NEW HISTORICAL SOCIETY FOUNDED
"More than 40 years ago, Eugene D. Genovesewas organizing
Communists. Nowhe's organizing historians -- signing up comrades for
a new learned society meantas a counterweight to the American
Historical Associationand the Organization of American Historians."So
begins a lengthy piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education
by CourtneyLeatherman. "A renowned historian of slavery, with a
reputation for shaking up the status quo, Mr. Genovese says the group will
focus on the study ofplain-spoken history---not jargon-laden, esoteric
theory---and not only on matters of race, class, and gender."
Here is the announcement being circulated by the new group:
"We are pleased to announce the formation of a new andgenuinely
'diverse' organization. The Historical Society is open to all whowant to
do serious history, whatever partof the political and ideological spectrum
they come from. It will be a place in which significant historicalsubjects
are discussed and debated sharply and frankly in an atmosphereof civility,
mutual respectand common courtesy. All we require is that participants
lay down plausible premises; reason accordingto the canons of logic;
appeal to evidence; and prepare to exchange criticism with those whohold
different points of view.
We have no interest in endless controversies and 'culturalwars'
with those who are satisfied with the status quo. We intend to concentrate
on the constructive work of reshaping our profession bybuilding the kind
of historical association whose functions historianswill want to attend
simply becausethey are intellectually profitable and offer warm
We seek neither a restoration ofthe Good Old Days, which never
existed, nor the perpetuationof the irrationalities of recent years. We are
drawing upon the strongestfeatures of past experience to shape an
institution that can steer ourprofession through a rapidly changing age.
Hence, we are determined to make theSociety's meetings especially