Has the idea of American exceptionalism hobbled the study of American history? NYU University Professor of the Humanities Thomas Bender argues that it has. A study of American history taking into account world events and viewpoints, he argues, would result in a more contextualized and cosmopolitan discipline, helping historians to better understand what happened in American history and why, but also what it means. Bender traces the study of history from the “men of letters” historians of the nineteenth century to historians of the Cold War and the present day, explaining how calls for a more worldly American history curriculum have been rebuffed.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Bender on American Exceptionalism
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History has posted a downloadable lecture by the historian Thomas Bender, New York University, who, a few years back, wrote a terrific antiexceptionalist history of America (pictured below). Bender originally delivered the lecture, entitled "American History: Views from Abroad," on June 23, 2008. Here is the Institute's description: