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intellectual history


  • A Ghost of Galileo in the English Civil War

    by John Heilbron

    An obscure English painting containing an image of Galileo's "Dialogues" launches a deep consideration of the political and intellectual stakes of free inquiry during the English Civil War.



  • J. M. Keynes and the Visible Hands

    by Kent Puckett

    John Maynard Keynes's disgust at the outcome of the peace negotiations at the end of the Great War led him to write a scathing and influential book about the economic impact of the Treaty of Versailles. Unfortunately, the account, which overstated the economic devastation imposed on Germany, fueled Hitler's propaganda and made the rest of Europe unable to perceive the threat of German rearmament. 



  • When Black Humanity is Denied

    by Edna Bonhomme

    Enlightenment institutions – the prison, science, and asylums – are organized through binaries that draw boundaries between people who are and are not able to exercise freedom. Black artistic work supports Black freedom by challenging those boundaries. 



  • The American Exception: How Faith Shapes Economic and Social Policy

    by Benjamin M. Friedman

    Historian Benjamin Friedman's new book examines the importance of changing religious ideas in American Protestantism as influences on the development of social and economic policy. Part of the concluding chapter is excerpted here. 



  • Caste Does Not Explain Race

    by Charisse Burden-Stelly

    A reviewer takes Isabel Wilkerson's book "Caste" to task for failure to examine the connections between racism and economic exploitation. 



  • An Inspiring History of the Enlightenment

    A new book focuses on the generation of the body of Enlightenment thought through debate and dispute which foreshadows many of today's debates about the merits of universal humanism and liberal democracy. 



  • New Black Intellectual Histories

    Brandon Byrd argues that researching the African American intellectual tradition requires methodological flexibility and innovation to understand how Black thinkers have worked to produce ideas while being excluded from the spaces where intellectual work has typically been done. 



  • Keynes and the Good Life

    by Jeffrey Sachs

    Keynes did not give us a checklist of dos and don’ts other than general ones: Don’t waste human talents and physical resources through wanton unemployment, avoidable wars, or breakdowns of social and trade relations.



  • Missing Zinn

    by Cornel West an Mordecai Lyon

    On the tenth anniversary of radical historian Howard Zinn’s death, Cornel West opens up about their friendship and what Zinn would have made of the decade—including whether he would have voted for Bernie.


  • Is Donald Trump a Conservative?

    by Jonathan Montano

    Does Trump fit the mold defined by historians on conservatism? Does his brand of populism even fit the classical ideology of conservative populist thought?