turf care

leaning-on-the-door  asked:

Are weird pseudo-fash history-fetishists more or less common in academia? I used to be into euro history, but the number of creepy nationalists kinda scared me off

nah, in my experience neoliberal empire apologists like Niall Ferguson or forelock tugging Monarchy fetishists like David Starkey are about as far right as you get in History departments generally, I think because the pseudo-fash position relies on pseudo history that doesn’t stand up to any kind of peer review. One thing about History as a discipline is that even reactionary historians tend to conform to pretty high methodological standards, and come down harshly on colleagues who don’t do the same. Once they’ve marked out their own little piece of academic turf they tend to care more about protecting it and taking down anyone with an opposing interpretation than any kind of wider political motivation. 

It’s good in the sense that straight up manipulation of the archival data is extremely rare, but it has had negative consequences, for example the first wave of Feminist history was dismissed wholesale by many establishment historians who were able to find a few unsupported or weak claims about say, the witch hunts, and then use that to dismiss the whole project. The upshot is that today’s feminist historians have to be extra rigorous in their research because they know they’re going to be meticulously fact checked by a bunch of pompous old gits who’d love nothing more than to declare them incompetent.

In general terms though, I think it’s fair to say that the right wing has quite quite conclusively lost the majority of its favourite arguments within History as a discipline. Unfortunately however, that doesn’t seem to stop them getting plum jobs expounding a load of rubbish on BBC television