrorists, who live within it.”

From Salim Rashid’s “Can This War End?”
“The global nature of the Communist threat can be easily invoked today. If we are to assess the long-range impact of September 11, we must recognize that some of the forces at work have little to do with IsraelPalestineUsama bin Laden, or the Muslims. These forces, which I address in my introduction to this essay, reveal some structural features of a globalized world. The beliefs of others may impinge upon us, but more often our beliefs jar upon them. If our beliefs have created chaos in the rest of the world, the movement of goods and people has created commerce. Those familiar with the writings of a wide and distinguished group of economic geographers and world historians will know that the world has long been economically ‘unified.’ In the past, we visited them; today, they can just as easily visit us.

Given the popularity of American goods and services abroad, why is there so much resistance to the rightness of our ideas? We speak of ourselves as upholders of Freedom—undoubtedly a good thing. But the freedom to believe must mean the freedom to believe in something specific and to act upon those beliefs . . . . If freedom cannot be exercised for fear that it will impinge upon others then freedom is just one stage prior to rigor mortis. Freedom must imply real choices—to believe and to act—and we have no way to know if the choices will be good. 

In a chilling failure of intellectual strength, the modern intellect refuses to say what is ‘good.’ Philosophically, we believe we are the purposeless outcomes of a random process of evolution. The Universe has no meaning other than that which we impose upon it. Psychologically, we educate ourselves to survive in a moral vacuum—if we cannot assert what is truly right, we reason, then nothing can be declared absolutely wrong.  How do we sustain ourselves from day to day? We rely on special oxymorons to blind our intellects yet allow us—ad hoc, as it were—to act in good faith.”

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From Antony T. Sullivan’s review of Robert Kaplan’s The Arabists:  The Romance of an American Elite
“The Arabists necessarily devotes major attention to American foreign policy, past and present and, on the whole, implicitly endorses the worldview of American neo-conservatives, including those trained in political philosophy, such as Francis Fukuyama, who served in the Reagan Administration, and Paul Wolfowitz, who serves in the current Administration—neo-conservatives who have proven to be as sympathetic as any to Israel’s most expansionist ambitions. Kaplan rejects the judgment that the Israelis’ ‘displacement’ of the Palestinians remains the core political problem in the Middle East, and he apparently believes that a geographically enlarged Israel enhances Israel’s strategic value for the United States. Thus does he prove himself at least a neo-conservative fellow traveler, although he holds vastly more historical understanding and practical experience than most neo-conservatives. But then the supporters and patrons of this book would seem to predict Kaplan’s neo-conservative orientation.

Neo-conservative associates notwithstanding, Kaplan does give the Arabists—new and old, American and British—at least some of the credit they deserve. He admits that ‘few government officials over the decades have been so vilified’ and notes that the Arabists are neither the handful of State Department officials ‘savaged by columnists’ nor the ‘policy types who appear on talk shows.’ Instead, they are men and women who ‘read and speak Arabic and . . . have passed many years of their professional lives, with their families, in the Arab world, whether as diplomats, military attaches, intelligence agents, or even scholar-adventurers.’ Kaplan debunks the myth that the Arabists have been the ‘secret drivers of America’s Middle East policy since the end of World War 11,’ and he clearly believes that, although the Arabists have opposed Israeli foreign policy, they have been motivated by ‘what they honestly [have seen] as America’s best interests in the Middle East.’ What more, or what else, should one expect from a professional in the American foreign service?

Today, both neo-conservatives and evangelical Christians seem to be working in tandem to obstruct any sort of understanding or cooperation between the United States and the Arab or Islamic world. Kaplan quotes Moshe Dayan, who wrote almost a decade ago and in a far more hopeful period, when peace between Israelis and Arabs seemed imminent, that the ‘more friends . . . America has in the Arab world, the more secure Israel will be.’ How true: but how very difficult it would be now for America to win friends in the Arab and Muslim world, when an American President speaks of an ‘axis of evil’ that consists primarily of Muslim countries, gives Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon free rein to run roughshod in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and threatens a war against Iraq that has every likelihood of metastasizing into a war between the West and the entire Islamic world. In principle, one may warmly endorse Kaplan’s observation that the ‘time is past due for not just Arabs and Israelis but for Arabists and the Jewish supporters of Israel to bury the hatchet.’”

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From Jeffrey Vanke’s “The Isolation of Daniel Goldhagen:  A Response to Robert Herzstein
Goldhagen raises an excellent question that earlier historians of Nazi Germany, anglophone and German alike, were very slow to ask: Why did certain young Germans carry out the Holocaust? These historians were more likely to ask: Who voted for Hitler? Goldhagen is neither the first nor the best to tackle the former question. Ordinary Germans is not the first extreme version of a previously known story or idea to make excessive claims of novelty in historical scholarship, nor will it be the last. Herzstein, however, fails to challenge Goldhagen’s claims about the novelty of his argument, just as he fails explicitly to mention that many of Goldhagen’s sources were first uncovered and analyzed by Christopher Browning in his 1992 book, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. Only a careful reader will infer from Herzstein (109) that the 1998 edition of this book is not the first and, thus, Browning was the first to discuss these acts of cruelty. Herzstein also neglects to mention a related book from 1991, The RacialState:Germany, 1933-1945, by Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann, which further challenges Goldstein’s claims of originality. 

Goldhagen’s popular success is easy to explain. First, Nazi Germany and the Holocaust still sell well. Second, Goldhagen has chosen particularly sensational—and true—stories in which to ground his work. Third, Goldhagen, unlike many scholars, writes in popularly accessible prose. And fourth, Goldhagen speaks to and does not challenge the widespread simplistic stereotype that, even before Hitler, Germans were already deeply racist, cruel, and committed to exterminating the Jews. Among scholars, by contrast, Goldhagen finds a chilly reception, which Herzstein struggles to understand as a function of Goldhagen’s novel and heretical views. Instead, as I have explained, Goldhagen’s scholarship repeats previous work, lacks originality in concept, and offers a simplistic, argument. Herzstein’s silence on Goldhagen’s attempts to gag and damage his critics weakens his pro hominem agenda to restore Goldhagen’s character. If, as Herzstein argues, one need only read Finkelstein and Ruth Bettina Birn to dismiss them (105), why did Goldhagen pursue legal action against Birn and her original publisher to prevent their publication? Whether Goldhagen in person is ‘unassuming’ (91), as Herzstein presents him; or nonchalant, as has been my impression; or arrogant, as others have called him; his posture and legal actions fail to answer criticisms of his publication.” 

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From Eugene Genovese’s “The Gracchi and Their Mother in the Mind of American Slaveholders”
“For Southerners the aftermath of the fall of the Gracchi carried a special warning. The efforts of the tribunes to protect the people against aggrandizements and palpable oppression drove conservatives to support dictatorships like that of Sulla. The solution to the agrarian question, such as it was, came with the Caesar’s military conquests, which permitted the mass migration of proletarianized former peasants while they strengthened slavery at home. It is true, as Ronald Syme has suggested in The Roman Revolution, that Caesar led a revolution while himself no revolutionary. Whatever his intentions, he sorely disappointed the more radical and rapacious of his supporters who expected expropriation of the rich. Ever-wary Southerners took the measure of Caesar's course. They were ready for strong measures to protect their slave society, but they were not ready to pay the price of Caesarism.

For those who thought long and hard on the future of slavery the Gracchi called forth admiration and revulsion. While commentators disagreed about Tiberius and CaiusGracchus—their objects, their methods, and the risks they ran—seem internally rent. Not so the attitude toward the mother of the GracchiNeither ambiguity nor ambivalence here—rather, exaltation.

Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi, emerged as by far, the most frequently invoked model of southern motherhood . . . . However much Cornelia sought fame for her sons and for herself through them, she stood, above all, for a mother's duty to train her sons to a high sense of honor and service . . . .

Cornelia, when asked to show her jewels, replied that her jewels were her sons (Haecornamenta mea sunt), and Southerners, male and female, made her declaration their favorite symbol of southern womanhood. In 1819 Ladies’ Magazine of Savannah opened its first issue by declaring that only Cornelias—women who raised their sons to valor—could ensure the safety of the Republic . . . . When Thomas Dabney decided to leave Virginia for Mississippi, his neighbors gave him a dinner party at which they toasted him as an exemplar of Cornelia's boast of her sons as jewels.

. . . The ideological uses to which attention to women in history could be put before and after the War for Southern Independence emerged with special clarity in frequent appeals to the memory of Cornelia. Southern men, drawing on Plutarch, lectured each other on their duty to be worthy of such a mother.  And what a noble mother she was . . . . A woman's highest attainment would be as the mother of great men, and exultation over "the mothers of great men" came from the women themselves. A southern lady, writing in the Methodist Southern Lady's Companion in 1853, sounded like Louisa McCord as she cheerfully accepted a subordinate place for women in society: ‘Man must strive. He was made for action. It is his life. He must enter into the arena where truth and error are in deadly conflict, and must struggle and conquer or fall.’ Having made her bows to the superior claims of the man, she turned to the woman: ‘She enters not the arena of political debate, it is true; but she forms minds and habits from which emanate the laws of government.’ Contemporaries compared Louisa McCord to Cornelia, but, then, no few commented on her ‘masculine’ qualities—by which they meant her formidable intellect and rough polemical style as well as her tall, strong physical bearing.

Yes, gentlemen were celebrating themselves and each other as ‘jewels.’ Simultaneously, they were celebrating their ladies for raising their sons to be statesmen and warriors—celebrating women with minds of their own who held strong political views and ideals. And as secession and war grew ever closer, southern ladies and gentlemen alike recalled that Cornelia had spurred her jewels to revolutionary efforts in an essentially conservative cause.”

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by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese

Today the word rape evokes images of “forcible or fraudulent sexual intercourse,” usually—but not always—perpetrated by a man upon a woman. But that understanding of rape represents only a special case of the more general phenomenon. Rape has always had more to do with violence or the imposition of one person’s will upon that of another. For if rape has always implied sexual violation, its primary meaning has laid in the prior act of seizing or carrying off by force. Hence its kinship to rapine as plundering or robbery. 

Rape as the forcible abduction of a woman figured prominently in the eighteenth-century British imagination, and fear of its occurrence and the consequences largely accounts for the passage in 1753, of a marriage act, known as Lord Hardwicke’s Act. Lord Hardwicke’s Act, which came into effect in 1754, regulated marriage for the first time. Previously, marriage had required only mutual consent between the woman, who needed only to be twelve, and the man, who needed only to be fourteen. Lord Hardwicke’s Act gave parents, especially fathers, substantially greater legal control than previously over the marriages of their children, with special implications for their daughters. According to the Act’s provisions, a legal marriage required that banns be read on three consecutive Sundays or Holy days in the parish in which at least one of the couple resided and in which they wished to be married or that they obtain a license from the Bishop or Archbishop. They also required that the marriage service be performed by a clergyman of the Church of England. 

Not surprisingly, the Act seriously complicated a young couple’s ability to defy their families by a secret elopement, which would have necessitated only a secret exchange of vows before a compliant clergyman. For parents, this scenario embodied a host of dangers, including the possibility that a guileful man might secure a fake clergyman, stage a sham marriage, and take his sexual pleasure with a naïve and deluded young woman, whom he would subsequently abandon. The growing mobility of eighteenth-century British society heightened these dangers, especially for young women who attended any of the many “public” balls or visited public social venues in LondonBath, and elsewhere, and eighteenth-century British literature abounds with titillating and cautionary accounts of them.  But the greatest danger that, which probably accounts for the passage of Hardwicke’s Act, concerned the growing mobility of property. No father could tolerate the prospect that an unscrupulous man might secure a hold upon a young heiress’ fortune.

The Hardwicke Act remedied many ills, but it could not close the gaping loophole that was Scotland, especially Gretna Green, which lay just over the border. Writing in the early 1750s, just at the time of the discussion and passage of the Hardwicke Act, Samuel Richardson, in the first volume of his immensely popular Sir Charles Grandison, described in detail the abduction of a young woman from a public Masquerade ball. Harriet Byron, his heroine, escaped with her life and, more improbably, her virtue, thanks to the deus ex machina intervention of Sir Charles Grandison, who liberated her from the carriage of her abductor, who, having failed in his first attempt to force a fake wedding ceremony upon her, was carrying her off to try again. Tellingly, the popularity of public balls, especially masked balls, declined throughout the second half of the eighteenth century as the rising ideology of domesticity and privacy consolidated modern notions of individualism, including the view of rape as the sexual violation of an individual.[1]

Glimmers of the modern view of rape had emerged earlier, and, at least throughout the first half of the eighteenth century, coexisted with older views of it as the seizure or forceful abduction of a person or material goods or both. Alexander Pope devoted one of his most famous poems, published in its final version in 1714, as “The Rape of the Lock, an heroi-comical poem in five canto’s,” to spoofing the notions of rape and female virtue, as well as to a reflection upon the nature and role of poetry in particular and art in general.[2] Beginning, “What dire Offence from am’rous Causes springs,/What mighty Contests rise from Trivial Things,” Pope asks

Say what strange Motive, Goddess! Cou’d compel
A well-bred Lordt’assault a gentle Belle?
Oh say what stranger Cause, yet unexplor’d,
Cou’d make a gentle Belle reject a Lord?
In Tasks so bold, can Little Men engage?
And in soft Bosoms dwells such mighty Rage?

As the remaining cantos detail, amidst an abundance of classical and other allusions, the beautiful Belinda’s shining locks incite the crime of rape, perpetrated by a Lord and Peer, who steadfastly refuses to return his prize to its rightful owner. The distraught Belinda remains irate and unreconciled, although Pope carefully details the ways in which her own pride and quest for admiration led to her tragic loss. It takes no great interpretive acumen to see the raped lock as a trope for Belinda’s virtue. Pope seems, if only in part, to be suggesting that flirtatious and vain women walk a path fraught with dangers. Her behavior may not have justified her rapist’s assault, but she was clearly seeking his attentions. By making the object of the rape a lock of hair, Pope claims the luxury of mocking the games of fashionable women and men and avoids the obligation to pass moral judgment on any of the participants. He enjoins Belinda to cease mourning her “ravish’d Hair/Which adds new Glory to the shining Sphere!” No other tresses will evoke such envy as the one she lost.

For, after all the murders of your Eye,
When, after Millions slain, your self shall die;
When those fair Suns shall sett, as sett they must,
And all those Tresses shall be laid in Dust;
This Lock, the Muse shall consecrate to Fame,
And mid’st the Stars inscribe Belinda’s Name!

Like Richardson, Pope, in his own way, is testifying to a social and economic sea change of formidable proportions, which frames the world and shapes the actions of the brothers MacGregor, notably their rape of Jean Key of Edinbelly. In Deborah Symonds’ telling, the story of their adventure and misfortune encapsulates the challenges that confronted displaced and defiantly unreconstructed Highlanders in the wake of the Act of Union (1707) and the ensuing doomed uprisings of 1715 and 1745. Symonds reconstructs the story of the MacGregor brothers, James, Ranald, Duncan, and, the main player, Robert Oig from the record of their trials, notably that of Robert, who was condemned to death and hanged in 1754. Sons of the notorious Rob Roy MacGregor, and members of a clan that had been banned in the seventeenth century for lawlessness and thievery, the MacGregor brothers came honestly by their talents for stealing cattle, killing their neighbors, switching political allegiances as their interests dictated, and switching from Presbyterianism to Catholicism as well. 

In the incident Symonds has reconstructed, the brothers cooperated in the rape—or hamesucken—of one Jean Key of Edinbelly, who, two days later, was forcibly married to Robert. On the surface, the incident has much in common with a classic case of rape, albeit more in the eighteenth-century style of abduction than in the twentieth-century style of sexual violation. Sexual violation there may have been, although the records remain unclear about whether Jean Key, like Belinda, enjoyed some of the attentions bestowed upon her. At the least, the remaining records offer contradictory evidence as to whether she wished to remain with Rob Oig as his wife or returned to her mother, a widow with her own economic stakes in the outcome. The real story, Symonds concludes, had much less to do with sex than with cattle. By 1750, Highlanders like Lowlanders had been drawn into a tight network of credit and contracts, which is to say they were trading their traditional agricultural pursuits for participation in the commercial world of Adam Smith.

All of the players in this drama were living through the disorienting transition from one world to another. James and Robert MacGregor died, Symonds argues, because of their failure to understand that force was fast losing its legitimacy as a means for effecting important purposes and was giving way to a world of individuals linked by the market rather than traditional bonds and hierarchies. “Contracts,” she writes, “whether political, economic, or personal, were just coming into focus as either consensual or invalid.”  Force had yet entirely to disappear, but it no longer sufficed to ensure Rob Oig’s permanent conquest of Jean Key and her choice droving lands. 

The transition from more communal to more individualistic social relations constitutes a central theme in countless historical debates and has occasioned fierce conflicts among social groups as well as specific individuals—among cultures as well as among states. Warren I. Susman, a legendary professor of American history at RutgersUniversity from the 1960s through his untimely death in the 1980s, was wont to enthrall graduate students with his claim that any historian could teach the history of any country or civilization in any time period. All that was required, according to Susman, was that one master the basic formula: “it was a period of crisis; it was a time of great change; and the middle class was rising.” Susman, who possessed a special flare for the dramatic, may have exaggerated, but not by much. At the worst, he may have minimized the periods of comparative quiescence that separated the times of transition. However that may be, most of this issue of The Journal may be taken as an illustration—albeit unintended in the planning—of his point.

Framing the issue, we have the articles of Deborah Symonds on the mid-eighteenth-century transformation of Scotland and Eugene D. Genovese on the significance of the Gracchi for the ways in which southern slaveholders thought about the growing rift between their slave society and the free society of the North. Between these extended explorations of specific historical cases, we have discussions, debates, and reviews that engage aspects of different transitions, including reflections upon ways of writing history and the appropriate place of subjectivity in what Marc Bloch, aptly called “the historian’s craft.” From the start, we have intended to include reviews in The Journal and in previous issues have done so. In this double issue, however, reviews of different lengths occupy a more prominent place than in previous ones, and we hope that their relation to the topics under discussion in other pieces will underscore the ties among different genres of historical work—the ways in which reviews, essays, and contributions to symposia may take part in a continuing conversation. 

The first issue of The Journal included Mark Smith’s pioneering essay, “Listening to the Heard Words of Antebellum America,” to which we invited responses in the hopes of inaugurating a discussion of the value of writing history from the perspective of sound—or, by implication, the other senses. Here, we are pleased to publish two that respectively engage his interpretation of antebellum America and the appropriate methods of aural history, together with a third by Rebecca Edwards that extends the discussion into a new realm. While fully appreciating the importance of Mark Smith’s contribution in opening a new perspective on American history, Mitchell Snay and Bruce Smith take issue on specific points. Snay challenges Mark Smith’s use of “cultural history” to defend the significance of a widening divide between northern and southern societies in the coming of the Civil War and challenges his selection and use of evidence as well. Bruce Smith focuses upon Mark Smith’s use of evidence, primarily arguing that it is misguided and misleading to use print sources to capture the history of sound. Rather, the historian should turn to tapes and other properly aural records.

In responding, Mark Smith defends the value of written sources for the history of sound, and the interplay between his response and his critics’ challenges opens important questions about the role of the history of sound—and the other senses—in our understanding of the past. In passing, Mark Smith insists that he views his own work as social rather than cultural history and reminds us of his intellectual debt to the outstanding British historian, Eric Hobsbawm. That Hobsbawm has always written as a Marxist and consistently emphasized the significance of major crises of transition, underscores Mark Smith’s own commitment to elucidating the social dynamics that propel and inform violent social and political change, notably in the case of the American Civil War—or, as Genovese and other real and aspirant Southerners prefer, the War for Southern Independence. Never succumbing to fashionable postmodernist traps, Mark Smith views sound as an illuminating way to understand the changing social relations that were driving North and South toward a cataclysmic confrontation that would end with the consolidation of the United States’ irreversible transition into the modern world of capitalism and individualism.

Mark Smith’s critics, as he warmly acknowledges, raise important questions. Bruce Smith’s cautions about the validity of printed materials as evidence for the history of sound correctly remind us of the persisting difficulty of identifying the appropriate evidence for a specific argument, especially in new areas of inquiry. The discussion of sources further reminds us that the boundary between social and cultural history may not be quite as sharp as Mark Smith seems to suggest when he firmly identifies his own work as social history, thereby implicitly suggesting that cultural history is social history—or, to put it differently, that social relations drive and shape culture. The interweaving of cultural and social history looms large in our understanding of the causes of the Civil War and, by extension, other conflicts as well. Here, Snay’s questions about the way in which we should define and demarcate the South as a region drive the point home. In defining the antebellum South as a section or a region should we emphasize a pervasive commitment to slaveholding? Or perhaps a commitment to the “traditional” values of social hierarchy and religious orthodoxy accompanied by a rejection of the northern emphasis upon the freedom of the individual grounded in capitalist social relations and contracts?

The questions defy easy answers, but their very difficulty underscores the importance of historians’ choices of methods and evidence. Rebecca Edwards’s discussion of two books about Laura Bridgman offers a reflection upon both the questions of method and the history of sound. Acknowledging a longstanding fascination with biography, Edwards considers the way in which two different styles of biography can illuminate the life of an individual, which, in turn, illuminates issues in social and cultural history. Most people are not likely to think of the history of deafness as an integral aspect of the history of sound, yet the silence that engulfs the deaf constitutes the necessary extension of the noise that engulfed workers in northern factories. 

Edwards welcomes both biographies for their role in restoring Bridgman to her rightful place as the first deaf and blind American—Helen Keller’s predecessor—to learn to communicate. But she also explores the implications of the subjective method of the one and the objective method of the other, and she takes the books different perspectives as an opening to discuss the significant conflicts that have divided the non-hearing community since Bridgman’s time. At the core of the conflict lies the troubling question, which bitterly divides the non-hearing community, of whether we may appropriately speak of a deaf culture. Do those who cannot hear constitute a world apart—a distinct group with unique and valuable characteristics—or should they be taught to merge seamlessly with the world of those who do hear?

Darryl Hart, in reviewing John Boles’ Autobiographical Reflections on Southern Religious History, also explores the significance of the South as a region and the value of the subjective perspective in the writing of history, but in the context of religion rather than of sound. Considering the essays that constitute Boles’ book, Hart assesses the specific role of an individual’s faith in the writing of religious history.  In this instance, the majority of the contributors do come from religious backgrounds and remain believers, but personal religious background does not invariably dictate their choice of subject. Hart nonetheless sadly concludes that, notwithstanding the intellectual value of discrete contributions, in the collection as a whole the personal predominates and relegates fresh considerations of southern religious history to second place. The collection thus contributes to the unfortunate impression that personal faith offers a privileged position from which to write the history of religion. Unfortunately, the linking of religious history to “identity politics” only undercuts religious history’s claims to be a significant historical field.

The problems with this personalism contrast sharply with Mark Smith and Bruce Smith’s success in beginning a reconstruction of the history of sound. But the subjective preoccupations of some of Boles’ authors pale in comparison with those of many of the figures who come under attack in Bonfire of the Humanities, which Mark Bauerlein considers in one of our first brief reviews. Readers of The Journal know from Bauerlein’s previous contributions that he takes second place to none in impatience with intellectual posturing and pretension, and his remarks here will surely tempt many to read Bonfire for themselves. Subjectivity has an obvious place in biography and consequently in history as well. There are times when even the most dispassionate historians seek to understand something of how the past felt to those who lived it. The essays on sound, in their various ways, all attempt to capture something of what people did and did not hear—and what the hearing or not hearing meant to them. They all also attempt to locate that subjective response within an historical (objective) context. The abuse of subjectivity lies not in these and similar efforts, but in the growing tendency, which Hart discerns in some of the authors in the Boles collection, to place the identity of the historian at the center of the story.

Ralph Ellison, Charles Pete Banner-Haley reminds us, “ranks among the select group of African American intellectuals whose insights on American identity went straight to the core.” Ellison cultivated an unflinching sense of identity as inescapably social and cultural. For him, it might fairly be said, the personal was political—and deeply so. Banner-Haley offers an engrossing introduction to Ellison through a discussion of his posthumously published and heavily cut and edited novel, Juneteenth. Emphasizing Ellison’s debt to W.E.B. DuBois’ concept of double consciousness, Banner-Haley locates Juneteenth in the context of Ellison’s intellectual and political commitments and, especially, the context of his historical moment. In what Banner-Haley calls “a brilliant historical assessment,” Ellison locates his characters (and readers) at an undetermined point in the years 1957-1958 and hence “at the cusp of a tremendous historical transition”—the transition between the world of segregation and that of what Ellison was wont to call the “Negro Freedom Movement.” In this preliminary assessment of the preliminary and partial version of Juneteenth, Banner-Haley illuminates the ways in which Ellison blended the subjective and objective perspectives to fashion an historically embedded representation of identity.

In our second brief review, Thomas Burns takes us back in time to John Man’s Atlas of the Year 1000. Although Burns views the essays in volume as providing a framework rather than a fully developed history, he emphasizes its potential value to those who teach world history, not least because of its resistance to Euro-centrism. Burns credits the volume with offering a timely reminder that while Europeans were clawing “their way up anthills to see beyond the neighbor’s barnyard,” the denizens of many other parts of the world were enjoying “a much higher standard of living and higher levels of cultural sophistication than anyone in Europe could have imagined.” Even in the year 1000, some Europeans—and many Christians—had encountered the sophistication that Muslim—“Mohammedan”—culture and intellectuals could attain. The whirlwind Muslim conquest of North Africaand advance into southern Spain preceded Pope Urban IV’s call for the First Crusade in 1095. Thenceforth, relations between Islam and Europe would frequently remain tense, when not openly bellicose. 

The following millennium would witness a gradual and accelerating shift in the balance between European and other civilizations, especially with respect to standard of living, economic dynamism, scientific advances, and technological sophistication. And, by the final decades of the second millennium, American popular culture—long and not incorrectly viewed as philistine by the older civilizations—would have carried the day in the magnitude of its presence and impact, if not in its intellectual and artistic sophistication and taste. The countries of the Pacific Rim gradually found their competitive sea legs, but many of the Muslim countries did not. Even where oil secured vast wealth, the wealth normally failed to permeate the entire society, much less to transform the culture. Yet even the most traditional and autocratic Muslim countries could not erect impermeable boundaries against the tentacles of modern communications: films, television, and the Internet brought what many deemed much too much American culture within the purview of countless Muslims. Not surprisingly increasing numbers of Islamic traditionalists found this new heathen invasion unacceptable.

The debate, inaugurated in our previous issue, over the origins, significance, and possible consequences of 11 September explored many of the questions imposed by the terrorist explosion and the American response to it. For good reason, Samuel Huntington’s book, A Clash of Civilizations, figured prominently in the discussion. In this issue, as promised, we continue the symposium on 11 September, and, M. ShahidAlam, our first contributor to it, takes on Huntington directly, dubbing the idea of a clash of civilizations “nonsense.” The very idea of such a clash provokes his impatience and outrage, primarily because he finds Huntington’s evidence for his thesis inadequate or altogether lacking. The core of Alam’s objections derives from his conviction that in modern capitalist societies the social sciences have replaced religion as the primary glue that binds individuals to societies. “Every system of social inequalities conceived in violence,” he writes, “must maintain itself by less violent measures if it is to endure. Force is costly.” The argument closely resembles Antonio Gramsci’s concept of hegemony and, to Alam’s credit, shares with Gramsci’s hegemony the premise that even unequal or unjust social systems cannot be indefinitely sustained by force. They require the acquiescence of their members. 

Ultimately, Alam suggests, the thesis of a clash of civilizations represents little but a useful story—a tale told by Western social scientists like Huntington to secure American hostility to Islam in particular and the Muslim world in general. But the social scientists who take this route—again, par excellenceHuntington—can only do so at the expense of the hard evidence that should guarantee the validity of their work. Material issues provoke wars and solidify alliances. In this world of economic competition, the notion of civilization has lost its meaning.

Pointing to the “Hazy Historiograhical Perspectives” that have characterized most discussions of 11 September, Fraser Harbutt proposes that if we are to begin to understand our new international situation we must free ourselves from outmoded interpretations of international relations. Two inherited interpretive traditions have proven especially misleading. The first, which he calls the Westphalian, dates to the Conference of Westphalia in 1648 and emphasizes the centrality of conflicts between states. The second, the “so-called Wilsonian persuasion,” which has pretended to correct the cynicism of European realpolitik with American idealism has, in truth, embodied a extraordinary degree of “self-righteousness and naïveté about human nature.” Although we cannot entirely abandon either of these traditions, neither fully applies to our current situation. For the real challenge, Harbutt shrewdly notes, concerns our ability to fight terrorism and the causes of terrorism simultaneously. Weighing the prospects, he expresses a cautious optimism that we will be able to draw upon our tradition of Power and Virtue to wage war when necessary, but even more upon the managerial tradition of reason and secular progressivisim to improve economic conditions around the globe and thereby help to diminish the resentment against us.

ames Kurth, reflecting upon the relation between domestic security and Muslim immigrants, develops some of the themes implicit in Harbutt’s essay, notably the declining significance of nation-states—or rather, their declining ability to erect and defend tight boundaries. Kurth especially attends to the differences between previous waves of immigration to the United Statesand Muslim immigration, which has forcefully resisted assimilation, instead forming “millets” or small cohesive communities. This organization, which has long existed within authoritarian and centralized Muslim regimes, permits Muslims in the United States to constitute a nation within a nation. Meanwhile, the permeable borders, civil liberties, and multicultural policies of the United Statesgovernment make it virtually impossible for the United States to single out, restrain, or even effectively maintain surveillance of Muslims. To Muslims, America is not a community, “it is only an economy,” and one to be exploited for Muslim purposes. This explosive combination of transnational networks, Muslim millets, and the decline of the nation-state, Kurth concludes, permits terrorism to flourish and makes it frighteningly difficult for us to combat it. The question, Kurth somberly concludes, remains whether a “global, transnational regime, which is committed to a multicultural ideology and therefore open to the Islamic millet, protect itself against a global, transnational network composed of Islamic terrorists who are committed to destroying it by any means.”

Concluding this installment in the symposium, Salim Rashid follows Harbutt and Kurth in focusing attention upon the United States, especially upon the ways in which the weaknesses of our own culture limit our ability to respond effectively to terrorism. Rashid ultimately sees the problems as moral—or, minimally, as problems of political conviction and will. In his view, the tolerance upon which we pride ourselves has made it dangerously difficult for us to say one form of action is wrong and another right. Thus, by implication, he is suggesting that if we are only willing to defend an economy—an accumulation of material goods and an enviable standard of living—we will get what we are asking for. In sharp contrast to the cohesion of the Muslim millet, we have created a nation of strangers, people who believe only in the defense of their individual freedom from obligation to others, and to protect it they are willing to sacrifice all standards of right and wrong. Even if Rashid exaggerates, which he may, the point cannot lightly be brushed aside, not least because it sheds a fresh perspective upon the other contributors’ arguments about the dissolution of national boundaries and the triumph of transnational networks and managerial strategies. In many ways, we are back in the world of the MacGregors in which family and clan loyalties intermingle with changing economic conditions—the erosion of old boundaries amidst uncertainty about the shape of new ones.

Antony Sullivan’s discussion of Robert Kaplan’s The Arabists touches upon similar themes even as it explicitly engages a core element of the conflict, namely the place of Israelin the Middle East. Praising Kaplan’s copious research and his immersion in the “great” historians, beginning with Thucydides and Livy, Sullivan follows Kaplan’s engaging account—truly a romance—of the Foreign Service experts in Arabian affairs. Beginning early in the twentieth century, this group decisively influenced, and frequently shaped, American policy in the Middle East. Following their gripping careers, it is easy to think of Kipling and T.E. Lawrence—of the romance of the “Orient” that, pace Edward Said, has captured the imagination of many Americans and Europeans, who have learned the languages and customs of peoples they admired even as they tried to manage them. Sullivan, who might pass for something of a latter day Arabist himself, demonstrably appreciates this aspect of Kaplan’s book, and he acknowledges that Kaplan gives both British and American Arabists “at least some of the credit they deserve.” His enthusiasm only falters when it comes to the question of Israel. Sullivan rejects Kaplan’s view of the Arabists as covert anti-Semites, and he forcefully criticizes Kaplan’s support for the establishment of Israel as a state, arguing that “Kaplan rejects the judgment that the Israelis’ ‘displacement’ of the Palestinians remains the core political problem in the Middle East.” 

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict feeds directly into the larger conflict between the United States and Islamic terrorists, and neat solutions to both seem dangerously elusive. Here, we enter a world in which hatreds burn as fierce and deep as ever they did in eighteenth-century Scotland, and for similar reasons. The defeat, displacement, dispossession, or butchery of one people by another breeds corrosive resentments that rarely respond to reason and secular progressivism. The proponents of traditional loyalties to clan or millet may well seek the advantages of a more advanced, capitalist economy off which they can feed, but they are rarely willing to trade their traditional practices and beliefs for the individualism that accompanies the unconditional embrace of capitalism. Unfortunately, the cosmopolitanism that purportedly accompanies unconditional individualism has proven no guarantee against the resurgence of ugly barbarism.

Responding to Robert Herzstein’s defense of Daniel Goldhagen in our previous issue, Jeff Vanke forcefully contests Goldhagen’s claim that all Germans, through their longstanding, “eliminationist” anti-Semitism, implicitly collaborated in the work of the Holocaust. Vanke further contests the view of Germans as uniquely anti-Semitic among Europeans. France and Poland , to take but two examples, had dubious histories in this regard, and there are tragic signs of a resurgence of anti-Semitism in France today. Vanke makes no claim to unravel the troubling puzzle of anti-Semitism, and he avoids the trap of presenting it as just one form of ethnic discrimination among many.  Where even Hannah Arendt left questions unanswered, it behooves the rest of us to tread with caution. In this instance, Vanke primarily seeks to challenge both Goldhagen’s conclusions and Herzstein’s picture of him as excluded from all academic debate. The Jews’ struggle for a homeland, like their antagonistic relations with other groups, especially those of other faiths, reach back to the dawn of recorded history and have generated passionate responses from both their friends and their foes.

Strange as it may seem to many, the antebellum South proved more open and hospitable to Jews than other parts of the United States or European countries. This comparative tolerance and humanity derived at least in part from the slaveholding elite’s clear focus on its primary objective, namely the defense of slavery as a proper foundation for a well-ordered and responsible society. Antebellum southerners, as Eugene Genovese demonstrates in his reflections on the slaveholders’ view of the Gracchi and their Mother, readily turned to history for a better understanding of their own situation and prospects. Ever conscious of living amidst a throng of independent—and well-armed—yeoman farmers, the slaveholders attended carefully to the ties that bound non-slaveholding farmers to the central tenets of the slaveholders’ own worldview. Their continuing quest regularly returned them to the history of the Roman’s slave society, which in many ways resembled their own. The Gracchi provided a special challenge, largely because of the complexity of their story, notably the contradictions between their purported agrarianism and their barely veiled Caesarism, neither of which had great appeal for a slaveholding elite that knew itself bound to respect and sustain democracy.

The southern slaveholders nonetheless shared with the Gracchi—and the other historical actors in this issue—the necessity of wrestling with a major historical transition. Not unlike the MacGregor brothers, they were confronting a direct challenge to the fundamental nature and relations of their society, and, as subsequent events would prove, they were not about to abandon them without a fight. The Gracchi did not ultimately offer a model they chose to emulate, but, in a wonderfully over-determined gesture, they elevated Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi, to iconic status. Cornelia offered them the best of both worlds: a tie to the Roman past and an opening to the modern world of domesticity. The slaveholders’ tragedy, like that of the MacGregors and countless others, lay in their inability to preserve the best of the past and embrace the best of the present without succumbing to the centrifugal forces that would shatter the aspects of tradition they valued most highly and tear their world apart.


[1] Samuel Richardson, Sir Charles Grandison, 3 vols., ed. with an introduction, Jocelyn Harris (London: Oxford University Press, 1972). The novel originally appeared in seven volumes between 1751 and 1754, vii-xii.
[2] Pope apparently drafted the poem in less than a fortnight in 1711, but the final, version in five cantos did not appear until 1714. The Poems of Alexander Pope: a one volume edition of the Twickenham Text with selected annotations, ed. John Butt (New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univeristy Press, 1963), 218.
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