When U.S. historians begin to talk about empire, it usually registers the declining fortunes of others. The term’s use among historians in reference to the United States has crested during controversial wars, invasions, and occupations, and ebbed when projections of American power have receded from public view. This periodicity—this tethering of empire as a category of analysis to the vagaries of U.S. power and its exercise—is one of the striking aspects of empire’s strange historiographic career. When it comes to U.S. imperial history, one might say, the owl of Minerva flies primarily when it is blasted from its perch.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Quote of the day
Following a link provided by a commenter on the USIH roundtable led me to Paul Kramer's historiographical essay in American Historical Review (Dec. 2011), for which a pdf is available. I've only glanced through it, but I like Kramer's opening paragraph enough to quote it here: