Monday, August 29, 2016

Political History Is Definitely Being Taught

Two historians wrote an op-ed in the New York Times lamenting that political history is no longer being taught.

The drying up of scholarly expertise affects universities’ ability to educate teachers — as well as aspiring lawyers, politicians, journalists and business leaders — who will enter their professions having learned too little about the nation’s political history. Not least, in this age of extreme partisanship, they’ll be insufficiently aware of the importance that compromise has played in America’s past, of the vital role of mutual give-and-take in the democratic process.

I can't speak to where History has been going as a discipline, but from a political science perspective this is false. This week I am teaching the political background for understanding how the U.S. viewed Latin America after independence, and will spend more time over the next several weeks on political history. My colleagues here are teaching about all kinds of different topics related to U.S. political history. My colleagues elsewhere are publishing constantly on the history of U.S. foreign policy making--I've also reviewed quite a few books and articles by historians who study U.S.-Latin American relations, and they have reviewed me.

Already there is a #poliscihistory hashtag highlighting all the political history being done, often in fact by political scientists.


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