Critical Historical Studies

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 2326-4462 / 2326-4470
Published by: University of Chicago Press (10.1086)
Total articles ≅ 118
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Latest articles in this journal

C. N. Biltoft
Critical Historical Studies, Volume 8, pp 23-55;

After drawing parallels between the methods of mapping and those of economic modeling, this article seeks to uncover the implicit world map in J. M. Keynes’s 1933 essay “National Self-Sufficiency.” A close reading of that essay demonstrates that Keynes’s articulation of the concept of the national economy rested on a specific political-economic geography, which often obscured a view of the global and indeed imperial distribution of power and resources. The article then suggests that those epistemological and spatial assumptions helped shape the conceptual infrastructure on which subsequent models of macroeconomic intervention grew after World War II.
Chris O’Kane
Critical Historical Studies, Volume 8, pp 57-86;

This article concerns how a critical theory of reification should be conceptualized to grasp the 2007 crisis, state-imposed austerity, and the rise of right-wing authoritarian populism. It argues that Jürgen Habermas’s, Axel Honneth’s, and Georg Lukacs’s interpretations of reification cannot provide a theoretical framework for a critical social theory of these developments due to their inadequate theories of domination, crises, character formation, and historical development. It then outlines a critical theory of reification that draws on Max Horkheimer’s notion of reified authority and contemporary Marxian critical theory’s interpretation of the critique of political economy to conceive of domination, crises, and character formation as inherent to the reproduction of capitalist society, which is characterized by a process of historical development that drives humanity into new types of barbarism. It concludes by indicating how such an approach, in contrast to Habermas’s, Honneth’s, and Lukács’s theories, provides a conception of reification that can grasp our present moment.
Laure Guirguis
Critical Historical Studies, Volume 8, pp 87-113;

Sartre’s visit to the Middle East turned into a fiasco, and the French philosopher ultimately signed a public letter in support of Israel. A few years later, the situation had changed completely: the French Left overwhelmingly took sides with the Palestinians, and Arab militants in France were key in triggering this turnaround. This was but one consequence of the multilayered interactions between Arab and European left-wing militant landscapes during the May ’68 momentum. The Arab New Left was a constitutive part of this global moment. Yet the Arab Left and “May ’68” have long been set apart from the growing literature on the revolutionary Left during the long sixties. Following three militant paths between France and the Arab East, I decipher the reconfigurations of geographies of resistance and the processes of resignification as symbols and know-how were displaced and transformed through ever more complex itineraries.
Quinn Slobodian
Critical Historical Studies, Volume 8, pp 1-22;

This article offers a new account of the rise of the ranked nation-state through a genealogy of the category of country risk, which emerged in the 1970s as part of a response to the explosion of sovereign borrowing of petrodollars by Global South and Eastern bloc countries. Incorporating intangible qualities like political stability and the social fabric through a version of environmental scanning, country risk ratings quantified both the ability and the willingness of sovereigns to repay their debts. Adopted by the US Federal Reserve as a means of imposing the rule of law on global finance in the run-up to the Third World debt crisis, country risk returned in the research of the 1990s as a proxy for good governance, transforming the subjective impressions of managers and bankers into objective realities with policy effects.
Nadia Bou Ali
Critical Historical Studies, Volume 7, pp 241-269;

The article discusses Lebanese Marxist philosopher Mahdi Amel’s formulation of the concept of “colonial mode of production” as a differential mode from capitalism that is linked to it through “structural causality.” Amel theorized the colonial mode of production as a singular mode that was seen to be specific to some social formations like Lebanon, Algeria, and Egypt. The article draws out the Althusserian influences in Amel’s theoretical work and explains the contours of his main argument to show how the colonial mode of production was employed as a critique of national liberation movements in the 1970s. In his theoretical works, Amel also provides a substantive critique of structuralism by arguing for a notion of political practice as the determinant of social struggle in the last instance.
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