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The lion and the Newt; a British View of American conservatives' fear of social history.

Viewed from Lancaster, England, the sustained virulence and intolerance of the American Right's attack on social history is difficult to comprehend, both in its scale and its nature. It is not that British social historians are unfamiliar with the prejudices and paranoias of right-wing governments - we have, after all, had one of our own since 1979, and Major differs from Thatcher in style and self-presentation rather than in substance. But during all this time no attack on this potentially subversive discipline has come near to the intensity of the American campaign, although, as we shall see, this is not to suggest that social history in Britain has gone unchallenged as regards its relevance and core methodologies, or that it has had an easy ride. The contrast in experiences may be instructive in various ways, and I propose to discuss the fortunes of social history under the Conservative Party in Britain over the last fifteen years before enquiring into the possible reasons for the differences in the attitudes, policies and profiles of the Right in the two countries. This in turn may make a contribution, however indirect, to the construction of survival strategies by American social historians in these difficult times.

The Thatcher regime was no more hostile to social history than to the social sciences generally, and although damage was done, it was not the result of a directly-targeted campaign. One of the first priorities of the 1979 government was to cut the funding of the national research councils, and the Social Science Research Council was so seriously affected that it had to reduce the number of postgraduate training awards by 25 percent in the first year. Within this framework Economic and Social History, under which motley label most social history research and teaching was then assumed to be done, was under particular pressure, but only because it was seen as a "traditional scholarly subject" which was at risk in the heightened search for "relevance" to business and policy which was now in vogue.(1) But social history survived as a recipient of research grants, despite perceptions in high places that there was (infamously) no such thing as society, only individuals and their families (a remark attributed to Margaret Thatcher), and that reading history at university was "a luxury" (a pearl of wisdom from the same chemistry graduate). The concept of social science was officially abolished, but the research council, re-named in newspeak the Economic and Social Research Council, survived and continued to fund projects in social history. Senior social historians felt, however, that the dice were loaded against the discipline and that it had to struggle to be heard; thus Eric Evans in 1987, when the (then) University Grants Commission was persuaded to institute an enquiry into the current state of economic and social history:

We are anxious to stress . . . that social history has suffered from the contractions of recent years. Research funding has been much more difficult to obtain, with the ESRC much the most hard-pressed of the government-funded research institutions, and not notably sympathetic to projects with (as is the case with much social history) . . . some political or 'non-social-science based' inputs. Social historians have often felt that they fell awkwardly between stools over research applications. The teaching of social history has been rendered much more difficult in the absence of adequate funding . . .(2)

The enquiry found that eleven of the 22 departments of economic and social history (in the pre-1992 universities, it should be remembered, excluding the then polytechnics and the colleges of higher education) could be described as "centres of strength" despite recent pressures. Seven others were doing a good job under circumstances made difficult by recent staff losses, while four were under serious pressure and might be amalgamated with stronger institutions.(3) This was not a crisis, though it was not a satisfactory situation; and it had arisen through cumulative attritional effects, especially the failure to replace staff who had retired, rather than through any systematic or vindictive targeting of social history.

When we look at this kind of evidence, however, it remains difficult to separate social history from its arranged (and often loveless) marriage with economic history: the British system has tended to bracket them together, with economic history, rooted in the certainties of the market, as the senior and more legitimate partner. Social history's discontents in terms of state funding for research have continued, with complaints about the ESRC's increasing concern to set research agendas through the allocation of funding to named research initiatives promoted from the centre, which have not always included explicit historical dimensions in their remits.(4) In 1992, observers noted a disquieting recent trend whereby research studentship awards to economic and social historians declined while the total number of grants increased; and the struggle for resources continued. It was an uphill struggle, but not a losing battle.(5)

A primary focus on state funding reflects the central role of the state in paying for universities and advanced research in Britain, albeit alongside a range of charitable foundations such as the Leverhulme and Wellcome Trusts and the Nuffield Foundation. The importance of central government funding has declined overall within the British university system in recent years, but it is still absolutely essential to the survival of humanities and social sciences. This makes British social historians vulnerable to the political malevolence of a Gingrich; but it is interesting, and significant, that no such figure has so far appeared in Britain (here I touch my wooden work-table). I shall return to this point. Meanwhile, it should also be stressed that the health of social history in British higher education has been much more robust than my initial emphasis on "economic and social history" and the ESRC might suggest.

The main growth area for social history in British universities has not been the departments of economic and social history, whose popularity has suffered from the complex aridities of the "new" econometric history. Much more important, though by its nature very difficult to measure, has been the permeation of established history departments by the methodologies and interests of social history. A particularly strong theme has been the development of social dimensions to political and intellectual history, in ways which have entailed the transformation of agenda without changing the ostensible label of the activity pursued.(6) Alongside the proliferation of new journals with a predominantly "social history" remit, and the strong survival of the new foundations of the 1970s and earlier, we see concerns with the relationship between politics and society invading periodicals such as Historical Journal. Attachment to history as being about the great deeds of great men, interpreted from the top down and the centre outwards, has certainly not gone away, and may be reviving; but social history's quiet invasion of research profiles, course structure and course content in British higher education has been cumulatively impressive. Problems arose in the most recent comparative research assessment exercise, when funding followed the grades which were awarded by a centrally-nominated panel of the great and the good, because some thought the assessors to be disproportionately drawn from an older school of top-down political history to the disadvantage of social historians operating within history departments. There is no way of testing these suspicions, still less of substantiating them, but their existence is interesting in itself. The key point, perhaps, is that social history continues to flourish under the generally difficult circumstances currently endured by British academe, and that its problems do not arise from targeted persecution by its governmental paymasters; they are part of a wider picture.

Social history has made less headway in the schools, and certainly at the levels at which students are prepared for the higher education entrance examinations. Advanced Level History syllabuses are still dominated by political and diplomatic history, with economic and social history (the same inescapable pairing) as a minority option, suspected by some as being of less academic rigour. Current circumstances are well illustrated by the market for Lancaster Pamphlets, the introductions to key themes in A-level History which are written (mainly) by members of the Lancaster University History Department and published by Routledge. The best-sellers by far are studies of twentieth-century dictators, with Mussolini topping the list; and topics in social history as such simply do not get a look-in. The present writer proposed pamphlets on such themes as the Industrial Revolution in England and the standard of living controversy (the nearest approximations to social history topics which seemed to stand a chance) and was told by the series editors that there would be insufficient demand in the chosen market; he ended up writing about the Second Reform Act and Disraeli. Social history as an academic discipline and an approach to understanding the world is something British students encounter for the first time at university, if at all, unless they have taken an unusual and risky path through A-level, or unless they have come through an access-to-higher-education course for mature students, on which social history options have a much higher profile. It is interesting that, when we get away from the sacred cow of A-level, which is effectively policed by those who have a vested interest in existing practices and notions of what constitutes the stuff of history, and which is readily exposed to the glare of publicity and to accusations of falling standards, it becomes much easier to introduce social history through locally-administered schemes to students whose age and experience make them much more responsive to it.(7)

The teaching and syllabus content of history in schools became much more controversial during the debate over the introduction of a national curriculum for schoolchildren up to the age of 16; and here parallels with recent events in the United States become particularly interesting. In Britain the initiative for specifying what history should be taught in school came from the central government, and there was fierce argument at the end of the 1980s over the proper nature, purpose and content of history teaching. The specialist history teachers themselves were relieved to see history given a central place in national curriculum plans, given its apparent lack of direct "relevance" to future worlds of work and the apathy or worse displayed towards it by many parents and children. But many were worried about tighter central control leading to the imposition of history as propaganda for a Whiggish view of national progress and for ethnocentric notions of a benign Anglo-Saxon imperial civilising mission. Discussion of the nature of the national curriculum began in a highly-charged atmosphere, as pamphlets from right-wing think-tanks attacked current schemes of study which allegedly set a premium on skills rather than knowledge and downgraded the learning of what were held to be the crucial facts which underpinned a shared, celebratory national historical culture. Every English child, it was held, should know the date of the Battle of Trafalgar, and successive Education Ministers showed concern over syllabuses and approaches which seemed to challenge optimistic consensual views of the nation's past. Discussion spanned the media, with opinionated editorials in right-wing tabloids and round-table debates in History Workshop Journal and History Today. The furor was in some ways analogous to the current American storm. But the part played by attitudes to social history, as such, was intriguingly different, as was the whole atmosphere of most of the debates.(8)

The debate over the National Curriculum was not, overtly, about the place of social history. Perhaps relatedly, it lacked the paranoia which seems to have marked the American Right's response to new curriculum proposals in the United States. The issues of popular debate revolved around the necessity for, and value of, the rote-learning of suitable "facts", and which ones should be admitted to the canon of the compulsory. It was, perhaps, more likely that social history topics might be taught using a skills-based rather than a knowledge-based approach, and key "facts" in social history would be less likely to satisfy a devotee of high politics and imperial/diplomatic history of the legitimacy of their place in the curriculum. It might be argued, too, that themes in social history (especially those associated with race, gender and class which seem to have so upset the American Right) would be more likely to have subversive overtones and threaten the status quo. Why was this not a high-profile theme in Britain?

It is tempting to begin by speculating about the nature of British political and academic culture. It does seem clear that senior Conservative politicians in Britain were relatively relaxed about social history as a genre. They might worry, as Kenneth Baker obviously did, about the untrammelled classroom activities of "trendy-lefty" history teachers (a tabloid term of abuse which alludes to alleged attitudes which were never fashionable even in the 1960s).(9) But the debate focussed mainly on questions of national identity and cultural diversity which cut across the notional divisions between (for example) political and social history.(10) The government-appointed History Working Group which produced the first draft of the National Curriculum, in daunting detail, accorded some limited measure of legitimacy to social history alongside other approaches through the so-called PESC formula. This required that all themes should give due weight (though the balance would obviously vary) to four sets of concerns: political; economic/technological/scientific; social and religious; cultural and aesthetic. This fell short of recognising social history as a distinctive branch of the discipline, and gave it an arbitrarily-chosen bedfellow (or perhaps one chosen to defuse its propensity for social criticism); but at least it recognised its existence, and (as with, for example, some topics in the history of popular politics) offered some opportunity for teachers to carve out space for the critical treatment of contentious issues. The eventual reluctance of the government (including Thatcher herself) to be prescriptive about every detail of the syllabus reduced the potential for claustrophobia and straitjacketing here; and social history had various points of entry which were not necessarily clearly signposted but were available to the ingenious, such as the explicit encouragement which was given to work in local history. The key point for our purposes is that social history was neither attacked nor suppressed, although it was not strong and assertive enough to carve out a distinctive niche for itself, which may in turn help to explain its low profile in the discussions.(11)

It may seem surprising that social history was not identified as a threat in any sustained way by Conservative politicians, given the high international visibility of English Marxist historians such as E.P. Thompson, Eric Hobsbawm, Christopher Hill and Rodney Hilton. Thompson, indeed, was very much in the public eye as a campaigner against cruise missiles and other forms of nuclear weapons escalation, and as an organiser of the European nuclear disarmament movement.(12) The English Marxist historians are widely prescribed as A-level reading as well as being prominent on university reading-lists. Moreover, the Tory (not to say Jacobite) historian J.C.D. Clark (endorsed from his tortured vantage-point on the post-Marxist Right by Patrick Joyce) has argued that mainstream positivist historical writing in Britain has tended to occupy a centre-left position, whereas in the United States its centre of gravity is much further to the right.(13) This thickens the plot. It is tempting to suggest that (even) the British Conservative Party is more tolerant, more secure and better-educated than its Republican counterparts, and certainly more subtle at defining "common sense" outside academe, and at manipulating the media; but I leave this theme for those better qualified to pursue it. A more confident proposal is that despite the leftward tilt of social history as a discipline, and despite the argument that this is actually more pronounced in Britain, it has never been exclusively the province of the Left, and historians of a conservative/free market liberal frame of mind have sought to challenge its assumptions and alter its agenda from within, in ways which have attracted sufficient media attention to provide social history with a pluralist identity in the eyes of the outside world. The contempt for social history openly expressed at times by the Maurice Cowling school of high political narrative (which has, however, been important in the Cambridge intellectual formation of some Tory cabinet ministers) has been unusual, even aberrant. The late G.R. Elton was willing to contribute sceptical commentaries, in a wry and almost affectionate vein, to collections of essays on such themes as the social history of crime.(14) More important, elsewhere in Cambridge, has been the contribution of such figures as J.H. Plumb, Neil McKendrick and Alan Macfarlane. Plumb and McKendrick have celebrated consumerism and the entrepreneur as hero, while Macfarlane became a born-again Thatcherite at the end of the 1970s, seeking the origins of a much-vaunted English individualism in the misty Nordic forests and espousing a Malthusianism which echoed the less strident findings of Cambridge demography.(15) Meanwhile, in much less committed vein, Oxford's Sir Keith Thomas rose to eminence on a historical method which was dominated by the massive accumulation of captivating examples, and F.M.L. Thompson's urbane tenure of the directorship of London's Institute of Historical Research reached its climax in a witty hymn to the stabilizing qualities of Victorian respectability.(16) Even the extreme free marketeers of the Institute of Economic Affairs made their own forays into social history, most tellingly (though ultimately unconvincingly) with Green's attempt to prove that the Victorian friendly societies and other voluntary health care institutions showed that there were viable alternatives to the Welfare State.(17) Nor were the most eloquent and persuasive of the Marxists allowed to go unchallenged, as the string of attacks on E.P. Thompson's work bears witness; and it should be noted that they came from within the Labour Party as well as from positions further to the right.(18) So British official opinion has been aware of social history as a politically contested terrain, with a tradition of reasoned debate with generally shared assumptions about ground rules, rather than as the property of a particular political tendency or set of interest-groups; and the particularly contentious fields of race and gender, with their overtones of "political correctness", have tended to be submerged in a wider range of considerations, while the enduringly dominant paradigm of class has been regarded as a legitimate focus of interest across the political spectrum, even by those who have sought to challenge or minimise its importance or to reduce it to a merely descriptive category. The tradition of civilised debate in British social history, in which the Right has participated and made its presence felt, has rendered it inappropriate to descend to the vulgar abuse and shrill intolerance which seems to have become the Republican way.

Suspicion of social history in Britain has perhaps been more a feature of populist tabloid-reading opinion than of government; and this does resonate with recent American experience. Two dimensions of popular attitudes probably support each other here: nostalgic attachment to the history learned at school, reinforced through subsequent media representations; and resentment at an academic appropriation and problematisation of a popular social history based on artefacts and ideas of progress and sustained by the theme parks of the heritage industry.(19) There does seem to be a genuine popular belief in Britain that the proper stuff of history is the great deeds of great men, battles, peace treaties and Acts of Parliament, which people strove to commit to memory in the schools of an earlier generation and regarded with subsequent veneration (however boring and frustrating the process might have been at the time) and equated with the preservation of proper standards and a shared national cultural heritage. This frame of mind can be observed especially in those whose schooldays predated the 1960s, and it is present in some ministerial pronouncements.(20) Social history also suffers when viewed from this perspective because it is more difficult to provide satisfying simple questions with "right" answers which can then become the subject of pub quizzes and popular discussion, and of the "objective tests" beloved by certain kinds of accountancy-minded educationalists.(21) Popular adherence to the virtues of rote-learning is the more surprising in this context because of the enduring popularity of Sellar and Yeatman's 1066 and All That, a satire on the ludicrous garblings which could arise from teaching famous dates and great men to apathetic and inattentive audiences of schoolchildren. The book's popularity also depended on a widespread ability not to take British history seriously, and indeed to display irreverence towards it, which may also help to explain the relatively low-key nature of debates on the stuff of history on this side of the Atlantic.(22)

There is, however, also a sense in which the stuff of school history is regarded as common property, a body of knowledge and frame of reference shared among the people, which needs to be defended against attempts by academics to challenge, subvert, complicate or otherwise hijack it for their (presumably) nefarious purposes. Everyone's history is what they did at school, and to challenge this agenda is to threaten their possession of it. This is clearly a phenomenon common to Britain and the United States, and it may help to explain the apparent paradox whereby the proposed new history of the people and the oppressed is held to be elitist, while the old history of kings, presidents, progress and prosperity, written from the top down and the centre outwards and representing better-off minorities within the nation, can be presented as popular.(23) Relatedly, theme-park or heritage history, with its concentration (usually) on the accessible, the simplifiable, the concrete, the nostalgic and the quaint, can also partake of this populist identity, so that the leisure entrepreneurs become the custodians of a view of social history (this time) which feeds on and reinforces a "common sense" of how past lives have been which rejects as frivolous or self-serving the complications and uncomfortable critiques presented by academics and others who challenge the consensus. This is a privatisation of social history, carved up into bite-sized portions and floated off into the market place to be appropriated by capital, becoming just another commodity in the popular entertainment industry. Such a spectacle can be presented as the empowerment of consumers to make their own histories from what is on offer, but this is to miss the point of where the power lies. Post-structuralists may salivate, and it is sad to see such a distinguished social historian as Raphael Samuel following this primrose path and celebrating the democratic vitality of theme-park history; but this denies historians the right and the power to explain, analyse, criticise and provoke real debate. All is lost in the passing parade of artefact and pageant; here no cultural criticism can gain a purchase.(24)

I have so far been discussing broad cultural and political reasons for the lack of an American-style assault on social history in Britain. Beyond all this, we should consider two aspects of the American conflict which seem to set it apart from events in Britain. In the first place, the impetus for curriculum definition which has precipitated (or been the pretext for) the latest round of attacks on social history in the United States seems to have been presented differently from the origins of the British National Curriculum, which was controversial in different ways. In Britain the National Curriculum for history was a well-publicised initiative which was firmly identified throughout with Conservative central government policy, and the Working Group which put together the detailed proposals was nominated by the then Education Minister, Kenneth Baker. As befitted the notion that school history was the property of a broad national constituency, the Working Group of ten members and two subsequent secondments contained only two university historians, along with two teacher trainers and two serving teachers.(25) The offending National Standards for United States schools, on the other hand, seem to have been more strongly identified with academe. But in fact the project involved the active participation of hundreds of classroom teachers, specialist state officials, civic and public interest groups and parents as well as several dozen academic historians, and there were public hearings and information sessions at regional and national conferences. The actual procedures seem to have been fuller, more consultative, more democratic even than the British counterpart. The offending World History Curriculum, to a transatlantic eye, appears balanced, stimulating and well-thought-out. It is very hard to understand what all the fuss was about. Nevertheless, the academics seem to have been blamed for the un-American, cosmopolitan, relativist nature of the project, as with the Enola Gay exhibition at the Smithsonian and the Apple CD-Rom project.(26) This must have made it much easier to present the issue as one of pointy-headed intellectuals trying to steal the people's history and remake it in guises which were incompatible with such patriotic cultural artefacts as the film Red Dawn, which I watched with horror on Basque television when starting to think about this paper. This extraordinary film, which friends here tell me was taken seriously in the United States of 1984, deals with the surprise invasion of a small Colorado town by Russians, Cubans and Nicaraguans, who interrupt a lesson on Genghis Khan in the schoolroom and encounter guerrilla resistance from a force of high-school kids who deploy the huge home armouries which they enjoy as part of the citizen's right to keep firearms. The point I am making is that this hymn of praise to survivalism, the NRA and the Frontier is steeped in assumptions about American history which are central to the Republican project and the attack on social history, but outrageous in the rest of the world. The cinema critic of El Diario Vasco, San Sebastian, not exactly Spain's most left-wing newspaper, described Red Dawn as "un pestino" (a bore or drag); but to me it was a disturbingly significant cultural export. Perhaps Mr. Gingrich, in an earlier incarnation, wrote the screen play.(27)

It is, to be fair, hard to imagine Gertrude Himmelfarb being associated with Red Dawn; but she, along with Mr. Gingrich (who must be left to those who know him better), appears to be the other distinctive ingredient in the United States recipe. Himmelfarb's crusade against social history as something immoral, subversive and distasteful is now of long standing, and it is interesting to see how readily she obtains media access to pursue it. For her, the proper stuff of history is the great thoughts of great men, and the morality they publicly espouse and discuss. I use the singular advisedly, because for Himmelfarb the one true morality is an idealised Victorian one, which needs to be restored in all its absolute certainties if we are to emerge from the corruption of relativism and dangerous utopianism. History's task, it seems, is to sustain the myths which mask the workings of the social and political system, to chronicle and justify the transmission and inheritance of elite culture from one generation to the next, and to suppress attempts at challenge from outside - or worse still, from within - the charmed circle. Those who attack the premises on which Himmelfarb's ideal society is based - a combination of laissez-faire and personal morality - are attacked at a personal level: Mayhew as a hack journalist, Ruskin as impotent, and so on - on the assumption that if the mud sticks, it invalidates the big ideas, rather in the manner of Chaloner and Henderson's assiduous efforts to prove that Engels went fox-hunting.(29) The subordinate social strata, meanwhile, are to be mystified into accepting their lot and getting on with the job but their actual lives are trivial and irrelevant, sordid and beneath the notice of the goddess-historian:

Historians now vie with one another in plumbing the lower depths of this 'history from below', and in rescuing from oblivion one submerged group after another: women, children, racial and ethnic minorities, sexual deviants, criminals, the insane. When Macaulay prepared his readers for his chapter on 'the history of the people', he said that he would 'cheerfully bear the reproach of having descended below the dignity of history.' But it never occurred to him to descend so far below the dignity of history as to make these subjects the whole or even the major part of his work.(30)

There is no need to deconstruct the language here: the olympian disdain and the readiness to consign to simple categories ("sexual deviants") are only too apparent. Himmelfarb's most recent book in England has come out under the imprint of the right-wing think-tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs, which was Thatcherite before Thatcher; but we already knew what we were dealing with.(31)

I am bound to find Himmelfarb deeply offensive. Not only does she deny the validity - the meaning, even - of the kind of history I believe in: she also denies the right of the working-class students who give me such pleasure as a teacher, to understand the part they and people like them have played and can play as historical actors. No dissent is to be tolerated: we have reached the ultimate Hegelian synthesis, and the end of history arrived with the Victorians. All historians have to do is guard the temple and elaborate the rituals. It is wrily amusing that Himmelfarb and Stalin share a common intellectual fountainhead in Hegel; but if she has cast herself as Minerva, her owl is flying from dusk into Stygian blackness (I can play these games, too). Let her go; but we must not allow her to take us on the journey.

There is, I think, no British Himmelfarb, J.C.D. Clark tried to take on a similar mantle, seeking to rework the agenda of social history by stealing some of its clothes and arranging them tastefully as part of an ensemble which was really dominated by religion and high politics; but Clark lacked the weight and the media support to make his project work. The agenda in Britain is different, and it is dominated by the debate on how social history is to reconcile itself (if at all) with post-modernism and post-structuralism. That is a different story.(32) Meanwhile, what are American social historians to do?

In the first place, there is no arguing with these people. Where their writ runs, they are totalitarians. When a William Bennett rejects (on what look like Himmelfarbian principles) applications for funding on the history of the working class out of hand, and seeks to prioritise Plato (for goodness' sake) instead, there is no basis on which reasoned dialogue can begin. At that level, all one can do is wait for the cloud of poison gas to pass over. In Britain, social historians have tried to work with the grain of the system by designing projects which seemed to run with the priorities of official agenda: Lancaster's ESRC project on self-help might be seen as a case in point.(33) Once funding has been secured, projects take on a life of their own, and their development and findings may or may not reflect the assumptions of the funding body: this is not necessarily a cynical frame of mind, but a fact of life in how research unrolls. But this option seems not to be available either: strategies of "passing" or pretending to partial acceptance of the ruling orthodoxy seem demeaning and dangerous in this context. And they would not work anyway.

The problem also is that on social history themes conservatives have simple answers which appeal to "common sense" and are well-suited to a sound-bite culture. This in turn makes it easier for them to discount and deny social history: why fund research, why read complicated books, when "we" already have the answers? This compounds social history's problems in gaining effective access to the media beyond the secret garden of the academic journal and the (open in principle but secluded in practice) pastures of the Internet. Media access is fundamental to making a case for social history's relevance, legitimacy and indeed interest; but how is that to be achieved in a broad systematic way against the gatekeepers of what is unquestionably a dominant culture? Strategies in this area must be top priority.

Otherwise, it is easier to offer comparative diagnoses than to suggest plausible lines of approach. This is not being defeatist: it is recognising difficulties. What is vital is to keep the flame burning, and not to compromise; and, perhaps, to reach out from the universities to the wider constituency of those who to Himmelfarb are non-persons, working with activists in urban neighbourhoods and making social history available to those who can use it. We could do with more of that in Britain, too.

Department of History U.K. LA1 4YG


1. Social History Society Newsletter 5(1), 1980, pp. 2-3.

2. Ibid., 12(1), 1987, p. 3.

3. Ibid., 12(2), 1987, pp. 2-3.

4. Ibid., 14(1), 1989.

5. Ibid., 17(2), 1992.

6. A. Wilson, Rethinking Social History (New York, 1993), Introduction.

7. Social History Society Newsletter 9(1), 1984, p. 2; Lancaster University History Department, Lancaster Pamphlets sales reports; personal experiences as Tutor for Admissions, History Department, Lancaster University.

8. R. Aldrich, (ed.), History in the National Curriculum (London, 1991); "Whose History? The Debate on a Core Curriculum for Schools," History Today 39 (June 1989), pp. 7-16; "History, the Nation and the Schools," History Workshop Journal 29 (1990), pp. 92-133.

9. Aldrich, (ed.), History, pp. 94-5.

10. J.C.D. Clark's contribution to the History Workshop Journal symposium reflects the obsession with national identity especially strongly from the Right.

11. Aldrich, (ed.), History, pp. 19-20; Department of Education and Science and the Welsh Office, National Curriculum History Working Group: Final Report (April 1990). Sue Wright helped me to firm up this section.

12. E. P. Thompson, The Heavy Dancers (London, 1985); E. P. Thompson and Dan Smith, Protest and Survive (London, 1980).

13. P. Joyce, "The End of Social History?", Social History 20 (1995), p. 81

14. J.S. Cockburn, (ed.), Crime in England 1550-1800 (London, 1977).

15. N. McKendrick, J. Brewer and J. H. Plumb, The Birth of a Consumer Society (London, 1982); A. Macfarlane, The Origins of English Individualism (Oxford, 1978); idem, Marriage and Love in England: Modes of Reproduction, 1300-1840 (Oxford, 1986); idem., The Culture of Capitalism (Oxford, 1987).

16. Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (London, 1971); idem., Man and the Natural World (London, 1983); F. M. L. Thompson, The Rise of Respectable Society (London, 1988).

17. David G. Green, Working-Class Patients and the Medical Establishment (London, 1985).

18. E. P. Thompson, Customs in Common (London, 1991), Chapter 5.

19. R. Hewison, The Heritage Industry (London, 1987); Patrick Wright, On Living in an Old Country (London, 1985).

20. Aldrich, (ed.), History, pp. 33-4.

21. E.J. Radley, Objective Tests in Economic and Social History from 1700 to the Present Day (London, 1978), is a particularly horrendous example of the genre. I am not intending to put down pub quizzes, which I enjoy: the example illustrates a wider and more damaging frame of mind.

22. Many editions of this book have appeared over the last half-century.

23. See Peter Stearns' introduction to this issue.

24. R. Samuel, Theatres of Memory, Vol. 1: Past and Present in Contemporary Culture (London, 1988).

25. Aldrich, (ed.), History, p. 12.

26. See note 23, above; and National History Standards Project, World History curriculum, accessible via the Internet. Thanks to Bob Bliss for downloading it for me.

27. Red Dawn, United States, 1984, directed by John Milins.

28. G. Himmelfarb, Marriage and Morals among the Victorians (New York, 1986), p. xiii.

29. Ibid., pp. 7-8, for Ruskin; G. Himmelfarb, The Idea of Poverty (New York, 1984), Chapter 14; W. O. Henderson, The Life of Friedrich Engels (London, 1976), Vol. 1, Chapter 4.

30. Himmelfarb, Marriage and Morals, p. 174.

31. G. Himmelfarb, The De-Moralization of Society (London, 1995).

32. J. C. D. Clark, English Society 1688-1832 (Cambridge, 1985). But it is noticeable that the Right's attempted rehabilitation of the Victorian orphanage, which was so much discussed on the Internet in early 1995, is now surfacing in the British media: A. N. Wilson, reviewing the first in a BBC1 documentary series Barnardo's Children, Sunday Telegraph 9 July 1995, Review, p. 7. Thanks to Simon Appleton.

33. The project studied self-help in Britain over three centuries, under the direction of E. J. Evans, G. A. Phillips and C. Pooley. The present writer was not involved.
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Title Annotation:Special Issue: Social History and the American Political Climate - Problems and Strategies; Newt Gingrich
Author:Walton, John K.
Publication:Journal of Social History
Date:Feb 5, 1996
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Next Article:Reflections on the African American experience, social history, and the resurgence of conservatism in American society.

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