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1 Critical Hist. Stud. 1 (2014)

handle is hein.journals/chstd1 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Introducing Critical Historical Studies

             e launch  Critical Historical Studies with a sense that critical under-
             standings of politics, culture, economy, and social life need renewal
             and  deepening.'  Over the  past few decades,  most  critical thinking
in the humanities  and social sciences has utilized the tools of the cultural or lin-
guistic turns as a privileged analytic lens and has broadly focused on questions of
identity-that  is, on inequities structured by gender,  race, sexuality, ethnicity,
and postcoloniality. An earlier style of critique, largely grounded in Marxist anal-
ysis of class inequities, has dwindled proportionally. We recognize the important
analytical, political, and moral gains achieved by the cultural and linguistic turns.
Yet it seems  increasingly clear that the  problems  besetting the  contemporary
world cannot  be grasped adequately without  renewed  attention to questions of po-
litical economy. Since  the 1970s, during  the very period  when  the  humanities
and social sciences were caught up in the linguistic and cultural turns, world capi-
talism has undergone  fundamental   and irreversible transformations-transforma-
tions that pose profound   challenges to our understanding   of both the past and
the present. Critical Historical Studies aims to develop an innovative approach to
historical transformations that is adequate to this challenge, an approach strongly
influenced by  a critical appropriation of Marx but that remains in open  and vig-
orous dialogue with  other theoretical currents. The journal encourages systematic
exploration of connections between  cultural and political change on the one hand
and overarching  transformations in socioeconomic  contexts on the other.
   The  current deep  crisis of the world economy has significantly   revived  the
question of capitalism in contemporary scholarly and popular debates, for example,
about  the legitimacy of neoliberalism, the threat of ecological crises and global
climate change,  or the causes and  consequences  of widening  economic   inequal-

   1. The idea of launching Critical Historical Studies arose during a conference held at the University of
Chicago in December 2011 to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Social Theory Workshop, a faculty
and graduate student forum led from its inception by Moishe Postone and William Sewell. Thomas
Dodman, Parker Everett, and Stacie Kent, the three graduate students who conceptualized, planned, and
organized the conference, felt that the workshop had, over the years, generated a distinctive yet insuffi-
ciently articulated theoretical approach to historical questions, one that needed to be fleshed out in inten-
sive discussion. Critical Historical Studies represents, among other things, an effort to widen and deepen the
ever-branching conversations begun at the conference.

Critical Historical Studies (Spring 2014). © 2014 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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